If you’re like me, in travels around the web, you click here (or on any of a million blogs), glance at the length of the text, and make a quick assessment: nope, not enough time to read this now/today/ever. I’ve gotten feedback that my posts are too long. Guilty as charged, at times. Often, as I’m trying to condense, I feel like I’m channeling my dad, writing his weekly sermons. Here’s a fact to fight that impulse to click on: My posts are ~500 words. This is the amount the average adult can read in TWO MINUTES.
I try to remind myself of that, as I struggle with the sense that there’s never enough time.
When my older daughter was not even two, she held up a crystal clear mirror to my warped sense of time. Rushing out the door with me, she said (in her toddler pronunciation, unable to say her Rs), “Huwwy, huwwy, Mommy, it’s bad to be late.” Was that really what I wanted to instill in her, a catch-up pace of life?
Impact #2 came years later, from Dallas Morning News columnist Steve Blow. A constant champion of sensible thinking, Steve challenged a colleague who drove like me: always racing to beat the lights, weaving in and out of traffic, certain that this was an essential and valuable time saver. One day, Steve (a confessed granny-type driver) followed the other guy all day, driving in his usual conservative style. By day’s end, the rushed driver had saved approximately two minutes.
Think you must always hurry, or all will be lost? Think you don’t have time to work on change (patience, exercise, clutter–name the goal)? Here’s a few two minute or less investments, quick and dirty ways to improve life while battling the perspective that “I have no time”:
1) Check out “Do Nothing for 2 Minutes.” A mini-meditation guaranteed to calm. (Thanks, Ninotchka, of “Cease, Cows, Life is Short.”)
2) When stressed and feelings prevent your brain from doing what’s best (leading to speaking in anger, overreacting, etc.), tap the fingers on your right (or dominant) hand for 45 seconds. This activates the left hemisphere, the locale of reason in your brain, and helps you switch gears and calm down.
3) Throughout the day, take 2 minutes each hour for slow deep breathing. Definitely leads to lower stress hormones (and better sleep) by day’s end.
4) “Take in the good” for 20-30 seconds. Our brains are wired to attune to the negative. Stopping for this brief time and letting a good experience or memory sink in, beginning the process to rewire the brain more positively. (Thanks again, Rick Hanson!)
Who says you don’t have time to change your life? You can invest a minute at a time.
(For more great time quotes and graphics, check out Our Funny Planet. Thanks to them for this graphic. And we won’t even begin to consider whether time exists–or is an illusion. Just leave that to the physicists.)