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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Busy Momma vs. Big Projects: the "Suffer for 15 Minutes" Rule

This is our new "ABC Tree" felt board.  I made it!  And I'm going to post about how I made it soon... but before I do I want to share a really awesome tip that I read in Gretchen Rubin's book Happier at Home:

When a project seems daunting or never quite gets started, try making yourself do it for 15 minutes each day. Only 15 minutes.  Anyone can do 15 minutes!

She applied this concept in her own busy life by forcing herself to spend 15 minutes a day making family albums until she was all caught up on her family photos.  It was something that was very important to her, but never quite got done... and once you get back-logged with something like that it's intimidating to get started.

Gretchen says, "I've been promising myself that I'd organize an album 'in my free time' but the fact is, I never have any free time.  I never wander aimlessly through the apartment, looking for something to do. But making the album was a priority for me, so I wrote it on my calendar like a visit to the pediatrician.  I would suffer for just fifteen minutes a day." 

So I applied this to my craft project, the ABC Tree.  I wanted to create a hands-on way for the girls to learn their letters, and the supplies had been sitting around for months.  I'm not specifically a crafty person, I mean, I love completing projects.  But I don't craft as a hobby.  So I found that getting started was really challenging.

Anyone, even the busiest Momma on the planet, can do something for 15 minutes a day.  I would write it on my to-do list, set the timer on my iPod, and literally only do 15 minutes of work on the project.  Sometimes, if I was enjoying it and wanted to keep going, I would.  Other times, I'd just pack everything away and move on with my day.

It might seem annoying to get everything out and have to put it away 15 minutes later, but I'm telling you, it works. Instead of feeling like I had to carve out a whole night of "crafting time", I just worked it into the day really quick.  It took about a month and a half to finish it, but I am so pleased with the results.  And I honestly don't know if I would have finished it had I not gotten started!  

So that's my tip!  Got a project you've had on the back burner forever?  Try to suffer for 15 minutes a day.  You'll be surprised how much you can do in fifteen minutes... and how many days of that before you're done!

I think I might channel my inner Gretchen and use this idea to do family photo albums, too!  We obviously have photos coming out our ears, and I usually decorate the walls with my pictures.  But I don't ever take them and put them into albums.  Digital photo books are easy and once I get started, no one can stop me muahahahaha.  Oh but before I do that I'm going to transcribe all my notes to the girls to a safe online storage.  I have been writing to them in their own individual journals since I found out I was pregnant with each... now I write down all their milestones and funny sayings, a "baby book" of sorts. I would be crushed if those precious memories to my girls were stolen, lost, or burned without a back up somewhere.

I just added "type for 15 minutes" to my to-do list today.  What are you going to do?

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