The Power of Fifteen Minutes

One of my favorite working tools is actually an iPod.  No, it’s not that I like to listen to music or an audiobook while I’m doing something (thought I do), but that it has a sleep timer.  It has intervals from fifteen to one hundred twenty minutes, though I only use the fifteen minute option.

I love that thing.  I love it because I’m a busy woman.  I have a lot going on – I’m self-employed, have a part-time job, have a household with people going in and out, and a schedule that’s always changing.

There are times when I look at a task and I feel overwhelmed with it.  At those times, it’s really hard to get myself going.  I am a champion procrastinator.  Remember that self-employed bit?  I can only procrastinate so much before I’m procrastinating my son out of food[1].

That’s when the timer comes in.  You’d be amazed at how much you can get done in fifteen minutes of focus.  Now while I got the idea from Flylady[2], I don’t only use it for housework.  I use the idea to work.  When I’m feeling daunted, I just set my timer for fifteen minutes and work.  That sounds goofy, trivial and dumb, but there’s many a project I’ve gotten done fifteen minutes at a time.  The time sounds like such a small amount, I know.  That’s the beauty of it.  You can force yourself to do almost anything for fifteen mintues.  If you do that a few times a day, you’re actually accomplishing a great deal.   Things often don’t take as much time as we think they will when we focu—

Ah, music stopped.  Break’s over and I have to get back to work.  For those of you writers who go for word count, I’d written 320 words before the music went off.  Now imagine four or five sessions of fifteen minutes while writing.  That’s an adequate word count for a day’s work, innit?

[1] And I have a teenaged boy with a teenaged appetite.  Oy!


[2] To be honest, except for cooking dinner, no one task ever takes a whole fifteen minutes.

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