I ALWAYS feel like there is never enough time in the day.

You know, to do what I want and need to do. And I bet right now, you are reading this and thinking: “me too, sista! me too!”

It’s bloomin’ tricky isn’t it? I juggle so many things on a daily basis and yet sadly, as much as I do my best to keep everything going, before you know it, I’ve dropped some balls.


But it happens right?

A few months ago I was doing that dreadful thing most of us women do when we feel like we’re sinking in life’s stuff and berating myself for failing.

I wanted to exercise, but never found the time. I wanted to get on with writing my book, but x,y and z was more important.

We all know how it is. And then somehow, as if by magic, I found a little solution to help me get back on track, very accidentally.

My ‘new rule’, which is – in all seriousness – changing my life.

My super duper rule is easy to remember and the beauty of it is that you can fit it in as much as you want to, into your life. Essentially, you make it work for you.

It’s that simple in fact, that I’m probably taking a huge risk sharing it with you all because you could, in all fairness, think I’m absolutely bonkers for writing about it!

But you know, when something works, it’s good to share.

So yes it is simple but I promise you, if you start to use it, it can make things better. It will ease your stress. It will help you to cope with the myriad of tasks and jobs and bloody to do lists you need to tackle every day. It will help you find time for you.

And the rule?

Well it is this: Just do it for twenty minutes.

Yep, that’s it.

I know it may sound a bit crazy, but hang on… because you see twenty minutes is a perfect amount of time in which you can get a nice chunk of something / anything done.

It’s not too short and it’s not too long.

In twenty minutes you can achieve something. However because it’s only twenty minutes, finding the time doesn’t feel so difficult. And it’s much easier to stick to twenty minutes on an unpleasant task, than it is to dedicate say an hour.

All of which means you manage to get s**t done and you find the time to do it!

Make sense?

I stumbled across my twenty minute rule a few weeks ago, when I thought it was about time I finally stopped making excuses and started doing some exercise. My back had been giving me aggro for a while but now it’s a lot better, it was time to shape up.

I’m a huge fan of ballet workouts, (some of you may know I mentioned this on Twitter a while ago) and so I bought myself this ballet DVD and began.

I popped it on and up came the menu. Short sequences of workouts, all less than about 20 minutes.

I looked at the clock, realised I had about half an hour until I had to pick my daughter Elsie up from nursery and opted for just one sequence. Nineteen minutes later and a little bit sweaty, I was all done.

And I’ve stuck with it.

Because here’s the thing. When a workout takes less than 20 minutes but you still feel like you’ve accomplished something, it becomes easy to maintain.

And in a life which is a constant battle against a ticking clock, more importantly it becomes do-able.

Realising this, I started to apply this twenty minute thang to other areas of my life and that’s when the magic started to happen, my friends. That’s when I thought I’m onto something here!

So over the past few weeks I have found that I can get an awful lot of stuff done, if I break things down into ’20 chunks’.

I can:

  • Reply to most of the emails cluttering my inbox
  • Do a bundle of ironing
  • Tidy up the downstairs super quickly and whizz round the hoover
  • Do a workout
  • Sit down with a cup of tea and read most of a magazine
  • Write a good 500 words of a blog post or my book
  • Take a shower and get dressed
  • Organise or clear out a drawer or shelf that’s overflowing
  • Try something new with my hair
  • Meditate
  • Make a nice pasta dish for tea
  • Think of new ideas and get them down on paper

You get the gist.

Life can feel pretty unmanageable when we have so many fingers in so many pies. And just the thought of everything we need to do can leave us feeling helpless and demotivated.

My rule won’t enable you to tick off everything you ‘need’ or ‘want’ to do. And in no way am I suggesting you break down your entire day in twenty minute chunks as that would be, well a bit silly.

But if you’re struggling with things or find yourself unable to find time for yourself, it can and will help.

Try it the next time you feel like you’re drowning.

Dedicate just twenty minutes to one thing at a time and see what happens, then move on to something else or the rest of your day.

Little by little, ’20 chunk’ by ’20 chunk’, I promise you, it’s as easy as that.


What do you think? Am I utterly bonkers or do you think it’s a good idea? Or…have you tried it yet? As always I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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5 Discussions on
  • I am loving this twenty minute rule thing. I could get used to that. It makes sense 20 mins of house chores, 20 mins of me time, 20 mins of work (yeah right) and 20 mins of this or that to cross of to do lists. I sometimes run around frantic and think what have I done for the past hour? Nightmare when I have so much to do. Love your outlook on life babes.

  • Great blog Kate, it looks like you have naturally discovered which is in essence the same thing.

    There are some great little timer apps to help you stay on focus for the full 20 minutes too if you search pomodoro in the app store.

  • I do this! Mine is 30 minutes but I found on days when I don’t know where to start it really helps. I pick one thing and I’ve made a start! It’s bloody brilliant.

    I try to alternate between things I need to do, things I have to do, and things I want to do. It helps to keep a nice balance and at the end of the day I feel like I’ve done something nice as well as something that needed to be done.

    It’s always the simple things…

  • I’ve started doing a version of this and agree that it works. I suffer from anxiety and find that doing a little bit of something is less scary than doing the whole lot. Once a little bit is done suddenly it doesn’t look so overwhelming and I find it much easier to complete.

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