The rule of twenty: Taking back some me-time
If you’re the kind of person who loves their job, you’re probably also the kind of person who puts in the extra hours to meet a deadline, sacrifices lunch-breaks to follow up on a lead or can be seen at work events snapping and tweeting away to ensure that nothing is missed.
Putting in the hard work doesn’t necessarily result in an immediate reward, and it can leave you absolutely exhausted at the end of the day. As a result, the temptation to come home and simply veg can be incredibly strong. Don’t get us wrong, we all need some down time to do absolutely nothing, but ask yourself; more often than not, do you feel like sometimes all you do is work, come home, eat and sleep?
This is where the Rule of Twenty comes into play and it’s really quite simple: dedicate twenty minutes every evening to something that’s both productive and fulfilling, without it necessarily being work. If you try and tell yourself “I’m going to go home and spend two hours on this…” chances are you won’t even attempt it, because you’ll be watching the clock and telling yourself you don’t have the time. With only twenty minutes, you can definitely make time for it and who knows, you might even go over time if you’re enjoying yourself!
Here are some suggestions to get you started.
When it comes to writing, this isn’t a “Dear Diary” situation, but more of a way to take stock of what you’ve accomplished this week so far. Or maybe you’re writing the next great novel – so go for it! The same can go for drawing – it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece but once you’re enjoying yourself then just keep scribbling away. Adult colouring books are a great way to zone out while getting your creative juices flowing.
End the Day with Exercise
Anyone really stuck for time could schedule this just before they shower and get ready to hit the hay. It’s only 20 extra minutes onto your day but could make a huge difference to how you sleep. For yoga, Youtube is a god-send here, with YogaGlo providing particularly good tips for those Sun-Salutations. No yoga mat? No excuses. Use a rug or a big towel instead. If yoga’s not your thing, a 20-minute brisk walk or run can give you a good dose of fresh air as well as exercise.
Become a Bookworm
When was the last time you read something that wasn’t on a phone or computer screen? If you can’t remember, then it’s time for a change. Reading allows us to reduce stress, whereas often other forms of media can increase stress, requiring short bursts of attention with distractions, noise, and often quick bursts of visuals. Reading for a short period of time, however, offers sustained attention and a contemplative attitude.
Create Time for Catching Up
Sometimes a Whatsapp or Instagram Story just won’t cut it, so pick up your phone and make that call. You can do it on your commute home or while you’re prepping your dinner, but really try to put aside some quality time so you can just focus on the catch up and really listen to a friend of family member’s news. You would be surprised at how much you may have missed, but it’s never too late to catch up.
One Good Deed
Do you keep telling yourself you’ll volunteer/do a fun run for charity, but you can just never find a full evening to yourself to dedicate to it? Charitable things don’t have to be big gestures; send a quick email around the office to organise a coffee morning and then make something speedy and fool proof like Mars Bar cake (or buy something, if you’re really stuck for time!). If the office is a no-go, then you can do it at home – go through your wardrobe for 20 minutes one evening. You’d be surprised what you find you no longer wear that’s in perfectly good condition. Pop them into a bag and drop them off at your local charity shop. Job done!