Most of the students who study at the Academy are combining their study with work and/or family. Many are also business people, or have taken the decision to do the course alongside launching a business. Undoubtedly they also have friends, family and interests outside work and study that draw on their time too. That is life and most of us will say that we are juggling a number of competing tasks, responsibilities and interests. It is also common these days to hear people say; I have too much to do, I can’t get anything done, I can’t get motivated to do/finish what I need to do. I know that feeling too. It’s reasonable when you are busy and you want to achieve great things. But there are many successful people who have just as many, if not more, competing tasks each day and they get them done and juggle those balls. How do they do it?
Design Your Day
How you juggle your life and stay not only sane, but happy and balanced will be different for you, me and everyone else. We all have our own unique style and mix of things we need to juggle, so one approach does not suit all. But what I have learned, from other people who make that juggle look seamless, is that they PLAN for how they use their time. They design their days so that they know what they are doing from one minute to the next and have a road-map for how they will get what they need to do, done. This is what enables those people to stay focused and not have to rely on being motivated to finish tasks. They plan their day, block out the time they need and go for it. I have also learned, that they set realistic and achievable goals for each day and have a good understanding of how long tasks take.
Get Your Focus Back
If you have been struggling with focus and motivation and are not used to planning your days at all, this challenge is for you. Whilst this is a strategy you could employ every day if you have certain tasks or projects you want to tick of, it can also be used as a jumping off point for developing a habit of building time into your day for activities like study, launching a business or running one alongside your day job.
This is the 15 Minutes A Day Challenge
The rules are simple.
The aim is to create some momentum by building a habit of planning for how you use your time.
- Choose one thing you want to challenge yourself to do, start or finish. Just one thing. If your goal is big, break it down into smaller steps and choose one to complete in a week.
- Review your schedule and find 15 minutes in every day that you can block out. The same time each day works best for me, but that isn’t the case for everyone, particularly if every day is different. Regardless of how you do it, this step is the same. Look at the next 7 days and block out 15 minutes of time on each day.
- Make a pledge with yourself to only use that 15 minutes for this one task. This is all about forming a habit so it won’t work if you dodge the 15 minutes on any given day.
- Use the 15 minutes on your first day to plan exactly what steps you are going to take on the next 6 days. I will use study as an example. If you are working through a module of your course, go to that module on day 1 and break down the tasks within it. Find 6 things you can do in 15 minute blocks and list them out. Whatever you choose to do, the aim is to start and finish something in each 15 minute block so make sure you give careful thought to the activities you choose on your planning day (day 1).
- Come back to the task each day and spend 15 minutes on it. The benefit of the work you did on day 1 is that you won’t be losing precious time working out what you are going to do in that 15 minutes. You already have a plan.
Just do it
15 minutes a day won’t be enough to complete most projects, or even a course. That is not what this challenge is about. The challenge is designed to encourage you to see just what can be achieved in small amounts of time each day, when you plan and to encourage you to build up some momentum in your life so you become more focused and motivated. I use the 15 minute a day approach when I want to tick off small jobs that are starting to pile up, or do some research on a project. I also use it when I have been away form my normal routine and am finding it hard to get focused again. But it is also ideal if you have been sitting on finishing something for a while and just can get motivated to get back into it. Often this is because we are looking at the big picture only. The 15 minute a day challenge will teach you that baby steps taken one after the other, consistently, move you forward too.
You Nailed It
Once you complete the 15 Minute A Day Challenge and see results, don’t stop there. Do it again, or better yet, build on it. Can you find 20 minutes a day, even 30 for something that really matters?
If you are a student of the Academy join me in the Academy Live Facebook Group to share your wins on the 15 Minute A Day Challenge. Good luck!