What 15 Minutes Can Do
I've been angry at my garden this summer. Hot, humid weather, weeds, perfectionism and overwhelm have led to resentment, resistance and the temptation to throw in the towel, or, more accurately, the trowel.
Then I remembered the Kaizen in Kaizen Muse Creativity Coaching. Kaizen, as Dr. Maurer defines it in his book One Small Step Can Change Your Life, is the Japanese word for using small steps to improve a habit, a process or a product.
One way to take small steps is to set a timer for a tidbit of time and apply yourself to your task, stopping when the timer dings. I chose a 15-minute commitment (although 15 minutes is on the long side for a small step) and I have been amazed at how much I could get done in such a short amount of time. For example, I weeded a whole strawberry bed one day, pruned the grape vine the next day and weeded the potatoes the day after that.
While the garden looks better, the real transformation has been in how I feel about the garden. I can look it in the eye again because I feel like I'm doing my part, keeping up my end of the bargain. And since I don't feel guilty about neglecting it, I'm actually happier while I'm in the garden and can talk encouragingly to my tomato plants and handle the manspreading tendency of the catnip with fairness and equanimity.
I think we're all a little happier.