Dream BIG Achieve More: A million bucks 15 minutes at a time.

Dream BIG Achieve More: A million bucks 15 minutes at a time.

Let’s face it… most of the multimillion-dollar products and services that exist today were created by regular people… just like you and me.

The difference is that they… somehow… worked to make their big idea happen.

Or… maybe for you… it’s not about coming up with a million-dollar product. For you… it’s more about feeling like a million bucks because you can get the stuff done you need to get done. So a big dream for you is to be able to fully engage at home because you’re able to leave work at work.

Either way… a key to dreaming big and achieving more… is being able to take those big dreams from ideation… to fruition.

From… “I wish I could” to… “Wow… look what I did!”

But how do you do that… amid busy schedules… car pools… demanding customers… and in-boxes that are busting at the seams?

Well… today… we’re going to talk about doing it… 15 minutes at a time.

That’s right… 15 minutes at a time.

I’ll admit it. I’m a “to-do” list guy.

How about you?

(Okay, I’ll also admit that I’m actually so “extreme” that if I do something that isn’t on my to-do list… then I’ll write it down so I have the thrill of checking it off! Can I get an amen?)

But… although the whole to-do list thing is a solid strategy… the challenge is that my page of to-do’s starts to look like Santa’s Naughty and Nice list. And this time management strategy starts to become overwhelming and it gets counterproductive.

So… today… we’re going to dig into a strategy that I’ve been experimenting with. And I’m loving it!

Let me tell a quick story that might help to set this up.

Last week… I was working on a new project that involved making a number of 15 minute calls over a two day period. I was excited about these quick conversations but… as you can imagine… all of these calls really broke up my day. So, I didn’t have any extended blocks of time (an hour or more) to devote to any one task.

So, I had to come up with a new strategy for getting things done.

As a result, I started to break the items on my to-do list down into things I could get done in 15 minute blocks of time. That way… when I wrapped up one of my phone calls, I could grab one of my 15 minute tasks and do it before my next call.

So for example… if it typically took me an hour to write a blog post. I’d figure out a way to break it up into 15 minute chunks. So… instead of “blog post” on my to-do list, I’d have:

  • 15 minutes to outline what I want to say.
  • 15 minutes to find images.
  • 15 minutes to write.
  • 15 minutes to build in links and broadcast it through social media.

Or… if I was trying to tame my wild email box… instead of just having “email” on my to-do list, I would break it down into 15 minute segments.

  • 15 minutes to write an important follow up email to that prospective client.
  • 15 minutes to write an email to my group coaching clients.
  • 15 minutes to clear out misc. emails from yesterday.
  • 15 minutes to write 3 quick emails to new coaching clients.

It was amazing… because even though my schedule was a little wacky and pretty full because of all of these extra phone calls… I was also able to get a lot done… because when I had 15 minutes… I’d just go to my list… grab a t0-do and get ‘er done.

And if you’re wondering… I had a clock on my desk… to keep me to my 15 minutes.

Now… even though I don’t have those 15-minute calls this week… I’ve continued on with this strategy for a majority of my to-do items.


Well… the more I thought about it… it just makes sense… doesn’t it?

I mean… marketers tap into this 15-minute window too. That’s how long most tv shows run before we get hit with a barrage of commercials. Why? Because the average adult’s attention span is about 15 minutes.

But it’s not even just about watching The Office or The Biggest Loser. This applies to our own office life too, doesn’t it?

I mean… how long can you go in your office before you’re interrupted by a co-worker… a friend… a child… you pick.

15 minutes… right?

So… why not plan for it?

Here are some specific steps to help you do it.


That’s right. Take a look at your to-do items and think about how much time they will take. If it’s more than 15 minutes, ask yourself…

  • How could break this up into 15-minute chunks?
  • As I break these down into 15-minute tasks… what order would I need to do them in?

It’s that simple. Then write them down accordingly.


Keep a clock where you can see it. (Or heck… invest in a kitchen timer or use your iPhone or droid) Start the task and roll with it for 15 minutes. Trust me the little added pressure of getting it done in 15 minutes will help you to stay focused. AND it will help you to fend off distractions because you can say to yourself or others… “I’m focusing on this for 15 minutes… and then I can get to that _________.”


Now… this is for a gold star bonus… but it will also exponentially increase the chances of getting the task(s) done.

So, as you are thinking through you are 15-minute tasks… take a look at your calendar and see where you might be able to place them. It might be today… it might be tomorrow… it might be later this week. But by scheduling them, you both help to set realistic goals about what can be accomplished today and you help yourself to prioritize what’s most important.

Lastly… you might be thinking… “Scheduling my tasks into 15-minute chunks will take hours!” Which… of course… would defeat the purpose.

I’ll admit that the first few days may take a little longer. But once it starts to become a habit… this process will get easier AND quicker.

Plus, you’ll start to figure out when the best time of day for you to do this. For me… it’s ideal if I think through my to-do list at around 4 pm today… as I’m planning for tomorrow. But for you… you may prefer to start your day this way.

You pick.

But give it a try. See how it works for you.

Own it. Improve it.

Customize it for you. See where it takes you.

And hey… since we’re on the topic of dreaming big and achieving more… comment and leave one of your favorite time management strategies too. We’d love to hear from you and we’d love to hear what works best for you!

And whether your big dream is to launch a new million-dollar product… or just to get home tonight to fully engage with your family and friends… I’m hoping this little strategy will help you to get ‘er done!

Keep dreaming big and helping others to do the same,


  • Janet Goldman Merrill
    Posted at 12:55h, 11 October Reply

    In our church we are encouraged to read our scriptures every day. It helps people to break this habit down into tiny pieces. Just spend five minutes. That is success. And once you start, that five minutes becomes fifteen minutes and longer and you are spiritually charged to face your day.

    Also, with my artwork (I do commissioned portraits) I tell myself to just sit down and paint for fifteen minutes. I end up working for hours and getting my work done. I know this is not the same thing as time management exactly, but using these small pieces of time to allow yourself to be successful helps us break through blocks and create wonderful things.

  • mitchamatthews
    Posted at 13:09h, 11 October Reply

    Janet – That’s great! And hey… it’s a system that works for you… so that’s what it’s all about. Thanks for sharing. Love it!

  • Fritz Trost
    Posted at 16:03h, 11 October Reply

    I love it Mitch!
    Hugely encouraging.
    I need prayer power to DO it.

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