Time is a precious commodity that comes in limited quantities. I am the dad of two toddlers that have learned how to wrestle and fight with each other. I started waking up earlier – around 5:00 AM – to get in some good writing time every morning before the kids woke up at 6:00 AM. It lasted for a couple of days. Inexplicably, they both figured out that I was waking up earlier and decided they needed to do the same thing. Now, I am lucky if I get 15 minutes of writing in with a couple of sips of hot coffee before one wakes up.
If it is my daughter, she is laughing at me when I walk in.
If it is my son, he looks at me and whispers, “Chocolate milk…” because he needs his glass of morning chocolate milk the way I need my glass of morning coffee.
Then we sit and watch nursery rhymes while we all wake up. I need to keep my computer closed because my daughter doesn’t understand how a keyboard functions and only desires to smash it with her tiny fists like she is some kind of disgruntled accountant that forgot to save her spreadsheet before her computer crashed.
My wife wakes up shortly after, grabs her cup of coffee, and the day starts. The writing computer gets put away and the work computer gets opened.
For a while, it was frustrating. What can I get accomplished in 15 minutes? What can any person get accomplished in 15 minutes? It is discouraging. My brilliant mental process needs at least 45 minutes to even begin to outline a magnificent thought. If I can’t get at least 45 minutes, why even try to write at all?
This is the same mentality that kept me out of the gym for a while:
I don’t have the time for a full hour workout, so what is the point in going at all?
It is an old excuse: I don’t have enough time.
But it has a new twist: I do have some time, but I wish I had more time. Since I don’t have more time, I will just act like I have no time.
It is laziness rounding numbers. In this kind of odd logic, 15 minutes becomes the same as zero minutes. A 20 minute workout suddenly has the same effect as sitting on your couch. What is the point in going for a walk for 10 minutes? Why not have a cookie instead? That takes like 20 seconds and they are so readily accessible. Why not have two?
The insidious excuse can apply to all kinds of good areas of our lives – prayer, health, study, even relationships. And it is just a lie.
Some is better than none. That is almost always true when it comes to things that are good for us.
Working out for 20 minutes a day is better than zero minutes.
In fact, even working out for five minutes is better than zero minutes. In fact, it is five minutes better, exactly.
Often the issue isn’t that we don’t have the time – it is that we are just lazy. We do have some time, but something inside us (maybe fear) tells us not to try. We round the time down to zero that way we can tell everyone online how busy we are and how we don’t have time for anything.
But I do have 15 minutes at least in the morning. That is 15 minutes of writing more than I would get if I slept in. That is 15 minutes that makes me 15 minutes better than I was yesterday. That is at least three sips of hot coffee, a quiet house, and an opportunity to write something.
And some is better than none.