If you are like most people with ADHD and time awareness challenges, you probably feel like you never have enough time.
You use planners, organizers, lists, and diaries to keep track of and map out your “to-dos” so you can remember what to do and get stuff done. More than likely you’ve learned how to block out the main events. The meeting or appointment here, deadline there…so your calendar is filled with blocks of color and your day is full leaving that sense of not having enough time for anything else.
But what about the time in between those big events? The forgotten minutes before and after the scheduled stuff? Just because you don’t count those minutes or haven’t noticed them, it doesn’t mean they don’t matter or exist.
Let me tell you a secret…there is actual usable time between doing what you are doing and the next thing on your “to do” list.
To most, these micro-minutes don’t count and can be forgotten, taken for granted and wasted. However, that “in between” time actually can count and using it to accomplish short small tasks might make all the difference between completing your to do list and feeling unproductive.
What you do or how you spend those micro-moments determines as much to the outcome of your day as what you do or plan to do during your ‘scheduled’ hours. This is because the small tasks we complete can add up and make a huge difference. Spent purposefully they can create a much bigger impact than we can imagine.
For instance, last January I set out to improve my health. My goal was to start exercising 10 minutes a day, walking around my neighborhood. Definitely a micro bit of time compared to most people’s one hour or two hour workout routines. Hey…better something than nothing, right? At the time it seemed insignificant. Still, I tracked those micro bits of time and recently discovered that I’ve exercised over 100 hours, walked nearly 250 miles, burned approximately 25,000 calories and lost over 40 lbs!
Those little micro bits of time added up!
Wondering if these micro-moments really matter? Recently I was reading the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. Clear emphasizes reaching our goals by focusing on making small improvements with small habit changes. He calls this the 1% improvement per day habit. And even though the change can seem negligible at first, these small efforts have the potential to produce big results.
For instance, what if you spent 10 micro-minutes each day practicing mindfulness? At the end of the year you’d have experienced about 182 more hours of calm. A huge accomplishment for all of us with busy ADHD brains.
Or what about spending 10 minutes learning something new? Read an article on ADHD, read a chapter, or listen to an audiobook. (The audiobook I am currently listening to is “Why We Sleep” by Mathew Walker. I highly recommend it!) Apparently, spending micro-minutes every day learning new things is something successful people do on a regular basis. I can hope, right?!
Or, maybe take those 10 micro-minutes at the beginning or end of each day to think of three things that brought you joy, filled your soul, felt like a magical moment or made you happy that day. Some of my favorites include seeing the wagging tails of happy dogs on my walks. Brilliant western sunsets in the evening. Crawling between freshly washed sheets at the end of the day. The sound of the water fountain outside my front door. Using these micro-bits of time in this way you will find more enjoyment and magic in your day and can start to re-create those moments to lift your spirits. And you will have found 1,095 things that fill your soul each year!
And, just in case you are wondering…I am not suggesting that we account for being productive every single moment of every single day. Absolutely not! I’m a huge fan of using my micro-minutes for leisure time. In fact, being purposeful about my micro-minutes helps remind me of why leisure time — time to truly do whatever I want—is so important, and so often unattainable, when I am misusing time the rest of my day.
So, feel free to spend your micro-minutes doing absolutely nothing. It is imperative for your mental and emotional health that you do so. Below I’ve listed some to get you started on micro leisure minutes:
• Take a break. Sometimes the best learning happens when we aren’t learning at all.
• Breathe deeply. The health benefits of a good deep breath include getting vital oxygen and blood circulating throughout our body.
• Wash your hands with a fresh smelling soap and add a soothing hand lotion.
• Get bored. Turns out being bored actually boosts your creative juices. Let your mind wander and see where it takes you. (Timer encouraged on this one.)
• Mass delete emails from your inbox and see if you don’t feel empowered!
• Think about someone you love. It seems that thinking of someone we love has the same emotional and mental benefits as actually being with him or her.
• Eat your favorite food, slowly.
• Call and catch up with an old friend.
When you start noticing those micro ADHD moments and begin being purposeful about how you want to spend them, you may start realizing that you have more time than you think you do to accomplish those tasks that are important to you. These small but consistent amounts of micro-minute ADHD time add up. Spent purposefully they can help you make progress, accomplish something big and add to the quality of your life.
How do you want to spend your micro minutes today???? Let me know by entering your comments below!