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How to Significantly Increase Your Income Without Working Harder (Part 4)

If you missed it, read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.

After last week’s post on how to find more time in your day to devote to focusing on making traction on your goals, some of you might be feeling discouraged as you’re already using your time wisely, you don’t have any big time wasters in your life, you don’t get enough sleep as it is, and you can’t afford to bring on any help.

Don’t panic; there are still ways you can inch toward your goal. In fact, I’m going to teach you a principle that could revolutionize your life. This principle can be applied to any project you want to accomplish or goal you want to achieve. It’s so simple, but it really works!

The 15-Minutes-A-Day Principle

Set aside 15 minutes of each day to work on your goals. No matter how busy your schedule, there is likely something you could give up somewhere to carve out 15 minutes each day.

Make a prioritized list for the things you want to accomplish in the order you hope to accomplish, set the timer for 15 minutes every morning, and begin chipping away at this list until the timer goes off. If possible, do this early in the morning–before breakfast and before your day has gotten off the ground.

While it might seem like 15 minutes isn’t much, investing this time every day on a consistent basis can really start to add up to significant traction made and ground accomplished. 15 minutes a day adds up to 105 minutes (or 1 hour and 45 minutes) each week. 15 minutes a day adds up to almost a full day’s worth of work (7.5 hours) put in over a month’s time. And, if you consistently devote 15 minutes every day to working on your priorities list for a year, you’ll have put in 90 hours!

90 hours of focused work on your goals list will certainly get you somewhere, don’t you think?

Focused Intensity is the Key

If you only have 15 minutes each day to devote to working on your goals list, you need to make sure that you are giving 150% during that short timeframe. I’d recommend setting up an area in your home with all of your needed materials at your fingertips so that you can set the timer and dive in (if you don’t have space to set up a small work area, then at least put together a box or bin with all supplies you’ll need–pen, paper, research materials, etc.).

Turn off all distractions and don’t let anything deter you from your purpose during that 15-minute timeframe. Stick with your 15-minute-per-day commitment and I promise, slowly but surely, you’ll start to see results.

In fact, you might just be amazed at how much work you can accomplish when you work with focused intensity in short amounts each day. Not only does such a short window of time discourage you from dawdling, but you also won’t struggle with running out of steam because your time will be up before you know it!

Recommended Reading on Time Management

How to Have a 48-Hour Day — Lots of practical advice and inspiration for making the most of each day.

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think — Laura helps you rethink your “I don’t have enough time” excuses and shows you how you just may have quite a bit more time than you realized!

Time Management 101 — My series sharing time management lessons I’ve learned and principles that have increased my own productivity and efficiency. You can download the entire series in a free ebook here.

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22 Comments

  • Crystal, more great tips!! And, your 15-minute principal is just like the pomodoro technique. While they sell a fancy tomato timer to keep you on track, I’ve found my dollar tree one works just the same (of course). The technique really does work too!

  • Jessica says:

    Parts 1 & 2 links are down 🙁

  • Excellent tips! Thank you 🙂

  • Sweet I reserved the book 48 hour day at the library.

  • WICK says:

    Amazing what a few minutes of prioritizing can do for our lives. No wonder Jesus urged prayer as a life pattern….:)

  • Amanda C. says:

    Great timing for this post. . . I’m want to become a better aerobics instructor — this will be a perfect way to put the time in that I need to develop my skills in that area.

  • Great advice, Crystal! It really is amazing what can be accomplished in just 15 minutes of focued time.

  • Sarah says:

    Wow, that is fabulous. One of those “Duh, why didn’t I think of that??” common sense ideas! Now my next thought it.. which goal should I work on first?

    • Ann B says:

      That’s what I’m wondering. What to work on first.
      Thanks for your reading suggestions. I have one of your suggested time management books on hold at the library now.

  • lori says:

    Really great advice. Wondering if a person only had time for one of the books which one would you recommend?

  • I completely agree about the giving 150% during the time you set aside for a goal. It is SO EASY to get on the computer with a purpose and get sucked in to Facebook or Pinterest and before you know it 45 minutes have gone by and now it’s time to start dinner!

    I need to continue to work on this because honestly…I spend way too much time getting sucked in to distractions!

    -Meg

  • I completely agree about the giving 150% during the time you set aside for a goal. It is SO EASY to get on the computer with a purpose and get sucked in to Facebook or Pinterest and before you know it 45 minutes have gone by and now it’s time to start dinner!

    I need to continue to work on this because honestly…I spend way too much time getting sucked in to distractions!

    -Meg

  • Kimberly says:

    I love this technique. My mother taught me since grade school to set a timer (for 15 minutes 🙂 ) and work on a project that needed to be done or was bothering me. She has since confessed that she did this because rarely did I stop at the 15 minute mark and would continue working until the item was checked off my list.

    Today, I use the timer and work on a project just as I did as a child. However, with the time constraints of adulthood and raising a family, I do stop at the 15 minute mark.

    It is amazing what can be accomplished in just a quarter of an hour. Making it a priority to set aside 15 minutes a day and give it all I have in that time allows me to remain focused throughout the day without worry. For I know that tomorrow I will have my 15 uninterrupted minutes again.

  • Very good tips! Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

  • Great tips! I really enjoyed 168 Hours (which I read about here first, thanks!) and her “portfolio” approach to time management.

    I have found the 15-minute rule to be very, very effective for me for things like email, household chores, reading, brainstorming, photo editing, and the like.

    But I’ve found that for some things (like writing thoughtful blog posts, for one) there’s no point in sitting down for 15 minutes. By the time I really get going, the time is up!

    It took me a while to figure out that the 15-minute rule is powerful, I just have to be sure to use it for the right things.

    Love this series!

    • Crystal says:

      I definitely agree that it doesn’t work for everything. For instance, when I was writing my book, I learned that I need to have a 30-45 minute block of time to really churn out good writing, as the first 15 minutes were more “warming up” and thinking about the big picture and where I wanted to go with this chapter/section and then I could do 15-30 minutes of focused writing before needing to take a break (I rarely can do focused writing for longer than 45-60 minutes as I find after that timeframe, I need to take a break and come back to it.)

      On blog posts, however, if I have the post already outlined on paper (I often outline posts as ideas come throughout the day–usually when I’m washing dishes or some other similar chore!), I personally have found that I can make really good headway in 15 minutes. If I don’t have an outline, though, I’m not at all as productive in 15 minutes.

  • Janie says:

    The whole “I can do anything for 15 minutes” thing is something that FlyLady popularized several years back, and it DOES work! My house is in order because of this!

    • Angie says:

      Yes – FlyLady came to mind when I read this post too. If the 15 minute rule works for housework, then it could work for other tasks too.

  • Karen says:

    This is such a simple, important point. In a world that pulls you in so many directions, it’s so important to remember to take the time to focus!! 15 minutes is manageable. Joyce Meyer always says “you make your schedule.”:0)

  • Ginger says:

    Hope those books come on cd- I’d love to listen to them in the car. I find that’s where I spend most of my time outside of work. Thanks for all the info!

  • Gina says:

    Thanks for the motivation and encouragement. I just started applying 15 minutes every day to a project I’ve been procrastinating for months, and it’s already paying off!

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