Blue Suit Mom

The 15 Minute Power Hour

I’m sure you’ve been saying to yourself, “Once I have some time, like a few hours, I’ll get to XXX.” How many times have you walked past the pile of mail sitting on your dining room table,  that is now a mail-holder rather than a table used for eating? How often have you looked inside your closet and swore to yourself that once you have ‘some time’, you’ll take out the clothes you haven’t worn in a while and donate?  I know I’ve said these things to myself many, many times. Too many times to admit.

Being a mom of 3, it is very hard to actually find a few hours’ to do anything without being interrupted 3,999.8 times. Besides, keeping the kids alive and well is a job in and of itself that takes priority over some of these things that I’ve been meaning to get to.

Well, given I’m not a patient person, and given I am a person who needs to accomplish something at the end of each day, I have found a way to break down a larger task into smaller, more manageable and less anxiety-provoking tasks. Thus, I’ve found a way to clean and organize the closet, the drawer, that part of the basement or garage in a way that makes me feel productive and efficient.  Yes, that is how the 15 minute power hour was born!

So here’s how it works. I identify the task that is most bothersome to me, or has to get done because it ‘has to’, I set a timer for 15 minutes when the kids are playing or watching a movie and the baby is napping, and I just do it. For 15 minutes only. Once the 15 minutes are up, so is my time with that task.  I can come back to it at another time for 15 minutes, but in 15 minutes, time is up!

For example, I couldn’t get one of my drawers to close. I don’t really know what was in that drawer, like really in the back and on the bottom, but it was time to conquer it. So, I set the timer on my phone and I raced against it. I raced so fast against the timer and myself, and in 15 minutes, I stopped. I couldn’t believe it, my drawer closed all the way again, and I had a small pile of clothes whose origin is still unknown to me!

I felt so darn good and empowered! “Do you know what this means?” I asked myself. “I don’t have to wait until the kids are in college to organize stuff!”  I was so excited, so I did it again. The linen closet was a disaster, so I gave it 15 minutes. And, in 15 minutes, I could close the door again and all was good in life and in my home!

There you have it – a small way to get to the items on your ‘to do’ list that you feel you won’t be able to get to until 2051 because you want to wait until you have ‘some time.’ I don’t know what ‘some time’ really looks like, but if I find it, I’ll tell you about it. Until then, set your timer and… go!

Guest Post by Dr. Liz Matheis: Dr. Liz Matheis is a licensed clinical psychologist and school psychologist in Parsippany who provides parent coaching, psycho-educational testing, parent advocacy, and therapy for children and families managing ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Anxiety and general behavioral difficulties. Visit her at

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