Time is often deemed as a commodity best served in vast quantities. But what if I told you that even slices as small as five or fifteen minutes could be transformative?
A few minutes spent meditating, walking, or indulging in activities of joy can be the difference between a life lived and a life loved. Let's learn together how to use these tiny pockets of time to cultivate our wellbeing and create a life that we love.
It's the small steps that make the biggest impact. So, are you ready to make your minutes matter?
Hey, welcome back to another episode of Whatever with Heather. Today's going to be a quick one, in actual real time. Right now I have a toothache and I am going to the dentist in a few hours, but I knew this was a subject that I wanted to talk about. It's a powerful subject for me. It's something that motivates me daily in how to spend my time and my energy, and I hope it does the same for you. We're going to talk about the value of small choices and, more specifically, the value of small investments of time. Somewhere we got this idea in life that certain actions in life require a certain amount of time in order for them to quote-unquote count. It may look something like this Meditation counts if you do it for 15 minutes a day or more. Your workout counts if it's 30 minutes or longer. Your journaling counts if it's 15 minutes or longer. Your morning routine counts if it's an hour or longer. You get the picture. You probably have some of these in your own life where you feel like certain things only count if they take up a certain amount of time. The point I want to prove to you today is that small amounts of time matter. Small amounts of time can change the trajectory of your life. Small amounts of time can make a huge difference. Today we're going to do some actual calculations on my calculator. I have it here with me to illustrate the importance of how you spend your time. There are two pieces to this. There is the time that you spend doing things that you know serve you in your life, and there's also the time you spend doing things you know do not serve you. We could also say it this way there is time you spend doing activities that bring you into the present moment, and there is time you spend doing activities that take you out of the present moment. We could look at it one more direction. There is time you spend embodying the person you want to be, and there is time you spend stuck in the beliefs and mindsets and actions of who you no longer are. This may sound cliche, but our most valuable resources are time. It's also a great equalizer, because we all have the same 24 hours. Now, mind you, I 100% get that. Someone who is working full time with multiple children and other commitments, your time is a different look than someone who is wealthy and has a lot of people helping them, and that looks different than a bachelor, who is a single guy and has a dog and is working on his career. Yes, our lives all look different. Our time is the same. The life we have is beautiful. The life we have is where we are, in the present. To illustrate this point, I'm going to share a story with you that I actually didn't plan on sharing, but it's pretty mind boggling and it changed a lot about the trajectory of my life. Okay, so I was in California with my kiddos and my husband. We were flying back from California, back to Austin, texas, where we live Now, me, trying to outsmart, the airplane system, booked my husband and two kids in a row and then, in the same row, I booked an aisle seat and a window seat, leaving the seat in the middle open, hoping that nobody would book that seat, so we would have a full row to ourselves. And if the person did end up booking that seat, I would offer them either the aisle or window, which most people prefer to a middle seat. So I had a solution for that as well. We get our kids all sat down. We're all settled in. Our kids are pretty young at this point, most likely all under the age of 10 maybe and this guy comes and stands next to me and I look up at him and he goes Heather, and I was like, yeah, I did not recognize this guy at all. But then all of a sudden I got it and he's like it's Matt, and I all of a sudden knew who this was. Matt had booked the seat between myself and my daughter, not knowing this. So of course I offer Matt the choice of the window or the aisle. He picks the window, he goes there, my daughter scoots over next to me and thus begins the flight all the way from California to Austin of myself having a conversation with Matt. Now, who is Matt? Matt is actually a guy I went to high school with. We were in the same grade. We also worked together as swim instructors at a local swimming pool, and then we were like two out of the three or four people from my high school that also went to the University of Texas and going to a college that big. It's helpful to have people that you actually know. So our first semester of college we spent a good amount of time together, not every day, but a couple days a week. Nothing ever romantic, just like having that safety of someone you know in such a big, overwhelming situation. Fast forward, I don't see Matt forever, I don't hear from him nothing, he's not active on Facebook, and so we've just been living our two separate lives. Well, matt and I began a conversation because Matt looks very different his head is mostly shaved, he's very, very thin. And we start a conversation and it turns out that he had entered the monastery to become a Buddhist monk, which is insane to me because he both he and I had grown up super religious. Mind you, at this point I have left my religion and I have a lot of thoughts and ideas swirling around in my head. And at this point I had been researching Buddhism because I liked a lot of the teachings and practices in Buddhism. And now here is a friend from high school who has stepped fully into Buddhism. We start a conversation. I tell him about my life and everything that's happened my, about my second marriage, three kids and he tells me about his life, how he went from the last time I knew him in college to where he is now a Buddhist monk, about to enter the monastery. And this flight that he is on is his last trip home before he fully enters the monastery and, you know, essentially cuts ties with his family, not completely, but to a major degree, yes. And we sit there and we talk for hours, however long the flight is two or three hours. And here I am, a mom, very overwhelmed. I am struggling to find joy in motherhood. I am struggling to find myself in motherhood. I am struggling to feel like my journey will ever be my own, ever again. I have lost my religion at this point and, although I don't feel aimless, I have a lot of questions about what my life will look and feel like. And then Matt's talking about his life where he has given up everything, has sold everything and has moved into this Buddhist monk lifestyle and sacrificed all. And I told Matt at this point I was like I'm just so tired, like my soul feels so tired. And he said in the monastery that's how a lot of people feel their souls are just tired, and so their goal is to reach enlightenment so that they're not reincarnated again. Right, they want to be done with living this human reincarnation existence. And hearing that I realized, okay, me feeling tired, my soul feeling tired. I had no other way to explain it than that my soul was just tired and him saying that there are other people that felt that way really made me feel a sense of peace that I wasn't just some weirdo who didn't get it. Matt goes on to tell me about his life and his goals in life and his reaching in life and what his plans are for life, how he's abandoned everything in order to reach his highest self, and as I sit there and he's told me about all that he's left behind so that he can step forward I mean, he doesn't have kids left his career he had been in a relationship and left that because he felt really called to this. And here I am sitting in a relationship with three kids, and I relate to what he's saying about feeling like his soul is tired and that there's other people that feel that way. And so, of course, my mind, I'm thinking so in order to reach what Matt's trying to reach, I would need to leave it all. I wouldn't have to leave it all, and that's not something I can do or am willing to do. So he and I continue to talk and as we talked, I all of a sudden had this like epiphany, huge moment in my life. I'm sorry it makes me so emotional, because what are the odds of the exact person being exactly where I needed them to be. Well, actually, the more I live life, I'm like that seems right on par the exact person I needed. This wasn't the exact spot I needed them to be so that I could gain a greater understanding of my life. So I told Matt I want the same piece that you want. My soul is tired as well, but I can't leave my family. I've built all of this life that I can't and won't walk away from, and so I told him maybe my great purpose in life is to be in the current life I'm in and find peace in that. Can I reach the equivalent of him stepping out of his life and reaching enlightenment and divine love, and can I do that in the life I've built for myself? I knew in that moment that there was nothing I needed to escape. There was nowhere else I needed to be. There was no other existence I needed to be in than the current one. I was in the current one I am in and then find a way to transcend even while a mom and a wife and living in suburbia versus Matt choosing a path in which he steps out of his life and really gets to focus on himself and serving others. And he agreed with me. And I don't know if Matt had ever thought of it that way and I had definitely never thought of it that way and it was beautiful in that moment because he could walk his path and do really beautiful things with his life serving others and transcending and finding peace and creating peace and he could step away from it all the money, the hustle, the problems that come with being in everyday life and then, at the same time, I could be in my life with children, a spouse, regular problems, like a regular person, and still find a way to find peace, to transcend being stuck in the mud, so to speak, and that we both could live a beautiful existence in this lifetime. Okay, so then? What does this have to do with math or the minutes of how we spend our lives? This has everything to do with this. Everything, because I could look at someone like Matt and envy his endless time to cultivate inner peace, and then look at my amount of time that I have to cultivate inner peace and say it only counts if I can spend the time like he spends. Or when it comes to working out, I could look at the fittest person I know and say it only counts if I do what they do. Or I could look at the most Zen yogi person and say my meditation only counts if it looks like theirs. Or I could look at these people with three hour long morning routines and choose not to do one because it, in my brain, only counts if it takes an hour or more. Or I could say it counts if I do it. My question to you is and this was my question to myself that I continue to ask myself because I do find myself getting stuck in inaction, not acting out of some fake force field around that I don't have enough time to do it to where it counts. These are fake barriers. They do not exist. They are stopping us from action to move forward in our lives because we feel like we could and should and need to do it better or for a longer period of time, and that is false. Where this belief came from, I don't know. Why do we carry it so true? I don't know. But somewhere we began to believe that certain things count and certain things don't. But today it all counts. And let's see how much it counts If we were to meditate. Here's where the math comes in Five minutes a day. And by meditate I mean maybe you just breathe for five minutes, just close your eyes and breathe, maybe you lay outside and stare up the sky. Meditation also doesn't have as strict of a definition as we like to give it. I like to use the word stillness. Find stillness for five minutes. If we did five minutes times 365 days in a year, and then we take that, so we're at, it's 1,825 minutes. We'll divide that by 60 minutes to see how many hours 30 hours and if we divide that by days, which is 24 hours, if you meditate five minutes a day, by the end of a year you'll have meditated for one and a quarter days. You'll have spent one and a quarter days meditating. Would your life be different at the end of a year if you had spent one and a quarter days meditating. Not only would it be different at the end of the year, every day would be different. There would possibly even be exponential improvement in your sense of wellbeing and inner peace. If we bump that up to 15 minutes a day 60 minutes At the end of a year we'll have spent 3.8 days meditating. Would your life be different? Yes, it would, but then we run the risk of well, what if I'm not perfect. Let's say you only do it some of the days 15 minutes a day and maybe you only do it 200 days. That year you missed 165 days 15 minutes a day of meditating for only 200 days of the year. Just over half is still two days of meditating at the end of the year. We can apply those same numbers to going on a walk, reading a book, journaling, spending intentional time with our children. We can also apply those numbers to scrolling our phone, having negative self-talk, mooring about problems we have no control over, being around people we don't like, and they probably don't even like us. The list of the things that serve you and develop you and grow you and where you're embodying who you want to be is a long list, and the list of the things that bring you down and keep you stuck and take you out of the present and rob you of your time and therefore your life is also a very long list. The cool thing is that we get to choose where we spend these little five minutes of time, where we spend these little pockets of time that appear for us or that we create. I try to imagine what life would have been like as a mom before smartphones. I imagine it had its own problems, because there are benefits to being so connected. But straight up confession, my smartphone has robbed me of more of my life than probably any other thing Time that I will not get back, time that I spent scrolling that didn't lead me anywhere. Let's look at it this way 30 minutes a day of cell phone scrolling over a year is 7.6 days. So an entire week of your life scrolling just 30 minutes a day. That also transfers to 30 minutes a day of spending time with my kids. 30 minutes a day of doing something I love, like drawing or music or art or taking a nap, whatever it is. The scale tips very quickly. We like to think it takes a lot to make a lot of change, but the scale of life is literally like five minutes, five minutes, five minutes, five minutes, five At the end of the year. That's a huge difference in the direction of who you want to be or where you're stuck, and our only goal is to make more decisions that are on the side of who we want to be and less of these over here that distract us, that rob us of our life. We want to spend more time doing things that are aligned and less time doing things that we actually don't care about. So I share this story and all this math because it is so simple, and because it's so simple it can seem very difficult. You may only be five minutes a day away from a completely different life, and not even a completely different life a year from now, definitely then but a completely different life today and tomorrow and the next day. And today is the only day you're in. You're not in a year from now we hope we'll be here a year from now but today is the only day we're in, and so we do things today that create presence, today, that create joy and peace today. We don't wait to be a Buddhist monk to become that, and this is not shaming mad at all. Him becoming a Buddhist monk was the exact thing I needed to see. So I'm sure he did it for him and not for me, but his choice has served my life in such a deep, profound way, in such a beautiful way, and I admire him so much. And if you're in your current life, you do not need to become a Buddhist monk to cultivate what you are after, to cultivate what you want and you know you need. You are five minutes a day away from a different life. You are one minute away from a different life. You are 30 seconds away from a different life. It is so simple that we overlook it. It is so simple we let years go by before we start to put into action even spending five minutes. You deserve to build a life you love and to not feel like it's so far away. It is closer than you think. Thank you for listening or for watching. Thank you for going on the ups and downs with me today. It's been a journey and it will be a journey Bye all.