What Can You Do With 15 Minutes?
Move It Along
It takes an act of will to work on the things that are most important to you, especially when they're not urgent. (Remember Stephen Covey's quadrant?)
It's a constant challenge to filter out the distractions that barrage us and then there's our own resistance to manage.
Something that can help you make headway is to ask the question: For 15 minutes, what can I do to move this along? Then, take that action - and here's the key - even if it seems ridiculously small.
For years I've used this technique as an effective overwhelm antidote. It exposes the fallacy of needing big blocks of time or perfect conditions in order to make progress.
Open in Fifteen
With 15 minutes you can:
Have some thinking time.
Write down questions you have.
Make an outline. Capture ideas.
Plan next steps.
Look something up. Do some research.
Create a document, spreadsheet, or template.
Organize a stack of papers into categories.
Designate a folder for your project.
Block out time on your calendar.
Schedule an appointment.
Sign up for a class.
Make a phone call. Follow up.
Reach out to someone. Offer or ask for help.
Form talking points for an upcoming meeting.
Get rid of some clutter.
Put something in the car or near the door to go out.
Take a small step. Take a big step.
The 15-minute approach helps you to lighten up and take yourself seriously. You are saying: I will show up to this task. I have the courage to begin.
In a simple and tangible way, you are reinforcing what's important to you and demonstrating that you are open: to a new approach, a new level of commitment, and perhaps even a new way of being.
Something Important to You
Just today as I was wrapping up this article, my friend Wendy told me she used a similar approach in the art studio. With her current work commitments, she doesn't have as much time to spend in the studio as she would like, but rather than postponing altogether, she carved out a smaller focus for her studio time. It felt good to do that and she commented: "It's doing what you can, doing your best, and a step in the right direction."
This Week's Call To Action:
Take a moment now and think of a priority project (at work and/or home) that you seriously want to move forward.
- Apply the 15-minute approach, using one of the examples above or whatever action pops into your mind.
- Ask a friend to buddy with you for the month and encourage each other to make progress in 15-minute increments.
Sometimes when I'm working in that important-but-not-urgent category, I'll take a deep breath and relish the moment: I'm actually doing this.
Working on what's important to you makes you feel grateful,
to yourself, and to the invisible forces that are prodding you along
and asking you to invest fifteen minutes at a time.
See you in the current,