Last month, I was flattered to see that my coworker Sarah had mentioned me in her blog post addressing the “15 Minute Technique,” wherein a person devotes several small blocks of just 15 minutes a day to focus on big-picture projects and initiatives. This had originally come up as part of a conversation over lunch one afternoon, a simple exchange where discussion had turned to interests, career goals, and a creative exchange of personal success tools. It’s funny how unexpectedly some pleasant afternoon banter can turn in a full-out brainstorming session. Even more surprising when the person you were speaking with takes your words to heart and practices it in their own life.
The internet is littered with self-help motivational pieces meant to inspire and drive creative passion: news articles, blog posts, infographics, interviews with top CEOs and emerging entrepreneurs. Everywhere you go, someone is trying to tell you how to achieve and succeed. The right way to do it. But the uncomfortable truth is, there is no one right way to do this. Everyone has their own goals, passions, drive and motivation that pushes them onward toward their horizon. It’d be nice if there really was a formula for success, some way to calculate the numbers of your life and figure out the exact pattern needed to take yourself from Point A to B to C, etc.
This is where so many other motivational articles fail.
This is where the 15 Minute Technique succeeds.
I first heard about this idea just earlier this year while browsing the web. What I first thought would be an interesting bit to read over my morning coffee has since resulted in being one of the most important internet pieces I’ve read. I decided almost on a whim to give it a try for myself, and it has – no exaggeration – changed my life.
In my personal life, I’ve been tinkering on-and-off with a few writing projects for myself. Up until now, it has not resembled anything even close to a consistent project. I would begin excited, trying to set aside an hour or so each day, only to become frustrated and feel overwhelmed. I found myself focusing on this project not out of satisfaction but out of a sense of “I have to get this much done.” I would start from square one again and again, while making no progress. I felt like I was failing. Then the 15 Minute Technique fell into my lap, and I started applying it to my own personal endeavors.
Rather than trying to block out entire hours of the day, I instead started setting aside just three 15-minute windows each day. It sounded like so little to work with, how could anything possibly get done? But something miraculous happened. It wasn’t at all long until I started seeing progress. Real progress. I almost couldn’t believe it. Instead of feeling burnt out, I was energized. The former sense of lethargy, of drained creativity was gone, only to be replaced with a feeling of bursting at the seams every day with new ideas. What at first appear to be inconsequential blocks of time stack up quickly and bring amazing results.
The technique forces you to focus for short, regular bursts of time, keeping the concentration on the task at hand. Instead of worrying about the sheer quantity of what you’re accomplishing, your mind has a chance to focus on quality. I’ll admit, I don’t always get “a lot” done using this method. Some days, I can get through entire pages in my chunks of time. On others, I may only do a single page at best. But when I step back and look at the last few months since adopting this technique, I’ve noticed something beginning to develop: I’ve accomplished more with this method in the last couple of months than I have in the past couple of years, and I’m happy with every ounce of work that has gone into it, something I’ve never been able to honestly say before.
The 15 Minute Technique isn’t pretending to be a secret formula for success. To find success, the human element is always necessary. Instead of claiming to be a fill-in-the-blanks roadmap to gaining achievement, as so many other self-help articles and guides seem to be, this method is truly unique in that it lets you find your own way. Requiring nothing more than a few spare minutes of your day, the 15 Minute Technique can be applied by anyone, anywhere, to any project. The best part being, you don’t have to change anything about your habits or goals or lifestyle to see the results it brings. I can say from personal experience that it really does work. Give it a try, and see what a difference 15 minutes can make for your life.