15 Minutes — The Difference Between Organized and Overwhelm

I believe we can all agree that time is one of our most precious commodities. Some talk about wasting time or managing time. I like to look at
it as how do we get to create the best time for us. For what is wasting time to some may be the perfect experience of time for others. That’s where priorities come in.

By listing all the things that you have to do, all of the things that you want to do, and all of the things that you dream to do, you can get a better picture of what you want to be investing your time on.

Sometimes it’s a tragic event that gives us a reason to pause of how we are spending our time and really taking the time to look at what is most important to us. At some point it is wonderful to realize that we can create how we experience life and what we devote time to. It may feel like some days are led by circumstance however everything that is presented to us we make the choice that leads us to sway aimlessly or choose a different direction that inspires us. Organizing your day around the priorities that are most important to you will lead to a much more enjoyable experience of life.

One of the easiest ways to see how we are investing our time is to utilize the alarm on our phone or watch or the simple egg timer. Set your timer for 15 minutes before any task and when the alarm goes off it will bring awareness to see if you have focused on what you set out to do or if you got derailed with a phone call, email or other task. Being aware of how you are spending your time is the first step to having more control of what you decide to be doing. The timer is not meant to be punitive, judgmental or rigid, it is merely an awareness tool to keep you on track with what you have decided is important for you to be devoting time toward.

By crafting tasks in 15 minute increments you will get more accomplished because you are better utilizing time by being more deliberate and focused with your actions. When the alarm goes off take a minute and ask yourself how you feel. If you are energized and engaged in your task then set another 15 minutes and keep going. If you feel tired, distracted or bored ask yourself what you need. Perhaps you need 15 minutes to go for a walk, drink water, eat a snack, take a power nap or stretch. Allow yourself the 15 minutes to get what you need so you can then be fresh and ready for the next 15 minutes.

These 15 minute increments can be used to check email, social media, return a phone call or change the laundry. As you become more deliberate with your time you will notice you enjoy what you are doing more fully.

If you are repeatedly finding yourself not wanting to engage in an activity or are continually getting distracted then it is best to ask yourself why you are choosing to do it. Perhaps it’s an activity that would be better off if you delegated it to someone who enjoyed doing it. If you have decided you don’t really enjoy something however you know the end result will give you ultimate enjoyment then utilizing the 15 minute increments can make it much easier. If I am doing a lot of computer work (not my thing!) then I like to use 15 minute breaks to do something mindless like check Facebook or do Words with Friends. I feel like it’s a reward for being focused and then it’s easier to reengage my brain for tedious work when I know a break is 15 minutes away! If you know you work better in 30 or 60 minute segments then by all means set your timer for those time frames. Find your personal sweet spot of best attention and focus.

Make note of what is your most productive time of day as well. Are you better able to focus from 8-10am, 12-2pm, or 6-8pm? What is you most creative time of day? When you know your most energized time of day then schedule the most focused activities and tasks for those times so you will be more naturally productive.

What environments do you work best in? A formal office, the living room, your back yard or Starbucks?

When we look at our precious commodity of time there are many ways to devote to using it. Take the time to see how you are using yours through the 15 minute strategy.

What are you creating today in 15 minutes?

Yours truly from Clutter to Calm, 


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