Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fifteen Minutes

I'm guessing that a least a few readers are thinking I'm talking about Andy Warhol's famous line about fame with this post. Thankfully, that has nothing to do with the topic at hand. I can't think of anything I'd like much less than being famous.

For quite some time, I've been trying to add a few things back into my life that had fallen by the way side and having no success at it. I've also been struggling for various reasons to keep some good habits (like exercise) in my life due to physical problems, and having difficulties with that as well. Part of the larger issue is that my time is incredibly fragmented. I teach students face-to-face about 12 hours a week these days and do 2-6 hours of freelance work on top of that most weeks. This is all for the good because I feel very lucky to have the work that I do. It is the difference between quite modest additions to our saving and rather generous ones. However, it's not like my schedule is compact.

Adding to that part-time work is the mix of being a housewife. People who think being a housewife is just another word for hanging around the apartment and doing a little housework or cooking aren't doing it right. In order to make our current life situation as successful as possible, a lot of time has to be spent cooking, shopping, and cleaning rather than doing what is convenient and expensive. Until you cook three meals a day (and prepare lunches, make homemade bread and baked goods), clean up after them (without a dishwasher), and shop for them, you have no idea how much effort and time it takes. I don't mind doing what I have to do, but it does introduce more fragmentation of time into my day.

At some point, I decided that a little was better than none. The only way I was going to be able to add certain habits back into my day on a regular basis was to do them for small amounts of time. Starting last week, I went on a "15 minute" plan. My hope is to do a quarter hour of Japanese study, exercise (twice a day for 15 minutes, hopefully), something creative, and, eventually, meditation. So far, I've got the Japanese study back in there and the exercise. I do spend the time on creative things if you count blogging, particularly on the snack blog. However, I'd like to do skill expanding things rather than just blogging so I'm hoping to develop that habit as well.

I know that fifteen minutes isn't much time to devote to something, but sometimes tiny steps will get you there (or at least stop you from falling back). I realized that the way in which my schedule works right now requires me to achieve some goals in pretty small bites rather than big ones because it's too daunting or difficult to manage otherwise. I have often encouraged my students to do something related to English study for just 15 minutes every day rather than cram a few hours in once a week because betting exposure often is more important than for a long time. I decided that, if that advice is good for them, it's also good for me.


Girl Japan said...

I am not exactly a domestic goddess myself! I bake in stints and always cleaning-- I get up in the am, do my rounds and then start my day... if I'm not working I do the same but throughout the day, I should really apply this rule to my Japanese studies as well.. I have to find a top that interest me which is hard ... didn't marry a J-guy cause I loved Japanese culture.. so the REAL want to learn the language is.... blah...

I started 15min of walking 6 years ago and now up to 5miles so baby steps a better than no steps at all. I have yet to figure out what my dissertation will be on = (

Kelly said...

Yes, you're right, i am often apalled at some of my girlfriends who complain about housework, they are not cooking every night of the week and making boxed lunches for the next day, and preparation for other meals during the week, as well as cleaning up every day.

I also bake a lot of cakes or biscuits as well as dinners and lunches, so i'm mostly found in the kitchen. I find the home-made taste is much better and more wholesome than the store bought option and also much better for the wallet.

15 minutes per day is good, it's better than sitting around twiddling your thumbs and thinking about it.

I've been trying to do 30 minutes of exercise every day and it's amazing how much better i feel. I've also been trying to drink more water and i feel alot better for it.

If you need any music to meditate to i can burn some cd's and send them :)