How 15 minutes a day can change your life

Are you swamped with the small stuff? Not enough time or space? With a new year upon us, I'm keen to make every minute count. Here's how to turn a mere 15 of them into a quarter of an hour of power!

The beach holiday is over, and my heels are dragging - unfortunately no longer in the sand. Yes, it's back to work, but my productivity level seems flatter than my well-worn flip-flops. Right about now I need a tactic to kick me into the goal square and keep my game strong all year long. Therefore, I’ve enlisted the help of a new book, I Don’t Have the Time: 15-Minute Ways to Shape a Life You Love.

Why? Because it speaks to me about doing a lot in little time – and making it work for what I need to achieve in life – rather the race the other rats are running.

Co-author Emma Grey knows that most of us don’t have great swathes of time available to overhaul every aspect of our lives, but “little changes add up to significant changes over time,” she assures.  This is why the Canberra-based Life Balance specialist and Audrey Thomas - an accredited coach and facilitator who resides in Adelaide - joined forces to help others harness 1/100th of each day to ensure positive changes every day.

“There is a way out of the chaos of modern living,” Emma says.

Here are her tips for harnessing the power of a quarter of an hour. 

Find 15 minutes to:

  1. Plan:  

    Set out a shopping list and a realistic list of recipes for the week that ensures you are not caught on the hop and reaching for a sugar-heaped meal for yourself and the family. Fifteen minutes of planning could be the only thing standing between you and a healthier 2017. 

  2. Be Still: 

    Meditation and stilling the mind only takes a few minutes each morning – when the house is quiet, and no one is awake yet. Take that time for yourself to get ahead of the pack to ensure you remain that way all day.

  3. Unsubscribe: 

    Go through your emails and unsubscribe to all that SPAM advertisements. These are nothing but time wasters and dead weights in your day. Once done, you won't be bothered with time-sucking emails anymore!

  4. Be Anti-Social: 

    Are you logging off your facebook feed feeling more, or less? If it’s the latter, close your account and open up another 15 minutes a day to read or simply sit outside without the worldwide web of white noise to bother you.

  5. Write: 

    In 15 minutes you can write a card, letter or email of gratitude that surprises a friend or family member and opens the connection between you and deepens it,” she says.

  6. Talk To Strangers:  

    You don’t have to reach out to only friends during this time. Bring in an elderly neighbors bins while bringing on your own or simply pay for a stranger's coffee or newspaper for the day. It takes no extra time – and far less than 15 minutes – but brings immense personal reward.

  7. Dream:

    Spend 15 minutes writing a ‘wish list’ of adventures with the kids for that month. Get them involved and look outside the square. It could be as simple as visiting a lost dogs home, reading to the elderly – which my kids love to do regularly – or visiting the library one day a week after school.

  8. Reach Out: 

    Use 15 minutes to speak to anyone who has lost someone who matters - which can be such a delicate task we often put it off. “You’ll learn that even 60 seconds of time with someone you love can be priceless, yet it’s this stuff that we take for granted,” Emma says.

  9. Say No: 

    Choose a moment of discomfort over hours of resentment next time you're asked to do something you don't have the time for. By saying ‘No’ to taking on extra tasks and weathering the unease you may feel – you are far better off than if you say ‘Yes’ to additional stress in your life to please others.

  10. Meet:

    Take 15 minutes of your day to email, call or catch up for a coffee with that mentor. Get that professional pep back in your step by speaking with someone you admire and whose career path inspires you!

  11. Research: 

    Get online and research those courses you keep putting off. Get the information you need and make the first inquiry about any class you have wanted to take but have never seemed to have the time for.

  12. Go With Your Gut:  

    You save a lot of time when you don't second guess every decision you make at work. Go with your gut. Give yourself a 15-minute deadline to make the decision and just do it. Procrastination and the search for perfection can lead to an incredibly overwhelming feeling which can handicap progress.

  13. Build With One Brick:  

    My 15 Minutes program," says Emma. "It’s about making powerful change in small steps, beginning where you are, and starting with what you have." Don't look at a task in its complete form, but in the small steps, you can take to get there. Take 15 minutes of momentum a day to get you to where you want to go.

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