The 15 minute rule

When I was in acupuncture school my friend and I made up “the 15 minute rule.” Actually, I’m not even sure if we made it up or simply heard about it somewhere. Anyway, our version of the rule was that we had to spend at least 15 minutes per day studying. Now, I realize this sounds like a very short period of time. But the trick was that it was every single day and that it …got me to sit down and begin. I found that if I just started, if I just sat down, I’d often get into it. In fact, it seemed that the hardest thing to do about studying was starting. Once I began I would sometimes stick to my 15 minutes but more often than not, I would study for longer periods of time. The key to my success as a student came from my 15 minute rule. I rarely crammed for an exam because I was such a regular studier, even if it was only for 15 minutes. Just recently I came across this same concept for house cleaning. The article suggested that you devote 15 minutes per day to house cleaning. Now once again, one could yell out, but this isn’t enough. And while it may not be enough, 15 minutes per day adds up to almost 2 hours of house cleaning per week which is a lot more than zero!

Recently, I decided to apply this same rule to the “marketing” of my business. I’m a healer. I like to focus on healing, writing, creating, sharing. I do well at these things but am not as good about going out into the world and letting people know about Tong Ren Chakra Balancing, about my acupuncture practice, about my energy healing practice, about my cd’s and my books. In fact, I have resisted it terribly. Just recently I had someone suggest that I make one call or take one action per day in relation to the promotion of my various projects. This instantly reminded me of my 15 minutes per day rule. Of course, 15 minutes per day. Spend a minimum of 15 minutes per day promoting your business. Seems like such a simple concept and again seems like not enough time. But one action per day times 365 days per year adds up! So, I’m just embarking on this endeavor. Its been a whole 5 days now(which of course, gives me total license to write about it!) In that time, I’ve promoted this page, called two md’s, and written an article for a magazine. Of course, some of these actions took more than 15 minutes but the point is that breaking it down to devoting 15 minutes per day towards the sharing of my work with the world has suddenly made a daunting task feel more manageable. Some days my action step is a quick phone call, other days it’s the writing of an article. In the past I would stare blankly out into the vast world of options and become paralyzed. Since starting my 15 minutes per day project, it suddenly doesn’t seem so daunting. Just one action step a day. Even I can handle that!

The beauty of the 15 minute a day rule is that it can help get us going in any area of our life where we feel blocked. If your not exercising create a 15 minute rule for yourself. Walk for 15 minutes a day. Do something. Do anything. Just get the energy moving. If your home or office is a mess challenge yourself to spending 15 minutes per day restoring order. 15 minutes times 365 days per year adds up.

I think we, myself included, can get overwhelmed by the many tasks that we have in a day and can overwhelmed by the projects before us. I suggest that you take an area of your life that needs more attention and start by devoting just 15 minutes per day to it. This will help the task feel less daunting and allow you to break it up into doable steps. If you aren’t sure what to do, well just do something, it will help move the energy. Day by day, week by week, change will occur.

As I’m writing I hear this message:

“Too many are looking for the big moves, the big steps, the big action, when so much of life is made up of the little things: the writing of the letter, the 15 minutes of straightening up, the quick phone call. Do not over look these seemingly small action steps for one by one, little by little, they add up and before long you have mastered an art, built a business, gotten in shape, lost the weight, or saved the money. It’s the little things done on a daily basis that create the basis for our lives. Do not overlook the little things. Do not overlook the small steps and changes. Break down your task into small steps and they will seem more doable. If you haven’t exercised in years start with a 10-15 minute walk everyday. If you understood the power of walking 15 minutes per day and how it could transform your health you would for sure begin to day.”

And so again, pick some area of your life where you feel blocked and commit to working on it for 15 minutes a day.
Know that at first you will resist. You won’t want to. Be brave. Be courageous. If you can push through this initial resistance you will find yourself looking forward to your 15 minutes a day and your 15 minutes may become 20 or 25 or longer. But start small and be consistent.

“Too many overestimate what can happen in a short period of time and underestimate what can happen over a longer period of time. And so begin today by devoting 15 minutes to some area of your life that feels blocked. Let this be your commitment to yourself, to your body, to your home, to your business, to your studies, or to whatever area in your life needs it. Begin today and see how this transforms the quality of your life. Remember slow and steady wins the race.”

~Hayley Mermelstein