ANDREW MERLE SUGGESTS, IN AN ARTICLE FOR MEDIUM.COM, THAT WAITING FOR LARGE BLOCKS OF OPEN TIME TO INITIATE AND COMPLETE TASKS likely leads to decreased productivity, or worse. He feels that many of us tend to squander seconds and minutes, adding up to potentially hours of missed opportunity.
To make the most of these spare moments of 5 m, he says in “How to Maximize Small Pockets of Time”, we must first recognize signposts that mark the beginning of these valuable but often wasted time-pockets. Merle calls them “triggers”. The second key step in utilizing these times he indicates, is to “determine what can be done in these little chunks of time”.
Merle provided several examples of how he has managed to reclaim some minutes in his own life. Rather than patiently wait 2 minutes for the shower water to warm each morning, he decided to drop and perform pushups just after turning on the water (his trigger). And instead of letting time pass by while the coffee brews he suggests calling a loved one to make personal contact as soon as the coffeemaker is switched on (the trigger). A third example involves meditation. Time pockets of five or less minutes can be maximized in this fashion, he says.
The trick, as Merle says, is to identify specific triggers that will remind us to initiate and complete the desired action.
Earned Runs loves this concept. We all might be attempting to do this intuitively, but only on some days, and in a hit-or-miss manner. However, if we commit to finding pockets of times that are currently squandered each day and determine which ones we can regularly use in a productive way, might we also reclaim that time to use for other purposes? Maybe for relaxation or recreation!
Let’s say we squeeze 5-minute time pockets of upper body strength work into each of 5 days, totaling 25 minutes per week. That effort normally would consume traveling to and from a fitness facility plus 15-30 minutes of a larger workout, at least 2 or 3 days a week. By getting it done in time pockets, a chunk of at least 30-60 minutes each week could be saved and enjoyed in some other way. [Travel time isn’t counted because we may plan to go to the gym regularly anyway.]
Below are athletic and health-related activities that might be performed in 5-minutes or less that borrow from Merle’s inspiration:
Andrew Merle provides motivation to make the most out of small spare moments each day. What he encourages lines up with practices advocated by the current lifestyle organization trend. The foundations of the various organizing systems seem to center on the identification of clothing or household items which are necessary to daily living, then maximizing small storage spaces such that each can be folded or arranged in its own special place. The secret sauce of life organizing starts with uncluttering. Rarely used items are packed up and donated or discarded.
In our fitness lives it’s possible that one or two goals that we feel are important to meet for health can be identified, and activities designed to help achieve them fit into small time slots. In this way each will have a place secured in a routine such that repeated performance is possible and progress can be realized. Like Merles pre-shower daily push-ups. He started with the ability to consecutively perform a maximum of 20, and ultimately mastered a whopping 75!
These brief activities can involve fitness, meditation, and personal relationship building as described in the article. It’s up to the individual to choose what’s vital. Some might choose sleep, nutrition, or cognitive training.
However, it also may be vital to leave some ‘un-maximized’ minutes open, aware of when they occur, and fully savor each unfettered hour fraction. Back in the day, I remember that kindergarten ‘free time’ was the best! Life might be good when it’s organized, but it’s wonderful when enjoyed.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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