15 minute productivity rule

Original author: John Sonmez
  • Transfer
I like to put off

Actually, I don’t really like to put it off any day, but this is one of my weaknesses. I will postpone some important matters until the last moment when this will need to be done.

I learned to overcome these weaknesses, trying to be more productive in order to compensate for the lost time.

Blah, blah, blah, system productivity ... putting off any day ... blah blah blah!

I know you've heard all this before, but here's the strange thing: I almost always get things done well, long before the deadline.

So what is my problem?

My problem is that when I take on the real work, I end up doing millions of other little things.

Although I overcome the results of my delays on my own much earlier than the deadlines, I still struggle with the essence of my nature of putting things off from day to day.

It looks like I put an evil procrastination demon in a cage where he cannot harm me, but because I still have to constantly feed him and deal with his requirements, he continues to slow me down.


I call it microtlow

Maybe you suffer from this disease just like me.

Symptoms are as follows:

- Sit down at work and your first actions - this is checking Facebook, Twitter, email and all other sites that may have something interesting and updated for you.
- Find the excuse that you need 10 minutes or so for the transition period to check all these things before you sit down and actually do the work that you are going to do.
- Choose something small, something that is not so important, and work on it instead of the necessary. (Empty your mailbox, etc.)

Almost every week, I set myself the goal of writing 2 modules for my next Pluralsight course .

I always do this, but to start working on a course, I always spend some time getting started directly on the job. I sit down to do the work, but actually I start working after about 30 minutes, and sometimes an hour after I initially sat down at the computer.


As soon as I start, I usually find that it is not problematic for me to continue working until it is finished.

I usually do the same with my blog posts. I need to leave a blog post every week, but it always takes some time to get started.

Even when I try to write code or solve programming problems, I notice that I constantly try to do a lot of other work, for example, reply to emails or study the problem further, and not just work, focusing exclusively on the task.

I began to notice that this was a common occurrence in my life. If I got about 15 minutes on Pluralsight, creating blog posts, or programming, I would almost always not be distracted from the task.

I discovered for myself the fact that I do not want to quit my work. I would not even have lunch or delayed in order to finish it.

So the 15-minute rule was born

Based on this observation, I decided to try a small experiment. Next time I'm going to work on something, and not do my usual ritual of checking email, checking Twitter, etc. I took the following steps:

1. Having selected one task, I am sitting at a computer and getting ready to work on it. (This helps to analyze the task in great detail.)
2. You should do all the distractions within 15 minutes or just make them not bother me during this period of time.
3. Work without a pause and without a break, even for 15 minutes.
4. After 15 minutes, if I want to stop, then I stop or switch to multitasking.

I found that after 15 minutes of persistent and diligent work on one task, I do not want to drop it.

I found that what I did not have motivation or desire, in fact, disappear after 15 minutes after work, and then it becomes everything that I can think of.

I found this to be like the first few chapters of a book that draw into it, and you continue reading. 15 minutes is what I need to get involved in my work and want to see its completion.

I applied this “15 minutes rule” quite often, and I got some fantastic results.

I also made a mistake when I tried to return to my old habits, and got completely opposite results.

I tried other systems

Now I definitely tried many other systems that try to solve the delay or performance problem, or both of these problems, but none of them seemed to work well for me.

I know about the work of other systems, and I know a lot of people who successfully work with them, and also the fact that my system is really not one of these systems - it's just what I do.

The problem that I still found in other systems is that they are either:

- Too complex to be used regularly, unless you are 100% dedicated to the system. (A big barrier to getting started).
“They only solve problems of productivity and priority, but not, of course, work.
“They suggest that you can sit down and actually do what you intended to do.” (Which, as I recall, was the hardest part for me.)

I am a big fan of Getting Things Done and highly recommend you. At a minimum, read this because there are actually a lot of general tips, but ...


But I don’t apply it anymore, because I don’t need to organize what I need to do. My life is currently so crowded and planned for every day that I already know exactly what I need to do almost every hour.

I don’t even watch TV or movies ... Never. No, really, I mean absolutely never.

Thus, with my schedule, time is so busy that my biggest problem is not figuring out what I should do, as I have already decided. Instead, my biggest problem is doing it efficiently.

The closest technique to the one I'm doing is probably the Pomodaro technique . I think that this is a great technique and it is not nearly worse than mine, and also that it most likely works for many people.


I just discovered that my mind is trying to defeat technology.

You could name what I am doing with the modified Pomodoro technique, which I set to 15 minutes, but in fact in this case an attempt is made to avoid interruptions for as long as possible.

Why the 15 minute rule works

I suspect that the main reason this method works is because there is a definite push.

When we begin to receive an impulse, it wakes us up, but it is much harder to receive it.

Focusing is also an important part of the 15 minute rule. The world today is a fast and multi-tasking parallel rat race in which we are forced to switch our attention between several things at once.


If you are reading this post right now, you are likely to constantly switch between several tabs of your browser or chat window or something else and do not focus 100% on reading. I don’t have 15 minutes to grab your attention and attract you (if you are not a very slow reader, in this case I congratulate you on passing this distance).

The fact is that we must purposefully focus on one thing in order to turn off the natural desire to try to be omnipresent.

Using the 15-minute rule makes me focus and focus on what I need to turn off everything else in my mind that has the potential to distract me.

The 15-minute rule also allows me to think more about the problem, moving away from it to “admire,” instead of working on it.

It frees me from obligations. If I know that I have to work for 15 minutes, I’m not afraid to make a lot of progress. My only obligation is to work on the problem without interruption and with full focus for 15 minutes.

I also think that after 15 minutes I got a desire to continue working . Due to the time that I have already invested in the task, I feel obligated to complete it.

Applying the rule

I hope you find this technique useful and maybe you even have something better. In this case, I would really like to hear them, since I am always looking for some new ways to improve efficiency.

Before I leave you in your way, I will give some farewell tips that I found useful when applying the 15 minute rule:

- Remove all distractions. This may mean closing the browser window or turning off the phone or simply ignoring everything else.
- Do not forget to focus. It will not be enough just to remove distractions, it is also necessary to focus on what you are doing. You need to think about what you are doing.
- I know that reflection is another problem, because the mind starts to wander too easily and, just thinking about the topic, it seems that this or that psychological traction is not being created. However, it is not. This means that when you start writing some kind of project, it is important to actually “do”.
- If you feel that you can’t start “doing”, then do your “do” in the form of a brainstorming session, where a brainstorming session is actually writing a list of tasks or a smart card.
- If at the end of 15 minutes you still haven’t plunged into work and still want to drop it, do so. Return to her a little later and try again.
- Take breaks when you need to. When the first 15 minutes of focused work passed, I found that I could take a break so that I really want to return to my work.
- Glue the note on your working monitor or somewhere else where you notice it, to remind you that when you sit down to work, you need to start with a 15-minute technique.

Also popular now: