Six steps to get more done in 15 minutes

Take the 15-Minute Challenge

The new year is only three weeks old, yet it doesn’t feel so new anymore. If you’ve set goals or made resolutions only to miss the mark on most of them,  consider trying the 15-Minute Challenge.

You know those tasks or projects you dread tackling? By using the proverbial wisdom of how to eat an elephant, here’s how you start– one bite at a time.

The 15-Minute Challenge

Years ago, I heard a professional organizer talk about the 15-Minute Challenge. When faced with dreaded housework, or decluttering, she suggested this simple technique that I still practice.

  1. Decide which dreaded task you need to do.
  2. Get supplies needed to accomplish it.
  3. Think of a reward that will motivate you to complete the job.
  4. Set a timer for 15-minutes.
  5. Begin and do as much as you can in that amount of time.
  6. Enjoy the decided upon reward.

I’ve discovered that I can do more if I’m focused for a short burst of time.  It’s all about focus and speed – no more meandering or procrastinating – just getting things done and tackling things there and then.

My most dreaded household chore is ironing. (Yes, I still own an iron.)  I tend to put it off as long as possible, bowing under the pressure that my non-bothered husband will happily wear a wrinkled button-down shirt IN PUBLIC unless I iron. The 15-minute challenge has motivated me to git r done.

Some jobs just need this kickstart to get us going. Once you begin, the progress and sense of accomplishment motivate you to continue until it is completed.

As a hard-core to-do-list junkie, a few items get shuffled from one day to the next. When the list keeps getting longer because I avoid doing them,  this is my cue to Take 15.

Make it a Game

Many busy families leave house-cleaning for the weekends. By making the 15-minute challenge a game, it can become Amazing Race-like to give family members a certain chore.

Make it even more fun to offer bonus points if more than one chore is completed well in those 15-minutes.  Make it fast and furious!

Start practicing the Phil Keoghan eyebrow raise.

  • Before you begin, lay down ground rules to clarify required expectations.
  • Place all powered-off electronic devices in a designated spot for 15 minutes.
  • Write out a list of chores and ask family members to pick the ones they prefer to do. (Replying, “None” is not an option!😉)
  • Assign chores that are age appropriate.
  • Relax your high standards to keep it fun. (As long as the completed job is sanitary, give grace.) Avoid criticism.
  • Plan a fun family activity as a reward.

Dennis and I have used this method to tackle big jobs like cleaning out the garage or closets. Even in house-cleaning, I must relax my standard of cleanliness. I may re-hang my jeans or rearrange the dishes in the dishwasher or wish he’d done a better job cleaning the bathroom–But I know criticism would abruptly end his willingness to help.

Whittle Down Your To-Do List

Procrastination to do certain much-needed tasks burden our “shoulda/woulda/coulda” list.

Would you be willing to experiment?

Write down a list of neglected but need-to-do tasks. Take the 15-minute challenge to see how much of the list can be tackled before the timer goes off. If each task takes that amount of time, consider setting aside a block of time to devote to knock off the items that have gnawed at your conscience for way too long.

You will be surprised  as to how much you can do in such a short space of time

Use Your Time Wisely

God has given all of us the same 24-hour day. The same 1440 minutes.

It isn’t that we don’t have enough time to do all we want to do.

It is using the time we do have wisely.

Teach us to use wisely all the time we have. ~ Psalm 90:12 CEV

Here’s what one person who took the 15-Minute Challenge advises–

There’s no excuses, as you can always find 15 minutes in your day (even if it means staying up a little later, or getting up slightly earlier – 15 minutes doesn’t really affect that much at all in the scheme of things).  ~ Organise My House

Are you up to the challenge?

What are some tasks you’ve avoided tackling?

Schedule a day to practice the 15-minute Challenge.

What can you do in 15-minutes today?

I’d love to hear how you used this 15-minute Challenge. Please drop me a comment to get the conversation going.

Did you find this post helpful? Please share with others!

Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.