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Mindset StrategiesParentingSelf Care

The three minute exercise that’s changed my days (and nights!)

By November 22, 201849 Comments

I want to share a really small, but kind of life-changing, tip with you today.

It’s not the kind of strategy I’d usually share, probably because it seems really basic……

But sometimes basic is best, yes?

The tip?

Well, I’ll get to that. But first, a story.

Now that Hakavai is a crawling/standing/roaming kid – his stuff is also crawling, standing and roaming around with him. It doesn’t matter what I do, at the end of the day, his toys and stuff is just everywhere.

And for a while there, I didn’t make a habit of picking it up every night.

But the nights I did, I noticed that the next day would generally go a lot smoother. I would wake up to a relatively tidy house, I wouldn’t step on a book on my way to make my morning coffee, or trip over a stuffed owl.

It also made me feel clearer mentally.

Now, no matter how tired I am, no matter what’s been going on in my life, I make it a habit to pick up his toys from the floor and put them away. Every. Single. Day.

So, my tip today:
Whatever your version of “toys” is, do it every day. For one of my team members, that’s putting away her clean clothes when she takes them off the line – so they don’t end up piling up in a basket on her bedroom floor.

For my friend, that’s unpacking the dishwasher when he gets home from work.

These probably seem like really small things, but remember: the small things matter.

It’s about controlling what you CAN control. It doesn’t matter how chaotic my day is, or what happens, I can pick up Hak’s toys. And that small thing, that little three minute moment, gives me the feeling that I’m OK, that I’m in control of what I can control, and that I’m doing what I can to make my life run a little more smoother tomorrow.

So, I’d love to know – what’s your small thing? What’s one small thing you can do today that will help you feel a bit better?

Let me know in the comments below.

Turia x


  • Sandra says:

    I like this tip. I like to do a 3 minute power clean in the house every day. That could mean put away boots, coats, dishes …..whatever I see that is annoying me. For some reason it makes me feel better. It may be because it is something I can control in my life.

  • sonja m says:

    Spend time with those people who value me. Clean the house. Drink a cuo of sweet cocoa. Watch a favourite movie. Go for a run.

  • Kim Collins says:

    Before going to bed I make sure table tops and kitchen benches are wiped. When I get up and get my tea, iI love walking into my tidy, kitchen and see my clean kitchen benches he sit on my couch in front of my non marked glass table….it makes me feel content (must admit I am a bit of a perfectionist).

  • Theresa says:

    When I was a single Mum I would always take the time to tidy the house and organise everything we needed for the next day before I went to bed no matter how late or how tired I was…. my reward was a nice long shower with yummy shower products and a stress free mind to head to bed with….. Married now and self employed I still do this every night. I love starting my day without having to deal with ‘stuff’ left over from the previous day lying around….. and I’ve got back into making my bed every morning ….. wow doesn’t that make a difference to your day too…..

  • Charlotte says:

    I have a ritual similar to this: Every morning I make my bed again, almost to fresh-as-day-one or picture perfect complete with carefully placed decorative pillows – only takes a few minutes! Even if I’m running late etc. because no matter how rough/challenging/tiring my day is I know I’ll always come home to a beautifully made bed.

  • K says:

    Agree! I put away all the clothes which I pulled out in the morning, trying to find the perfect outfit… I also like to do one or two things on my ‘Tomorrow’ list, after I’ve had dinner and chilled for a bit. This means I can be a bit more leisurely in the morning i.e. go for a run, then take my time getting ready for work instead of rushing and running out the door. This ultimately makes me feel less stressed and ahead of the game before I’ve even started my day.

  • Linda Marshall says:

    1. Have my boot camp clothes laid out for early morning. 2. Wash and wipe and put plates , cutlery away. 3. Make sure my Robo Vac is emptied.

  • Cynthia says:

    I am a big believer in the morning ritual of ‘make your bed’. A beautifully made bed starts me on the right track a organised bedroom, that flows on to an organised day .. small but essential It is also a wonderful welcome after a day full of adventure to fall into a beautifully made bed …..

  • Laurie says:

    Hi Turia, I have an 11 month old too. So I feel like we are already kindred spirits in a way. You are totally right about this tiny bit of discipline. It really helps just to start with a “clean” slate ( rather a tidy one bit who is checking 😉

    Thanks for your discipline of sharing your insights and life as well. It is the little things and I’m inspired every time I hear from you.

  • Meghan says:

    In my deepest darkest days when I wasn’t sure if I could get out of bed and whether I would just end things and was off work, I decided that just in case I lived I wanted to at least not regret having ‘done nothing’ with a luxurious break from work. So I started three ‘to do’ lists that had really small stuff and also big stuff on them – one for me personally (get overdue Pap smear / dental appointment/ hair cut, etc etc), one for home (which had become a mess through very depressed chaotic period) – clean linen cupboard, buy hose for balcony, sort out spare room, give away clothes I don’t wear etc etc) and all one for financial – dontax, find a better super etc.

    I forced myself to do at least one thing from a list a day, so even if I couldnt bear to get out of bed until 4pm and didn’t want to leave the house, at least I had achieved something that day, even if it was only sorting out my cutlery draw whilst watching Netflix. So after a short while I could see things improving. By improving myself and my surroundings I also began to take more pride in myself, which is very hard when you are in such a dark place.

    And eventually when I added exercise to the mix I realised the healing power of walking to think and clear the mind, especially outdoors in nature or somewhere nice if possible. Even when I just wanted to cry all day I forced myself to walk down to the beach and put on glasses to cover those tears. Even if only for 20 minutes. I actually discovered a love for bushwalking and think nature can really ground you when you are down.

    By telling myself it was only one thing I became disciplined in doing these things, and I at least felt like there was a chance of life getting better and hope for the future.

    • Turia Pitt says:

      Thank you for sharing this story Meghan. I absolutely love this – because it’s the tiny little steps we take that really do add up.
      I hope things are improving day by day for you, and yes – nature is the best! It’s played a massive part in my recovery. Thank you x

    • JM says:

      Thank you for sharing, Meghan. I’m trying to dig myself out of a hole at the moment, and feel like you just handed me a shovel and a headtorch xx

    • Carmel says:

      Every tiny little thing that you did was so brave. From your list my favourite was sorting the cutlery drawer while watching Netflix

    • Nanette says:

      I love the fact that despite difficult times you are such a wise person. By sharing your story you have given me a great strategy to work with. X

  • Lisa says:

    I like to get my clothes ready at night for the next day so I don’t have to think about what to wear when I get up. It saves heaps of time 🙂

  • Hayley says:

    Oh I love this! One of my life mantras is that a tidy house equals a tidy mind.

    I always, always, ALWAYS make my bed in the morning. It takes minimal effort, but it gives me a small win for the morning. And when I come home, I have the satisfaction of coming in to a bedroom which looks nice and tidy. Aaahhh bliss.

    Now excuse me while I go and organise myself for bed! ??

  • Kaz says:

    I always wash up/pack the dishwasher – no matter what time it is…….
    Now I’m adding in getting clothes ready for work the night before lol, my mornings are disorganized:-)
    Love the reminder to be mindful of that 3 minutes, thank you!!

  • Lydia says:

    I started doing this a few weeks ago! I don’t have kids, so for me it was just tidying up the living room, putting all the dishes in the dishwasher, and wiping all the counters. I don’t know why I didn’t do it before, because leaving it for the next morning just made me wake up grumpy.

  • Jody Farrar says:

    The first thing I do now when I wake up is go into the lounge room floor,as this is the only space big enough & I do my stretches.I lay down flat first & take nice deep breaths.This is such a great help to me as it clears my mind as well as feels great for my body ?

  • Jan Marshall says:

    Two things are important to make my life flow positively
    1 Make the bed 1st thing in the morning – saves me walking past the bedroom many times a day saying”must make the bed”
    2 Making sure the kitchen is clean and tidy after dinner.. walking into dishes 1st thing in the morning makes me very grumpy.

  • Susan Blackmore says:

    Love your scrapped letter. My 3 mintue thing is preparing my breakfast the night before (soaking oats) . This means that I start the day eating right.

  • Keri Fuller says:

    I’ve started making my bed every day it’s a pleasure as I leave seeing it all tidy and ready for me to come home to.

  • Kate says:

    When I started back at work after maternity leave 4 or so months ago I had everything sorted the night before. My outfit and bubs outfits ready, her daycare bag and my lunch bag ready, dishes done and high chair cleaned up, etc. For the last few weeks though I just couldn’t be bothered so have been having the most hectic crazy mornings!! Thanks for this article, it totally makes sense! I need to get back to stress free mornings so need to commit to doing my night time routine of getting everything ready again, no matter how much I can’t be bothered! Top tip thanks Turia 🙂

    • Turia Pitt says:

      It feels really hard at night when you’re tired, but it makes such a difference to the morning hey? x

  • Geraldine says:

    Never go to bed without doing the dishes ( either by hand or loading the dishwasher). There’s nothing worse than waking up to dirty dishes .

  • Nell Howse says:

    Basking in the feeling of awareness the moment upon awakening is my joy and gratitude no matter what is going on in life…therefore helping me make choices for the day..creating abit of excitement/motivation to get moving/going/doing..?

  • Christina dunbar says:

    My thing to do is sit and have a cup of tea all by myself no tv no radio and just decompress after a day of work…I feel its good for my mind and body to just relax

  • Zelma says:

    My everyday task would be brushing my teeth in the night and gargling with raw aloe era. it makes me feel responsible and refreshed in the morning.ready to go!

  • Margo Montgomerie says:

    Everyday i make sure my lounge room is tidy because its the last room i see when leaving the house and first when returning in the evening. I also leave notes for my kids when im at work to pick up their mess so im not tripping over it when i get home.

  • Josie browne says:

    That is so interesting because I like to have a clean kitchen when I go to bed. Always have even in a share house in my 20’s when often I ended up doing others dishes ( much to their discomfort ) because it really made such a difference to my mood in the morning walking into a lovely clean new day . I am quite a messy person in a lot of ways , but this somehow really made a difference . Now I’m 60 and still feel flat if I walk in for my morning tea on a new day ?to my husband or kids dirty dishes .

  • Jor says:

    I felt so identified by this! I have a 7mo baby girl and I also try to pick up her toys and put her clothes in the wardrobe every day. Sometimes I feel like I could use that time to do something for myself but I always remember something i read somewhere ” if you want to put some order in your life you have to start with your house”

  • Cass Verso says:

    Make the bed as soon as I am out of it. It’s so much more inviting at the end of a busy and long day.

  • Rae says:

    Always lay my clothes and sons clothes out the night before
    I fluff the cushions on the lounge before I go to bed nothing left in sink benches clean
    Pretty much repeat in the AM
    Bed made kitchen clean no toys laying around pjs out ready for bed
    Now if hubby could get with the programme life would be swell ??

  • Relaxed Rosy...... says:

    Gosh!!! And as an aside to this conversation. I Thank you. You’ve opened my eyes to something I hadn’t realised has happened.
    Since retiring several years ago, and a major interstate house move recently, all my days have run into one…. I’m drifting along every day without an end – only ever with the thought that I need to relax to stay healthy and to avoid the inevitable. And half the time Ive got to check what day of the week it is when I wake up.
    And yes, I clean very regularly but I do leave a mess behind me. Drifting along, staying relaxed, thinking I’ll do it later. Loving my new environment.
    Then I wake up to that mess and it’s overwhelming so I’ll fix that tomorrow. And so it grows!!!
    Things here will be changing….. you’ve put me back on track, I think. I need to finalise each day. Can’t wait to finish today tidily and start a new day tomorrow. Now I wonder how long it will be before Hubby notices – won’t hold my breath for that to happen…..

  • Amy says:

    My husband and I make the kids lunches in the evening before we go to bed. It’s nice to chat and work side by side, and it makes the mornings run smoothly.

  • Katrina says:

    Hi Turia,
    I found a similar thing when my 4 sons were growing up. If the house was tidy the boys were calm when we had mess everywhere it was hectic. I had a motto,
    I can look dirt in the eye but we can’t have to much mess.
    (I had 4 sons in 5 years)
    Warm wishes Katrina

  • Jane Yost says:

    Making the bed! It helps me get my start to the day with a clear head. Another one is actually getting dressed … on those days off, if I just schlepp in my pj’s or even sweatpants, then i don’t seem to get anything significant done … but if I get dressed, I get more productive. Amazing how it works … even making phone calls dressed v. undressed … it’s like wearing some rocking’ underwear to work – others don’t see it, but you know you’ve got it on and you feel the power. Ha! I know … craaaaazy me 🙂

  • Glenda says:

    Getting up to a clean kitchen is boss! That would be my number 1 thing and after that a general tidy and put away housewide

  • Kirsten Campbell says:

    I always put out clothes for my girls (3 and 5) and pack school lunch for the oldest and have it ready to get out of the fridge and into school bag in the morning.
    I have a new goal of getting everyone to make their bed in the morning but keep forgetting! Kirsten

  • Jennifer says:

    Every night before I go to bed I write down the important things I need to do the next day so I have a clear mind and stops me from thinking about it while I’m trying to sleep…

  • Sharon says:

    Whenever I come in from driving the car, the keys need to be hung up on the keys hook. I don’t have time for looking for keys when I need them so this practice serves me well.
    Also much the same as others about clean / tidy kitchen at the end of the day. I used to think maybe I didn’t need to be so ‘precious’ about this, but I now know that getting out of bed to see things are clear in the kitchen, helps to get me going for the day. The alternative, getting up and seeing stuff left on the kitchen bench, seems to give a negative start to the day.
    As you say Turia, these are little things but definitely make a big difference.

  • Brett says:

    This may sound a bit tragic, but I ensure every new email is read and, if urgent, dealt with. If it isn’t, it goes back in the queue. That way, when I start my new day, I determine what gets my time, not the dreaded new mail in the top of the inbox.

  • Cleaning my desk before I go to sleep and seeing it clean and tide up next morning which is just in front of my bed, gives me a good start to the day. I makes me feel like everything is gonna be OK today.