Jul 032012

How long is 15 minutes?  

No, really, how long?  How do you measure it?

Is it a short period of time as in “Only 15 more minutes on the computer” or an extrordinarily long period of time: “There’s a rest stop 15 minutes up the road.”  I guess it depends on how you look at it.

About 9 years ago, when my kids were smaller, 15 minutes was all I had.  A toddler, preschooler, and elementary school kid can fill every minute of the day with fun, mess, laughter, whining, food, dirty dishes, activity, exhaustion, and mountains of laundry.  

I really wanted to dig my way out from under the pile of stuff and the list of chores and just breathe.  When I saw someone who looked peaceful amidst the flurry, I’d ask for the secret.  One day, someone gave it to me: 15 minutes.  

She directed me to a woman called FlyLady whose motto was “You can do anything for 15 minutes!”  And it’s true.  

15 minutes

There are two sides to this:

1. You can accomplish a lot in 15 minutes if you focus.

Even if I couldn’t fold all the laundry, I could make a decent dent in 15 minutes, if I just stayed with it.  I discovered that I was flitting from pile to pile and not completing anything.  My to-do list was filled with half-finished tasks and overwhelming me before I even got started.  Which brings me to #2.

2. If you are dreading a task, just spend 15 minutes on it.

When faced with “cleaning the house” or “doing the taxes”, my inner princess would run screaming and I’d find every excuse in the world to not even start.  I can talk my princess down off the ledge now with the promise of spending ONLY 15 minutes on a dreaded task.  (She’s really easy to fool.)

I’ve discovered that most of the things I used to dread take less than 15 minutes: mopping, vacuuming, unloading the dishwasher, dusting, filing papers, paying bills.  The list goes on and on.

What can you accomplish in 15 minutes today?  Set your timer and find out!

For more on FlyLady and the power of 15 minutes, check out

 Posted by at 17:18