Fifteen Minutes Per Day

I've mentioned using the Fifteen Minutes Per Day method here a few times and I was asked to discuss it with a bit more detail.  I'm hoping Stef will jump in on the comments since she learned it with me.

Early in 2008, I took a CLE called Time Mastery for Lawyers.  The facilitator was Frank Sanitate.  It was, without a doubt, the best CLE that I have ever attended.  Since that time, I've taken other time management CLEs and they were really quite sad and pathetic compared to Sanitate's class.  After that class, I took away so many things that helped me become more productive in both my personal and professional life.  I still believe that the most important lesson was Fifteen Minutes Per Day.

A year after the class, I was still talking about Fifteen Minutes Per Day.  Sanitate taught us that individuals who achieve the most can often do it in tiny blocks of time – just fifteen minutes per day.  If you have a project that you don't want to do, start tackling it in baby steps.  Fifteen Minutes Per Day.  Watch how quickly it gets done.  And, sometimes, watch how much more time you will want to spend.  

One of my first major Fifteen Minutes Per Day tasks was filing and organizing our home office after we moved.  I procrastinated for about a year.  By that time, there was paper everywhere.  Bills.  Insurance forms.  It made my stomach hurt to look at it.  Eventually, the beast had to be tamed.  I spent each day on micro-tasks.  Fifteen Minutes Per Day.  One day, I made labels for file folders.  Another day, I separated papers into piles.  Another day, I organized things alphabetically.  Then chronologically.  It was amazing how quickly I was able to get done.  A project that I thought would take years off my life ended up taking a little more than a week.  Just Fifteen Minutes Per Day.  

Now, there are a lot of new things that I want to accomplish and it seems like the daily grind gets in the way.  I want to get started on a book.  I want to finish the five books that are staring at me.  I want to play with my cats more.  I want a cleaner house.  I want to bake more.  I want to cook delicious meals in the slow cooker.  I want to take beautiful photos.  I want to be a better blogger.  I want to build a better online business.  I want fitness to be a regular part of my life.  

The list is overwhelming right?  Especially when you consider that I have to sleep, commute, and live the typical life of an associate attorney and bill hours.  It's all about mastering my time.  I will write the book that is in my head.  Fifteen Minutes Per Day.  Most of the things that I need to do with happen in small blocks of time each day.  

The key is to continue with your Fifteen Minutes Per Day until the monster task is complete or it becomes part of your routine.  Then it no longer seems so daunting. It takes time.  Just Fifteen Minutes Per Day.

What major goal do you want to finish, but it doesn't feel like you have enough time?  Have you ever tried the Fifteen Minutes Per Day method?  

Comments Closed


  1. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I’m so happy you posted about this (again). I’m so going to try this and get started this weekend with it! I will let you know how it’s going! If you ever visit me on Friday’s you know my to-do lists are always huge! LOL I so need this!! :) Thank you!

  2. This was indeed the best CLE ever. Not just for the 15 minute rule but for the overriding principle that work should be fun. Frank showed us through an extremely effective presentation (he clearly enjoys his job and it shows) that this is indeed possible. The underlying theme as I remember it is that we always have a choice in what we do and how we handle things in our job and in our life.
    Using the 15 minute rule is one such choice. It works. I use it all the time for writing projects. Frank used the very practical and relevant topic of time management and then made it so much more than that. Sorry Danielle that you had to sit through other classes on this same topic after Frank’s class. No doubt they probably sucked.

  3. I’ve used the 15 Minutes Per Day since I read about it last time you talked about it. I don’t use it every day, but it really does help me to tidy up the house when I get home from work. However, I need to start using it more frequently, especially at work. It truly is amazing how much crap can get done in 15 minutes.