Day 331 Take 5

I want you to take one minute now to do exactly as I say. Read the full set of instructions below and then act them out immediately before you forget…

  1. Stop what you are doing.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Take 5 slow deep breaths.
  4. Listen to the sounds around you.
  5. Stay in the moment for one minute.
  6. Open your eyes and read on. Slowly and deliberately.

Lately my mind has been all over the place flitting from one thing to another hardly taking time out to savour the moment. A couple of times I found myself really concentrating on what I was doing and it was a very good feeling. I slowed down, focused and took time to really complete my task to the best of my ability. I found myself actually enjoying these tasks even though they were chores like ironing, cooking and cleaning.

Instead of thinking negative thoughts like ‘I would rather be doing something else’ I honed my mind onto the positive feeling I could get out of the situation.

  • Instead of rushing through the ironing like a crazed maniac I slowed my movements and really focused on pressing out each wrinkle. I gave myself  time to think what was the best way to lay the article of clothing across the ironing board to get the best result. I think I actually got finished sooner because often in my haste I iron the odd crease in by mistake which can take some effort to get out.
  • When cooking I gave full attention to each step of the process. I prepared the ingredients ahead instead of trying to chop, measure and stir all at once while cleaning as I go. We all know what a disaster that can be.
  • With the cleaning I focused my mind on how good it feels to have a clean and tidy home and how good each area looked when completed. I concentrated on one small task at a time and as a result didn’t find myself running up and down the stairs or between rooms extra times because I forgot what I went there for in the first place.

Basically I slowed down and savoured the moment. I know you may be thinking that you are a busy person and you can’t afford such a luxury but you really can. Have you ever heard the expressions “The more haste the less speed.” or “Haste makes waste.” I am sure they were words of wisdom quoted from experience. Not only can it be counter productive when you aren’t focused on what you are doing but there is a good chance you aren’t getting any pleasure out of it either.

I wrote this post late on Wednesday night after I have given up trying and let my husband do a guest post for me that day. It suddenly occurred to me that I couldn’t write because my head wasn’t in it so I took 5 deep slow breaths and listened to the crickets outside in the night. That was enough to bring my mind out of its fog and get me back on track.

So remember to take 5 refocus your mind and be in the moment. It is a good use of your time and you might actually find that is saves you time in the long run.

Item 331 of 365 less things

An old plastic tool box that no longer has a purpose for us so it went off to the thrift shop with a bunch of other stuff today.

Plastic Tool Box

5 Things I am grateful for today


  1. Ceiling Fans – The weather is starting to warm up but the longer I can resist the aircon the better.
  2. Having the time in my day to practice what I preach – I know I am very fortunate.
  3. Hubby doing the thrift store run today – I usually do these myself but I was expecting a visitor so he went in my place.
  4. My Daughter wishing us a happy Thanksgiving – via text message on her way to work.
  5. How easy it is to do cleaning jobs around my home – I cleaned out and reorganised the pantry today and it took about 20 minutes because it was tidy and uncluttered to begin with.

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Hi! I love reading your blog and it has inspired me to declutter my own place too. Do you happen to know the manufacturer of the plastic baskets you have in your pantry? The pink one on the third shelf from the bottom and the ones on the right hand side shelves? Are they stackable?

    • Hi Ann,
      thank you so much for dropping in and leaving a comment you are most welcome here at 365lessthing and we hope to here from you often.
      As for those baskets, I wish I could answer your question but there is no makers mark on them anywhere. They were cheap baskets I bought at a dollar store and I have probably owned them for most of my married life so that was money well spent. If you turn them one way they stack inside each other and if you turn the the other they stack on top of each other so they are very handy. If I ever see them in a store somewhere I will remember you and send you a message and let you know more info.
      Thanks again for dropping in. Come again soon.

  2. Your messages have been a great inspiration to me as I am embarking on a major clearing out. today you reminded me of an old expression: It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow.

    • Hi Rachel K,
      I have never heard that expression before but I love it. I think I may add that to the post of my posts every day. See, I add a little something to your life and you add a little something to mine and that is what makes the world go round. Thank you!

  3. I too have never heard Rachels expression but like it very much. I am often guilty of multitasking and in honesty all that happens is that I don’t do any of the jobs well. The idea of taking 5 slow breaths to calm and focus is a good one! I shall try to follow it x x

    • Hi Cathryn,
      good for you. It is one of those things where there is nothing to loose and maybe something to gain if you give it a try. So why not.

  4. Beautiful advice! Thank you.

  5. Just re-read this post. Ok, so the first time I read this, I admit, you caught me, I just glanced over it. However, this time I did take 5 (or more) breaths, etc. It was a slice of heaven. Then when I read on, at a slower pace, it all made sense. This also will help me deal with interuptions (kids, husband, etc). If I’m just enjoying myself doing whatever it is, then when someone asks me a question, I see myself not ‘biting’ them, but responding nicely. As any mother knows, kids of all ages say ‘MOM’ a million times a day (ok, well if FEELS like that many!).

    • Hi Annabelle,
      being a mother is really one of the most difficult jobs in the world. It can be so bitter sweet at times. We second guess ourselve and over analyse things on a regular basis, well I know I do. Every child is different to and one parenting technique can work on one but not on another so it is really quite hit and miss at times. We spend time teaching them how to say Mom as babies but that very soon turns into Mooooooooom. I think the key is to balance the discipline with fun and nurturing, set good examples and just cross your finger and hope for the best. And taking those 5 deep breaths and regrouping can be required more some days than others but it really does help. My kids are now 21 and 19 and I think I still suffer from postnatal depression but that is more about me than them. I think so long as you care about being a good parent you will continue to do the best you can and that is all you can do. Just remember to enjoy them as much as you can and tell them you love them often.