There is a secret power in 15 minutes…
Some jobs just stink. You know you should work on that pile of laundry that has been sitting there waiting for you to put them away, but your day has been crazy and you just don’t think you have it in you. You are so. crazy. tired.
Or maybe its that cabinet handle that jiggles and every time you open the cabinet you think, “I should tighten this handle”, and you say the same thing to yourself the next morning and every day for the last year.
There are soooo many tasks that don’t take a ton of time, but we naturally avoid them. Folding socks has to be one of the worst in our house. No one wants to do it. Years ago when I had a slew of little feet and nursing babies and constant demands for my time, I found one thing that really helped my life not get overridden with a long list of “I really need to” that never got done. It was the power of 15 minutes.
Most tasks that we avoid take less than 15 minutes. But we waste so much time thinking about the fact that we have to do them. Wouldn’t it be nice to free up that brain activity for something else? We spend more time avoiding a lot of jobs than it would take to just get them off our plate.
The secret of 15 minutes is easy – decide what tasks you have been putting off, and then set a timer for 15 minutes. Tell yourself at the end of the 15 minutes you can stop. You can go to bed, have a cup of coffee, read a book, or whatever it is that sounds much more enticing than completing the task before you. Then set the timer and get to work.
The reality is, that it probably won’t take that long to get a large number of procrastinated tasks off of your plate (and out of your brain). In fact, you might find that the basket of laundry you have been avoiding all week really only took 10 minutes to put away. Or, at the end of 15 minutes you might find that you are nearly done matching socks and so you give it 5 more minutes to finish up.
It really is an easy trick to create discipline and motivation. It is only 15 minutes. When I had so many littles, I used the 15 minutes before I went to sleep. Now, I might set the timer in the middle of the day to get a few things done.
My kids are a bit older now, so I have passed on this trick to them. We set the timer for 15 minutes and everyone has to frantically clean or pick up. I play loud music and we all try to be the person working the fastest. They all have spaces they are in charge of (see my Jurisdiction post), and in those 15 minutes it is amazing what can be accomplished! Since they know it is only 15 minutes, it is easier for them to be motivated.
Don’t strive for perfection. Don’t worry about getting something halfway done. If it is halfway done today, it will be completely done tomorrow. Just set aside 15 minutes. It might just be revolutionary in your life.