Years ago, a friend joked that having a spare 15 minutes was worse than not having any extra time at all. You think you can get so much done, as if your efficient use of those minutes will magically expand like they would in the Room of Requirement in the Harry Potter books.
She was right, though. How many times have you told yourself “It will only take 15 minutes” – whether it’s to write an email, catch the train, clean a countertop, prepare food, do laundry – and there you were, half an hour later?
And how many times have you said to yourself (or loudly to other people…) “I wish I had those 15 minutes back!”
Minus the hour I’ve spent preparing food, those minutes probably add up to a decade. Once I reached 60, I started paying more attention and trying to be more deliberate.
Of course, there are times when you are going to waste time. We’re human. The trip to the hardware store to return something you left at home. Driving to the gas station, removing those little covers from your tires and then seeing the “out of order” sign. Going to the grocery store, forgetting your list, and having to go back. Those annoying things eat up 15 minutes and more.
But – deciding whether to use them to vacuum, or stare at the hummingbirds buzzing in the honeysuckle? Finish one more chapter, or strip the bed? Play with the cats, or pay bills? Go out and cut a perfect rose, or consolidate (cram) all the shopping bags into one bag? Watch the sun rise or set, or make a list for tomorrow? Easy.
How do you spend those 15 minutes, when you have them?