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What Could You Do In 10 Minutes?

Five practices to improve your health, career, decision-making, and happiness in (almost) an instant.

What Could You Do In 10 Minutes?


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Now onto the post …

I often feel like I need “enough time” to do something. That is, I don’t want to start a useful task if I can’t do it for very long.

For example, I won’t get into a writing project if I have a meeting starting in 5 or 10 minutes.

We all have situations where we waste time as we wait. I used to far more than I’d like to admit. But I’ve started finding some better ways to use these interstitials—and they’ve helped my life immensely.

I was digging through some research the other day and came upon a couple of fun studies.

They reminded me that we can, in fact, do a lot in just a little time.

One study took about 400 people and split them into groups.

  • The first group followed a guided meditation for 10 minutes.
  • The second group did the same but for 20 minutes.

The meditations were the same in every way but length—they had the same instructions and voice guiding them.

You’d think that the longer meditation would come with more significant benefits.

But the findings show something different:

  • The group who meditated for 10 minutes saw the exact same reduction in anxiety and improvements in mindfulness as the group who went for 20 minutes.

Another study pushed the gap even further.

It compared a five-minute to a twenty-minute meditation. The scientists wrote:

Surprisingly, participants who engaged in the 5-min sessions reported significantly greater improvements on trait mindfulness, state mindfulness, and stress compared to participants who engaged in the 20-min sessions (with a trend in the same direction for depression and anxiety).

The idea that we can often accomplish big things in a bit of time reminds me of the Apollo 13 mission.

The astronauts needed to burn exactly 14 seconds worth of fuel to get on course and survive.

That famous 14-second maneuver led Omega timepieces—which the astronauts wore in space—to release a special edition Speedmaster inscribed with the words “what could you do in 14 seconds?” (Photo above.)

Which raises a good question for you: What could you do in 5 or 10 minutes?

Today, we’re firing off five hyper-beneficial ways you can leverage the power of 5 to 10 minutes. We’ll cover:

  1. A bulletproofing, no-sweat 7-minute workout.
  2. A powerful mindset practice that increases perspective and happiness.
  3. A killer productivity hack.
  4. A no-effort practice proven to boost physical and mental health.
  5. A useful learning trick.

Let’s roll …

1. The 7-minute bulletproofing workout

Here’s a simple routine you can do in your office or home when you have 7 minutes.

Think of it as a tune up. The point isn’t to work super hard and get sweaty.

Rather, it’s to pack in a handful of powerful, bulletproofing exercises you probably don’t do in your “normal” workout.

But these neglected exercises are often best for unlocking more performance and helping you avoid injury.

The workout will improve your resilience and performance in most activities—and make you feel better.

Here’s how to do it:

Set a timer for 7 minutes. Each minute on the minute, you’ll do the prescribed exercise.

  • For an easier workout, do each exercise for 15 seconds each.
  • For a medium-difficulty workout, do each exercise for 30 seconds each.
  • For a tougher workout, do them for 45 seconds each.

In all cases, rest for the rest of the minute, and then move on to the next exercise. Start the timer and do the following: