I read an interesting article in the New York Times about the benefits of micro progress. The gist of the article is that if you have a big project to tackle, you break it down into the smallest little mini tasks and tackle them one at a time.
I call these small efforts microbursts. When I teach writing classes, we often do an exercise that never fails to surprise the participants. First, I ask the students to write a short description of the one book they would love to write someday.
A little later in the class, we do a timed writing exercise. We set the timer for 15 minutes, and I ask the students to simply begin writing the book they described earlier. With a pen and paper, they write and write. They ignore the little voice in their head that says their words are no good, and they resist the temptation to stop and re-read and edit what they’ve written.
They simply write.
At the end of the exercise, they count the number of words written. The average is around 400 words per student written in 15 minutes.
It might not seem like much, but if you write 400 words a day for five days and take the weekend off; you’ll have 2,000 words.
Write 2,000 words a week for the rest of this year. Take a week off for the holidays. You’ll have the first draft of your 60,000-word book written before 2018 ends.
15 minute microbursts help me overcome procrastination. 15 minute intervals are bearable, no matter how tough the project. 15 minutes of work can help you start something you’ve always wanted to do.
How About You?
What if you spent….
15 minutes blasting through your To Do List?
15 minutes decluttering?
15 minutes writing the first page of your book?
15 minutes on a project that speaks to your heart?
15 minutes taking photographs?
15 minutes writing in your gratitude journal?
15 minutes tidying your work space?
15 minutes praying or meditating?
15 minutes reaching out to a loved one?
15 minutes digging in the garden?
15 minutes running up and down the stairs and getting your heart rate up?
15 minutes doing something great?
I’d love to hear what you accomplish with a 15 minute microburst in the Comments section of this page.