Time Management Tip #14 – Practice the 10 Minute Rule

This one is simple: work on a dreaded task for 10 minutes each day.

Often what stops us from working on these projects is their size, whether actual or perceived; or that we just don’t want to do them. We tend to view them as a whole – a large project that I can’t get done or don’t want to do, so why start. Surprisingly, once you get started, you will often continue working longer than 10 minutes, or even finish it. Doing it is so much easier in the end, than thinking about it. Or as one of my clients used to say, “Dreading it is worse than doing it.” And even if you do only spend 10 minutes a day, if you continue to employ this rule, you will chip away at it and get it done slowly.

Energetically, doing even 10 minutes has the effect of making you feel better about the project and your time management skills and your workdays.

Case Study: I put all my filing in a pile for later. Later came when I looked at this overflowing pile, that had turned intStopwatcho two overflowing piles and I said, “I really need to do my filing.” But that brought up a problem because whenever I thought about filing, I felt tired and overwhelmed. I very quickly came up with other things that were more important for me to do. Checking email, answering phone calls, on-line shopping. Anything that was not filing. Then I thought about the 10 minute rule. So every morning after coming into the office, but before I started work, I spent 10 minutes. I set a timer and I worked until it went off. I was surprised how much I could do in 10 minutes. And often I did stay and work longer, but when I was sick of it and 10 minutes had passed, I could easily give myself permission to walk away. In about two weeks, the pile was gone. Remarkably easy.

Post your examples here!

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About the Author

Picture of Cami McLaren

Cami McLaren

is the owner of McLaren Coaching. She has been coaching professionals and leaders since early 2008. She runs Transformative Coaching Essentials, a coach training program that produces first rate Professional Coaches and "Coach-Style Leaders." She coaches individually and works with organizations to improve communication, time management, productivity and ultimately bring greater results.

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