18 things to do while the tea is brewing

18 things to do while the tea is brewing

18 things to do while the tea is brewing

I love a good cup of tea or coffee. In fact, I make sure to have several coffee or tea breaks during the day. And while I wait for the coffee or tea to brew, I try to use the time to either do some smaller, daily chores or some pleasant activities that could brighten my day.

Here are 18 things you could do in the 3-5 minutes it takes to brew a cup of tea:

  1. Cut some fresh flowers from the garden and put them in a vase in your bedroom so that you can wake up to the smell of flowers tomorrow morning.
  2. Do a set of squats, push ups or sit ups.
  3. Wipe down tables and counter tops.
  4. Water the plants.
  5. Put on some music and dance.
  6. Send a loved one a lovely message.
  7. Clear away toys, papers, magazines or whatever it is that tends to multiply around your house.
  8. Empty the dishwasher.
  9. Fluff up the pillows.
  10. Take out the rubbish.
  11. Pick up the mail.
  12. Do some breathing exercises.
  13. Delete unwanted pictures from your phone.
  14. Read a poem.
  15. Call someone.
  16. Clean a hotspot in your home.
  17. Jot down ideas for future writings or blog posts.
  18. Write a listicle – like this one. 😉

Now go and enjoy your tea.

Swapping disciplines for delights

Swapping disciplines for delights

It’s summer time and I am swapping my small daily disciplines with small daily delights:

  • picking blueberries and raspberries and eating them as we go
  • enjoying as many morning coffees outdoors as possible
  • watching the morning dew on spiderweb in the grass
  • filling the house with delicat and joyfull summer flowers
  • having to catch my breath as the (not so) cold water hits my chest for that the first dip of the day in the sea
  • marvelling at butterflies and dragon flies
  • listening to the birds singing as the day is ending
  • burying my toes in the sand

What are your summer delights?

4 ways to bring your family closer together

4 ways to bring your family closer together

The paradox of families is that the people we love the most are the ones we most easily take for granted. If the loved ones in your life have become more like the tapestry of your home than the tapestry of your life, it’s time to take action. Shake things up by introducing some small and simple disciplines that could have a profound effect on your relationship together.


SHARE A MEAL TOGETHER AT LEAST ONCE A DAY
Eating together is one of the great rituals of human beings, yet it’s a ritual that’s slipping away for many of us. Busy days, unsynchronized schedules, the ease of fast food and take outs, and the decline in cooking skills are all part of it. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Further reading: The Importance of Eating Together

If you cannot have dinner together, make sure you gather around the breakfast table instead. And then, of course, use the opportunity to talk with each other. Ask everyone about their day, what they have done – or what they are expecting of the day if it’s breakfast time. It’s a great way of staying involved in each other’s lives rather than acting like ships passing in the night.

You can also try The One Conversation Rule at dinner time as Michael Hyatt has written about on his blog. This is where you only have one conversation at a time, allowing for everyone to be heard and for a deeper, more meaningful conversation to take place.


SAY “I’M SORRY”
Families have a tendency to bring out the best – and the worst – in us. When we get into an argument with a family member it’s all too easy to shout or stomp off and slam doors, behavior we would be embarrassed to display towards anyone else.

Apologizing when you are in the wrong is a simple, but profound gesture. It’s a great way to puncture a possible conflict before it gets a chance to escalate, and it opens the way for forgiveness when there has been animosity. We should all take greater pride in being able to say I’m sorry than in carrying a grudge. Admitting to one’s faults is strength, not a weakness.

Not everyone has mastered the art of giving a sincere apology, but it can be learnt. The best way to teach your child this is by example. If you’ve lost your temper with her, ruined her favorite teddy bear in the wash, accidentally hurt her or similar, get down to her level and tell her you’re sorry. And, this is very important, say it without making a disclaimer. No “I’m sorry, but …” or anything else that will lessen your apology. Just stop talking after you have said you’re sorry.

Further reading: Learning to Say “I’m Sorry”

The same goes for your partner of course. Just because your partner is an adult and understands rationally that your sudden flare of anger was due to low blood sugar or fatigue doesn’t mean he or she won’t appreciate an apology when you have calmed down again.


SET SCREEN-FREE HOURS
Social media is a great way of keeping you together when you are a part, but it can also keep you apart when you are together. Consider introducing a house rule that states that all screens are off at certain times. Dinner time should be a minimum, but you could also set it from the kids get home from school until after dinner. No blaring TV, no Netflix marathon on the iPad, no obsessive checking of mobile phones – for kids and adults alike.

According to American Academy of Pediatrics, studies have shown that “excessive media use can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity.”

Further reading: AAP on Media and Children

If you’re a family of screen addicts, expect some arguments, some boredom, maybe even some awkward moments, to start with. But give yourself time to be screen free and relearn how to be together, to talk, hang out, and do non-screen activities, together and apart.


GO FOR WALKS TOGETHER
It’s something to be said for getting out of the house and your familiar surroundings to see things afresh. However, it doesn’t have to involve long journeys or exotic destination; it can be as simple as putting on your shoes and going for a walk. As I have mentioned before, movement can aid your creativity. It can also get conversations going. Or maybe you get to discover things together.

Further reading: The benefits of walking with kids

Make a habit of going for walks together, whether it’s around the block or on hiking trips. Let the journey together be the objective of the walk, not the destination or the time spent. Allow for surprise findings, sudden sights, deep conversation or just plain silliness.

 

Do you practice any of these disciplines?

What little things does your family do to stay united?

How one single push-up can make all the difference

How one single push-up can make all the difference

Can you get strong by doing one single push-up? Surely not.

What if you did that one single push-up a couple of times a day? Every day?

What if you after a while found you had enough strength to do two push-ups? And then five? And then ten? And twenty?

Small disciplines can lead to great changes. And if you combine small disciplines with tiny habits you can transform your life (should you want to – you might be quite happy where you are, thank you very much).

From tiny to habit
The phrase “tiny habits” were coined by Dr. BJ Hoggs and refers to a method of creating new habits by breaking them down into ridiculously small sizes. This can be the single push-up I mentioned earlier, or flossing a single tooth, writing one sentence, reading one paragraph, tidying one single shelf and so on. You simply make the task so ridiculously tiny that you give yourself no reason to avoid it.

However, you might want to make sure you settle on a “tininess” that makes sense to you. To me, things can get too small, to the point where I cannot be bothered to pull out the flosser if it’s only to floss one tooth (yes, I am that lazy). I would need a slightly bigger section to be bothered to do it, such as the teeth in the bottom left part of the jaw or similar.

– Behavior and behavioral changes are not as difficult as people think. They are systematic.

BJ Fogg

behavior scientist

You also need to be motivated if you are to have any success implementing the tiny habits into your daily routines. If you feel you ought to do something, but you are not really bothered about it, you probably won’t be able to establish a habit.

        TIP! Only implement one or two habits at the time.

Trigger makes the habit
In addition to creating the tiniest task you can perceive yourself doing, you need to find a trigger that will make you do it. This can be anything, although you will probably want to work with some logical sequences such as “after I get undressed for the evening, I will remove my makeup”.

However, you might also have success making unusual connections, such as “after I put on my shoes to leave the house, I’ll do one sit-up” or “after I’ve used the toilet, I’ll read one paragraph of Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu”. The quirkiness could make it easier for you to remember to do your tiny habit.

Either way, the important factor is that your new habit comes after an existing and well-established action.

Further resources

BJ Foggs TEDxFremont-talk on Tiny habits

Tiny Habits – the website

BJ Foggs Behavior Model 

How I did it
When I first heard about tiny habits, I went overboard and wanted to change it all – and change it now! I was creating sequences for exercises, for drinking water, for taking my vitamins, for flossing a tooth, for tidying up my hot-spots. You name it, I tried it.

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t go very well. There were simply too many new things for me to remember.

So I scaled back and settled on one thing: getting stronger in time for my new baby. And so I started doing push-ups against the kitchen counter after I had placed the moka a pot on the (I was eight months pregnant at the time, I wasn’t going to start doing push-ups on the floor.)

That baby is now a 15 months old toddler and I still use the time when the coffee is brewing to exercise. It is no longer purely countertop push-ups, but rather any type of strengthening exercise I can do in short burst. If the coffee is brewing, you will find me on the kitchen floor doing squats or lounges or hip-lifts or whatever.

The tiny habit has become a regular habit.

These tiny daily exercises haven’t transformed my body, mainly because I am not motivated by the changes in my physical appearance. But I feel stronger in my body, more prepared for the everyday challenges I’m faced with as a toddler mum. And my posture has improved.

Now I just need to get that flossing habit sorted …

Have you tried the tiny habits method? If not, which tiny habit would you implement if you were to try it?

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