One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

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What Can You Accomplish in 15 Minutes?

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A few weeks ago I wrote a post called Work Smarter Not Harder where I, sort of, confessed my workaholic-ness.

It’s true. I work a lot.

Don’t we all?

Lately I’ve been finding myself procrastinating. I get so overwhelmed with all that has to get done that I don’t actually accomplish anything. It’s a maddening circle.

My inbox will stay full for days. Laundry baskets of clothes sit waiting to be folded. The dinner mess waits until lunch the next day. I’ve even been procrastinating grocery shopping. And I love grocery shopping! Last week we ran out of bread, milk, and eggs!

Then I got inspired to put a work smarter not harder concept into practice.

Little Guy and I cleaned out a cabinet making room for his water bottles and the Baby’s new bowls and cups. When we finished, we both had such a sense of accomplishment.

We got SOMETHING done!

Then I looked at the clock. All it took was 15 minutes.

15 minutes and I had an organized cabinet and momentum to accomplish something else.

I decided to put my 15 minute idea to the test a couple of more times.

Yesterday at 4:45 PM

I focused on the pantry.

15 minutes later…

Amazing!

Right? (Note: the baby only lasts about 15 minutes in the bouncy so I really was on the clock! ;)

All it took was 15 minutes!

This afternoon I tried it on my bedroom…

It was 12:41 PM

After 15 minutes…

Taaa Da!

"15 minutes" is my new mantra when I’m feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated. I take a deep breath, look around and focus on 1 thing for 15 minutes.

Every day I vow to do this at least once.

Take 15 minutes this week and DO SOMETHING. Something that’s been bugging you. Something you’ve been putting on the bottom on your to-do. Even if you only get started it’s a start!

What Can You Accomplish in 15 Minutes?

Let me know how you make out in the comments!



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Discussion

There are 42 comments so far.

    Svanhvit

    August 25, 2011

    Nice!! I love the 15 minute timer thing. Heard of it at flylady :)

    Jzbell79

    August 25, 2011

    I love this!!! I, too, become so overwhelmed with my never-ending to-do list that I just shut down… put it ALL off… and make it that much worse. I’m gonna try your 15-minute policy next time I find myself needing to take a deep breath.

    Lisa

    August 25, 2011

    Great job! This inspires me to give it a try. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with a task and just do nothing…

    Kate

    August 25, 2011

    I love this! I’m going to try doing this every day, too. I think it will also help my daughter, who is almost 6, stay focused on her chores and school work!

    Theantijared

    August 25, 2011

    Please come do my pantry!!!

    shannon

    August 25, 2011

    This is the only way I keep my house clean. Each day of the week I have a “zone” I work on for 15 minutes. I do the tasks that make the most visual impact first, then move on to the less noticed parts of cleaning last, such as dusting or wiping off the shelves in the fridge.

    Mary

    August 25, 2011

    LOVE this idea! My bedroom is on tonight’s agenda!

    Barb

    August 25, 2011

    You’re so fricking brilliant. Another great idea. Thanks!

    There is definitely power in setting finite goals for shorter tasks!

    Have you heard of the Pomodoro technique? It’s 25 minutes of concentration plus 5 minutes for a break (after 4 pomodoro you should take a longer break) There’s a free widget for Mac you can install – sometimes I use it and like it! http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/

    Jen

    August 25, 2011

    Great idea but even more I appreciate your honesty in showing pictures of what other people’s bedrooms and pantries look like….makes me feel better. You are awesome!

    Patty

    August 25, 2011

    Yep, love the 15 mins, do it all the time. Just like the first commenter, I first tried it when I found flylady several years ago. It really helps with that sense of accomplishing something, esp. with baby in the house often 15mins is all you get!

    Stephanie

    August 25, 2011

    I do 30min at a time…but same concept. I use a motivated moms calendar, but instead of doing all they list for Mon, Tues etc, I set a timer for 30 minutes and get what I can done on the weekly list each night. Some nights are easier than others, but it is amazing what you can accomplish if you allow yourself to stay on task and not get sidetracked. Being a mom tends to do that to ya!

    Tami@nutmegnotebook

    August 25, 2011

    I really need to apply this to my weight work outs! I always think I don’t have 30-40 minutes to spend on that but hey, in 15 minutes I could work on something every day.

    I am always telling my college age kids that if they would take just 15 minutes a day and apply it to their bedrooms they could control the chaos!

    Thank you for the inspiration to make a change Roni.

    Bridget

    August 25, 2011

    This is the challenge of the ‘stay at home’ mom/wife…procrastinating and not feeling accomplished…but you have figured out a solution that works for you (and it’s true for a lot of us)!

    Barbara

    August 25, 2011

    great idea. I love the pix of the baby in front of the pantry . first pix is looked unhappy and second he look so happy.
    I think he like the job you did.

    Lexy

    August 25, 2011

    My sister in law Carman is the queen of setting the timer and knockin out a chore…. I told her I wanted to be her apprentice! Great idea… and good job! :)

    Christie

    August 25, 2011

    Ugh, I need to try this with house cleaning. I’ve been letting things slip by and now I look in my drawer and we have no clean forks. And there’s a big pile of dirty dishes. I know it’ll take more than 15 minutes to do but once it’s done, I could just spend 15 minutes or so in the evening tidying it.

    Missy

    August 25, 2011

    Wow! You’re good! I mean, REALLY good! You even made Little Bean disappear in the bedroom after-pic :-)

    Lori

    August 25, 2011

    Must do! This is a GREAT idea!

    Lynn

    August 25, 2011

    This is the motto of flylady.net — “You can do anything for 15 minutes!” I use it with my kids — but modify it to less time for them. It works!

    Cynthia (It All Changes)

    August 26, 2011

    I love small time frames like that. I even do it for work. I use online stop watch and work on a project for only 15 to 20 minutes unless I know it will need more. Changing thing more often allows me to work smarter and focus.

    Agnes

    August 26, 2011

    That is great! So many times I too feel so overwhelmed. You never realize how much you can accomplish in 15 minutes! Sometimes when I have 15 minutes I just jump on my exercise bike…15 minutes may not be a lot but it’s better than nothing!

    Tina

    August 26, 2011

    Fun post Roni! I like this 15 min clean up routine. I loooove organizing… there must be a tiny (and I mean tiny) piece of Martha Stewart in me. Your pantry photo *before* is like a delightful project in my eyes. I know, totally weird. My hubby makes fun of me when I put the groceries away and I line the cans up perfectly.

    Brooke

    August 26, 2011

    I just realize in the 15min bedroom clean up you even put the baby away! I need to start doing this. I always feel better when the house is clean. The last few weeks I have just given up.

    Adrienne

    August 26, 2011

    I love this! I have a 3 month old and a 3 year old, work full-time, go to school part-time and my husband works on a tugboat (home for 2 weeks out of 6) and I NEVER get anything done! This will help tremendously! Thank you! I am going to try it tonight!

    Dee

    August 26, 2011

    This is a compelling idea… thanks to you, some cleaning tasks are likely to get done over the next few days. Because I am always waiting for that magical 2 hrs to get a bunch of cleaning done… and it never comes. 15 min, it is.

    Erika

    August 26, 2011

    I am kind of the opposite! I work in childcare for ten hours a day and when I get home I always just sit and relax for a little while. I usually wait until I am in the mood to clean and then I LOVE cleaning…I always rest my inner soul first, and then am so happy to apply it externally to my life/house/etc….

    Kim

    August 26, 2011

    I think the timer idea is awesome – but I want to take the before and after pictures too – – I think that is what makes you REALLY see what you can do in a short amount of time!

    Lazy Personal Trainer

    August 27, 2011

    Accomplishing projects like these helps so much with your overall health and happiness! Even small successes lead to another… and another… Like Tami and Agnes, I too apply this concept to my exercise all the time. I get in short bursts of activity throughout the day so that if I can’t manage my regular workout, I will still will have had an active, healthy day.

    cassie

    August 27, 2011

    wow, i’m impressed.. that’s a lot to do in 15 minutes with a baby.. my daughter 7-month old lasts about the same amount of time in her jumper.. i have to give this a try

    Great idea! I can’t believe how many times I’ve put off a dreaded task (letting it bother me often) for weeks when I took less than fifteen to complete! I’m also really guilty of not doing anything it all if I can’t do it all completely right, which is so useless. I’m working on trying to use 15 minutes here or there to accomplish things. I love the 15 minute timer trick. I love seeing your before and afters as well.

    Thea @ I'm a Drama Mama

    August 27, 2011

    I used to do this all the time…I really need to get back to it because it IS amazing what can be knocked out in such a short amount of time!

    girliefriend

    August 27, 2011

    Stay safe our little east coasties.

    jeni

    August 28, 2011

    I often set the oven timer for 15 minutes and am always amazed at what I got accomplished when I’m focused and not stopping to check my email/write a quick note/switch the laundry/etc. Multi-tasking can only get you so far! It has also worked really well with my 4 and 7 year old kids. 15 minutes is just about the limit of their focus for cleaning and picking up their messes as well!

    Kris @Krazy_Kris

    August 28, 2011

    YEP there’s something about the 15 minutes that is SO doable – and yes, I can be paralyzed too with the daunting nature of EVERYTHING all around us ALL THE TIME. Thank you!

    Laura of Lauralovinglife

    August 29, 2011

    My 15 minutes of weed eating (my battery-powered weedeater only lasts 15 minutes, so I tell myself “I can do this ’till the battery dies, no problem.”) yesterday turned into 2.5 HOURS of clearing out an enormous bush that has been the bane of my front yard for YEARS. I finally cleaned out, and burned some serious calories doing it! I feel so great about it.

    Didn’t even see your 15 min post ’till today, but you are SO right. That’s all it takes for most stuff.

    Amanda

    August 29, 2011

    WOW I love this 15 min idea. I will be doing this around my house! Thanks!

    Sabrina

    August 29, 2011

    DINNER! I can cook a healthy meal in 15 minutes thanks to my weight watcher 15 minute cook books. No more excuses to order out.

    Dana

    August 31, 2011

    Such a simple idea that takes reading your post to put it in action! Thanks for the reminder!

    Matt@lbs4love

    September 1, 2011

    Where did you get the bouncy seat? My son would love that!!!

    roni

    September 1, 2011

    The car? It was a gift, 6 years ago for my first son. They have it on Amazon but it says it’s no longer available. :(

    AmberMiro

    January 5, 2012

    This is fantastic! 15min – what a thought – i will give this a try this weekend, thanks for the insight.