Erode away your problems, ten minutes daily

If you can invest minutes ten

Every day, not now and again,

You’ll accomplish great things,

You’ll play and you sing,

And they’ll say, “You find time?  Tell me when!”


Synopsis:  I’m a family practitioner from Sioux City, Iowa.  In May 2010, I left my position of 23 years, and honoring my non-compete clause, traveled for a year doing locum tenens work.  In June of 2011 I joined up with the Community Health Center, which provides care for the underserved.  I’m now working part-time, which, for a doctor, means 54 hours a week.

Erosion, the powerful force of geology, accomplishes more than cataclysms.

Sometimes I talk to young mothers overwhelmed by the mess in their house.  The child, they complain, has strewn everything possible all over the floor, and they don’t know what to do.

I explain that because children dwell on the floor and because they inherently generate chaos, the situation falls squarely into the normal category, and that trying to change the base cause of the mess ranks in futility with trying to stop the tides.

Maintaining steady erosion, I say, has a better chance of accomplishing the task at hand than trying to clear everything up at once.  Every time you pass a haven of disorder, put one thing back in its place.  If you have enough energy to sigh at the mess, you have enough energy to improve it a little.

Bethany and I started decreasing the number of our possessions 6 years ago.  We keep at it steadily, and every year we have less clutter.

One hour a day, 5 days a week, for eight weeks, separates you from the 300-word vocabulary that constitutes the basics of another language.  At the end of the first term you can make your needs known, and understand rudimentary concepts.  You won’t have fluency but you’ll have the foundation to build fluency.

In the last two years I have found practicing the saxophone 10 minutes a day more feasible and more pleasurable than the hour a day I use to aspire to. 

One can find ten minutes in a schedule easier than an hour, and ten minutes regularly brings more learning and finesse than an hour that doesn’t happen all that often.

Any activity we enjoy for ten minutes tends to extend as time goes on.  If I can get my diabetic patients into the habit of walking 10 minutes three times a week in September, by the time March rolls around I can coax them into 15 minutes at a time, and in a year or two I’ve gotten them up to 30 minutes six times a week.

When I set out to practice my saxophone for an hour, I often shorted my time.  Now that I only aim for 10 minutes, I get more out of my playing, I make more time to practice, and when I cheat, I go long, not short.

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2 Responses to “Erode away your problems, ten minutes daily”

  1. Michael Barker Says:

    Ah, the simple joys of getting older, refining ones life and knowing what one wants to enjoy.

  2. Pale Says:

    Oh what a lovely post. Timely for me, too. Thank you for this.

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