This morning, I decided to buckle down and start a project which had been on my to-do list for some time, which was to review and rework one of my workshops. This has been on the list for about 6 months and in my mind it was a big job, one which would take a lot of thought and time. The way to tackle it, I thought, was to bring the 10 minute rule into play.
The 10 minute rule is a very useful tool to use when faced with projects you are putting off, whether because the job looks too big, too difficult, you don’t know where to start or ... whatever your particular reason is.
The 10 minute rule is quite simple.
You promise yourself that you will work on the project
for 10 very focussed minutes and no less.
So what use is that, you might ask? Well, 10 minutes is nicely manageable and not too alarming. It is also surprising what you can do in 10 very focussed minutes: make a key telephone call, or devise a game plan, or identified resources needed, or just get clear on what exactly the project is. (Sometimes, it can also be long enough to see that the project isn’t actually relevant to what you need to do.)
With this rule, generally one of two things happen.
If you work on the project for the promised 10 minutes and then stop, you will feel good because you have kept your word with yourself. You have started the project, so it is now a project in progress rather than that thing you are going to get around to one day. And when you come back to the project, even if only for another promised 10 minutes, there is 10 minutes less to do.
On the other hand, once you get to the end of the 10 minutes, the freedom of reaching that goal might just spur you on to do a little longer on the project, knowing that you can stop at anytime you want and anyway, you might as well carry on now that you have started.
Either way, the project gets started and you no longer feel such a burden about procrastinating.
You might even find, like me this morning, that the project you have been putting off because it would take a lot of thought and time is actually very straightforward and only takes 20 minutes!
If this has struck a chord with you and you want to find out if coaching will support you in your productivity, book for a Light the Blue Touchpaper session.