There is a fairly long and involved treatise written in 1956 on the magic of the number “seven” by George A. Miller, Princeton University Professor of Psychology, Emeritus. If you are of a mind, you can read it here. At the end, he refers to the seven deadly sins, the seven wonders of the world, the seven days of the week, the seven seas, and so much more.
I would not presume to improve on that, even with my own degrees in psychology! But I do know there is something magical about the number seven. So here my own take on it.
It is a super busy time of year for many of us, with the beginning of the school year, fall garden work (yes, even here in Hawai`i), and a balmy breeze that seduces us into staying outside and working longer.
With school lectures to prepare, blogs to write, a house to keep clean, food to cook, laundry to be done, books to read, and papers to read, I never seemed to have time to do the things I love doing, or that constantly call out my name to remind me of a task I haven’t completed. Now that I’m retired from academic life, I still find I have too many chores calling out to be done.
I’ve taken the “Magical Seven” to heart and it is changing my life.
In my personal library are two books that I’ve put off reading, saying I didn’t have time. The first is The Seven Minute Difference: Small Steps to Big Changes by Allyson Lewis. The fly leaf states “You’re just seven minutes away from unlocking your purpose, knowledge and passion!” At some point, I must have been enamored with the title and the thought behind the book because I discovered that I own two copies – neither one had been opened!
The other book is 7 Minutes of Magic: The Ultimate Energy Workout by Lee Holden. The fly leaf here says that Holden “shows you how you can dramatically change your energy and fitness levels by performing two simple 7-minute routines…” Wow!
Somewhere on a blog or in a forum I occasionally read, I heard about the Fly Lady so I checked it out. She talks about setting up 15 minute time slots to clear up the mess in your house (or wherever your mess is located). I tried some of her techniques and they are great. I wanted to shorten it up even more and do it in seven minute bits.
Are you beginning to understand what I’ve been seeking and why??
You can pinch back seven shoots on a plant. You can spend seven minutes sitting in your patio to relax. You can toss out seven pieces of clutter. You can jot down seven people you need to call.
When I feel overwhelmed with magazines, I either go through seven at a time to discard or give away, or I take seven minutes and do however many I can in that time. The list goes on and on.
My time at the computer is long by necessity, but if I take seven minutes to get up and do something more physical every half hour, I seem to accomplish a lot more when I sit back down. There is a little free software program specifically designed to remind you to get up and move. It’s called “Workrave” (only for Windows) and it can be set for whatever amount of time you want. For Mac I use BeFocused (Apple app).
I have always been a musician, but lately I haven’t taken time to sit down and play the piano or pick up the guitar. By limiting myself to seven minutes, I could get back into something that lifts my spirits, and if there’s time, I can spend another seven minutes.
If there is a book that I need to read but I’m resisting, and if I tell myself to only read seven pages or for seven minutes, it doesn’t feel so boring.
I’m sure you can think of many more ways the number seven can work its magic in your life.
By taking all these activities in seven minute intervals or biting off only seven pieces of work, we are left with more time to enjoy those things we don’t want to do in only seven minutes – like eating a delicious meal, watching a good movie, listen to the ocean, have sex . . . . . . .Sorry, my mind drifted off there for seven minutes!
A hou hou!