How much time does a project need daily to make real progress?

Results for days 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 of the round May 2017 of the 5 Minute Perseverance Game (5MPG): 10, 10, 7, 7, 3 points out of 11 possible for each day.

Results Total for week 2: 56 points out of 77 possible (more than 2/3).

In the book 5 Minute Perseverance Game, I offered several arguments why 5 minutes is an appropriate portion of time to make a small but visible step in any given project.

“The general recommendation is not to make the time for each move shorter than 5 minutes. You need some challenge, however short. And 5 minutes are long enough to manage something and short enough to put some pressure on you to actually do the work and do it quickly.” 5 Minute Perseverance Game

To give you an idea what can be done in this amount of time, here is an example. I have experienced many times that even very new and reluctant writers manage to write a couple of paragraphs in this amount of time.

In another chapter titled not entirely seriously “Warning on Addition,” I wrote the following,

“If you notice yourself getting too serious about the project you took into this game, it might then happen that you don’t work on it for 5, 10 or even 15 minutes, but for one, two or more hours a day. If you have the time for it and don’t have other wishes or commitments on the given day, then enjoy this creative time. In this case, you can use the moves in the 5 Minute Perseverance Game as a warm-up before a more intensive immersion into the project.

But if you have other things to do and you find yourself using the project in this game as an escape from other commitments, or if you are trying to get finished with this project, so that you can start another one soon, then playing this game for hours wouldn’t be helpful. In fact, the game you’re playing will lose its FUN factor.

What is a solution in this case? Set your timer for 5, 10, or more minutes, but definitely less than 30 minutes. Work on your project during this time, and then pack it away and forget about it for the rest of the day. You will discover a lot of energy and longing to do those other things you had to do, and you might even find fun in doing them.”

What would I recommend today after playing the game for almost a year day-in-day-out? I would still recommend at least 5 minutes and no more than 30 min for first timers per project a day.

But for those who played this or a similar game on habit development, I would suggest to become your own game designer and play with various parameters of the game, both times and types of projects. For example, a friend used this game to motivate herself to paint the walls in her house. The task always took more than an hour, also because she needed some time to prepare the actual “move” of painting, but the earning of a point motivated her and helped her to make considerable progress every day.

I rarely put timer nowadays feeling when a step is over. It can sometimes take only a few minutes, or last more than an hour. I learn more and more to observe when the fun in the given task reduces, and the tiredness appears. So, I either find ways to motivate myself to continue the work, when I need to meet a deadline, or I stop working on the given project until the next day.

What is your opinion? If you have a project or projects that you contemplate to take in such a game, what is the minimum amount of time you would need for a move? Why? What would take most time of your each move? The actual preparation of the utensils (as in the above example of painting rooms in a house) or contemplation of how to perform the move?

On the picture above: I did include spending time with family and friends as one of the activities/projects into the game this month, but I often forget to start these times intentionally. They come naturally and by themselves. Whether by visiting my sister and her husband, a week ago, or sitting in our garden and enjoying being “shot at” with a soap-bubble gun by my daughter, this past weekend. Only later, at the end of the day, I see that I earned a point there too. And I am glad to say that this one is present every day. My sister took this picture of me in front of a tiny waterfall in front of her and her husband’s house; she calls it lovingly and not without pride “our Niagara Falls.”

What is this blog series about? You can find this out in its first blog post called “5 Minute Perseverance Game – Moving my Favorite Game to my Writing Blog”.

Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels