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Microburst Your Way to Success

Get thing done with 15 minute microbursts | Happy Simple Living

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 steps microbursts. I am often surprised by how much I can get done during a 15 minute focused microburst.

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 written in a week.

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 within 10 months!

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 meditating or praying?

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, so drop a comment below!

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites and 101 Things To Do With Bacon. She shares ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, time and money. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

8 thoughts on “Microburst Your Way to Success”

  1. housework. yardwork. filing. exercise. had bypass surgery last July, still have no great energy reserves. 15 minutes at a time sort of keeps me up to date on most things.

    • Catherine, I’m sorry. When you’re recovering, I bet it’s tough to manage those tasks. Good for you, for tackling all those chores in short increments. I hope you continue to heal and regain your energy. xo

  2. This is interesting. I have noticed when I work on a project I get bored and do something else and then come back to the project.
    I guess you can call that a microburst. I never really thought about incorporating the technique into other parts of my life.
    Thanks, I will give it a try ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Now you know that your technique was actually at the cutting edge of productivity – ha! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Tony.

  3. I have a similar technique which does date me a bit. When there’s something I don’t want to do, I put on a favorite album and tell myself that I only have to work on whatever it is that I’ve been avoiding until the album is over. It’s closer to 45 minutes, but it’s basically the same concept.

    That being said, I think I’ll take 15 minutes and go clean up the kitchen. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • That’s a great idea, Cat. I bet you can get a lot done in one album, especially if it’s great music! xo

  4. I frequently do this with cooking or cleaning. I usually mark it in tasks instead of time. I talk myself off of the couch after a long day with a “I’m just going to unload the dishwasher, that’s it.” Usually I end up unloading, reloading, and wiping off the counters as well. It just takes a little mental trickery to get started!

    • I like the little encouraging statement you tell yourself, Kathryn! ๐Ÿ™‚ Good idea. Thanks for sharing this.


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