Successful people seems to have this whole time management thing down pat. Seriously, you don’t hear people like Oprah or Richard Branson twiddling their thumbs between meetings and making paper aeroplanes do you?
Well, I reckon, in my highly unqualified yet enthusiastic opinion that these people know how to utilise time in their day for better purposes. You know when you do your things during the day, brush your teeth, drop the kids at school, have a shower and then the little bits of time between doing those daily tasks is a thing I call ‘dead time’.
Dead time is often only a few minutes but it is time that can easily be absorbed by doing nothing, or you know twiddling thumbs and making paper aeroplanes. It took me a while to realise (because I am el-averageo at maths) that just five minutes a day of dead time adds up to 35 minutes a week or nearly two and half hours a month. If you really want to get drastic it is 30 hours a year! So there is 30 hours of your year that is just dead time.
It is unlikely you are relaxing because any good chilling takes more than five minutes to achieve. You’re not likely to be doing anything particularly effective, nor are you likely to be motivated. So, that my friends is where dead time comes in.
You can choose to utilise your dead time in a magnitude of ways. I have recently found that doing a little bit of mental health rehab during my dead time has assisted me greatly.
LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE
I have discovered a love of TED Talks. The talks are brilliant and I literally dare you to not be interested in at least one of the talks. TED talks are based on the philosophy of ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’. These talks range from motivational to emotional, moving to inspirational. The cover form and function, emotion and technology. They are a brilliant way to learn a lot about something in a very short amount of time.
If you like listening then I am sure you could find a podcast that is to your liking. Podcasts are literally everywhere and are the easiest way to find out about anything you have ever wondered about. The topics and content associated with podcasts are varied and often unexpected but informative and entertaining. You can listen to commercial radio or investigations into crime. You can learn about cosmic energy or learn about each song the Spice Girls ever made. They are great to listen to while driving or even vacuuming. Keep you brain active and you will be rewarded – well at least your trivia game will be next level strong.
If you take a couple of minutes of dead time and prepare a couple of lists of things that need to be done you will shortly realise how much of a big difference that can make to you. Just a simple list of house chores or a grocery list can help assist your mind to be clear. I find the simplest list of all is preparing a meal plan breakdown for our family. If I do this I save myself from the ridiculous anxiety of having to think what to feed the family every night, it doesn’t seem like much but it really makes a difference.
MEDITATE LIKE A BOSS
Meditation is the simplest way to achieve clarity and possible the best way to utilise five minutes of dead time. There are a bunch of apps that can help get you in your happy place and recharge you quicker than you can say ‘I need 8 hours sleep’. Check out the ‘buddhify’ ‘Calm’ or ‘Headspace’ Apps to get you started.
TAKE ME TO BED
Make your bed. This job literally takes three minutes at the ABSOLUTE maximum and makes you feel good all bloody day.
CLUTTER IN THE GUTTER
Choose a place in your house and chuck the crap. I find the handbag is the el-grando cluttering spot in my house – that or the dining table so I often spend no more than two minutes literally chucking out the receipts and bits of paper that clutter your house and build up without you really knowing. You generally don’t need more than a couple of minutes to really make a big difference.
CUP OF LIFE
Make a cup of tea and just sit. Don’t let it get cold on the bench. Don’t talk a phone call. Just make a full cup of tea and drink it in one sitting. Often as a parent you don’t prioritise the power of a cuppa but those Brits are on to something I am sure of it. In my house we have recently implemented the following motto “first we drink the tea then we do the things”.
Did you ever think you could learn a language in just a few minutes everyday? Download an app and then just learn a word or two a day. You might not be speaking fluent Japanese within a week but you will eventually get there. Eventually you can improve your skill by reading a newspaper online in the language that you are learning. Just a few minutes can make your tongue more talented.
Get a journal and write in it. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Well, all the cool kids are doing it because once you write something it sticks with you. Did you know schools like Harvard actually refuse to let their students take notes on computers – rather telling them to bring a notepad and pen. Write down your feelings, write down your day, heck just write what you are grateful for. A good mind makes for good health.
The moment you recognise how much difference can be made by just doing little things in your dead time the more successful you will be. Being mindful is not something you will learn overnight but I promise once you realise how much more valuable your time can be you will realise its importance and just how quickly it can add up.