What can you do in just 12 minutes a day? Stop for coffee. Walk a half mile. Call a friend to say hi. Wipe down the kitchen. Read 10 pages of that book you’ve been plodding through. Take a quick power nap. Catch up on paying bills and scheduling appointments.
You could also make great strides in connecting with your audience online.
I recently had the opportunity to participate in our #12MinuteBookLaunch challenge, along with others from our community of first-time and experienced authors. My book has actually been out on the shelves for almost five years, but I saw it as a great way to kick-start my own DIY marketing efforts, which have been sorely lacking.
The premise of the challenge was that you could spend just 12 minutes every weekday to identify and connect to your various online networks. This was primarily geared towards authors, but the basic ideas apply to anyone — those with a physical product to sell, those offering a service, even those simply looking to increase influence as a leader in their field.
I admit, I was surprised by the results. No, it didn’t propel me to celebrity status overnight. None of my new posts went viral. None of my new connections thought I was the greatest thing since AOL first came along.
But I found out how easy it was to set aside 12 minutes for a small task (or two), how motivated it made me feel in pursuing those more “nebulous” goals, and how effective it was in accomplishing the nitty-gritty housekeeping tasks involved with building my influence online.
Big Gains from Small Steps
You probably spend an hour on most days twiddling your thumbs, scrolling through your news feeds, or doing some other task that doesn’t really accomplish anything. What if you reclaimed that time, broke it up into five 12-minute segments, and set out to do five “little things” that could pay big dividends in time, mental space, and progress towards long-term goals.
It’s incredibly do-able to do something for just 12 minutes a day.
We tend to get sucked into social media or other “housekeeping” tasks, and before we know it, far too much time has rolled past. (Or is that just me?) Setting a timer for 12 minutes tends to motivate more effective, productive work.
For instance, I may sit down to research a guest post opportunity: setting the timer for 12 minutes helps keep me focused, and prevents me from slipping down the rabbit hole of following links or reading posts completely unrelated to my intended topic. Or I may need to refresh one of my social profiles with current contact information, an updated headshot or cover image, and ongoing works-in-progress. Once again, setting that timer for 12 minutes helps me concentrate on the task at hand and ignore the click-bait that catches my attention along the way.
On the other hand, consider the last time you set aside a whole hour to “refresh your social profiles” or “look for guest post / guest speaking opportunities.” Failing to break those down into smaller, bite-size tasks probably weakened your concentration, decreased your motivation, and likely allowed you to get sidetracked from the task-at-hand by petty distractions.
Breaking a larger or a longer-term goal down into 12-minute tasks makes it more manageable and more effective in the long run.
It could also save you thousands of seconds in
car insurance mental space.
Have you ever had that nagging feeling that you forgot to pack something for a trip? Or that you missed an appointment? Or . . . ??? It gnaws away at you, stealing prime real estate in your thoughts and distracting your focus from what you need to be doing instead.
Maybe you aren’t as concerned about your branding, audiences, or marketing as you would be about missing or forgetting something . . . but if you’re an author, artist, consultant, thought leader, or influencer in some other field, you likely have a few grey cells that are continually dedicated to considering how to increase your exposure and build your platform. The bad news is, it usually takes a lot of small tasks to accomplish those big goals. The worse news is, those small tasks take up a lot of mental real estate (and a lot of space on the never-ending to-do list!).
Here’s something to consider: once you spend 12 minutes working on one or two of those small tasks, you don’t have to think about them for the rest of the day! It no longer has to clutter up your mental space or your to-do list.
What can you do in 12 minutes?
Here’s a few ideas . . .
- Record contact information for new connections
- Research a desired speaking opportunity
- Write a short blog post (just the facts, ma’am!)
- Share a recent article across your social channels
- Record a brief podcast/video and publish it
- Re-share a few key posts on Twitter or Instagram
- Work through the ideas in 31 Days of Twitter Tips
- Refresh one of your social media profiles
- Write a template for requesting product reviews
- Write a template for guest post/speaking opportunities
- Send a few requests to key contacts or companies
So . . . when can you set aside 12 minutes today? Maybe now, maybe during your lunch hour, maybe when you get home from work or before you go to bed tonight. Figure out a time in conjunction with other related tasks, during a transition between larger priorities, or as a bookend to a larger block of focused work.
What can you commit to spending 12 minutes on every day, that will lead toward bigger gains in the long run?
To read more about this idea, download our free ebook 12 Minutes To Change Your Day.