The 27 Minute Rule

If you are not doing something that must be done, you may find it useful to call on “The 27 Minute Rule”.

The 27 minute rule is quite simple.  You make a strict deal with yourself to focus on the matter in hand for twenty seven minutes. You allow nothing to hijack that dedicated time. No excuses!

27 minutes… and that’s it – that’s the rule.

separatorWhatever happens in those twenty seven minutes, I know that I will emerge with something of value.

At the one extreme, I may get stuck in to whatever it is and the flow, well, flows and the deed is done!

Often, I find that I make serious inroads into the matter in hand during the allocated time and/or emerge with a do-able action plan to move it forward.

At the other extreme, I may spend my precious 27 minutes mumbling and grumbling, cursing and sulking (and I’m quite good at all of that). I can get something useful from this. By the end of the 27 minutes, I will have insight into whatever is stopping me getting on with it. Compared with the oblivion of inaction, such insight is gold dust – I can work with that!

In the process, I may gain insight in to what is stopping me. There may be lots and lots of different reasons (or is that excuses?) for why I am procrastinating so much that I have to call on the 27 minute rule.  There may be some FEAR (False Expectation Appearing Real)  – what if I do it wrong (better to do nothing than get it wrong)? Stupid, I know, but a big blocker even so.  Maybe there are too many unknowns (don’t know where to start, what to do, where stuff is that I need etc.). Perhaps I simply don’t want to (childish sulk mode, having a tantrum – and I can be quite good at that).

Stating the obvious, perhaps, but the most important thing about this rule is not the number of minutes, it is the concentrated focus during the time that you allocate. Occasionally, I catch myself thinking 15, or even 5, minutes is all I can possibly contemplate – and, sometimes, that is all it takes to break the stalemate and kick start a way forward.

If you’re like me, anything that you keep putting off (for whatever reason) starts to take on monster proportions and distorts out of all perspective. It is on my mind, all the time, like a wicked whisper in the background or a looming cloud that permeates and poisons my inner world.  Out of proportion, or what! At the very least, when I get to the end of the 27 minute window the matter is put back in to proportion. Well worth it, don’t you think?

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