What is one small step you could take to shape your life  so you have time for what matters most? Sometimes we stop ourselves because all we have is small bits of time for some change we want to make or some project we want to take on.

Other times, it’s a fear of failing, or worries that we’ll never get done.

What might happen if instead of letting ourselves get stuck, we created small experiments, little, low-risk steps we can take to will help us learn, while staying within our resources of time, or money, and energy?

We all know that exercise is good for us, but how do we find time for it?

One of my busiest clients, a nonprofit project director, tended to be all or nothing with getting exercise. If she was too busy for a 1-hour workout, she ‘d skip it. After a while she was feeling out of shape and discouraged.

She experimented with allowing herself to do shorter workouts, reasoning that 30 minutes in the gym is better than none. The result? She’s getting a lot more exercise, and feeling a lot better.

Finding time for creative endeavors.

During a recent Writing Through the Year workshop, we talked about the small experiments that could help us shape the direction of the months ahead. Here’s a couple of comments from participants:

“I don’t have an uninterrupted hour for writing. But what if I write for even 20 minutes a day? I can do that!”

“I might not be able to sit and knit for hours, but I can knit a few rows every day. If I keep that up, eventually I’ll finish a project.”

We might stop ourselves before we start, feeling overwhelmed by the amount of time a project will require. But if we keep the project small, as one member of my Keys to Change Community notes, the results can be both do-able and deeply satisfying.

Creating and carrying out small, do-able, low-risk experiments, or structuring smaller, less complicated projects l can lead to satisfying and impressive results.

Strengthening well being

You want to feel better during periods of increased stress. But how do you make time to do the things that increase positive feelings at precisely the time when you are at your most stressed and busy? Here are a few ideas that don’t require a lot of time or energy.

These likely will not banish the negative emotions you’re experiencing. Instead, they provide the experiences of positive emotion that can help you cope with the stresses you’re dealing with.

  1. Take a minute to focus attention on small, positive experiences – a stranger’s smile, a beautiful sunset, your morning coffee.
  2. Do something kind for someone else. Drop some coins in someone else’s parking meter. Hold a door for a father with two small children in tow. (Source: What’s Wrong with Positivity)
  3. Try a brief journaling exercise. This takes 3-5 minutes. Listing three things. For example, list three highlights from your day, three of your strengths, or three things you love about something or someone. (Source: List of Three: A Quick Journal Practice)

Others’ voices on this topic:

How I Learned to Love Binge Writing (And How it Can Work for You Too).

Why Prototyping is More Important than Perfection

Photo by Ryan Tauss on Unsplash