Fringe time: the tiny pockets of time that transition us from one moment to another
When it comes to making the most of the time that we have, most of us plot things out from a fairly broad perspective. In our mind’s eye, the week is broken down into a series of time chunks that are dedicated to one thing or another. There’s the time that we dedicate to riding or working with our horses there; work time here; hours with family over there; appointments that we need to show up to dotted about the place.
One of the things that we often pay less attention to is fringe time; the tiny pockets of time that transition us from one moment to another. Over the past while, I’ve been working to become more mindful of how it is I spend my time in those fringe moments. The common trap to fall into is to wait for larger or more dedicated moments of time to open up to us before we “do the thing” that we want to do; we might yearn for more creativity, more spaciousness, more time to study and learn, more time to be with our horses. And while we wait for bigger pockets to appear, we let the smaller moments that are available right now slither away.
Our micro habits are often easier to ignore or justify because those minutes of time seem inconsequential, but they have a bigger impact not only on our productivity and outcomes, but also on our state of mind than we might think. This is not about micromanaging every moment, or utilising every moment of every day but about realising that if there are things you want to do- or be- these fringe time moments may just be your opportunity to do so.
Let’s have a look at some things that you could do in your fringe moments that add up to be kind of a big deal over time:
- Reading 5 pages of a book. Over the course of a month, that’s 150 pages of extra reading
- 10 mins meditation. Over the week, that’s 70 minutes more mindfulness you’ve introduced to your week
- 15 minutes watching online tutorials or training videos. Over a month, that’s 7.5 hours of learning time you’ve packed in
- 20 minutes of hang time or ground work with your horse. That’s 10 hours over a 30 day period
- 2 minutes of visualisation practice. Over the course of the year, that’s 12 hours you’ve given to creating your intention and focusing your energy on what you want
- Writing 200 words or journaling. That’s 6, 000 words over the course of the month.
You can see where I’m going with this…
Fringe time matters. It counts. And it adds up.
How do we get into the headspace of making the most of our time?
Well, first things first- we need to get rid of the idea that we need a big block of time free in order to really accomplish anything. It doesn’t have to be big, long or intensive to be worth it. One of the biggest procrastination producers is the thought, oh I only have a few minutes, it’s not worth starting now.
Wrong! It IS worth starting. All those fringe moments add up.
Secondly, little moments of action create momentum. Once you start to see the welcome outcomes of your well-utilised fringe moments, the easier it is to make the most of the time you have available to you.
The other side benefit? It’s not so much about the things that you are doing, but the things that you aren’t. The minutes (hours!) that you may spend scrolling mindlessly on your phone or fiddling around clutter your headspace. There’s a glorious clarity that comes with defined time; it allows us to gain control over where it is we are investing our energy and what we might be doing that is unknowingly draining our resources.
Over the course of today, be aware of your fringe time moments. How is it that you could best spend what’s available to you? What could those tiny pockets of time add up to mean for you over the days, weeks and months?