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Self-Talk.

by Dr. Linda Brupbacher

Not long before Christmas, a friend was complaining about someone she employs as a caregiver.  Cooking then cleaning up the kitchen is part of the caregiver’s ongoing responsibilities.  Yet dirty dishes were left in the sink.  In frustration, my friend said, “It only takes three minutes to rinse them and put them in the dishwasher.”   She’s right—about dirty dishes and about so many other things as well.  Picking up my office and clearing my desk before I go home, filing papers, sending an email expressing appreciation, greeting students at the classroom door, recapping at the end of a lesson or meeting, previewing the next lesson, meeting or task:  they all take three minutes (or less).  The list could go on and on—and include activities in both personal and professional arenas.

Self-talk, the messages we send to ourselves, can help focus, calm, encourage and motivate us. The brief phrase (it’ll only takes 3 minutes) and the core idea it embodies have become helpful self-talk for me.  When I’m tired and ready to go home (and not wanting to clean up my office before I leave),  I tell myself, “It’ll only take 3 minutes.”  Somehow that encourages me to go on and pick up.  I’m applying the “only three minutes” self-talk to other things as well—at home and at school.

 It’ll only take 3 minutes: it’s a short but potentially motivating bit of self talk.  I wonder:  are there times when “it’ll only take 3 minutes” might be useful to you or to your students?  Is there other self-talk that is or might be helpful? 


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