15 minute routine
My tiny apartment has an innate tendency to appear as if a tornado ripped through the remains of an earthquake. At such times I sit down with my ice cream to calm my nerves and convince myself that it is wholly possible to clean it, leave it to another day because that ice cream was just too filling, and eventually clean it when I realize I can’t find my keys a moment after I enter my apartment.
A friend suggested I follow a 15-minute routine; make a commitment to myself to spend 15 minutes daily on things I always just plan on doing, yet never get done. 15 minutes of reading, cleaning, exercise, writing emails to friends etc. The idea is that 15 minutes isn’t a whole lot of time yet if I spend 15 minutes on something everyday the cumulative effect will be significant.
I do think it’s a great idea, especially for a person like me who can’t stop daydreaming about all the awesome things I would like to do with my life yet never actually do any of that (ok well SOMETIMES I do draw a still life of the only vase in my room). But this other part of me is resisting such a commitment. Maybe it’s the evil part that is always tempting me towards checking Facebook, leaving work early and eating out; but this is the rationale my evil self has put forward this time: 15 minutes is not enough time to wholly immerse myself in the task I am doing. If I sit down with a pencil to draw something subconsciously I think since I am doing it, I might as well get a lot of it done in this sitting and knowing I only have 15 minutes before I have to do something else, I will be rushed and ta-da, this is a guaranteed recipe for a sloppy sketch. And I can’t read only for 15 minutes, or even 30 or even 60. I read for as long as I like, until my eyelids start drooping, my fingers get tired of turning pages and I realize it’s 2 am.
The point of allocating 15 minutes is because these are things I like to do, and I feel guilty for not doing them often enough. But at the same time a checklist approach literally just sucks the fun out of them. I don’t want my hobbies to become a to-do list the like of which I have to follow at work. Isn’t that the definition of hobbies? They are done for pleasure, with a relaxed mind, a contented smile, a pleasant hum and a mug of hot chocolate. I refuse to put a timer on my fantasy world.