Scraps of Time
“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.” ― Anthony G. Oettinger
I am supposed to meet my son’s school bus at the bus stop at 3.55pm. I generally arrive right on the dot and being one of the last stops on the route, the bus arrives sometime between then and 4.10pm. Most of the time I have approximately 10 minutes to wait in the car.
I have discovered quite a lot can be achieved in just 10 minute increments.
Normally I would check emails, make calls for work or something similar, but at this small country bus stop at the bottom of a hill there is no WIFI or mobile reception, meaning that my exertions must be “unplugged”. Perhaps the perfect recipe for an exercise in "simple living".
So this year (I’m not quite sure when I started exactly) I started taking a book to read. I have quite an extensive library of non-fiction, and I am not very good at giving priority to reading. This has been an ideal way to enjoy my beloved books, not feel I am “wasting” the time and ultimately indulging in some relaxation. With the car and its radio turned off, and the surrounds always peaceful save for the wind in the trees and the birds, it really has been the ideal place for peace. I have actually looked forward to the bus stop run (and even considered heading off earlier), rather than seeing it as a disruption to my afternoon work or chores.
With the end of the school year last week, I have finished re-reading at least a half a dozen novel-length books and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I have found great value in re-reading my existing books too, rather than buying new. With non-fiction in particular, there is often more to be learned or observed after the initial ideas and concepts are planted. If you have taken time to implement any ideas or start any projects following reading a book, re-reading can often help you debrief or assess your efforts.
When you think about it, there is much that can be achieved in 10-15 minutes. If you Google it, you can find exhaustive lists about what can be achieved in this amount of time - many ideas following on from the wildly popular Crossfit exercise phenomena which will exhaust you completely in that timeframe. If you don't feel like a Crossfit workout, you can make your meal plan for the week, organise your next day’s tasks, quickly clean up a room or your desk, have a relaxing cup of tea or coffee, take a quick walk to clear your head, check the mail, review the email or fill out the annoying form you’ve been avoiding, do a few stretches, give yourself a mini facial, write down some creative ideas, listen to a few of your favourite songs, meditate, have a nap…
maybe just take your brain offline and…. breathe.
It is so easy to scroll social media, search random things on the internet or otherwise drain away time pointlessly. If you have a few windows of time, particularly if they are regular and easily scheduled (like my bus stop run) make them work for you, even if the goal is to sit and simply breathe. Pinch 10 minutes at the end of your work lunch break, set your alarm 10 minutes earlier in the morning or take 10 minutes just before bed, arrive at school 10 minutes before the bell.
You can feel rejuvenated with a surprisingly small amount of time invested.