While standing in the checkout line at the grocery store recently, I spotted a magazine with an eye-catching cover line: What can you do in 15 minutes?
This is an excellent question, to which the magazine replied: cook a healthy dinner, speed-clean your house, banish a bad mood, declutter your car, get some exercise, make easy home repairs, plan a party and dress 10 pounds thinner.
Well, all of that sounds overly ambitious to me—especially the dress 10 pounds thinner part. But it did get me thinking. What can you write in 15 minutes? That, too, is an excellent question, and, if you know me, you might guess my answer will be: quite a lot.
The devil is always in the details, so today I thought I’d get specific. Let me suggest five writing tasks you can reasonably accomplish if you have 15 minutes:
1. Review an article or a chapter of a book that you need to complete for research. The trick is to have the material at hand—in your briefcase or purse or on your desk, so you don’t spend 14 of the 15 minutes locating it. To make your research extra fast, don’t take notes—just underline or jot a few words in the margins. (Note to bibliophiles: When I’m consulting library books, I use sticky notes instead.) When you’re finished, type up your notes on the computer as another 15-minute task.