Monday, January 9, 2012

The Focused Fifteen

It is my philosophy that anybody can do just about anything for 15 minutes. You will almost always be surprised at what you can accomplish is a quarter of an hour.

It really isn't a lot of time. You can watch half a sitcom in 15 minutes. You're commute to work is probably longer. Yet, if you give a focused 15 minutes, you will see results. Notice the word in italics, focused. I'm not talking about 15 multi-tasking minutes when you are checking email, cooking dinner, and  listening to voicemail. I'm talking about devoting that little bit of time exclusively to the task at hand whatever that task may be.

For me, the Focused Fifteen is the antidote to procrastination. If there is something I don't want to do, like, straighten up the house, return a phone call, or on some occasions, write, I reach for the timer. I set my kitchen stove timer for 15 minutes. For that time, I clean or make the call or I start writing. At the end of the 15 minutes, I have a choice. I can stop because I have done what I said I was going to do. Or if I have the momentum and the time, I can keep going.

Fifteen minutes is long enough to overcome your inertia and get a good start. It's also enough time to make a dent in a project and sometimes that dent is all you need. I actually swear by this. It works. I'm so committed to it that my first Get It Together Girl book is devoted to removing clutter and getting organized in 15 minutes a day.

Try it. Use the Focused Fifteen for:
  • straighting up the house
  • cleaning out the refrigerator
  • clearing out your email inbox at home or at work
  • sorting through your closet
  • journaling
All you have to do is 15 minutes. Once that timer goes off, you'll feel an immediate sense of accomplishment. If you have the time, keep going. If you don't, pat yourself on the back because you did something (and probably more than you thought you would). And, doing something is always better than doing nothing.

If you want to see some real results, get the family involved. Put on some good music and see who gets the most done. Or set your quarter hour for the  15 minutes before your favorite TV show and you have a built-in reward!

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