Monday, April 16, 2012

Reminds me

In a phone conversation this morning, I was reminded how the smallest things can be life altering. Take for example the '20 minute solution'. I'm not sure who invented it, but I do know that I learned of it from Dana.

Here's what you do. Blocked by inertia, boredom, simple laziness? Needing to accomplish things, but no inspiration or impetus to do so? Do the 20 minute timer trick.

1. Find a reliable timer.

2. Set the timer to 20 minutes.

3. Do the despicable task until the timer goes off.

4. Be surprised at how much you can accomplish in 20 minutes!

This technique works! It would appear that the idea that you only have to stick at something for 20 minutes is incentive enough to get started.

Of course, Dana, the ultimate "outside the box", "never follows the rules" guru, has "tweaked" the rules, but they are loosely this. You work at the task at hand for the set 20 minutes, then you get to do anything else you'd rather be doing for the next 20 minutes. You can read, nap, watch a bit of t.v....whatever you thought you'd rather be doing than say, cleaning the powder room. Then, you start back to the working 20 minute segment. In an hour, you will have worked more than you rested and you'll be really delighted with the results. This is one of the most effective ways I have ever had of "tricking" myself into the task at hand.

I am always on the lookout for reliable kitchen timers. I have drawers of these and the only one currently working properly is like the one pictured above.

I've spent at least 20 minutes doing this to set the timer!


  1. so...are you collecting timers, now??
    I have another use...this one would work really well for me..

    1. When you start reading blogs..set the timer for 20 minutes
    2. When the timer goes off, do some work on your OWN blog
    3. Reset the timer, and continue to read blogs.

    What do you think?

    I am becoming a "blog-a-holic"
    and I LIKE it!!

  2. I started this when the kids were little. We would all gather and I'd say I'm setting the timer for 20 minutes. They knew the drill...everyone had to work for 20 minutes as fast as they stopping for the bathroom or needing a drink or answering the phone. We usually chose rooms. We would accomplish SO much. Sometimes we'd extend another 10. But the mess was clear. It was a cheerful time. No one was slogging away while others goofed off.

  3. What a great idea, Leslie/Dana! Never heard of this before. Must try this, as I have a lifetime membership in Procrastinators' Anonymous.


  4. David...I thought I knew you from somewhere.

  5. hahahaha I am laughing out loud over this one. the fact that you are going to "set the timer" now that you have spent 20 minutes doing this post. I'm sure it's NOT because I can so relate to it.

  6. Oh, Dana - you are SUCH a stitch!


  7. Ive been doing this since Ive been young (like 10)-- but it's always been 15 minutes. I still do it. Then I reward myself with computer time. Just now, I cleaned part of the garage, then left all of the debris strewn over the backyard. But I needed my computer reward. MAYBE I'll get to the next 15 today... maybe not.

  8. I'm so glad you did a post on this. Dana deserves a medal because the 20-minute thing really works.