These day’s the winter sun keeps calling me outside – so with some phone calls to make I headed out into the garden. Difficult phone calls made easier by the sun on my back. What I noticed though were the weeds taking over the garden beds, the Guinea Pigs forlorn because their cage was a mess and various bibs and bobs sitting around my verandah left over from painting it the week before – things that should have been put away – yep a week ago.
I was so tempted to just ditch everything else I had to do and spend the afternoon out there in the garden setting right three months of neglect. Everything else I needed to do that day ? – – – – well it just wouldn’t have got done and yes you can get away with that occasionally but it’s what I do a little too often. Speaking from past experience it creates a ripple affect that has me playing catch up for days. No fun. So instead – I set my iPhone timer and gave myself 20 minutes to see what I could get done. When the timer went off the Guinea Pig cage was clean – not perfect clean but a whole lot better clean, the brushes, buckets, drop cloths etc from our painting project were put back in the garage and I had dug all the onion weed out of one small patch of garden – the one near the front steps that had been annoying me for so long. The rest of the garden still has it’s weeds but there was a whole lot of satisfaction in seeing the guinea pigs smiling, my veranda cleaned off, and one garden bed weed free. A good 20 minutes. My day still intact. No pressure to have to do more. I can leave more for another day and another 20 minutes.
No photos though and well you know I like a good photo – especially a before and after. So last Saturday I headed out to the back yard – sun again – with my phone – (timer and camera in one) to see what I could get done in 20 minutes – – – the results were surprising.
To fill you in a bit first though – I’ve been doing these 20 minute spurts for a while now and this is what I’ve found.
- You get soooo much more done than you think you will
- It lasts longer than you think it will – I often check the timer because I’m sure the 20 minutes must be up and usually find I still have 2 or 3 minutes to go.
- You work faster with more focus because you know there’s an end point when you’ll get to stop, have a break and enjoy what you’ve got done.
- Big jobs (like the garden) get broken down into small manageable bite size pieces.
- Getting one thing done in 20 minutes is so much more satisfying than getting 10 things half done in two hours.
So last Saturday I chose this border of Mondo grass that’s almost over run with onion weed (again) and a little area at the end of our paved area that I like to call my “secret garden” – we have our fire pit and some seating in there and as the photos will show it was all in need of a bit of attention.
This is the Mondo Grass border – the light green stuff growing long and lush is unfortunately the dreaded onion weed My secret garden all sad and neglected
Not perfect but a whole lot better – and because it’s Saturday afternoon and it’s beautiful out – I set the timer for another twenty minutes and got the last of the onion weed and most of the other weeds out from amongst the pebbles.
While still far from being ready to feature in Better Homes and Gardens – 40 minutes of TLC means this little corner now looks a lot better and somewhere I might actually want to sit and relax – – – – A wintery Saturday afternoon, sun slowly starting to fade, a nip in the air – time to light a fire. And fire being the primal thing that it is, it wasn’t long before the menfolk got a whiff of it and came out of the house to do manly things like break up branches and chop wood. Some of the womenfolk too. Livvy followed. And marshmallows. And me – taking photos and gazing at my mostly weed free pebbles and into the fire and enjoying the moment with us all together.
And when the others drifted inside my boy sat down, put his feet on my lap and talked for a bit. Surprising how something fairly mundane and ordinary can grow into something entirely different – something unexpected and lovely – reaping a reward you weren’t even looking for.
A very good 20 minutes. Works for me.
Tracey xxLinking up today with Works For Me Wednesday Fridays Blog Booster Party
If you have a minute stay around and read my Wednesday Link Up Post “The Best Laid Plans” here.
14 thoughts on “A Good Twenty Minutes”
How true! How nice to enjoy the fire, wine, and family after doing a 40 minute days work!
Inspiring and heart warming.
Thank you Inge – yes a good return on a very small investment, Thanks for reading!!
Awesome work with the garden trace, I need to take a leaf out of your book and fix mine up
Thanks Hilary – let me know when and I’ll come and give you a hand.I’ll bring my iPhone!!
lovely photos and nice to see that 40 minutes inspired the family get together afterwards – always a bonus! visiting from #blogbooster
Thanks so much Leanne for your lovely comment – yes unexpected family time especially nice.
What a great idea – 20 minutes. Love the idea of time-boxing tasks – I work best when under a deadline – and 20 minutes is so manageable. You got a LOT done in your 20 minute intervals!
Thanks so much Kathryn for coming by – yes surprised myself with the results.
I just have to giggle, my yard is in a much neglected state. I really need to adopt your 20 minute solution as I never seem to have the time to tend to the yard!
Hi Brenda – yes I think we are all in the same boat there (I didn’t show you the rest of of it). Small bites taken often though – works wonders. Thanks so much for stopping by.
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I really like this idea and have heard about people managing their lives so well in 20 minute chunks. I might try it next weekend!
Thanks for joining the #sundaysdownunder link up. I’ve pinned your post.
Natasha in Oz
Thanks so much Natasha. Works well for an easily distracted person like me.
First, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing this over at Celebrate it Sunday. I love the idea of breaking down any task into 20 minute blocks of time. I know I try to take breaks when I am writing, get up, take a walk, do a household chore. Coming back to writing after a break gives me a fresh look at things.
My pleasure Chloe – so agree – regular breaks definitely helps with writing – my best ideas seem to come when I take a break and give the subject room to breath. Thanks so much for taking time to come by.