I recently designed a concept for my workout program. For five intensely-focused minutes, I lead my students through a fluid series of simple, effective moves. We emerge drenched with sweat, yes. But pumped with enough adrenaline, strength, and positive energy to blast us through the remaining 55-minute workout. Good stuff.
Last week, while the group and I struggled through squat jumps in minute four, I got to thinking. What are some benefits of five focused, intense minutes in other parts of life? Would five minutes be enough to change anything? Just like the "test lab” that I use to develop workout moves or recipes, I applied this concept to several key areas of my life. The verdict? Five minutes works wonders. And here are five ways to make it happen. Get that egg timer ready and let’s get it done.
Express gratitude. Focus on what you’re grateful for. Jot down a few items in a journal, write a thank-you card, or simply sit quietly and reflect on life. Carving out five minutes in my morning routine for gratitude has dramatically improved my daily outlook.
Make a plan. Write down a to-do list for today. Then a list for the week. It’ll bring focus to your upcoming activities and help you feel organized and in control. Penning my lists in the evening, so that I don’t have tomorrow’s tasks rolling around in my head like marbles all night, results in more peaceful sleep.
Mark your progress. I call myself a “goal digger.” I set and tackle these like a fiend, constantly reviewing my goals to fuel positive energy and spark new ideas. How can you not get pumped thinking about delicious progress? Do a quick review of your goals, large or small, give yourself a pat on the back, and while you’re at it… why not set a new one?
Clean hard. So, five minutes doesn’t give you time to do a deep-cleaning of your living space. But, you can straighten up like nobody’s business. Consider a five-minute clean just before leaving your house in the morning. I’ll rinse out the coffee cup, sponge down counter tops, and clear off my vanity. Knowing I won’t be walking into complete disarray when I return home allows me to breathe easier.
Stretch it out. Long day? Take time to chillax. Put on your favorite mellow tune and start stretching. Close your eyes, slowly roll your head and shoulders, twist your torso, and do light runners’ lunges. Don’t bounce or strain past the point of mild discomfort. We can all benefit from loosening up, especially since many spend our days hunched behind a glaring computer screen. Ahhh, much better.
How else can you make the most of five minutes? Go ahead… take five.