Over and over, I make excuses about why I can’t fit certain things into my life. The most common excuse I’ve fallen back on is time.

I don’t have time for a yoga class.

I don’t have time for meditation.

I don’t have time to work out regularly.

I don’t have time to read that novel.

Lately, however, I’m realizing that the stuff that is the most relaxing and rejuvenating to me doesn’t take as much time as I think. I’m also starting to question why I’m not making time for those things when I know they are helpful to me. I think we all know that taking even just a few minutes for certain activities can reap incredible benefits.

(Items marked with an * below are ones I have done in the last two weeks and can personally attest to!)

In 5 minutes or less you can:

  • brew a cup of tea*
  • meditate
  • take some deep breaths*
  • sit quietly without looking at your phone*
  • listen to a favorite song
  • read a poem*
  • do a few squats or lunges*

In 10 minutes or less you can:

  • do a Gorilla Workout*
  • walk 1,000 steps*
  • write a thank you note*
  • stretch the major muscle areas of your body*
  • practice better posture by sitting up straight*
  • drink a glass of water*

in 15 minutes or less you can:

  • complete an at-home yoga session*
  • call a friend or family member to say hello*
  • watch a TED talk
  • make a list of all the things in your brain that are stressing you out*
  • peruse your local library online and put a book on hold to pick up later*
  • listen to podcast episode
  • unload/load the dishwasher or fold a load of laundry*

In 30 minutes or less you can:

  • read a chapter (or two) of a novel*
  • walk or run two miles*
  • write in a journal
  • make a healthy meal*
  • add a few sentences to that manuscript you’ve been working on*
  • look over tomorrow’s schedule and do something ahead of time that will make your life easier*

Too often, I’m in such a state of autopilot that I give away these brief periods of time to checking email, looking at social media, or watching television when I could be building in these little moments of relaxation instead.

I literally forget about these things because they are not front of mind.

My recent New Year’s Resolutions (read more here, here, here, here, and here) are helping me remember. I’ve been doing more yoga, stretching more, reading more poetry, writing more thank you notes, drinking more water, eating more greens — in short, I’m getting more mindful and purposeful with my time.

And I’m finding that it’s not the big stuff that I need to worry about scheduling in.

It’s the little stuff.

To think on:

  • When are the little things that are making the biggest difference in your life right now?
  • What did I miss in the lists above? What beneficial things are you squeezing in that I didn’t mention?