Tuesday, January 22, 2008

THE FIFTEEN MINUTE RULE

I have a friend, I call her Valentine. Her name is Val and she loves hearts and is the epitome of love, so, there you go. Valentine and I are cut from the same cloth. We are doers. We are movers. We don't sit still. "Being" is very hard for us, "doing" is a piece of cake.

Still, we are excellent at procrastinating on some things and our endless list of what we "should" be doing runs a continuous loop in our busy brains.

"Do you know about the 15 Minute Rule?" She asked me one day, while we were comparing lists.

"No, tell me," I answered.

"You set the timer for 15 minutes and you go do the thing you are most procrastinating. At the end of 15 minutes you will either have finished the job, gotten so into it you want to keep going, or made enough of a dent that you aren't daunted by it anymore."

I tried it in the basement, my most procrastinated upon room of the house. It worked. Like. A. Charm.

I got so into the basement I moved throughout the house (over the course of 2 months) and am almost done de-junking our house. It's a cryin' shame how much extra "stuff" we have, but I'll go on and on about that in a different post.

While in a meditative trance pitching, sorting, filing, and organizing the basement, I realized the 15 Minute Rule could work the other way.

When the compulsive, impetuous, impulsive sensations pop up, ask myself, "Is this something I could wait to do/buy/decide for 15 minutes?" Then, if necessary, add another 15 minutes to it, until I've worked myself out of the craziness.

That whole, "One day at a time" thing is great, but for some of us, we need to take life 15 minutes at a time.

20 comments:

Terry Whitaker said...

I love this idea--and need it desperately!

La La said...

I love this. I have a timer on my desk at school. We get through each class period in 15 minute increments. I say to my kiddos, "Come on, you CAN read a book for 15 minutes!"

I must do this for myself, though, AT HOME!

Glad you have your very own Valentine friend. How cool is that!!!

Anonymous said...

You can apply this to cleaning your house in other ways also - my rule is "one room a day". I pick one room a day (say, the bathroom) to clean and that way I don't get overwhelmed on Saturday with this huge cleaning project. It also only takes mere minutes instead of an hour since I stay on top of it instead of procrastinating.

Jerri said...

LOVE. This. Wish you could teach my son to delay gratification, 15 minutes at a time.

Brilliant.

Wanda said...

Our version is...do a "chore" (and it usually feels like a chore) for 10 minutes. Then do what you want for 10 minutes (or choose your own time frame) then go do the chore for another 10. That way, you make steady progress and don't get so bored you can't stand it. Mini (or min'ute or minute') rewards.

two minutes is not enough said...

I wish you could teach my husband to "delay gratification" for 15 minutes.

kario said...

I think I could apply that to everything in my life but chocolate. Is that okay?

riversgrace said...

Could you add coffee to that list? 15 minutes plus latte!

Kathryn said...

As a fellow doer, that is a great rule. I often ask myself, "How important is it?", too.

Suzy said...

Doesn't work with cable.

MY OWN WOMAN... said...

I'm going to have to try this 15 mintue rule.

Michelle O'Neil said...

I think maybe even shorter increments? Five minutes, perhaps? Two?

Eileen said...

I like this idea. It makes things more manageable and not so overwhelming.

shauna said...

This must be destiny. I just heard about this 15 minute rule this weekend and could sooooo use the motivation to move through my house like you moved through yours. You've inspired me!

Retiredandcrazy said...

That is a brilliant concept. I will think about it for 15 minutes.

Lee Wolfe Blum said...

I love this! I read at work and wasn't able to write. I have been trying it out. It helps when I don't want to clean the bathroom...then I realize it doesn't even TAKE 15 Minutes. This is great!!!
Lee

Lee Wolfe Blum said...

p.s. the shopping an waiting 15 minutes...very hard to do! That is major self-control!!

Deb said...

I can do anything for 15 minutes. I can delay anything for 15 minutes. Gotta get me a timer!

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

15 minutes. There are four of us living at home right now. That's an hour of work if we all do it together!!! We are SOOO doing this...next weekend.

Drama Mama said...

OMG. I LOVE THIS. Thank you!