Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Got a minute? Notes from the kitchen sink...

Rebecca’s post last week was great showing us where we can incorporate some writing time, thanks Rebecca!

This week I want to give you a short rule to go by when you don’t have enough time. It’s very simple. Write for 15 minutes, no more, no less. You can do anything for 15 minutes.


I used to hate to do dishes, and I’m sure I’m not alone. I’d sit for hours doing other important things – anything to get out of dishes. Finally, to prove my point about how horrible doing dishes is, I decided to time myself. I set the stove timer for an hour figuring it would go off before the faucet did. I was in for a big surprise.

The minute I turned the water off after doing a normal sink load of dishes, I still had 45 minutes to go on the timer. That meant it only took me 15 minutes to clear the sink. All of my fussing and fuming washed down the drain that night and I realized my imagination had been playing tricks on me. Now when I’m aggravated about having to do dishes, I remember, it only takes 15 minutes which is hardly a sacrifice or hardship to have a clean sink!

Finding out how easy this was, and how hard I had made it, prompted me to apply this rule to other areas of my life. How many things really took only 15 minutes? And from there I moved into 15 minute plans for everything, including writing. 


If you don’t have enough time on the bus, waiting for dinner, or any other place, try scheduling 15 minutes a day; when you first get up, when you go to bed, after you brush your teeth, you get the idea. If you have it slated on your calendar to do 15 minutes of writing a day, you will get more done than if you don’t plan it. What if you miss a day or two? As soon as you remember, get back on track and write in your idea book or start a new story from your idea notebook.  You have a notebook, right?!  The 15 minute rule is a way to stay productive when time is hard to come by.


I make it a point to write 15 minutes a day no matter what. If I get to do it, great. If I get to do more, wonderful. Having this plan ensures I get more done than if I don’t keep a plan. The key is to remember to do it when you think of it and not worry when you didn’t do it.


You can do anything for 15 minutes. Annoying things like dishes, and fun things like crafting your next blockbuster story!

photo credit: morguefile.com

5 comments:

Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

Very interesting article, Karen. And spot on. I've been telling my daughter for years, a few minutes in the morning cleaning up her room would save her hours once a year. LOL

Susanne Drazic said...

Interesting blog post. I've heard several other people say the same thing about doing your writing (or chores) in 15 minute blocks. I've tried it before, with success, but I guess I forget about it after awhile. I think it's time to start implementing the 15 minute chore/writing plan again. I always seemed to get more done that way.
Thanks for the great reminder!

Penny Ehrenkranz said...

Karen, this is an excellent idea and one I've turned to often in my og too hectic life.

Karen McGrath said...

Hey everyone, thanks for stopping in! :)

Swikan said...

Hi, Karen! You're so right about the 15 mins (and the Kitchen Sink! I'm a flybaby *grin*). There's no excuse for not being creative. You can find a 15 minute block of time in every day!