15 Minutes

Financial, Relationship and Spiritual Growth. Personal Development. Leadership.

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An Urgent Matter

3d rendering of a rubber stamp with URGENT in red inkWhen something comes into your life that is marked “urgent,” we usually have a sense of trepidation about it. This is because we rarely ever categorize something as urgent in our own lives. Urgency is usually thrust upon us by outside forces.

When your boss needs something done within a certain time frame it becomes urgent the closer you get to deadline. The more we procrastinate, the more urgent things seem to get thrown into our path.

Sometimes our lives can feel like a perpetual cycle of fulfilling one urgent task after another. If you want to accomplish anything worthwhile, you should get your own “urgent” stamp.

Add a sense of urgency to your own life events, your own tasks, your own agenda (your own blog). Put an urgency on those little tasks that won’t make or break your life today, but will contribute to your long-term growth.

And really treat them like they are urgent.

It’s easy to skip a day jogging, because not jogging for one day will not make you fat. But missing one day will rob you of your momentum. Missing one day can keep you from establishing a firm habit. Most importantly, missing one day today makes it easier to skip another day the next time. The same goes for missing a day writing. Missing a day of telling your wife you love her. Missing a day of whatever your new years resolution was.

Can you honestly say that you treat your own life with at least as much urgency as you do your boss’s business?


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Rock Beats Scissors and Consistency Beats Inspiration

rock_paper_scissorsI’ve been slow to update my blog over the last few weeks and I figured out the reason why. It’s because I haven’t been using the same method in blogging that I used to write my book. Specifically, just writing consistently for 15 minutes every day.

Even though my blog posts are not usually very long, they do typically take me longer than 15 minutes to write. In trying to update my blog 2 or 3 times a week, I’ve been trying to block out enough time to write each post from beginning to end. And since that takes me anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, I would avoid starting a new post until I could dedicate a complete hour to writing.

So I would procrastinate. Yes, even people that dedicate a portion of their first book to the subject of overcoming procrastination will sometimes backslide.

So, here I am, drawing a line and starting over. This time focusing on consistency. Writing a little bit every day; even if I don’t hit that publish button every day. Consistent and persistent effort is valuable for a number of reasons summarized below in bullet points (one of my favorite way to make points).

  • Consistency creates momentum. Doing a little bit every day is much easier than starting and stopping every few days. It cuts down on the amount of time it takes you to warm up and start each time.
  • Consistency increases creativity. Being creative (somewhat important for a writer) is much more a result of ongoing disciplined effort than of instant inspiration. Read my guest post at prowritingaid.com.
  • Consistency increases confidence. It provides you with a steady stream of small victories. You don’t need to always swing for a home run, be willing to drive for a few yards on each possession. (I like to mix sports metaphors).
  • Consistency creates habits. And habit is an incredibly powerful force in your life. If you create a habit that you choose for yourself, then you are taking control of your destiny.

So be consistent. 15 minutes of work a day will always be more productive than 8 straight hours of work every month.

What would be a positive habit that you could develop for yourself on 15 minutes a day?