20 MInutes to Asskicking Glory

I know in your world of multitasking, with browser windows open simultaneously, juggling your many iTems, etc, that setting aside twenty minutes to just THINK, uninterrupted, sounds like crazytalk. However, hear me out…

I came across this revolutionary concept in the Why People Fail book (previously reviewed) and it made total sense.

Put aside 20 minutes a day to just think. Plan things out before beginning them.

I’m not the type of person who can meditate. Yeah…yeah…I know, but I HAVE tried it. Doesn’t work for me. My brain cannot let go. However, I can totally get behind spending twenty minutes, alone, either eyes closed or with a pad and paper to harness the power of my bubbling thoughts.

The book suggests using the following structured brainstorming methods during your thinking time:

“Ridiculous Idea” – write everything down, no matter how “dumb” you think it is. These crazy concepts might lead you down a different path, where even more creative ideas can be conceived.

“Different Industry” – think of a successful business, service or product in a different industry from your own and brainstorm how you could emulate that idea in your business.

“Star Emulation” – emulate experts, celebrities and professionals who have great success. Put yourself in their shoes, examine what they have done. Are you facing a problem that someone else has already solved? Use the past as a tool.

“Dictionary/Word Association” – brainstorming lists of words and finding links between key words on each list. See this link for more details: http://creativebits.org/toolbox/solitary_brainstorming_pairing

If you aren’t into formal methods of brainstorming – and I’m really not – just sit with a pencil and paper and think through a particular project or problem you may be having and free-form jot all of your thoughts down. You may be surprised at what you emerge with.

The other “20 minute rule” comes via Clifford Nass, professor at Stanford University.

Heavy media multitaskers perform poorly at actually multitasking. Juggling causes your brain to constantly “switch” tasks, leaving us less effective at performing the task at hand. Nass’ solution to combat this is that every time you start a new task, to focus entirely on that task for at least 20 minutes. Force yourself to do this, avoid checking emails or talking to co-workers and just perform that focuses activity. If you do this for two weeks, in theory, you will learn where your time is best spent, which activies eat your time and you will become more productive. Go so far as to applying this rule to other aspects of your life: relationships, hobbies. This Braincanvas entry is a fantastic place to start if you’re looking to apply this rule to your world:

http://braincanvas.org/the-20-minute-rule

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