25 minutes is a really short lunch break and a really long Crossfit workout. It’s also long enough to change your life.
My Cleaning Case Study
A few weeks ago, I decided that my apartment was in embarassing condition for 650 square feet occupied by two workaholic adults–no kids or pets. Of course we’d clean it every Saturday–with this big production of vacuming and scrubbing etc. that seemed to take all day and take all the fun out of Saturday. We were also guilty of such high crimes as storing our clothes in the clothes dryer and dishes in the sink . Unacceptable.
Since I’d already been using the Pomodoro Technique at work, I thought I’d try it out at home. Here were my ground rules: 25 minutes a day. I set my priorities: kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedroom in basic decent condition, then special projects that nobody ever gets to, like cleaning out the microwave, polishing the stainless steel, and polishing the hardwood. With any time left over, I’d go through drawers and shelves throwing things out & organizing what was left. I set my pomodoro timer for 25 minutes and worked furiously. When the pomodoro rang, I stopped.
The first few days, I didn’t get very far in 25 minutes. But after a week or so, everything was in such great shape that it only took me about 10 minutes to straighten everything up and another 5 to do a special project. The rest of the time I used for de-cluttering.
Incredibly, after a few weeks, it looks amazing. And I have my weekends back.
Why 25 Minutes?
Unlike doing something for 5,10 or 15 minutes, 25 minutes is actually long enough to get things done and see results. It’s long enough to justify the time you spend preparing for the activity. But it’s not long enough to be insurmountable and scary (even 30 minutes can seem like too much time.) I adopted the 25-minute interval from my adventures with the Pomodoro Technique. If you’re applying Pomodoro, it’s easy to take a short break and then tackle some more 25-minute intervals if so inclined.
There are so many other things (besides your apartment) you can reinvent in 25 minutes a day:
- Exercise. Start with walking, progress to running. Even a very fit person can get huge benefits out of a 25 minute workout by doing intervals and/or Crossfit-style workouts.
- Eating well. You can prep a healthy dinner, a healthy lunch, and set up a one-minute breakfast in 25 minutes.
- Spirituality. Imagine the impact of setting aside 25 minutes a day to read something inspiring, journal a little bit, meditate & just reflect on your day.
But you can also kick start just about anything you’d ever want to do in 25 minutes a day. If there’s something you’re not doing at all right now, you are guaranteed to improve 1oo% at it if you spend 25 minutes a day doing it. The problem is that we think that we need all this time to get anything done. We think we need to quit our day jobs, sell everything we own, leave our families and go live in a cave in order to become writers, musicians, world travelers, small business owners, lawyers, actors, or whatnot. That’s not true. All you need to get started is 25 minutes.
Imagine starting out with 25 minutes a day of:
- Writing a novel
- Starting a blog
- Learning a musical instrument
- Learning a new language
- Researching a new business idea
- Studying for the Foreign Service Exam, LSAT or GRE
- Researching and planning a round-the-world trip
- Writing and producing your own YouTube miniseries
- Trying online dating
- Learning photography