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A 15-minute day... motivation for the tired self-employed

Today is one of my lack of concentration days. I'm tired, a bit down, spent yesterday moving furniture and such because I'm moving the studio back home (hence the "bit down" part). Energy is low so it's going to be...

A timer day!

Yes, this is a brilliant approach to motivation and energy that I learned through CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) but coincidentally is recommended by a lot of business coaches too.

Set a timer for 15 minutes. Pick something from your list and just do it for 15 minutes. Put down. Re-set timer, pick something else (or the same task). Rinse and repeat. :) Do a fun task every 3rd 15 minutes. (I often choose World of Warcraft or a chapter from a book)

Most adults can easily focus for 15 minutes, even when tired or unmotivated. Often you end up working longer because once you're into it you'd like to finish that step/part/chapter/section. Even if you don't you'll find you've gotten a lot done in all those increments through the day. :) It's also a great way to tackle a really large task like organising or accounting.

So today is a 15 minute day for me! How about you? Who's with me?

31 Responses

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Inactive Etsy Member 6:02am Apr 29, 2012 EDT
I had a rough night last night but I'm with ya.
Creating cinnamon buns for my shop this morning.
yummmm! :) If only they were real.... And yes, the timer method is a good cure for the night before. ;)
This is a method I sometimes use (though I tend to give myself 20 minutes deadlines - I'm hardcore ha ha).

I agree, it's amazing what you can get done in short bursts. And even working on a task for a few minutes helps you feel like you've achieved something; often I find I have the motivation to carry on for longer than 20 minutes, once I've got past my apathy around making a start!
I do this--I got it from Flylady.com but have seen it elsewhere as well. It is how I got through mountains of clutter we inherited and how i cleared out space for a studio over the last few weeks--I had one but storage had taken over and it was overwhelming...now i'm using this technique cleaning up my gardens and the basement ;-) it also works for cleaning out old email files, etc--a task so boring i absolutely loathe it....
I am totally motivated for my work, I love it but your advice is wonderful for housework and filing etc. Thanks
If you are too tired, why don't you take a rest? This is to recharge yourself.

My energy levels are a symptom of other health issues Victor, so I can be tired a lot some days but don't actually need rest. I'd be recharging 24/7, lol! But yes you are completely right. If you are naturally tired it's good to rest! :) We shouldn't forget we're allowed time and days off.
this is a great idea, Tina :) been feeling a little unmotivated these last few days but still have things to do, so might give this a go!
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Inactive Etsy Member 7:13am Apr 29, 2012 EDT
I do this, too. I have Asperger's and have a little issue with hyperfocus. Setting the timer allows me to get many things done instead of just sitting at one task all day.

I've discovered it only takes 7 minutes to unload and reload the dishwasher. Just 5 to switch out the laundry! It's really helped me to not dread the tasks I used to hate because I know they don't take that long at all!

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