This morning I am feeling overwhelmed. I have lists of projects I want to work on, a calendar full of things I have committed to, and the buzzing background thoughts of household chores and cleaning and fixing that I need to deal with. I am having trouble focusing on any one thing to accomplish anything.
Instead of working productively on anything, I’m letting myself get distracted by Facebook and email, which are decidedly unproductive.
Does this sound familiar?
The way out of this is to start somewhere, do one thing, and give it your entire focus. Even if you only give it a short amount of time, you will accomplish something. That accomplishment will propel you forward to the next task and the next and before you know it your list will be shorter and your shoulders will feel less burdened.
I love the 15 minute method. 15 minutes feels achievable. I can always find 15 minutes in a day to do something focused. What is amazing, though, is how much you can actually accomplish in only 15 minutes.
The idea is to so simple. Just set a timer for 15 minutes and work on one project until the timer goes off. Don’t let yourself get distracted, don’t get up to do something else. Give it your whole focus.
Projects that seem completely daunting can be chipped away at in 15 minute blocks, until you see you have made huge progress.
One spring I completely weeded and cleared my front yard in 15 minute increments. Each day when I got home from work, before I went into the house, I’d stop in the yard and pull weeds for 15 minutes. It didn’t delay my dinner for long, and it only took a couple of weeks before my former weed-lot was ready for re-planting.
Today I’m going to pick two projects and work on them for 15 minutes each.
In 15 minutes you can:
- write a 500 word first draft
- clear out one kitchen cupboard
- wipe down the entire inside of your refrigerator
- research two grad school programs
- cut out the pieces of a sewing pattern
- knit a pattern swatch for a new project
- paint and doodle a journal layout
- read a chapter of a book
- plant a flat of flowers
What project do you most want to make progress on today? What can you accomplish on it in 15 minutes?