I'm going to tell you how to change your life 15 minutes at a time. If you are like me, you don't like long meetings, tasks that take forever, or doing the same thing for a long time. I get easily distracted and feel like a lot of things are a waste of time. At the same, I am also the queen of procrastination.
Most meetings I attend could be done within 15 minutes if everyone just focused on the goal of the meeting.
Some may say that I have ADHD. And I would agree with that, with a slightly different definition of the term. I have Agility Driven Hyperactive Disorder. I want to get things done quickly, and want to work on tasks that make an impact.
If I don't feel like a task is significant enough or if I feel like the task is just busy work, I am reluctant to complete it. I am pretty sure this condition is also the reason I hate being stuck in traffic so much.
Getting high impact things done is obviously a positive thing, but the dark side of it is procrastination when it comes to less significant things.
So I decided to trick myself. Here's how to change your life 15 minutes at a time.
We all know that the more time we give ourselves, the time the task takes will increase exponentially. A lot of our daily tasks can be done within 15 minutes or less.
One of my most hated tasks at home is doing dishes (it never ends - there are always more). So I started giving myself 15 minutes to do dishes. When the buzzer goes off, I stop even if I am not done yet and move on to my next 15-minute task or take a break. I simply go back at a later time and repeat the 15 minutes in the dirty dishes category. This has two effects on me:
- I get a lot more done due to the self-imposed time pressure
- I don't get annoyed when new dishes appear because I didn't just spend an hour making sure there were no more dirty dishes left.
I do this with many tasks at home and at work. Some might argue that switching between tasks like that is too close to multitasking and that your brain will need time to adjust to tasks which will lead to more time wasted. This may not be the perfect solution for all tasks, however, especially with dreaded tasks or tasks that overwhelm and scare us, this method makes them much more digestible and therefore easier to tackle.
Have you always wanted to write a book but the thought of writing 500 pages paralyzes you?
Set your timer for 15 minutes and write as much as you can during that time. Then stop. If you're on a creative roll, you can always keep going, but on the flip side, you won't feel pressured to continue if you can't think of anything else. You've achieved your goal either way and can check it off your to-do list. You wrote for 15 minutes. Great job.
Are you trying to lose weight but the thought of working out for 2 hours at the gym makes you want to shove a cupcake in your face and hide in bed (I know it does for me).
Go running for 15 minutes, come back and do something else, then go running again or do some aerobics. Increase the amount of 15-minute intervals over time and soon you'll be working out for 2 hours a day without even knowing it.
Do you have to update a huge spreadsheet for your job that's required documentation but that you know nobody will actually look at?
Work on it for 15 minutes at a time so you don't feel like you've wasted hours on a task that has no real impact.
I could provide more examples, but I think you get the idea. At the end of it all, you will have accomplished a bigger goal and it will change your life for the better. Conquering whatever fear is holding you back will be much easier if you shrink it to 15 minutes of your life at a time.
But make no mistake, this technique doesn't only apply to tasks we loathe or fear or procrastinate on for whatever reason, it also works on making you more agile with tasks you do enjoy.
P.S. This article was written in 15 minutes.