20 Minute Rule Gets You Moving

Do you sometimes have a hard time getting started?

I don't just mean in the morning when you crawl out of bed, but when you're supposed to be dressed and ready to tackle your big project of the day.

For writers, that means being in the chair in front of the computer and writing what needs to be written that day.

I confess that sometimes I just can't get those fingers moving on the keyboard and the words flowing. Sometimes maybe I'm sad because of sad news. I'd rather be doing anything—even cleaning house—than writing.

Writing's my job so I can't afford to idle away the hours mindlessly jumping around social media or cruising the net in search of entertainment.

My 20 Minute Rule

You'll probably think I'm the biggest goof in the world or the most undisciplined, but here's a method I created that works for me. Especially on Monday mornings which are usually the worst morning of the week for me because I often  can't find a dram of enthusiasm no matter how many cups of coffee I drink.

I set my phone alarm for 20 minutes. For those 20 minutes, I goof off. I might channel surf or read some in a novel or play a mind-dulling computer game. I give myself permission to goof off.

When the alarm chimes, I get up and reset it for another 20 minutes. Then I deposit my behind in the chair, open my writing file and dive into whatever I've been procrastinating on. I type away, giving myself permission to write garbage as long as my fingers are moving and words are appearing. I work until the alarm chimes again.

I get up, but this time my mind is awake and my imagination is working. I reset the alarm for 15 minutes this time, and this time I go downstairs and put the laundry on or do some other mundane household chore.

When my alarm sounds, I go back to my computer, reset my alarm—this time for 25 minutes.

When it goes off at the end of 25 minutes, I don't reset it. I'm in the groove. Ideas are flowing. I no longer need the goof off time.

Why This Works

Does it work because I first reward myself first with some goof-off time and follow that with an equal amount of time in which I do something constructive? I don't know.

I do know that even if I don't want to do something, I can hang in there for 20 minutes and do whatever it is.

Twenty minutes seems to be the amount of time needed to get my motivation and energy engaged in a project.

You can do just about anything for 20 minutes if you have a reward at the end. *LOL*

I'll even confess to using my 20 Minute Rule for housework because I'm never enthusiastic about domestic chores.

When I use it for housework, I have to keep resetting the timer.

Takeaway Truth

Sometimes you have to trick the brain into doing what needs to be done. Once you overcome inertia, it's easy to keep going.

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