Scott Postma

A blog about the Great Books, the Craft of Writing, and Human Flourishing.

What Can You Do With 15 Minutes?

Time management is overrated. Actually, time management is a misnomer. Time cannot be managed. It is a constant.

It’s you and I that need to be managed. We’ve all been given the same amount of time each day; yet, none of us know how many days “of that same amount of time each day” we have.

old clock showing time about twelve

The idea of time management can be boiled down to this: I need to manage myself well, so that I use the gift of time I’ve been given for its greatest good.

One way to manage ourselves well is to start by taking a picture of your life in 15 minute increments.

You don’t want to do that every day. That would be tedious and unproductive. But you could take 15 minutes and sketch out your day and see how you use your time in each of the four quarters of an hour.

It’s usually surprising to find how much of that time is unaccounted for or ill-used.

Here’s some ideas:

If you wrote for 15 minutes a day for a week, you’d be between 500-1000 words closer to your writing goal. In 52 weeks, you’d have between 26,000 and 52,000 words. That’s a book.

If you took 15 minutes and drafted a priority list, you might take the stress of trying to remember everything off your plate and help you be more productive.

You could read the Bible in a year by reading for just 15 minutes a day.

The late Harvard president, Charles Eliot, showed students they could get a liberal arts education by reading from a 5-foot shelf for 15 minutes a day.

A 15-minute cat nap in the early afternoon gives me the recharge I need to stay productive on long days.

I wrote this blog post in about 15 minutes (a little longer because I spilled my tea and had to stop and clean it up).

What good thing can you do with 15 minutes?


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About Scott Postma

Scott is a writer and teacher living in North Idaho. He loves teaching the Great Books, writing and blogging, and collecting more books than he'll ever read in a lifetime. You can subscribe to the tribe and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

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7 Replies

  1. Elizabeth

    Thanks, Scott. I’ve always known that I can’t “manage time,” but thought it was probably just me! I liked your practical ideas. Need to go back to the priority list strategy. Otherwise I find I’m trying to study while my mind is thinking about other tasks or issues.

  2. John

    Really liked the post. Thank you.

    1. Thanks, John. Glad it was a blessing.

  3. That was a great article. Short and to the point. You made me look up at my unread and partially read books on my bookshelf. I think I’ll set the timer for 15 minutes and read a little before I go to do the chores.

    1. Excellent. I have a short stack of unfinished books that are in my “15-minute pile.”

  4. Gilead V Rose

    It’s funny…I’ve recently been contemplating much time (or, “me”) management. It’s something I haven’t looked at as in need of reform for awhile, mostly because it’s so much better than it used to be…that’s not saying much though. Thanks for this challenge on the subject.

    1. A great book that helped me on this was Balancing Competing Time Demands by Sherman.