Ten Minute Increments

At some point during my years in Philly I picked up the habit of practicing in fifty minute increments.  In the old days, I would practice for fifty minutes, and then smoke for ten.  When my viola muscles (and my lungs) were still young and spry, I could do this all day long. 

Practice, smoke, practice, smoke, practice, smoke. 

I quit smoking several years ago, and ever since then I have had a hard time filling the ten minute break.  It’s not that I can’t think of anything to do with my break, it’s that I can’t think of anything to do that only takes ten minutes.  Without a cigarette, the ten minute break has a tendency to expand into fifteen minutes, an hour, or even twenty-four hour breaks.

Today I decided to get serious about the break.  My big plan was to combine spring cleaning and practicing.  I intended to practice for fifty minutes, and then clean for ten.  Sadly, this is not what occurred.  I kept to the practice/break schedule, but instead of cleaning I started several large-scale apartment projects.  Instead of cleaning, I spent ten minutes pulling furniture away from walls, and emptying messy drawers onto the kitchen table.  I did the opposite of spring cleaning.  Every task I started lead to ten other tasks, and now my apartment is in total chaos.  I can’t quite explain what happened here today.  My good intentions turned destructive, and I got in over my head. 

I’m going to have to take A LOT of ten minute breaks in order to clean this place up.

Practice, clean, practice, clean, practice, clean.

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3 Responses to “Ten Minute Increments”


  1. 1 Liz April 7, 2007 at 8:04 am

    Totally understand….sometimes when I have a big concert coming up, all the sudden I want to do chores.

    (I use a modified Flylady system….oven timer on for 15-minute stretches…even for practice and alternate between the two.)

    Have a great day!

  2. 2 Tots April 7, 2007 at 11:46 am

    Kate:
    the breaks have to be something that is mindless and not part of a bigger project. That is why smoking is perfect. I suggest stretching out the practice muscles (i discovered this when my neck hurt so bad). Or crocheting or knitting if you’re not going to be distracted. OR washing dishes because that is finite and keeps your hands warm. for god’s sake don’t empty out your drawers in a practice break!

  3. 3 javacrotch@gibsonsdonuts.com April 7, 2007 at 11:56 am

    the mindless part is correct— that is why i actually PRACTICE during the ten minute break. then I have the other fifty minutes for things i really want to concentrate on, like video games.


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