Whenever Randi and I go anywhere together, I find myself waiting. “I’ll be right there,” she says and then she struggles with her contact lens, searches the house for her wallet, decides it is a good time to re-organize our shoes. Meanwhile, I’ve already got my coat on; my bag is slung over one shoulder; if we are taking the dog for a walk, she is pulling the leash taut. I wait against the door frame; the dog sits at the bottom of the steps; Randi readies herself. Five. Ten. Fifteen minutes pass.
Here are a some other times, I find myself with fifteen minutes:
- while waiting for the bus
- while waiting for a class to start
- while waiting for the doctor
- while waiting for my food to be ready (at a restaurant)
- while waiting for my alarm to sound in the morning so I can pry myself out of bed
Here are the things I usually do to kill fifteen minutes
- check my email
- check my facebook account
- hit the snooze button
- check the weather
- stand in the doorway and ask Randi if there is something I can do to help
Here is what I could have been doing instead:
Productivity experts talk about “the Power of Fifteen Minutes” all the time. As Neen James, one expert, points out: “People go wrong because they get overwhelmed. They think things will take longer than they do, and so they procrastinate. Procrastination key? Fifteen minutes.” Her overall point: stop making excuses. In fifteen minutes, one can accomplish a lot. So:
- Get to the coffee shop fifteen minutes early
- Wake up fifteen minutes earlier
- Go to bed fifteen minutes later
- Carry your notebook with you everywhere
- Eliminate waiting
- Stop thinking there isn’t enough time.
Here on Day 2, with the rest of the month before us, I think it is important to keep in mind the 15 minute rule. May there be more people with pens at bus stops.
A Fifteen Minute Writing Exercise (that could go longer, of course)
This one comes from fellow challenger Chris Strickling, and it’s a beautifully simple writing prompt:
Write about a powerful memory.
As Chris says, “We started with that in the theater work I did for 12 years with disabled adults. Just that simple prompt started the creative flow that would take us all the way to performance.”
Got an exercise to share?