10 Minute Rule

What you might not know about me is that I am easily overwhelmed.  I can host a wedding in my backyard or teach manner lessons to my children at dinner or paint every wall in my house, but please don’t ask me to bring a salad to a potluck dinner.  The thought of going to the store and then chopping all the vegetables just might send me to bed.

But the beauty of getting older is that you learn how to work with your own weaknesses.  And over the years I have learned to work with feeling overwhelmed. One coping mechanism that I use  is the “10 Minute Rule.”

For example, right now my unpacked office is overwhelming me.  I shut down every time I go in there.  So I have decided to just spend 10 minutes a day in my office organizing and unpacking it.  And then I am allowed to leave.  I often end up staying longer once I get going, but I don’t have to, if I have put in my time.

I am also overwhelmed with the picture files on my computer.  Since I started the blog, I have way too many pictures of the same thing and they are all over the place.  So I’ve started the 10 Minute Rule. I pick one or two folders to go through each day.  I delete, edit, or move the photos to their proper place.  Sometimes I get on a roll and do several files, but usually I spend just the 10 minutes.

The 10 minutes a day rule is a great way to stay on top of



storage room








kids’ papers/keepsakes



The 10 Minute Rule might also help your children if they are overwhelmed by a big school project or an extremely messy closest.  Just have them put in 10 minutes a day and they can slowly hack away at it.  (Up the minutes as the project gets closer to the due date.)

Now I would not recommend the 10 Minute Rule for every project– just the ones that you (or your children) avoid or the ones that overwhelm you.  You will see slow and steady progress this way.  And sometimes, once you get started, you realize the project isn’t as bad as you thought and you actually keep right on working.

Good luck to me and to you!

3 thoughts on “10 Minute Rule”

  1. I often beat myself up because I am easily overwhelmed. I think, “Others can do this! Why do I have such a problem?” So, first of all, it was nice to see someone else have this issue. I agree with the 10 minute time frame. You think to yourself that you can do anything for 10 minutes, but after a while, those 10 minute sessions add up, and your project is done! I am trying to do the same thing with my weight. I am 15 pounds over what I should be, and I am losing it in 3-4 pound increments instead of telling myself that I need to lose 20- that seems so overwhelming!! PS- Thanks for the free therapy!!

  2. So that means it was overwhelming for you to bring me dinner! 🙂 We loved it…recipe please! I should try this on the nursery – right now it is a disaster!

  3. I have used the 10 minute rule for the past two days on a cluttered room project. (It has been cluttered for months!) Once I got started I did stay for a little longer, but it has made an amazing difference. I can actually walk by the room without cringing! Thanks for the tip. I plan on using it daily for one project or another.

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