15 Minutes

Last year, I signed a contract to ghostwrite the first draft of a short novel. It was on a tight deadline, and I have a day job. So I knew I was going to have to maximize the way I use my time both before and after work.

I did this by breaking both periods into 15-minute increments.

While I was writing the book, I woke up every day at 6 AM and spent 15 minutes eating breakfast and drinking a cup of coffee. Then, I took a quick shower. By 6:30, I was writing and doing so for one hour. The rest of the morning went to a workout and a bit of straightening up or reading before heading out the door.

When I got home, more often than not, I went to work on the novel. That left me with some time afterward to take a walk, eat some dinner, and unwind before going to bed.

The best thing about this kind of routine was that I knew where I was supposed to be at all times. In other words, I didn’t have to waste time figuring out what to do next. I’d written down, so I just looked at the schedule.

But all was not bliss. This kind of efficiency is burdensome. The worst thing about it was that the routine made me feel a bit like a robot.

Ultimately, I believed I could do just about anything for eight weeks and knew it would be necessary to have this kind of structure if I was going to finish the project on time. This schedule helped me finish early.

photo: Veri Ivanova