The case for 10 minutes

I usually avoid writing about personal things on here, and stick to the digital marketing world, but I’ve been using a new mantra these last few weeks to help me get out of the technology loop at home & work, and get stuff done. It’s been very effective, so I thought I’d share it. The mantra is “Just 10 minutes.” It works well for both personal and professional endeavors, and works well for people with the attention span of a squirrel (read: me).

So what’s “just 10 minutes” all about?

The mantra is loosely based on a sticker that is on the outside of the front door of the Gold’s Gym that I go to on James Island (a heck of a deal at $10 a month, I might add). The sign says, “Know that showing up is half the battle.” How true is that!?! I hem and haw, complain, and stomp my feet the whole way to the gym, but once I get in the front door, I’m so happy EVERY SINGLE TIME that I made it there. That sign made me realize that there are other things in life (hobbies, side projects, etc) that I love doing once I get going, but seem to have a really hard time starting.

My first successful implementation of “just 10 minutes” was for something I wouldn’t normally think of as a chore. Playing guitar. I love playing, but kept having a hard time fitting it in. I think that, in my mind, I had to have an epic 2 hr session every time. That meant I never had time. One day, I realized that somehow a month or two had gone by and I’d hardly picked up my instrument. I knew something had to change.

So, I wrote all of the days of the week with an empty check box on my chalkboard at home, with the goal of putting an X next to each day when I completed 10 minutes of practice a day. It has been very effective at getting me to sit down for 10 minutes and play. And about 80% of the time, the 10 minutes turns into 45 minutes.

I’ve started employing this mantra on a wide variety of things, aside from playing guitar. Those projects at work that are daunting, just work on it for 10 minutes. That non-fiction, user experience book sitting on my coffee table for weeks? You get the point. Getting started is half the battle. This helps you win that battle.

I recommend you try it in your life. Do you have 10 minutes for your health, your intelligence, your happiness? Make time. You’ll be surprised how hard it is to stop after 10 minutes. And as the sign on the exit side of the front door at Gold’s says, “Know that you’ll be back for more tomorrow.”