Things I Wonder: Are 15-Minute Bursts Working?

In two recent blog entries I talked about “getting stuff done” and how most of it is simply making a list and doing some of those things on the list. I wondered if, sometimes, we (certainly me) don’t accomplish things on our list because the list is too robust and out of our reach. If “run a marathon” is on my Wednesday “To-Do” list, well, guess what? It ain’t happening. Because if I did get to “run a marathon” today, I’d have to add “finish last will and testament” and “tell my wife I love her” to the list because those are things I’d want to do right before I died trying to run a marathon.

I think I could walk a marathon in my current state …but there would be no running.

Making a list, however, is a great place to start. Once you have a list, at least you’ll have a road map. And if “run a marathon” doesn’t get accomplished, you can adjust. Keep “run a marathon” as a long-term goal, but for your daily to-do list, make it “run for 15-minutes.” Eventually you can make that “run 3 miles” (which I won’t be doing in 15-minutes …more like 30-minutes …but that’s OK …it’ll take two of my 15-minute bursts, and it’s something I want to do).

For example, I’ve always enjoyed writing nonsensical things at spunkybean and sometimes people read my various recaps. It keeps my creative juices flowing, helps me write my other stuff, and it’s fun. A few people had asked me, “where are you Bachelorette recaps?” I had no excuses other than I used to spend an hour or more writing those things and making sure they were perfect, and funny, and then I’d want to make sure keywords and hotlinks and images were included, so I built up this “fun” bit of writing I’d always done into some huge, make-it-or-break-it project with a deadline. I started to stress out as if I was writing the State of the Union for the President when, in reality, it was nothing more than a sarcastic, silly recap of a ridiculous TV show.

So, I added “write recap of The Bachelorette” to my daily 15-minute burst to-do list, and viola! I spent 20-minutes Monday writing something. Then 20-minutes yesterday. And …if you go to spunkybean, you’ll see a Bachelorette recap.

And what about the rest of the stuff on my to-do list that I didn’t get done? Because I’m accomplishing so many little “bursts” of things, and I’m figuring out how to make a realistic daily to-do list, I still feel better and accomplished at the end of the day. This week, I exercised Monday and Tuesday. I wrote both days. I managed my workday in the same way (I didn’t blog about my to-do at work, but I’m approaching it the same way). I feel great.

Today’s to-do list looks very similar to my list from last week and the weekend, but it’s OK. I’ve spent a 1/2 hour on each of these things and unlike before, sitting there thinking each is a mountain or marathon of a task, I’m nearly done with at least six things here.

*** and now I have :50-seconds remaining to finish this blog ***

1. Write a blog entry on amazing actress friend for MSU Alumni blog

2. Write a blog entry on amazing reality-TV friend for MSU Alumni blog

3. Start writing TV-show pitch starring amazing friend in wheel-chair

4. Spray roof with mildew/mold remover

5. Clean out gutters

6. Clean crud off gutters

7. Finish Bachelorette recap for spunkybean and post.

8. Embed Stephen Colbert’s eulogy into a new post for tomorrow.

9. Start planning coffee party.

10. Start planning bowling party.

See you tomorrow. Good luck with your list of :15-minute bursts of awesome.

Follow me on Twitter (@donkowalewski) or Instagram (don_kowalewski) or ‘Like’ Kaleidoscopic Raygun.

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