The Power of 15 Minutes


I live such a fragmented life, trying to squeeze in 10 different tasks into five minutes of time, that sometimes I forget how much I can actually get done if I’m focused on ONE task for 15 minutes. It might be something big like a project I’ve been putting off or something small like an appointment that I need to make. Or sometimes I just need 15 minutes to think about an issue that I haven’t had time to deal with or fix. I’m trying to capture those random 15 minutes and put them to good use and each time I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I can get done.

I have a tendency to minimize how much time I need for something I want to do and how I overestimate when it’s something I don’t want to tackle. Often times, “Oh, I don’t have time for that right now” is only an excuse. Sometimes starting is the hardest part.

In “Happier at Home” by Gretchen Rubin, she gives herself a resolution to “Suffer for 15 minutes” every day, in order to conquer a project she’s been putting off (downloading and printing digital photos). She notes how she was able to do a considerable amount of her project when she worked routinely in small bouts of time. She realized an added bonus: “Completing one challenging task supplies the energy to tackle another challenging task.” She discusses it in more detail on her blog.

On the flip side, and this might be the most important lesson, I’m realizing I can also squeeze a lot of restoration into 15 minutes. A corner of quiet and a few deep breaths can go a long way in protecting mental health and sanity during the day. And quick “power naps” had enormous benefits when I was recovering from being sick. I didn’t need to spend the entire day in bed to get the rest I needed.

So, here’s my challenge to you this week: put those 15 minutes to good use! And then let me know how it goes.

Not convinced? Remember this, The Great Wall of China was built 4-inches at a time.

2 thoughts on “The Power of 15 Minutes

  1. A friend of mine has been doing what she calls “15 minute a day crafts” where she works on a craft project for 15 minutes a day until it’s completed. Some of them only take a few days and others take a few weeks, but she’s getting things DONE that she wouldn’t normally “have time for”. I’m not a crafter, but this idea of committing to 15 minute spurts of concentrated effort is REALLY intriguing to me.

    Is there anything in particular that you are giving 15 minutes a day to on a regular/consistent basis?

    I haven’t put my finger on any one thing just yet…but, now that I’ve seen this TWICE, I’m going to consider it!


    • I’ve been using my 15 minutes to tackle annoying little tasks that I don’t want to deal with (like making appointments) but spending those 15 minutes working on a craft sounds a whole lot more fun! I might have to start alternating. 🙂


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