Set Time Limits for Your Tasks

Katie Corbett holds the book "52 Small Changes"

By Katie Corbett

 

A few years ago, I bought a latch-hooking kit. Latch-hooking involves hooking pieces of yarn into a frame to make a colorful design; my kit will be a cupcake pattern when finished. The grid of squares on the frame that need yarn hooked into them total 1600 in number. The only way I was able to make headway on that large project was to spend chunks of time on it, and limit those chunks to 45-90 minutes each.

 

The book, “52 Small Changes for the Mind,” by Brett Blumenthal, says that limiting the amount of time spent on a task can make its completion easier. Here are some questions to ask yourself about tasks to time-box.

 

  • What am I putting off?
  • Do I have a project that I fear is too big?
  • Do I have small windows of time available to me?
  • Do I have a deadline that feels looming?
  • What projects keep getting pushed to the bottom of my priority list?
  • When I look back over this time, what do I hope to have accomplished?
  • Do I have any projects at the back of my closet or under my bed?
  • What potential projects might I have that I keep forgetting to do?
  • What tasks do I see as a time suck and how can I limit my time spent?
  • What can I do to get started today?

 

I hope these questions have helped you think of a few things you can do to move forward on activities that you enjoy or projects that may have stalled. I find these questions helpful to ask myself each quarter as I’m deciding what business projects, hobbies, and social activities I would like to spend time doing in the future.

 

I’d love to find out what you’ve decided to start working on. Let me know in the comments. In the meantime, I’ll keep plugging away at my latch-hooking project.

 

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What I’ve Learned by Seeking Silence

Katie Corbett holds the book "52 Small Changes"

By Katie Corbett

 

Intentionally making time in my day for silence is an activity I try to make a priority. Since I use screen-reading software and because I listen to audiobooks, I get exposed to a lot of noise. Hearing sounds is how I mostly perceive the world since I’m blind. While meaningful noise is important to me, peace and quiet is key, too.

 

The book, “52 Small Changes for the Mind,” by Brett Blumenthal, shares the benefits of making quiet time a regular part of your routine. Here are some of the positive points I noticed when I started trading noise for tranquility each day.

 

  • I can pray.
  • I have more time to think.
  • I can focus on my feelings.
  • I can imagine, dream, and plan.
  • I can grow in comfort being by myself.
  • I can relax without the pressure of having to do or process anything.
  • I can work through issues that are bothering me on a subconscious level.
  • I have time to reflect on how I’m spending my money, time, and energy.
  • I can daydream.
  • I can sit peacefully and take a break.

 

If you would like to experience some of the benefits of not having background noise, I encourage you to take some time each day to sit in peace and quiet. It can be as little as five or ten minutes at first. I now spend a minimum of thirty minutes in silence each day. Start whenever and wherever works best for you. Some of my best silent times are in bed right before falling asleep or right after waking up.

 

What do you notice as you spend time in the stillness? Leave me a comment and let me know how this changes your life.

 

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Forgetting the Joneses

Katie Corbett holds the book "52 Small Changes"

By Katie Corbett

 

It can be easy to compare your life to that of others. You might buy things you don’t need and do things you don’t want to do simply to keep up and try to make yourself “look” happy.

 

In “52 Small Changes for the Mind,” Brett Blumenthal encourages us to forget about what others have and focus on what we truly want. Here are some benefits I have noticed in my own life of living for myself and not worrying about what others have:

 

  • I am more satisfied with my own accomplishments, because I’m doing things I truly want to do.
  • I save money, since I’m not buying things to keep up with everyone else.
  • I have more to give to others because I’m not using resources to keep up with others.
  • I’m not stressed about what others think of me.
  • I have more time because I’m not wasting it looking at the lives of others and wallowing in jealousy or sadness that I don’t measure up.
  • I’m happier because I’m truly able to enjoy the present.
  • I have time, money, and energy to plan for my own hopes and dreams.
  • I’m more grateful for what I have.
  • I’m not nosey when it comes to the doings of other people.
  • I’m happy with who I am because I’m not comparing myself to others.

 

Are you finding yourself spending money, time, and energy you don’t have because you’re trying to keep up with others? Are you neglecting your own goals because you’re trying to do what you think others want you to do. If so, I encourage you to take some time for yourself and reflect on what you’d like to change. Do you need to stop looking at social media? Avoid long conversations with certain people? Start a gratitude journal?

 

Let me know what you decide to do. I’d love to hear more about it.

 

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The Joys of Experiencing Nature From Your Cubicle

Katie Corbett holds the book "52 Small Changes"

By Katie Corbett

 

Winter in Wisconsin is a frigid affair. Temperatures regularly dip below zero degrees Fahrenheit and snow blankets the ground from December through March. Due to the lack of sunlight, I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder during these freezing months, which makes me more prone to unhappiness at best and depression at worst.

 

One winter a few years ago, I read “52 Small Changes for the Mind,” by Brett Blumenthal, in hopes of finding a way to brighten my mood. I was working a job as a part-time writer and didn’t have much time to spend outside during daylight hours. I was also missing our family’s annual trip to Florida because I needed to work through the end of the year.

 

In “52 Small Changes for the Mind,” benefits of going out in nature are outlined. I wanted to incorporate nature into my cold days. I was really bummed about missing out on Florida sunshine and time at the beach. I read that even looking at pictures of nature and having plants in your environment can help boost mood and productivity.

 

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m totally blind, so seeing pictures and plants don’t have the same benefits for me as they might for someone who can see. I wanted to find some other way of appreciating the great outdoors. Enter YouTube.

 

I decided to try listening to videos of the ocean. I wasn’t sure how it would help; luckily, it did. As I plugged away at spreadsheets and wrote articles, I listened to the sounds of waves, seagulls, and ocean breezes. On sunnier days, I made a point of stepping outside during my lunchbreak for some much-needed vitamin D. With a little creativity and curiosity, I was able to push past what might have seemed like understandable excuses and make my wintertime more cheery, or at least more bearable.

 

What are some ways you can incorporate nature into your workday? I’d love some more ideas, so let me know in the comments.

 

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