The ‘Ten Minute’ Test…

Photo by Krivec Ales on

Lately, I’ve been getting myself in a bit of tiswas…

It’s all to do with time. Or rather the lack of it.

Finding time to write in a very hectic season of life can feel utterly impossible.

Today I almost gave up.

What was meant to be a ‘day off’ swiftly snowballed into a whole heap of chores. I find this happens to me a LOT.

So I said to God – “I can’t do this anymore – this writing thing. I just don’t have the time. Maybe you’ve asked the wrong gal’. Maybe I’ll give it another crack when I retire. But right now, Lord, I just have to let this go. I give up!”

A voice inside me said: “Do you think that life will be any less busy when you retire?”

I sighed. “Lord, will there ever be time?”

I made a cup of tea and sat for a moment and stilled and quieted my soul before God. I sang. I prayed. I surrendered.

I looked out of the patio doors – out into the garden. I could see one of the beds needed weeding and dead-heading. Uugh… Another job I never seem to have the time for.

I glanced at the clock. 2:50pm. I had ten minutes before I needed to leave for the school run…Just ten minutes.

Then I had a crazy idea!

‘Why don’t you set a timer on your phone and see how much gardening you can do in ten minutes…?”

Okay. Sounds a bit bonkers. But I’ll give it a go!

I threw on my coat, grabbed a garden fork and got to work.

And this was the result! Who would have thought that just ten minutes worth of gardening would produce a whole pot-full of weeds, old dead stems and garden waste?

As I tugged out those tufts of Chickweed, and snapped off the dead-wood, I remembered the advice my nine year old had recently given me: “Mum, just try to write 50 words per day. And keep going. That’s all you need to do.”

What a wise little owl! Was God trying to show me something here?

It’s true – I might not have great chunks of time to spare during this season of life. I might NEVER have great chunks of time.

But I could find 10 minutes. Surely?

Just 10 minutes a day.

What a revolutionary thought! You know, 10 minutes a day might just be doable.

And progress, however small, is still progress. In fact, maybe the whole point of progress is consistency – not speed.

I applied the ten minute test to my writing this afternoon. I grabbed my notebook and pen. I set my timer, and guess what? I didn’t just write 50 words. I wrote 140! Perhaps I can do the same tomorrow. And the day after that. And little by little, who knows – perhaps 2022 really will be the year I finish that book?

And I might have a garden to be proud of too.

13 thoughts on “The ‘Ten Minute’ Test…”

  1. Sometimes, the hardest part is getting started. Lord knows there are enough worries and distractions these days, Angela. As to retirement, I used to wonder how I would keep busy, when I retired. Now, over 7 years later, I wonder how I ever found time to work. Stay well. Allan

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    1. Yes, starting is definitely the hardest part. As to your thoughts on retirement, this is brilliant and reassuring news, Allan. I want to be just like you when I retire. Wondering how I ever had time for work!! Love that.

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  2. Love it, Angie! Slow and steady might just win the day! You know, the old tortoise and hare bit! And I just might try it with my art and journaling and Bible journaling, too! I like to be able to immerse myself in those endeavors, with all my stuff around, and an open-ended amount of time to work/play, but even in my life, that can be hard to find. I wonder what I might find that 10 minutes would permit? Maybe I can make a list of 10-minute projects or assemble some little 10-minute kits of materials! Hmmm… you’ve got my wheels turning!! And I’ve got a garden as well!! Hmmm… fun to think of possibilities instead of limitations! Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Brilliant! I’m so glad to have got ‘your wheels turning’ (hahaha, we say ‘cogs turning!’). I know exactly what you mean about wanting to be able to immerse yourself in creative stuff – I’ve always waited and even tried to plan for those moments – but I’m constantly finding that they get curtailed somehow. I would absolutely love to hear about your 10 minute project ideas (doesn’t necessarily have to be 10 mins – could be half hour? Whatever works for you!)


  3. I think you’ve hit on it, Angela–consistency, not the amount of time! But always hard to do. My garden is looking similarly needy, (thankfully it’s still early for gardening here in Colorado!) and I always feel behind with my writing, so my garden hat’s off to you for using those often small chunks of time!!

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    1. Hello Kathy! Lovely to hear from you! Consistency is definitely key… But like you say, it’s not so easy to put into place!! I have never visited Colorado. Is it Springtime there? Or cold, as I always imagine it. We have lots of signs of Spring here in. England: daffodils, crocus, and blossom trees. It’s very pretty and inspiring me to embark on some art projects!


      1. Spring is very up and down here (well actually every season is! I’m from Maine, and it’s not that crazy there.) Monday and Tuesday were in the 60s; today we have 5 inches of snow! You do have beautiful flowers in England. We visited once and loved England’s beauty, history, and art –especially the National Gallery!!

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