Tuesday, 18 October 2011

just 5 minutes

For all of you who are self-disciplined and have no problems getting to the mundane chores of the day, this won't be helpful. I applaud you, and wish I was more like you.

But if you have ever had trouble doing household tasks because there are always just so many more appealing things to do, I'll pass on a little trick I sometimes use.

I trick my mind into doing many tasks by saying, "Just 5 minutes. Just 5 minutes."

And it works! Because 5 minutes doesn't sound so bad for a lot of things.

Yesterday this was my list of "just 5 minutes" projects:

1. cleaning toilets

2. dumping out a huge Rubbermaid container of cards, letters, momentos, bills, clipped out magazine articles, travel brochures (some from 20 years ago), ticket stubs, etc... and actually SORTING THE WHOLE THING! This was a task I was putting off for about 20 years, so it was high time. I dumped out the entire container onto the bed, then sorted for "5 minutes" (3 hours). Fun times in memory lane.

[some of the treasures that I found are pictured here: a water bottle wrapper from Pondicherry, India (1995), ticket stub from the first "big show" I went to (The Lion King, 2001), bookmark from India (1995), a Chiclets package from Morocco (1992), a ticket stub from a Toronto Maple Leafs game (1994), a letter sent to me in the hospital in Indonesia (1995), airline tickets to Calcutta (1995), ticket stub from an amazing concert in Havana, Cuba (2002), a business card from a remote restaurant in the mountains near Fez, Morocco (1992), a ticket stub from the Great Hall of the People, China (1998)]

3. dusting

4. the dishes

5. vacuuming

6. playing Playmobil (isn't this bad? That I can't get down on the floor with my kid without thinking "ok - just 5 minutes"? The 5 minutes turned into 25 before I even knew it. Lesson learned. Just let go of that feeling like I have to get things done and play. Because this too shall pass too soon.)

So there you go. Your inspirational household task tip of the day.


  1. Dumping that container on the bed was a scary move, because you couldn't go to bed until you dealt with the stuff. You're a brave woman!

    Did you find anything that dated back to YDT?

  2. Of course! You didn't think I would throw those treasures out, did you? I've just posted a photo that includes some of the things I found.

    I do the same trick with the laundry - dump it on the bed so that I have to fold it and put it away before I sleep. Sometimes that trick works, and sometimes I just come to bed, notice it hasn't been done, put it back in the laundry basket unfolded, and sleep. My tricks have limited success.

  3. that's a great way to tackle things. I too tend to leave thing until I "have time" which of course NEVER happens! I even hold off on responding to people's e-mails, because i want to wait until I have time to really focus and write them a real letter... then three weeks later I realize it's still sitting there and I feel terrible. I've tried the "just 15 minutes" thing but sometimes even that feels like too long -- I will give the "five minutes" a try!

    And by the way, I am reading all your posts... sorry I comment so seldom. I'm always interested in what you're saying.

  4. Thanks Heather - no need to comment all the time! We can talk too! I'm the same way about time. I always tell myself I'll get to this when that is done, but that is never finished. I think I have a chronic problem with "finished". I'm good at starting things - finishing, not so much. Possibly a blog topic there... :)

  5. Rebecca if your girls ever want an eager play mobile player, give me a call. These days I look for excuses to play with play mobile and kind children :)

  6. Jess: I will definitely take you up on that! HOpefully my kids will fit the "kind" category...