Today, I am issuing the 20 Minutes A Day Challenge (and also publicly committing to a new project that I am going to be working on as part of the challenge over the next few weeks and months).
If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of doing things in small chunks of time. It constantly amazes me how much it’s possible to get done working in this way and recently I’ve been looking back at some of the things I’ve achieved in regular small steps.
What is the challenge?
The challenge is simple. Pick something you’d like to achieve and publicly commit to doing it. Then regularly (everyday if possible, but at least three or four times a week) work on your project for twenty minutes.
There are many, many things that can be done in twenty minutes bursts of time. Some ideas are:
- Fill a sketchbook.
- Write a book (my choice for the challenge, see below).
- Get fit.
- A photographic project.
- Learn a language.
There are some more ideas in this post.
It’s worth trying to think of projects with a specific aim or clear end-point. Either do something for, say three months, or work on a something that is clear when it’s finished.
- Get yourself a dedicated timer for your project. You don’t want to be constantly hunting for your timer when it’s time to work on your project.
- Projects that need very few tools or resources work best. It’s best to pick something you can work on without the need to gather together many tools before you can start, or if you need to then make sure you can leave them out somewhere so you can just get going each day. Keep things as simple as possible.
- When working on your project do so at the exclusion of everything else. Focus is vital for the challenge. Turn off all distractions, radio, TV, email, instant messaging. Take the phone off the hook if you can. Tell you family not to disturb you. Issolate yourself and just get on with what’s in front of you. Everett Bogue has useful post about disconnecting for a while over on Far Beyond the Stars.
- Don’t skip the public commitment step. Committing to something publicly is a great way to stay true to your goal. Leo Babauta has a very good post about this over on Zen Habits. I’d love it if you made you public declaration in the comments section here on my blog.
- At the end of your twenty minute session, stop. Don’t de tempted to work on after your timer has rung. If you have the urge to do more, that’s great, it’ll mean you’ll even more motivated to start again tomorrow.
- Give yourself a treat at the end of your twenty minutes! My treat of choice is cup of tea and a biscuit. Feel free to copy me, or to pick one of your own…
My project is to write a new book. We’re not talking an epic novel here (though I’m quite convinced one could be written using the 20 Minutes a Day Challenge) but rather a small illustrated book expanding on my little booklet Start to Draw Your Life. It will be available as both a paperback and an eBook later in the year (update: the book is now available here).
What project would you like to commit to in the 20 Minutes a Day Challenge?