Written by: April Vargo
Take care of the kids, feed the dog, clean the house, pay the bills, teach classes, respond to emails, go to ballet and swim lessons, attend library programs, schedule playdates, run to doctor appointments, family time, fun activities, and don’t forget about self-care.
Does this sound familiar? This is pretty much an outline of my daily life, a life I absolutely love, but also a life that requires a ton of organization and planning. In order for me to be present for my family, my students, and myself I have to make sure to plan ahead, otherwise all goes to hell in a handbag pretty quickly.
My life is not so uncommon from most people. The people I talk to, both peers and students have similar stories with everyone trying to juggle their countless to-do’s and make sure they get everything done they need to get done by the required deadlines.
A few years ago, I was talking to a few students who filled me in on why they couldn’t practice that week, it was because their schedule was just too full. I asked them if they had a spare 10 minutes daily or even spread throughout a few days a week. They said, well yeah but 10 minutes isn’t enough to get anything done.
Oh, my friend, but it is. We as a society have been conditioned to believe that we need specific periods of uninterrupted time to get anything accomplished, and that the more time we spend instantly equals quality. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Quality and quantity are not synonymous.
If you look at the current work force, how many people are really productive all eight hours of their workday? How much of that time is spent talking to co-workers, grabbing coffee, eating lunch, etc.? Is that wrong to do those things, absolutely not! However, the time that you’re really productive is not as much as you think. There are some people that get more done in one single hour than all day. But, I digress.
As I started thinking about the lives of my students and the lives of the adults I knew, I came up with "The 10 Minute Challenge" to help schedule everything that needed to be done for the week using those small chunks of time throughout your day. This way you can either do the small tasks that you literally forget about because they are so small or take bigger tasks and break them up into smaller chunks.
I created this and gave it out to my students at first, but then I realized as an adult I needed this just as much. This year as I was going through some of documents and teaching materials, I thought what an amazing planner this would be. Instead of just single sheets, turn this program into a full year planner.
I’m starting with adults and went all in! I published "The 10 Minute Challenge, A Planner for When You Don't Have the Time," on Amazon. It is available for purchase in both hard and soft cover. The planner has 52 weeks of 10 Minute Challenges as well as 13 months of monthly reflections. The year is not specific so this planner can be used and started at any time.
The 10 Minute Challenges break your day down into six categories: “Work,” “Health,” “Family,” “House,” “Fun,” “Other.” The goal is to plan your week out and divide things you have to do and things you get to do. This way when you have those 10-minute chunks of time, you can run to your planner figure out what you want to get accomplished and get to work.
The more you do this, the more it becomes a game. It’s fun to see how much you can get accomplished in those small amounts of time, and then how much gets crossed off for the week. When you get to the reflection pages you can go back through the four weeks and visually see your positives and things you’d like to improve upon. This way you’re ready to tweak your process for the next month and continue to be successful.
I personally use this in my own life because I don’t have huge chunks of time. The time I do have is very precious. I want to be mentally present for my family, my students, and myself. I don’t want to be worrying about everything else I have to get done. I want to know I’m on top of things and that I’m exactly where I want and need to be, 100% living in the moment.
I’m in the process of publishing a planner for students to help them to take control of their own schedule, be responsible, and learn how to manage their own time with what they know they have to do and want to do.
As of now you can go to Amazon to purchase “The Minute Challenge, A Planner for When You Don’t Have the Time.”
I hope you enjoy! Leave comments below on how these challenges have helped you, what are some positives you’re noticing throughout your days, weeks, and months? Happy planning!