ANTHONY TROLLOPE’S 15 MINUTES EFFECT

Over the next 38 years, he published 47 novels, 18 non-fiction works, 12 short stories, 2 plays, and various articles and correspondence.

Trollope has achieved her incredible productivity by writing over a period of 15 minutes over three hours a day.

His strategy is explained in Mason Currey’s book:

“It had at this time become my custom, — and is still my custom, though of late I have become a little lenient of myself — to write with my watch before me, and to require of myself 250 words every quarter of an hour…

This division of time allowed me to produce over ten pages of an ordinary novel volume a day, and if kept up through ten months, would have given as its results three novels of three volumes each in the year…”

THE PROBLEM WITH BIG TASKS

When it comes to doing things, I have experienced the best results by evaluating my priorities on the basis of their real importance and doing the most important things first.

Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

There is one common problem with this approach.

After prioritizing for a given day, if task number one is a really big project, then you may feel frustrated because it takes a long time to complete.

For example, last week I was working on a project that took two days to complete. On Tuesday morning, when I started the task, I knew I would not be able to finish that day. Even though I knew I would be working all day without completing the task, by mid-afternoon I still felt frustrated.

Anthony Trollope was in the business of writing books and writing a book is a big project. It’s not the type of task you can accomplish in a day. In some cases, just writing a chapter is too much of a task for one day.

This is an Assets for two reasons.

  1. Small measures of progress help maintain momentum over the long term, which means you’re more likely to complete large tasks.

2. The faster you complete a productive task, the faster your day develops an attitude of productivity and efficiency.

Anthony Trollope didn’t have to wait minimum three months to feel a sense of accomplishment in completing his book, nor did he wait three days to finish a chapter. Trollope’s 15-minute writing book is a well-designed progress meter that allows Trollope to “get it done” faster while still on a large task.