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Give It 20! Or, How to Jump-Start Any Project.

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 by Lucy A.

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February is the month where winter goes to die. Sparkling, soft snow has dwindled into gray, crusty blobs, and weary people trudge through their days with little, personal clouds hovering overhead. Gone is that rush of energy delivered in New Year’s happy grasp. It takes all we have to finish that white paper, let alone take on the PowerPoint presentation for that looming spring conference. And forget self care! Pass the double stuffs and Buzzfeed!

But this year was different.
Oh, yes. This year? I found the solution.

Give it 20!

I’ve discovered that 20 minutes is just enough time to get things done, but not so much of a commitment as to be overwhelming. I can do anything for 20 minutes. And I can limit myself to 20 minutes. And so can you.

Take a notebook and carve your day into 20-minute intervals (with a few minutes in between for transitions). Then assign these intervals to your desired—or dreaded but unavoidable—tasks. And pull out your stopwatch app.

  • Give those projects 20: Commit 20 minutes to those work projects, and little by little they won’t seem so daunting. After a few minutes, you’ll probably be so engaged with that case study that the time just flies by—and by all means, cluster the 20-minutes slices if you’re on a roll. 
  • Give your body 20: Throw on a coat and get out and walk for 20. If you work at home, a short YouTube fitness video will give you an extra burst of energy. And for something soothing, 20 minutes of yoga will bring you back to your center while giving your body a good stretch.
  • Give your spirt 20: Meditating for 20 minutes is bearable for even the beginner. And Harvard studies have proven that daily meditation—no matter how brief—is nothing but healthy for the brain.
  • Give your home 20: Pop in your earbuds, hit play on a podcast, and focus on one area for 20 minutes. You’ll get the satisfaction of visibly completing something, and you’ll chip away at the dreary prospect of an all-day clean.
  • Give your creativity 20: Always wanted to write a book? Paint a portrait? Commit to it for 20 minutes a day, and see where it takes you. You may find yourself wanting to go longer—don’t! Limit yourself and you’ll be dying to get back to it the next day.
  • Limit yourself to 20: Play time  and zoning out is important for productivity and general happiness—but falling down the internet / gaming / YouTube rabbit hole can also lead to depression and a decrease in output. I’ve found that playing for 20 minutes is satisfying enough, while removing the rabbit-hole guilt. You can even try limiting your email periods to 20 minutes, and see how efficient you can become.

And remember—if you’re stuck and need some help, the Content Bureau is always here for you every month of the year. Got any productivity ideas you’d like to share with us? Leave us a comment—but don’t spend more than 20 on it!

is a member of the Content Bureau editorial team.

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