Our recent post, 24 ways to make 2017 great received many eye-opening comments as to how much time getting up 15 minutes earlier each day can add to your life.
In case you missed it, it adds 91.25 hours to your life over a year.
How can you grow and change your life with that little amount of time?
It’s easy to think that 15 minutes can’t impact your life, so ignore it and choose do things like hit the snooze button one more time.
It’s only 15 minutes, right?
But, what if, you got up and devoted that time to change instead?
I want to show you how I have changed my life with just 15 minutes a day and how, once I got into this habit, time expanded for me.
When we don’t value time, understand our values and priorities, or believe in our power to create, we turn our back on 15 minutes a day and label it so ineffective we’d rather sleep it off.
Don’t get me wrong, sleep is very important. In fact, as we shared in this post, it is the most important thing your body needs for health and vitality. But, you don’t have to lose 15 minutes sleep by getting up 15 minutes earlier. Turn off the TV and go to bed 15 minutes earlier.
Since I started my 15 minutes a day of change, I sleep longer hours.
Before you start with the myriad of excuses as to why you can’t get up 15 minutes earlier (I know because I’ve made them), I want you to stop and just believe you can.
I understand life’s challenges and time constraints. I am also a mother to two energetic girls who I also homeschool. I started changing my life with 15 minutes a day when I also worked a job, when I was just starting my business, when I was pregnant, when I was sick, when I was traveling, and juggling many many balls.
It’s only 15 minutes. You can do it, it will change your life and expand your concept of time.
Here are my 15-minute a day tasks
These suit my current circumstances but will change as we begin traveling full-time as well. The structure will be very similar. I’ll still be maintaining my practices in a way that suit our lifestyle.
Exercise and wellness ME time
- I run for 15 minutes of a morning, meditate for 20 minutes, read for 5 minutes and then walk home for 25 minutes. This began several years ago with just 5 minutes of meditation. Time has since expanded for me.
- I do 30 minutes of yoga of an afternoon. It started a few months back with just 10 minutes.
- I’ll walk or bike anywhere when I can. Choosing 15 minutes instead of 5 minutes driving.
- 15 minutes a day learning about food and nutrition, searching for healthy recipes and meal planning helps me have a balanced, healthy diet.
- 15 – 30 minutes of learning each afternoon (It’s amazing how much this helps. Just this past week, I’ve learned how to organize my entire business and personal life using Asana. I can tell you this will save me hours and hours of work in the future, and help me to become more efficient and productive, which will help me earn more income, which will grant me more time. See how this expansion works. It started with 15 minutes a day. )
- 15 minutes of reading before bed – it’s amazing how many books you can read with just 15 minutes a day!
- Several 15 minute blocks a day to create different things. It’s how I’ve created all free and premium products on my site. I was overwhelmed with not enough time to complete such big projects. I decided to do 15 minutes a day to see where it went. Just recently, in the space of three weeks, I created several new free email courses, and brought back to life some old ebooks with editing and simple design. If I focused on the entire time it would have taken me to do it, I wouldn’t have started.
You might be thinking, yeah but you have so much time to do all this. I really don’t. I work a lot of hours a week, I homeschool my girls each day, I’m a mother, I have a busy travel and social life.
I just make a couple of 15-minute blocks each day and expand that through hyper focus, passion, and efficiency and by approaching life with a different concept to linear time. One I’m not great at explaining or defining.
There was no fairy that granted me this “extra time” I created it. You can too.
And even if you still think you can’t, please just give it a go and see.
Here’s how to change your life in 15 minutes a day
What are your values?
When you don’t understand what your values are, you live by other people’s values. This chaos will steal way your motivation to get up 15 minutes earlier to create change.
Knowing your values and living by them brings you vibrant energy because its what makes you happy. Spend your first 15 minute task evaluating what your values are. Get crystal clear on them and paint a picture of what life will be like for you if you live in alignment with your values.
It’s one of the first tasks we do in my Money Cleanse, and many participants have said how much it helped them gain clarity and create change.
My values are: freedom, security, abundance, joy, vitality, growth
It’s only recently that I realised how important security was. I didn’t pay attention to it because it felt like the opposite to freedom. The task in my Money Cleanse helped me to see that you can’t have one without the other.
Since understanding this, I spent 15 minutes a day getting my finances in order, and putting in plans to invest and grow my money instead of being so frivolous with it.
As a result, I have reduced a lot of wasteful spending, I have grown my savings account, and this past month, made my first long term investment, and started an investment account for the girls. It’s incredible the huge change in myself and my future because of this.
Unplug from the chaos that does not serve you and time will open up for you.
What is the most important change for you right now?
Is it health? Maybe your health is in great shape. So is it finances? Growth? Do you want more time for hobbies and relaxation?
What area of your life will drastically raise you up, if you devote 15 minutes a day to improving it?
Please don’t be part of the instantaneous gratitude tribe. It doesn’t work. The journey of change requires time.
If you know you can have the life of your dreams in three years time, would you devote just 15 minutes every day from now on to make it happen?
Start small and grow big.
Unplug from the chaos that does not serve you and time will open up for you.
Create something new
I recently read a great book by our friend, and fellow Gold Coast Entrepreneur, Dan Norris, called Create or Hate. It’s an easy read that you can knock off quite quickly by devoting 15 minutes of an evening to read before sleeping.
I love how he presents the idea that we’re always doing one or the other.
The hate arises in our lives due to our inability to follow through with our innate desire to create.
We give into the hate monsters (I call them fear monsters) that tell us we’re not good enough and can’t make it work (otherwise known as excuses).
When we don’t create, hate wins and we end up hating others who are creating. Jealousy, insecurity and negativity turns into judgement and criticism. You then feel the pressure to create something that’s better, except hate is stopping you from doing that.
Phew. Vicious cycle isn’t it?
Break the cycle. Spend 15 minutes a day creating something from your heart – perhaps you like painting, drawing, writing, acting. Don’t throw it in the I have no time bin.
These are the kind of things that set your soul on fire. Light up!
(btw why do you think adult colouring books are flying off the shelves?)
I have created many products, and content on this blog, simply by writing for 15 minutes a day. This post has been one of them and a lot of it written on my 15 minute daily run.
Sure, it takes me days, if not weeks, or months to produce something, but at least it gets done. If I don’t start because I don’t have time – the concept being I need x hours to create this thing – then it never gets done.
Instead, I say, “I’ll spend just 15 minutes a day doing this.” Some days I find flow and I write for longer and produce more.
Use the 15 minutes as your leverage. If you can’t leverage it into more, you’ll still get something created. Even if it’s at snail’s pace, it’s better than nothing.
Unplug from the hate and time will open up for you.
Get up and do it
Schedule the change in your planner. Set your alarm. Don’t hit the snooze button. Get up and straight into it.
I’ve created a path of least resistance by having my workout gear sitting at the bottom of my bed, leaving no space for procrastination. When I wake, I get dressed.
(Note: I set my alarm 15 minutes before I intend to get up. And then have an alarm at the time I actually get up. That way I gift myself with one snooze button and an extra 15 minutes of sleep)
I always thought you’d have to run for at least 30 minutes to have any serious benefit. So I never ran because a 30 minutes was too painful. The hate voice still runs through my head every morning until I actually start the run. I quieten the excuses with my mantra, “It’s only 15 minutes out of your day today. You can make 15 minutes.”
The 15 minutes goes quickly and I feel fantastic.
I’ve been running just 15 minutes a day now for nearly two months. I’m much fitter and stronger. I’ve lost weight. I feel more energized. It helps me cope with the day. My time has expanded. I’m getting way more done. I’m drinking way less alcohol (like not one glass in the past almost three weeks!!) and eating better.
I’m more focused. I give fewer excuses. I’m aligned with my values. I build my self-esteem every day by following through with what I said I was going to do instead of living a life full of excuses and hate.
Unplug from your excuses and time will open up for you.
Notice how time expands
I literally started this concept with getting up five minutes earlier to meditate. It’s all I could manage. My ME time is now an hour long each morning. Once I saw how beneficial it was to my life, I expanded the time I had available for it. I didn’t even notice in what other aspects of my life I cut back on the time.
My focus began to change subtly towards priorities and values and what was enhancing my life instead of detracting from it.
My friend and mentor, Belinda Davidson recently said,
“When you work on your inner world, time expands.”
When I look at my life, it’s insanely busy, and I have a lot of things to do each day, but it feels like I have the gift of time at my hands.
I look back to the days before I started expanding my time and am amazed at how I used to think and the excuses I’d make. I really didn’t have much time then because I believed it and kept telling myself so.
I truly don’t know what I was doing with my time. Most of it was wasted on things that didn’t matter and complaining about being tired and having no time.
Complaining drains an intense amount of energy, which essentially robs your time.
I do way more with my life now than ever before, yet each day I find more pockets of time to devote to things I love and enjoy. I think it relates to my life being super focused on priorities and driven by values and spending a lot of time working on my inner world.
Unplug from anything that drains you and causes you to complain. Or just stop complaining. Time will open up for you.
Turn that 15 minutes into 30
Once you’ve turned 5 minutes into 10, and 10 minutes into 15, you’ll turn that into 30 minutes (and then keep going). Then you can start finding 15 minutes in the afternoon/evening too.
Not too long ago, I kept putting off doing yoga and other forms of exercise in the afternoon because I was too busy. I was also too tired, too stressed and too lazy.
One day I decided to do just 10 minutes of yoga. Again, I didn’t think 10 minutes of yoga could really do any benefit. Thankfully, with yoga, you can quickly see some flexibility changes. I moved from barely touching my toes to now having palms face down on the floor.
My 10 minutes slowly expanded into 15 minutes and now I’m up to 30 minutes. Each afternoon at 4pm, I stop and do a 30-minute yoga class on Grokker (which is currently my favourite thing of the year. I’ll write a post about that soon)
Now those 30 minutes seems nothing to me and I feel like I can’t have a thriving day without it. It’s because it helps me feel alive, vibrant and expansive.
Where have I taken that 30 minutes from? My computer work, which often led to a lot of wasted Facebook scrolling because I was so tired. It’s fascinating to test your own illusions of time and to see how you can expand it simply by changing a few thoughts and focuses.
Now, before we finish, and you tell me in the comments below how you intend to change your life in 15 minutes a day, let me share a funny story.
When I first started this idea, 4:30am was the only time I had available. I was so tired, and so wanted to hit that snooze, but I craved change.
One morning I was so tired I was falling asleep in my warrior pose. I couldn’t understand why I felt so exhausted. It was only at the end of the yoga that I checked the time on my clock. It was 1:30 am!!! For some reason, I’d set my alarm for the wrong time.
I was ecstatic I could crawl back to bed and wake up at 5 am instead as I’d already done my routine!!
Make the intention to not mess up the time for your 15-minute activity and do yoga in the middle of the night.
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How do you intend to expand your time and change your life in 15 minutes a day?