5 minute mindfulness challenge

I thought I’d throw a little challenge your way. The idea came to me as I was grocery shopping with my son the other day. Standing in line at the cash, I overheard a father say: “if only I could find 5 minutes in my day to breath…” It got me thinking.

Our days are filled with “5 minutes”. There are actually 288 sets of “5 minutes” in one day.

The problem is not the lack of time, the problem is that we don’t know how to set that time aside to do something good for ourselves.

And when I say good for ourselves, I don’t mean sit in the break room for a cup of coffee or watch the latest episode of Master Chef. I mean good for our overall wellbeing.

So this week, I’m challenging you to find one set of 5 minutes (I’ll show you where those minutes are hiding) and do the following practice detailed at the bottom of this post.

At the end of the week, report back to me, either through email or by leaving a comment below, and let me know how this simple 5 minute daily challenge has changed the course of your week.

Now where are those 5 minutes hiding…

We often get so caught up in our day that we don’t realize how much time is actually available to us.

Here are a few examples of where you can find one set of 5 minutes to complete your challenge:

  • wake up 5 minutes earlier (ok, that one was easy!)
  • take 5 minutes out of your lunch break
  • go to bed 5 minutes later
  • take a 5 minute bathroom break (you may get a few weird looks at the office but you can handle it, you’ve got a challenge to complete!)
  • sit in your car for an extra 5 minutes after you’ve finished all your errands
  • take 5 extra minutes while you are doing the dishes
  • cut down your office gossip by 5 minutes (not that you gossip much anyways, right?…)
  • cut down your social media activity by 5 minutes
  • cut down day/evening TV time by 5 minutes…

These are just examples but as you can see, there are plenty of moments in your day when you can put time aside for yourself.

I personally prefer to wake up 5 minutes earlier but when that’s not possible, for whatever reason life throws my way, I take time, right after I’ve put my son down to sleep. It is the quietest moment of my day and I know that whatever else I have to do afterwards, no matter how urgent, can wait an extra 5 minutes.

So take out your agenda and schedule a daily appointment with yourself, for one week, under the title Self Challenge.

The importance of intentionally setting time aside

You may start out with the greatest of intentions for this challenge, but things will get in your way. Life will try to derail you and throw you a few curve balls, so I encourage you to not rely solely on your good will and discipline but really schedule a time in your agenda and set an alarm  as a reminder.

And keep that alarm on repeat until you’ve completed your challenge for the day.

It is very important that you respect your appointment with yourself. Treat it like an appointment with an elite client or the Principal at your child’s school or your doctor.

You wouldn’t postpone those appointments just because you didn’t feel like going or because you found something better to do. You would honour those appointments.

I’m asking you to treat yourself with the same respect and importance as you do others. Your wellbeing is just, if not more important, then your client’s needs, the Principal or the doctor.

Onto the challenge!

Ok so you’ve set your 5 minutes aside, your alarm is on and you are ready to go.

  1. sit, or stand, and take a deep inhale in through your nose and exhale out through your nose (be mindful not to bring your shoulders up to your ears as you breath in, but really expand your ribcage)
  2. relax all your facial muscles:
    • start with your forehead, release all the tension in your forehead, let it drop;
    • then move onto your eyes, let them rest in a neutral position and release your eyebrows;
    • move your attention to your cheeks and let them drop;
    • next, your jaw, unclench your grip and let your mouth open slightly;
    • drop down your ears.
  3. next, rub your hands together vigorously (this friction creates heat and vibrating energy)
  4. close your eyes and rest the palms of your hands on your eyes for 1 minute to transfer the energetic vibrations
  5. remove your hands and open your eyes
  6. repeat the following sentences either in your head or out loud:
    • I am safe
    • God (the Universe) is by my side, guiding me
    • I am capable and worthy of all my desired achievements
    • I am Love
  7. Close your eyes one more time
  8. Take a deep breath in and out through your nose.

Your 5 minutes is up. You have completed your challenge for the day.

Why this challenge

You may think this is a very basic or simplistic challenge. And you are right: it is simple and it is basic.

The secret to wellbeing doesn’t lie in complex metaphysical theories or intricate physical practices.

It lies in the small steps we take daily to remind ourselves that we are Divine beings, that we have a Divine Light that shines within us and that if we are willing to take the time to acknowledge that Light and acknowledge who we are, we are capable of profound happiness and achieving our greatest dreams, regardless of how immense or crazy they are.

Do this 5 minutes challenge for 1 full week and notice the subtle changes in your attitude, your mood and your capacity to handle stressful situations.

Before long, I promise you, you will want to make this, a part of your daily ritual.

Now set your agenda, your alarm and a reminder to get back to me with your results in one week.

As always, I love hearing from you so if you have any questions or comments during your challenge, don’t hesitate to ask me.



Time segments and mindful scheduling

time to grow and to process the change

I bow to the creative energy of the infinite. I bow to the Divine channel of wisdom.

As you begin reading this mindfulness post on time segments and mindful scheduling, I encourage you to pause for a minute  and recite this mantra a few times (or as many times as you like). It is an incredibly powerful mantra. It will allow you to open up your mind and your heart. If you’re not sure how to chant or if you’re not really feeling it, just recite the words. It will eventually come naturally to you. Don’t worry, even if you’re not too sure of what you are doing, it will still bring you benefits. If however you do want to learn to chant this mantra, check out this youtube link.

And now, onto our mindfulness post.

Setting your peak time segments

In my two previous posts, I talked about making a list of small tasks for you to accomplish on a daily basis to begin developing your achievement mindset.

In the following post, I presented you with a method to gradually extend out of your comfort zone so your tasks become a little more challenging without being overwhelming, hence strengthening that achievement mindset.

Now I wanna take you to the next step and talk to you about how to schedule those tasks in your day to make sure you’re not only accomplishing them but thriving at them at the same time.

This is what I call time segmenting.

Here’s how it works: you need to accomplish your main/harder tasks during your most productive time of the day. Simple enough, right!

In order to do that, you need to figure out when, in the day, those most productive times are.

You need to figure out when your mind can easily focus and your energy level is high. How do you figure that out? You break your day up into five segments.

It looks something like this:

  1. early morning (5am to 9am)
  2. morning (9am to noon)
  3. early afternoon (noon to 3pm)
  4. afternoon (3pm to 7pm)
  5. evening (7pm to 11pm)

Yes, I know, the first one starts pretty early. But you can adjust the time segments to your own personal rythme.

Personally, I start my day at 5am but I’m in bed, sleeping, by 10pm, so my evening segment in shorter.

So now, for the next few days, and for every every segment of the day, pay close attention to your ability to focus and your work capacity. Note it down in a journal, in your phone or on a post it.

Mindful scheduling

Pay attention to your concentration level: am I focused or does my brain feel like mush.
Pay attention to your energy level: do I feel like napping or am I energized and ready to go.
Pay attention to your commitment level: am I fired up and ready to plough through or would I rather push this off till later.

Repeat the exercise over a few days to get a good sense of how you feel during each time segments, on most days. All of us have off days. All of us have days when getting out of bed is harder or the entire day seems like getting anything done is an insurmountable task. Don’t base your peak time segments on those odd days. Base it on your average feel good days.

The first time I applied this experiment, I tracked my time segments for 3 days in a row.

It doesn’t take much time to track. Just ask yourself the three previous questions and write down how you feel. Then move on.

Once you’ve established your peak segment, scale the other segments from most productive to least productive.

As an example, here’s what my time segment scale looks like:

  1. early morning: most productive – 5*
  2. morning: still productive – 4*
  3. early afternoon: least productive (I could nap!) – 1*
  4. late afternoon: not my worst but far from my best – 2*
  5. evening: my energy and focus is somewhat back – 3*

Importance of time segments

You may be wondering why this is important.

Why is it important to know when you are most productive and when you are least productive? Well, here’s why: because you have a thousand things to scratch off that “to-do” list. Some of these “to-dos” are demanding in terms of focus, time and energy, like writing a blog post, calling 5 new potential clients, proof reading a document. Other “to-dos” are less demanding in terms of brain power but still need to get done, like the laundry, cleaning up the house, reading/replying to simple emails, booking appointements, going over personal/business schedules.

Once you’ve figured out when your peak time segments are, you allocate those segments to the most demanding to-dos on your list. During that time, you’ll be efficient and focused and motivated to get those tasks done efficiently.

The stuff on your list that is less demanding, will get pushed over to the segments where your energy and focus is not as high, but you’re still functioning.

For me, taking the time to figure out when I was most productive was a game changer.

I used to do all kinds of less demanding tasks in the morning (my peak times) just because I wanted to get them out of the way (who else feels the same here?) I would go through all my unread emails (including the promotional and fun stuff emails), do laundry, fold clothes, meal plan, book meetings and calls, review my schedule for the week, add things to my to-do list…

Once that was all done, I felt good because all my easy/boring stuff was done and I could get on with the important stuff. Problem was, I was now smack into my least productive segments of the day and I had my most demanding tasks to accomplish. Not a good combination and so I never felt like I accomplished my best work!

So I rearranged my working method to take advantage of my peak times.

I encourage you to give this method a try and see the impact it has on your day and what you are able to accomplish. This again, will strengthen your achievement mindset by achieving tasks efficiently and with greater focus. I am confident this will benefit you.

And like anything related to self improvement, don’t strive for perfection, strive to do your best.

If you’re a student and can’t attend class on your peak times, use your peak times to study or do other tasks that are brain heavy. If you work shifts and can’t get out of working at your worst times, try to use your peak times for other high ranking tasks.

It’s important to also develop ways to keep you fuelled and energized during your less ideal times like going for a brisk walk, chanting a mantra ( the mantra at the beginning of this post is amazing to bring you relaxed and positive energy), eating highly nutritious foods. Use your days off or weekends to recalibrate your important tasks to your peak times.

Again, don’t strive for perfection, strive for flexibility within your time segments framework.

I am so excited for you to implement this and feel the confidence that naturally comes from strengthening your achievement mindset.

And remember, the more you practice something, the more is it part of your routine, the better you will get at it and the greater the results will be.

I’d love to know what your time segments look like and if it’s help you accomplish your tasks more efficiently. Leave me a comment or any question you may have regarding time segments and mindful scheduling at the bottom of this post.