The 25 Minute Rule

Our brains are like children, they can’t focus for long on one thing.

25 minutes is the maxium.

So any thing you pursue, from reading a book, to doing a craft, practicing a musical instrument, drawing, working, exercising, stop after 25 minutes.

Stop and move around. Look at something else. Shake your body. Get a change of scene. Go outside. Take a walk. Buy an ice cream. Drink a glass of water. Pet the cat. Do the dishes. Clean the litter box. Go pee.

I am so bad at doing this I have timers all over my house, all set for 25 minutes. I get so absorbed in my projects that hours can pass and then I hurt my brains. There aren’t too many of those precious cells left!

And what would be the point of doing something for hours and hours without a break? You want to prove that you’re an idiot? I know, there is something macho here, and I’ve been guilty of it myself. But I am older and wiser, okay? Your body and brain need a break.

If sex were still an issue, I would say maybe go a bit longer than 25 minutes, maybe less. Sorry guys, sex can get boring after that. I don’t vote for all that tantric stuff. Like my friend used to joke; want a sixty second romance? Got a minute?

No, I would not set the timer for sex. Although it’d be a good laugh.

The timer is to make sure you take a break, not set a record on how fast you can do something.


Many years ago in a job interview I was asked a question that pops up into my mind time to time. It demands I reexamine it.

It was a silly, but very dark question.

What makes this question very interesting is that this was for a job as church secretary.

“If the bathroom is consistently without paper towels, how would you reprimand the janitor?”

I was struck by the word reprimand. Coming from senior members of a church, concerning a fellow employee, it seemed, to put it mildly, quite harsh. Especially about paper towels.

At the time I remember saying that it was not my responsibility to reprimand another employee. In my eyes, I was not superior to the Janitor. I distinctly remember looking right at the Pastor when I said it. His mouth dropped open. The two others put their noses to their notes.

I said I would try to find other solutions to the problem, but they did not want to know what. They wanted me to slap this guy!

I would try to find out why the bathroom is without paper towels and not automatically assume it was the janitors fault. Then I would work out a solution with him, not berate the poor soul. Nor would I automatically go to his superiors. I mean really, paper towels?

In hindsight, it was not in my best interest to challenge a potential employer.

Over the years this same question keeps haunting me. I think because they did not want solutions, and that kind of irritates me.

They wanted a bad ass authoritarian who could absolve them of their responsibilities.

That whole interview was fraught with questions, probing for answers to current problems they were struggling with and weren’t solving because they lacked leadership. The place was rife with gossip and backstabbing. They interviewed me several times, they couldn’t make up their minds. In the end they said they wanted someone younger but with my experience.

Education Not Just for a Job

Pursuing higher education is not just about getting a better job or better pay, although, yes, it often does result in that.

It is not about the nice piece of paper you get to frame and hang on your wall or pull out when doubting Thomas’s say you couldn’t have possibly got a degree.

And it is not just about creating more opportunities, but yes, many more doors open.

Education is also not only courses, textbooks, certificates and honours.

And it is certainly more, way more, and should be more, than rote memorization of stuff.

It should be mind expanding.

I have met plenty of pretty stupid PhD’s. I mean, really stupid. They are not even good at what they doctored in. Narrow minded idiots who haven’t a lick of common sense. Or worse, snobs who like to smear their qualifications in your face like plate full of pooh with absolutely nothing to back up their claims of superiority.

Education, in its highest form is three fold. Experiences, critical thinking and doing what you love.

Experiences – You need to do things, try things, explore. Move outside your comfort zone. Be open. Learn from them.

Critical thinking – Oh, my, how badly we need thinking people! We have enough sheep. Enough cults. Enough celebrity worship. Ritual religion. People are asleep. The world has major big huge gigantic life threatening problems that need thinkers, solvers and doers! Not more idiots who give us more telephones, cars and jettison more crap into space hoping to colonize an inhospitable planet, professing to be geniuses because they are billionaires (oh there I go on an old rant!)

Do what you love – We already have a shit load of compassionless youngsters who became doctors and lawyers because of the money, man! When you pursue what you love, it’s like baking a cake with real butter and sugar. Becoming something just for money is trying to make delectable chocolate cake with only flour and water. Blah.

End of rant.

My 2 a.m. Self

There is a huge difference between my brain at 2 a.m. and at 2 p.m.

Sometimes at 2 a.m. I suddenly wake up to a world of worry. No matter what I do, I see worse case scenarios. Going broke. Getting ill. Dying alone. Losing everything. Good grief.

Why does my early before dawn self do that?

Knowing the type of person I am, it is just my brain trying hard to be prepared. I like to be organized, ahead of the curve. I loathe surprises, especially ones I could have easily prevented if I had of just being paying attention.

But good grief, I can’t solve it all!

I have a list of good things to think about when this happens to read over and over until I fall asleep. Sometimes I recreate my past into a more agreeable form, I rewrite history so that the 2 a.m. crisis doesn’t exist. A lot of work. But a whole lot better than throwing off the covers because I’m having a worry sweat. A worry sweat is closely related to a hot flash, same result, different reason.

Then, when the sun comes up and I’m still staring at the ceiling wondering what the heck just happened for the last 3 hours, life suddenly doesn’t look so bleak.

My Mother always said “Things will look better in the morning.”

This is so true.

Many times in my life I rehearse that and not just at night. Like when I’ve had compulsions, strange urgings, foreboding thoughts, cravings. I apply it any time I just can’t release myself from obsessive thoughts gone wrong.

At 2 p.m. I am my most blissful self, diametrically opposed to that 2 a.m. raving lunatic that thinks the world is ending right now.

What a difference 12 hours can make.