15-Minute Wealth

ClockWhat would you do with 15 spare minutes? Would you go on Facebook and see what your friends are up to? Check email and read through all the ads? Fold a load of laundry?  Vacuum? Weed the garden?

The possibilities of how to spend 15 minutes are endless. And that’s the problem we face every day. We have 96 opportunities every day to choose how to spend 15 minutes. But we often find more than 96 options in front of us. So we say we don’t have enough time.

Recently I’ve found what I mean when I say I don’t have enough time is that I haven’t taken time today for what I most wanted to do. I’ve made choices for those 96 slots that don’t reflect what’s important to me. Instead I’ve done what was urgent or what others wanted or needed me to do. Or what I thought others would want me to do.

I didn’t do what I most desired to do.

How do I know this is the case? I know because on the days where I take even 15 minutes to do one thing that matters, I feel okay about the other 95 times I haven’t. But when I neglect the one thing, I feel robbed. It leaves my spirit impoverished.

It’s easy to say I’m too busy. And it may seem so. When I account for the non-negotiables, my 96 open slots begin to fill quickly. Sleep should take at least 24 slots at a minimum. Which leaves me with 72. I need to eat three times a day and take care of basic hygiene. That can account for a minimum of 8 to 10 more, so I’m down to 62. Then there are the basics of caring for my family – knock off at least 12 more. Only 50 left.

But wait, it seems like I have so little time and yet I have 50 chances to take 15 minutes for what matters. Why then is it so hard? It’s because I’ve made choices and commitments 50 times (or fewer, if I offer up larger chunks of time).

Time is the global equalizer. We all have the same amount each day – no more, no less. But some are richer in time than others because of how they choose to spend it.

Today I am rich because I’m choosing to spent time in valuable ways – 15 minutes at a time. Today I’ve cuddled a child, worked on a puzzle, written this blog post. And I plan to spend 15 minutes writing a note to encourage a friend. The rest of my 96 slots will likely disappear to the regular duties of the day – laundry, errands, email. But since I’ve allocated and spent some of them on these important things, the other times won’t be wasted.

How about you? What valuable pursuits get pushed aside for the disposable duties and demands of your life? What can you avoid or leave undone to free up 15 minutes? And what will you do with that precious 15-minute slot?


Photo credit: "Clock" by kojotomoto on Flickr made available under CC license


#1 Christa Hines 2012-06-26 18:45
Great post, Lara! I'm always amazed at how energized I feel when I've spent some time (even if it's only for a few minutes) doing something I really wanted to do rather than what I had to do!

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 June 2012 12:15