The Amazing Bliss of 10 More Minutes

crowded parking lot

I had to report for jury duty last week. I find jury service interesting and don’t view it as a chore, but I did have to do some careful organizing on Wednesday because my son’s school had a late start and I had to check in at 8 a.m.

Since Denver’s morning rush hour is unpredictable, I built an extra ten minutes in my tightly-planned schedule to drive to the courthouse, park, and go through security. Traffic was pretty typical that morning, but because I had extra time I wasn’t annoyed by the heavy volume or stoplights.

I arrived early to the courthouse, and instead of frantically circling the crowded lot looking for a parking space I had time to find a nice, shady spot under a tree.

I had a few moments to sit in my car and send up a prayer for the people in the courthouse with their various concerns and heartbreaks and problems, and for the judges and lawyers and staff to perform their best, and for us jurors to listen well and do a good job of carrying out our responsibilities.

I had a nice walk from my outlying parking spot to the courthouse, and didn’t feel stressed when I saw the long security line because I still had extra time. I arrived a few minutes early to the jury room.

The rest of the day was filled with many hours of “hurry up and wait,” as I sat through jury selection for two trials. My number was never called, and I was eventually excused mid-afternoon.

Driving home, it occurred to me that the relaxed beginning to my morning had stayed with me throughout the day. Wednesday at the courthouse turned out to be a very pleasant day.

I realized that too often, I don’t build in much extra time in my schedule. I frequently find myself trying to squeeze in a few more tasks before I rush off somewhere. How might my days improve if I gave myself the gift of an extra ten minutes now and then?

How about you? Could you build in a little extra time to your comings and goings this week, and see how that affects you? Or do you already do a good job of building in breathing room to your daily schedule?

Have a good weekโ€”and may you enjoy the bliss of some unhurried moments,

The signature for Eliza Cross

Photo: Dean Hochman

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

10 comments to The Amazing Bliss of 10 More Minutes

  • Hi Eliza, what a nice start to a morning that could have turned into a rushed and stressful one.
    I find with five children I tend to rush most things but I have taken a leaf out of your book, I go back to work today after the six week summer holiday and I am going to leave fifteen minutes early so that I can have a leisurely walk to work and arrive relaxed instead of rushed.
    Thank you for the good advise. X

  • Eliza, in theory jury duty should be a fun, educational experience, but there is so much that happens, the waiting for your number to be called and if it is and you are selected then there are what I call the games played by the lawyers and judge. It bothers me because I don’t think the jurors get to know the whole story to make the most informed decision.

    Anyway that isn’t what you were asking. I was raised to always show up early. As a result I plan to always be 20 minutes early, then if things go wrong I’m still ten minutes early and never worry about being late. Of course rarely does anything go wrong which leaves me with a lot of time to kill. I took to carrying a book with me at all times and use that time to enjoy a bit of an escape.

    Yes, even ten minutes built into our schedules as a cushion can completely change the way we feel about our day.

    • Isn’t it interesting that your family raised you to show up early? You seem like a grounded, peaceful person and I wonder how much that early influence shaped your way of life. You also cause me to wonder if I can instill that habit in my children, too, in addition to trying to do better myself about allowing extra time. I always enjoy your comments, Lois – thank you. xoxo

  • I find this too: when I build a little bit of extra time into my schedule, I am so much more relaxed. And I’ve found that it doesn’t take much, but just those few extra minutes slow everything down. I have space to breathe and observe and enjoy. I try to build that space into almost all of our appointments.

  • PJ

    Thank you for this. It really struck me. I always try to squeeze in as much as possible, and as a result am often harried and stressed because I then run late. Tomorrow morning, I’m going with your suggestion. This was one of those a-ha moments. Thank you!

  • Oh… I SOOOOO need to find a way to incorporate this into my life! My problem is that I tend to stay up too late, so then I’m tired, so then I sleep late, so then I’m behind… yadda, yadda, yadda. And I have such a hard time making myself go to bed earlier because those late hours seem to be the only ones that aren’t rushed. It’s a vicious circle! Must work on that!

    BTW – you have a significantly better attitude toward jury duty than I do! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • We each have our times of day when we’re most energized and productive, and it sounds like you’re a night owl. I’m definitely an early bird, and I’d love to be able to get more done in the evenings! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you find an extra few minutes here and there in the coming days.

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