What I Wouldn’t Give For An Extra 15 Minutes
Clarence Carter sings, “what would I give for just a few moments” in his song Slip Away. The song is a classic, great listening but not really relevant to this line of thought.
Discipline, schedule and the ability to focus are crucial for all of us, especially for those of us who are self-employed. Fifteen minutes doesn’t really seem like much time, but added together it is time slipping away. I read a post recently about time management which took the tact of looking at what you could do in 15 minutes.
For many of us it’s easy to get in clutter overload-I’m there. I tend to let things slid ’til the piles on the desk start encroaching on my work space. Without fail that will also be the time when I’ve got loads of laundry, bills to pay and some straightening to do. And, then of course, a client writes this morning asking me to bid on 2 new jobs. One involves setting up a spreadsheet in addition to coming up with topics. Oh wait… the car needs a headlight and the inspection is overdue.
I can’t be as focused on my job when there is clutter and disarray in my world. In times like this one has to take a deep breath and start planning. And, that’s where the 15 minute game becomes helpful. I’ve made a list of things to do in these little periods of time.
- Fifteen minutes to make a list of priorities for today and tomorrow
- Fifteen minutes of time sorting through the paper work and making piles.
- Another 15 minutes to sort laundry and start a load.
- At lunch time is a great time to devote 15 minutes to reading emails and see who needs a response, instead of playing solitaire.
- Later this afternoon- a cup of tea and 15 minutes of playing with upcoming blog topics
It’s easier to take on tasks in small increments-at least for me. The small effort leads to bigger sense of accomplishment. Clearing the pile of magazines and mail from my workspace will be soooo helpful. Taking 15 minutes doesn’t feel like I’m taking away a big chunk of work time and getting away from the desk is helpful for my body and my brain.
There’s no boss breathing down our necks as freelance writers. And, our income is dependent solely on how efficiently we manage time. If we’re not able to meet deadlines we don’t get paid. It’s pretty cut and dry. For me, that means setting up a structure to allow for solid blocks of work time and time for the day-to-day chores that have to be done.
I like the 15 minute concept and I’ve been implementing it in the last week or so. If I’m watching TV I get up during commercials and try to do one thing that needs attention. I’ve become more regular about making lists and checking off accomplishments with a bright pink marker. And, I feel more in control.
Next on the list? Schedule a 15 minute period for fun time. Maybe some rock and roll? Take a walk. Start a jigsaw puzzle. It’s all about balance.
What about you, any tricks you use to manage your time?
photo by Robbert van der Steeg