A recent challenge I’ve taken on is to take 5 minutes to accomplish simple tasks. Doing this improves my mood, health, relationships (including marriage), and organization. The challenge is to follow through and complete the simple tasks that present themselves during your day.
- Washing my dish after each meal (inspired by Joshua)
- Making the bed
- Putting away clothes after changing
- Going for a walk
- Pushups, Pullups, or Situps (see the Thousand Cuts method)
- Meditate or pray
- Show someone I care and send an email or a quick phone call
- Dance with my wife
- Play with my dog
- Pick up around the house
- Park at the far end of the lot and walk in to the store
You may think “doing this makes my life more difficult, not easier!”
At the time, yes, it is easier to leave my dish in the sink. But I will have to wash it later (along with all the others I left), or load/unload the dishwasher, not to mention pay for the additional water and power to run it!
I’ve grown up thinking a workout has to last an hour, when I can do 10 pushups at a time throughout the day. I don’t consider a quick walk to be helpful, until I feel the sun. I don’t think a quick email or phone call will brighten someone’s day, but it always does. I make up excuses for myself, that I don’t have time to take 5.
I could drop my clothes on the chair, but eventually they need to be picked up, all of them. It’s the accumulation of mess, which is intimidating to me, and so I delay. The absence of clutter is freeing, because you can focus more on the activities I want to do, and passions I want to follow.
When I’m intentional about simple tasks, I’m accepting responsibility for the messes I create. When I can do that for small matters, and follow through to completion, I am ready to accept responsibility for larger matters.
In reality, when I am making excuses and not doing these simple tasks, I’m being undisciplined and passive. It is so easy for me to slip in to this mindset of “It’s not a big deal“. I nearly always have 5 minutes to spare during the day, if I’m intentional about when to use it. There are days that are busier than others, but I believe we can carve out the time. Saying I am too busy is usually a passive lie I tell myself.
What are the simple tasks you want to accomplish during the day? Do you think this is realistic? I will enjoy hearing back from you!