How Do You Do It? – The Big Secret

Dominic Toretto in The Fast and the Furious:

I live my life a quarter mile at a time.

I’m about to reveal my big secret for how I get so much done in the time that I have. I took some advice from Dominic Toretto. No, I don’t secretly street race cars. I do however live my life in blocks or chunks of time.

Think about your day. There’s 24 hours in it, no more, no less. What do you get done in those 24 hours? Maybe you take care of small children. Maybe you work fulltime or parttime. Maybe you are retired. Maybe you go to school. Whatever you do, you do it in those 24 hours. You have to find time to eat, find time to sleep, find time to clean, find time to workout.

I get a lot done in a 24 hour time frame. I get the boys to school. I run. I work at the library. I keep my house decently clean. I cook. I find time for myself. And I do it all in 30 minute chunks of time. Yep…that’s how I do it. I see my day as 30 minute chunks. Because you can do anything for 30 minutes, right?

When my house gets out of hand, I set a timer for 30 minutes. I clear the clutter, putting things back where they go. I start a load of laundry. I empty the dishwasher. I vacuum the living room. I go through the mail on my desk. And before I know it the timer is beeping at me. Maybe I’m done or maybe I need another 30 minutes. Either way, I made a dent in the mess that used to be my house.

People ask me if I liked running in the beginning. Most people might be surprised to learn the answer is no. It sucked. My pace was slow. I had to take frequent walk breaks. I used Couch to 5K which conveniently lasts 30 minutes (give or take a bit) per workout. You can run/walk for 30 minutes…you can do it! It might be tough. Your lungs and legs will burn. But it’s only 30 minutes…as long as a sitcom, as long as a waiting room wait at the doctor’s office, as long as it takes for you to check your social media.

You don’t have to use my 30 minute secret just to do housework or workout. You can use it to treat yourself too. 30 minutes is usually a decent break to clear my head. I give myself 30 minutes to cruise the internet, sit down with a book, or watch one of my favorite TV shows. Then I can tackle my next 30 minutes of whatever else I need to accomplish that day.

Once you master doing things in 30 minute chunks, you can take it another step and do things in one hour chunks or more. This is how I mentally prep myself for my longer runs. I know a 6 mile run will take me a little more than an hour, so I get through the first 30 minutes and then the next. My first 8 mile run took me three 30 minute chunks. Breaking it up makes it more manageable.

It seems simple but it works. You can be tough mentally and/or physically for 30 minutes. Self motivation. Self control. Mind over matter. It’s just about getting it done…30 minutes at a time.

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