The 20-Min Procrastination Buster

Allow me to be honest with you, Glow Getters. I am the QUEEN of procrastination. I'd love to say I used to be, but sadly, it's something I struggle with everyday. Me fighting procrastination is like an alcoholic trying to resist a drink...it's an uphill battle, for sure.

Thankfully, I'm a fighter, and today I'm going to share one of my favorite anti-procrastination weapons with you: The 20 Minute Rule.

I forget where I first heard of this nifty trick -- most likely while I was supposed to be doing something else -- but it's been moving me forward for years now. It boils down to this: whatever it is that you've been putting off or not looking forward to, commit yourself to devoting 20 minutes to it. Set a timer and Just. Get. Going. The theory is that 20 minutes is not that much time out of your day (heck, I've waited longer than that for fresh donuts at Krispy Kreme in my less healthy days) and that you can spare it to knock out a task really quickly.

There is magic in these 20 minutes, as one of two things happens nine times out of 10:

1. You actually complete your task in 20 minutes. You know that task that you thought would take for-ev-er that you dreaded doing (I'm looking at you, organizing spice cabinet)? Turns out it really only took 15 minutes, and now you have five minutes back in your day. Check you out, kicking ass and taking names. Don't you feel accomplished?

2. For those tasks that take longer than 20 minutes, usually, once you start, you tend to just go on until it's finished. (As any guy waiting for his girlfriend to get ready can tell you, "20 minutes" can end up being quite a long time.) Maybe it's that you're almost done anyway and it seems silly to stop now, or maybe you have a good flow going and don't want to interrupt it. Whatever it is, you're knocking it out, and I am taking my hat off to you for getting shit done. (Can't you just hear my applause in the background?)

What kind of tasks can benefit for the 20 minute rule? I'll share some of mine, if you promise not to judge (because that's not what we do here!):

  • Washing dishes
  • Straightening up living areas
  • Folding clothes (and putting them away!)
  • Meal Prep
  • Packing a gym bag
  • Writing blog posts (don't sue me!)
  • Calling your parents!

Some of these take longer than 20 minutes. For instance, meal prep can be as quick as five minutes (packing a lunch for the next day) or as long as two hours (making meals for the entire week)). But some take exactly 20 minutes -- or less! It never takes me as long to fold clothes as I think it will.

Now, I'm not saying using the 20 minute rule will make you a master tasker, but I'd be lying if I didn't say the theory that "you can do anything for 20 minutes" didn't have a super impact on my life, whether I'm applying it to household chores or cardio at the gym. I urge you to try it -- at the very least, you'll be 20 minutes closer to accomplishing something today!

What do you always put off that could benefit from 20 minutes of attention? Share in the comments!