If I were to counsel you to work on your goals for just 15 minutes a day, you’d probably have a good laugh. What can you accomplish in 15 minutes, after all – right?
But, let me assure you, any big goal can be achieved by working in consistent 15-minute chunks every day. No matter whether your goal is huge or small, personal or professional, dedicating a come-hell-or-high-water 15 minute segment to it every day will achieve miracles.
One of the most common complaints about goals is that there just isn’t enough time to work on it after all your responsibilities have been taken care of. You’re just too exhausted to even think about the goal. “I’d love to, but I just don’t have the time to devote to it right now.” In the back of your mind you’re hoping for that magical day when you will have time… but as we all know, that day never comes. Ever. The amount of stuff you have to do on a day to day basis might fluctuate somewhat, but realistically, unless you take a paid leave of absence from your responsibilities, your time is never going to free up to the point where you can devote serious time to your goal.
Here’s a no-compromises solution: devote 15 minutes a day to it. It doesn’t matter if all you do is compose an email… or order business cards… or make one phone call… or write 1/10 of a blog. It doesn’t matter how much you accomplish. What matters is THAT you accomplish. Something. Anything.
The miracle in this is twofold:
1. You create a habit of consistent action. You train yourself to take action on your goal every day (at least 5 days a week). You discipline yourself to take action whether you feel like it or not. You won’t create magic every day, but you will keep the creative juices flowing and even if you have to go back and redo something later, so what? You’ve only spent 15 minutes on it before, and it’s a lesson in how not to do that thing. It’s all good. It’s all steps in the right direction.
2. You will rarely spend only 15 minutes. Yes, there will be days when even 15 minutes seems like an eternity because you’re overwhelmed with the rest of your to-do list. But you’ll be shocked at how quickly 15 minutes will turn into 30, or 60, once you’re happily immersed in what you’re doing.
Here’s how to implement the 15-minute miracle:
1. Be very clear on what you want to achieve.
2. If you have some idea of what steps you need to take to get there, break the steps down into their smallest components and take on as many of those components as will fit into a 15-minute time block. Prioritize the steps.
3. Write down a week’s worth of 15-minute action steps. This way, you can dive right in and make serious progress every time.
4. Try to be consistent about the time of day you work on your goal. This will help make it a habit. Suggestion – first thing in the morning works best, because your mind is fresher, you aren’t exhausted from work, and you can tell yourself, “just 15 minutes” and stick to it because you do have to motivate yourself to actually do something before you get going to work.
5. Track your progress to motivate yourself. Daily progress is very satisfying!
At the end of one year, you will have allocated at least 62-½ hours if you’re working on your goal 5 days a week and take a 2-week holiday; or, at least 87-½ hours if you work on it 7 days a week and take a 2-week holiday. That’s a lot of time when you consider that it is time spent on focused action, not la-di-da ruminating or busywork.
Inspired by Jeri Dansky’s blog on http://unclutterer.com/