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Less Than A Minute….P

Sometime during the week I heard of a technique to overcome procrastination called “Less Than A Minute.” Well I think I heard about it. I have no idea. I don’t know if I read about it, heard about it or dreamed about it. Frankly I have no idea where I came up with this idea.

The basic point of it is that doing what you need to do takes “less than a minute.” Instead of allowing things to build up until they take forever, you do them straight away and then less than a minute later, they’re done.

Now frankly, I thought that was a lot of nonsense. Writing a screenplay takes more than a minute. Outlining a novel takes several groupings of minutes that total hours of work.

Despite my disbelief that this theory would actually pay dividends, I decided last week to put it into practice. Obviously for the smaller tasks – washing a teaspoon after making a coffee, washing a coffee mug, taking out the garbage – it works a treat.

Last weekend it took my nearly 7 hours to clean my shoe box sized bedroom. It would seriously have been easier to move. Still between nearly a can of furniture polish, a roll of kitchen towel, two plastic bags for the rubbish I carted out of here, by the time I had finished the room sparkled – and smelt like chemical lemon and lime substitutes.

During the week I have refused to leave anything in my room. Not a coffee cup. Not a glass of water. Dirty clothes have gone straight into the hamper in the laundry. I’ve managed to keep the room spotless all week.

This morning I woke up at 6:25. Between 6:25 and 8:15 I have managed to accomplish the following by using the “less than a minute” technique;

  • Made a cup of coffee
  • Put first load of washing on
  • Put away washing from last weekend
  • Put fresh linen on my bed
  • Hung bed cover outside to air
  • Polished & cleaned bedroom
  • Hung first load of washing on the line
  • Put second load of washing on – it took 10 less than a minutes lol
  • Written a blog – see you’re reading it now

I guess when you put it like that it’s not a massive list of things to have achieved, but when you consider I spend most weekends barely accomplishing that much in 2 full days, I’m pretty happy.

So I’m going to be implementing the “less than a minute” technique this weekend on my writing. Granted, editing Butterfly will take more than a minute, probably a cluster of them. Plus, I want to outline my novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) so that come November I don’t wander in blindly like I usually do, and end up with a massive 4 or 5 words at the end of November.

So I’m off to hang out the second load of washing – the machine is doing it’s R2D2 impression – and then onto the Butterfly edit that I kept putting off for the last two week.

I guess the point to this is despite being a lifetime Gold Member of the Procrastinator’s Unite Tomorrow, Maybe Monday club, there are ways to get yourself moving that if you just think of them might actually work. Give it a try, and let me know how you go.

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43 year old Australian writer currently working on the first of a planned three book Epic Fantasy series. When he's not writing policy discussions, or tales of swords, Gods, and magic, he can be found making a mess in the kitchen, and turning perfectly good ingredients into crimes against humanity.

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