Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Ten Minute Rule. The Thirty Minute Rule.

When I taught high school, one of the most effective tools I used for prompting my special needs students to complete a task was to use the Ten Minute Rule for things they despised and the Thirty Minute Rule for tasks that needed to be completed. Now, as a retired (very happily, retired) educator, I apply these rules to myself. The great news is that they worked then with my students, and, now, they work very successfully with me.

The ten minute rule stated simply is this:
1) Set the timer for 10 minutes, no more, no less.
2) During that ten minute period of time work on the task you despise the most or don't want to do at that time but know you need to accomplish.
3) Do not stop, but work steadily at this task until the timer rings.
4) Use this rule ONLY for tasks you would not want to do at all, ever or for tasks you don't feel like doing at the time but know you have to finish them! This is very important.
5) Give yourself a reward when you finish no matter how much you accomplished.

The other day, it was time to clean up the kitchen after dinner. I didn't want to do the clean up then, but I knew I had to finish the task or come very close to finishing it. I applied the ten minute rule. I was amazed! In ten minutes, I had cleaned the kitchen! I had loaded the dishwasher, swept the floor, and cleaned the kitchen counters. I couldn't believe that this was done in only ten minutes. I rewarded myself by going upstairs to use the computer for an hour.

The Thirty Minute Rule is very similar to the Ten Minute Rule. The difference is that you work for 30 minutes completing several tasks.

1) Decide what you need to accomplish in 30 minutes. For example, 1)vacuum the carpet in the living room, 2) Dust the living room, 3) vacuum the entry way, and 4) vacuum the kitchen floor.
2) Set the timer for 30 minutes.
3) Work the 30 minutes at the tasks without stopping for a break.
4) Work until the timer goes off.
5) Stop at the end of 30 minutes, and, whatever is left undone, is undone.
6) Reward yourself.

The most important thing about this rule is to KNOW EXACTLY what you want to accomplish in the time frame. Be realistic about what you can do.

On that particular day, I stopped short of just finishing the vacuuming in the kitchen. I decided that I did want to finish that task, so, in another 5 minutes I had completed everything on my list! I rewarded myself by sitting down to watch a Dr. Phil show that I had recorded the day before but had not been able to watch.

This system works for me, and with tax time coming up, and you've seen my filing system, I think I'm going to find both rules will work well for organzing and completing the necessary tasks for getting my tax information to poor Bob, my CPA, on time!


Maggie said...

I do something similar, but tell myself I have to do x amount of things before taking a break. I like the timer events, do time somethings in the classroom, but so want to remember this for next fall when I'm back at the whiteboard.

Thanks and you go girl!

angelinabeadalina said...

That's a terrific way to tackle things, Mallory! I waste more time procrastinating about things I don't want to do. If I just did this, I'd get much of it out of the way...and be happier for it.

Sue Choppers-Wife / said...

I haven't used this but plan to...but I've been telling friends to try it already lol!

CreekHiker said...

Mallory, I LOVE this! It's very orderly. Much more efficient than my method of turning on a Lifetime movie ('cause if I miss a few bits, it doesn't really matter..) and working frantically during the commercials and collapsing on the sofa when they are over!