How to Succeed at Anything in 15 minute Chunks

musicians all around us

 In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes” – Andy Warhol.

Are you aware of just how much time you waste each day?

Would you be shocked if I told you that every day you are squandering away hours and hours of your precious life?

Let’s look back on your day today. Or look back on yesterday if you are reading this post early in the morning.

How many times did you check your inbox? Opened the same email without taking any action? Checked Facebook or some other social media account? Handled the same piece of paper?

At this point, just look back and see how what productive and non- productive activities you carried out at work.

Also, if you are like most people nowadays, away from work your day may be filled up with superfluous activities, watching news, gossiping etc – you get my drift.

My point is this – you only have 24 hours in each day – and so many of those hours are simply frittered away. Wasted. Gone. Forever.

So much of your time is also taken up with waiting activities where you are simply waiting such as in a queue or holding on at one end of the telephone.  Or you are in limbo whilst you are waiting for someone to deliver something or finish their part of a job.

Before you know it, the day is gone followed by another day just as interwoven with fruitless activities. And that’s how life goes on.

Now supposing I shared a secret which will revolutionise your life and your timekeeping?

Success in life comes in 15 minute chunks.

Mastery of anything begins with 15 minutes of intense focus, followed by another 15 minutes and so on.

You and I get to transform the world in 15 minute chunks.

It really is as simple as that!

Devote yourself totally to any activity for 15 minutes, and you are most likely to be fully focused and involved. And then watch the creative juices flow.

And that’s the other thing – so often we wait and procrastinate, waiting for the right time for some magical inspiration to come. But if we keep waiting, it may never come!

There never is any need to wait for the inspiration to come or to get motivated.

That’s just another excuse for procrastination!

The key is to get started on any activity and keep going for 15 minutes.  And build on that.

Here’s a challenge for you from today onwards. No matter what sphere of work you are in, focus on working in 15 minute chunks:-

  • Clear that in-box in just 15 minutes!
  • Write that article.
  • Make those long put off telephone calls today.
  • Pay your bills online.
  • Get any drab, boring bits done in just 15 minutes.
  • Go for a brisk 15 minute walk.
  • Practice on your musical instrument.
  • Simplify your meals and diets

There is so much routine stuff you can get done and out of the way in simple 15 minute chunks – and then you can clear the deck for the real creative stuff.

Or better still, get started with the real creative stuff whilst you are fresh.

Whenever you have 15 minutes to “spare”, just do what you have to.

Take that report you have to read next time you are likely to be waiting in a line or at the dentist for example. Or take an inspirational book with you to read rather than flicking through some mindless gossipy magazines

Create more 15 minute chunks in your day by eliminating:-

  • Reading junk papers.
  • Mindlessly surfing gossipy websites
  • Checking inbox incessantly
  • Following social media updates
  • Toxic conversations with friends or co-workers

A worthy life of passion and inspiration is created in 15 minute chunks.

Take every chance you can to make it happen.

Focus on that one activity that will transform your life – imagine how your life will change if you became highly proficient at whatever you choose to do.

It can be an activity related to your work, business or a hobby. And actually you can apply this rule in all areas of your life.

Of course relaxing in 15 minute chunks is equally valid and important!

Try meditating for 15 minutes at a time, once or twice a day and watch how you naturally feel calmer and at peace. But that’s for a future post.

For today, just commit to making your life work in 15 minute chunks. You will never look back.

And in case you are wondering, I did draft this article in just 15 minutes – whilst I was on a 15 minute bus journey :-).

What can YOU do today in 15 minutes that will transform your life?

Once you have begun to apply this rule in your life, you’ll create even more time for more creative and inspirational activities.

Where can you get more inspiration and ideas?

One suggestion I have for you is to bookmark and check out these 5 inspirational and educational posts from my blogger friends. You can read through each article in 15 minute chunks :-).

Enjoy!

1. Develop Your Intuition

2. Romance Yourself

3. Learn 150 Bold Tips about Life, People and Wisdom

4. Discover how free you really are!

5. Eat healthily on a budget

Here’s to an inspired life built in 15 minute chunks…

Photo courtesy of MattJP
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Comments

  1. Oh lovely! Arvind, are you sure you did not know my grandmother? Just asking. She always said – never wait to say “i love you” and never wait for the right moment to do good. Good encompassed all the useful activities we do on a daily basis. Planning is all good, but again doing it in 15 minute chunks is relevant. I went through exactly what you described in the beginning of your post some years back. I’d be overloaded and overwhelmed, when one day I just shook myself, scolded myself, asked myself where my time-management skills, for which I used to be admired had gone. Then, i started with 30-minute chunks. And reaped the benefits big time. Today, I practice the same 30-minute principle and find that focus and control can achieve more in those minutes than waiting for the right moment.

    At this rate, I am going to be printing out each one of your articles for my son to read. I am tempted to preach the points in this article in my son’s school. Maybe I’ll make a high school version and credit you. :-) Thank you very much.
    Vidya Sury’ latest post ..The Haiku Challenge 2012 – Day 9 – United

    • Vidya, your grandmother sounds like an amazing woman!

      Thanks for sharing your experience of 30 minute chunks. I do find though that a shorter time of 15 minute chunks helps me get even more focussed and ruthless, especially when dealing with emails.

      And yes, please do go ahead and make a high school version for your son:-)

      Just imagine if the children today could learn all this self -development stuff and they were able to manage their life in 15 minute chunks!

      Wow – what a different world we can create as our legacy:-)
      Arvind Devalia’ latest post ..How to Succeed at Anything in 15 minute Chunks

  2. While I don’t practice most of the standard time wasters that you’ve mentioned, I still feel like many of my days “disappear” on me. I spend a lot of time tending to and cleaning up after my three small children and many pets so I guess that’s where most of my time goes.

    I’m working to create more time for myself to focus on the things I love (like writing and creating). Your 15 minute chunking idea is perfect! I’ll put it into action first thing in the morning.

    Thank you Arvind!
    Paige | simple mindfulness’ latest post ..Simple Steps to Create More Freedom For Yourself

    • Paige, clearly the examples I shared were from my world – I have no experience of dealing with children and pets:-)

      Good luck with applying my 15 minute chunking idea….

  3. “My point is this – you only have 24 hours in each day – and so many of those hours are simply frittered away. Wasted. Gone. Forever.” I’m putting this on a sign in my office! I take too many breaks away from my desk;)
    Tess The Bold Life’ latest post ..Videos, Breakthroughs, Awesome Connections…Bold Living!

  4. Arvind….

    This is just the article I needed to read today. It’s a great reminder not to fritter away time. Even with a ‘to do’ list each day, it is so easy to let the hours slip away with a lot of nonsense…and some work squeezed in between.
    Thanks for a great post. :) Fran
    Fran Sorin’ latest post ..Why Your Passions Infuse Your Life With Creativity and Peace

  5. It’s really strange. I just finished a 15 minutes meditation sitting around 10 minutes ago. :-)

    I like this concept of breaking up time into 15 minute chunks to do worthwhile activities.

  6. Kimmie Gibbons says:

    Arvind,

    I LOVE this. Thank you so much. Even I can accomplish focusing on something for 15 minutes :) Going to put this into practice.

  7. Awesome post Arvind!
    15 minutes is so doable. You are genius. I’m going to finish this and then devote myself to clearing my in-box before I do another thing!
    Angela Artemis/Poweredbyintuition’ latest post ..Navigating by Intuition in “Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store” (and how I almost missed it!)

  8. Sylvia Ngoma says:

    This is so great i struggle to be focussed there is always interruptions in between my tasks. Thanks for this great article im going to start applying 15minutes chunks to manage my time.

  9. so true. i think focus on one thing at a time even if just for 15 minutes much better than multitasking!
    Noch Noch
    Noch Noch | be me. be natural.’ latest post ..today I laughed: how is business done in China?

  10. Anup sodha says:

    Hi Arvind, can I start with one minute chunks. ?

  11. This idea Arvind sounds workable, but if you have the courage to start, it is really hard for me to start any project, even the – killing me – clutter. Any help on how to be brave and do it:(.

  12. I am especially guilty of opening the same emails over and over again without actually writing a reply because of all sorts of other things going on around me and inside my head.
    I love this idea of limiting the time to do a certain task, this will definitely motivate you to give it your best.
    I have already eliminated all the blogs that I was subscribed to that did not do anything but make me waste my time, but social media still distracts me a lot.
    I will start working on different tasks for 15 minutes and I am excited to see what will happen with my productivity. :)

  13. Cathy | Treatment Talk says:

    Hi Arvind,

    Fifteen minute chunks is definitely doable and a good way to start small and get more done. This makes sense to me and will give that a try. I do get sidetracked online with reading nonsense at times. Adding a fifteen minute break in there too would be helpful. Thank you for the great idea!!
    Cathy | Treatment Talk’ latest post ..Saying Goodbye to Etta James and Now Whitney Houston

  14. For the first time in my life, I find myself doing things that are time wasters… so this post really resonated with me! Thanks Arvind!!
    Betsy at Zen Mama’ latest post ..Teach Your Children To Give Random Acts Of Kindness

  15. This post is very helpful and informative. Unbeknownst to many, you can start changing your life for the better through 15 minute-chunks that will yield advantageous results. For instance, you can start developing a new mindset that concentrates on optimism and constructive changes, and begin eliminating the ones that influence your actions, emotions, and thoughts in a disadvantageous manner.
    Steve White’ latest post ..Mental Health: It’s for Everyone

    • Steve, thanks for your input about creating a new mindset in 15 minute chunks, filled with optimism and positive changes.

      So many people fill their lives with negative all the time – and one way for them to change this is to allow themselves 15 minutes every day to focus on the positive things in their life. And then gradually increase this to two 15 minute chunks and so on…
      Arvind Devalia’ latest post ..How to Stop Being a Mouse in Public!

  16. hmm… I question the need to always be doing something productive with every given minute of the day. What you’re doing too much already? What if the reason you feel so dissatisfied with your ability to get things done is because there is too much to do already.
    There can be purpose in doing nothing.

    It is when one is hindering themselves from what they want by procrastinating that ‘not being productive’ can become a problem.

    But being still or dreamy or mentally checked out in and of itself can be a beautiful thing and is a worthy way of spending time.
    http://thatwhichreallyis.blogspot.com
    Tathata’ latest post ..For The Love of Horses

  17. Hi Arvind, your helpful post reminds me of Parkinson’s Law; that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. Give yourself one day to complete a one hour task, and the task itself grows ever more complex and daunting as it expands to fill the one day time allocation. Complex and daunting because the time spent in between doing the task and completing it in the time allocated inevitably gives way to gnawing irritation and stress. So time – and simplicity – can be gained by completing tasks (which fit into your goals) in 15 minute chunks and by reducing to a minimum the time-wasting routines like scouring news feeds for information.
    Monica Booth’ latest post ..In an experiment, A Daily Mail Journalist wore the same dress every day (to work…

  18. Hey guys! Arvind I read your article about 15 mins chunks and be successful and really found it intresting on how we can focus on anything in 15min chunks.

    I’ll try to adopt this technique in my lifestyle.

  19. Danyelle Franciosa says:

    I use to sit and relax for a while to meditate and think something that would actually help me to do something successfully. I found your post helpful and I agree most of the things you said here.
    Danyelle Franciosa’ latest post ..Bifold Doors

  20. lovely article – I now only allow myself to procrastinate in 15 minute chunks!

  21. Lori Lynn Smith says:

    Awesome! 15 minutes has always been my “time zone” as well. From Self Care to Spiritual Care to Emotional Self Care. Anything can be easily done in 15 minute zones.
    Lori Lynn Smith’ latest post ..9 Minutes to Sanity

  22. I have quite a lot of free time but always seem to put things off and pack all my essential ‘to do’ tasks into the last minute! I also keep meaning to get back into drawing or painting but just never seem to get around to it. I think I’ll start off with fifteen minutes today…

    Thank you x

    • Hannah, welcome to my blog!

      Great that you are going to start today in 15 minute chunks:-).

      I suggest you spend 15 mins first on the first activity on your essential “to do” list. And then 15 mins on the next one.

      You’ll soon find that you’ll build up momentum and you will feel great about getting the important things done. And then you can play!

      Good luck with the painting and drawing:-)
      Arvind Devalia’ latest post ..The Zen Mantra for Coping with Pain – “This Too Will Pass!”

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