Wednesday, 27 February 2013

15 pivotal minutes

People running a part time business or working on anything outside of their normal 9 to 5 jobs find it hard to get a decent stretch of time for their extracurricular pursuits.  Factor in family and domestic commitments, and it becomes difficult to find just one uninterrupted hour.  This is where you have to start working in smaller increments.

Life's busy, there seldom seems to be enough time for anything except work and some errands.  But life also occasionally gives us respite.  Meetings are cancelled, negotiations get delayed, reviews postponed.  On some days, your body is even able to wake up a few minutes earlier (usually when your previous day was less stressful than normal).  While these "respites" you get are often little more than deferments, they do give you time you didn't have before.  And when such occasions arise, you need to maximize this new-found time given to you. 

Admittedly, trying to do something whenever one spare minute arises is unfeasible, but anything upward of 15 minutes can be used for fruitful, productive activity to further your own interests.  When most of us have a spare 15 minutes we usually spend it playing with our smartphones, chatting on instant messenger or watching television snippets.  It feels like too short a period to do anything worthwhile, so most simply “kill time” doing passive, sedentary things. 

Especially in the mornings when your mind is fresh and you're in an idea-inducing state, fifteen to twenty minutes can produce a list of three novel marketing ideas, provide the concluding paragraphs to your book, fix the bug in your programming code, or map out the next five years of your life on a clean piece of paper.

You don't need to complete what you're doing; you just need to set creative direction or make progress towards a plan.  For the short time that your concentration is wholly committed to something, your next great idea or life-changing moment can spring forth.  To quote Oliver Holmes Sr: "A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience."  Fifteen minutes can be pivotal. 

I suspect that your brain is more prone to creativity in these explosive time-limited sessions because it knows it has limited time and that it doesn't have to concentrate for too long.  Therefore it doesn't hold back.  Your own will to make the session worthwhile also nudges the brain along. The parameters of scarce time and adversity can be used to your advantage.

The ultimate situation we want of course is to have several hours of uninterrupted time daily, but until you make your sideline business a full time affair, or become a fully fledged musician or writer, then these little pockets have to become the units of time you deal in. 

Waiting for what you feel is a decent period of free time can amount to procrastination.  If you step back and do the math after just one month, you will find all these little pockets compound to a substantial lump of time, all of which will take you that much closer to your goal. 

The Happy Uprising is available on Kindle for $2.99 (prices may vary by region). 
Amazon Review: "This is a well written, smart and happy book about getting oneself out of the ruts we often find ourselves in - not only in the job market but also in life. Highly recommended."

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