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Take the 15 Minute Challenge and Stop Wasting Time

24 hours is more than enough time to do what you really want to do each day.

Allyson Lewis, 01/26/2012

Have you ever wondered where the time in your day goes? You wake up each morning with great intentions. You hop in the shower to get ready for work and literally your mind begins to race with this mental chatter of the phone calls you need to make, the meetings you need to attend, and the "to-do" items you need to address.

Every morning this mental chatter plays in your head like a well-worn cassette tape, and in addition to reminding you of the actual projects and tasks you need to accomplish, your mind also adds editorial comments and opinions.

For example, your mental chatter might sound like:

• Don't forget to wear one of my best suits for the seminar at noon today.
• I really wish I hadn't eaten so much over the holidays.
• Oh no, I didn't shine my shoes.
• Why didn't I get up earlier?
• As soon as I get to the office I need to call Mrs. Smith.
• Why didn't I call her yesterday?
• Oh gosh, I didn't realize it was so late; I need to get Harper to school.

You wake up each morning, and a tape of all of the tasks, projects, and "to-do's" runs through your mind at lightning speed. You drive to your office with great intentions. And as soon as you walk in the door, a fire drill begins, the hours pass by, and at 5 p.m. you hop back in your car, grab hold of the steering wheel, and you realize that you didn't accomplish anything you said you would do today.

And as you drive home, this is the mental chatter you hear:

• I never did like this suit.
• My job never slows down; when will I ever get caught up?
• I can't believe I didn't call Mrs. Smith.
• Once again I am leaving the office later than I planned, and Harper has softball practice.
• I am so tired.
• I really need to exercise.

Mental chatter is very real. As humans, we perceive and judge life by the words we attach to it. Everything is good or bad. Our lives are meaningful or disappointing. Our jobs are successful or unsuccessful.

Allyson Lewis is the author of The Seven Minute Difference. She speaks about improving time-management, increasing productivity, and rediscovering purpose. Find out more about her new online video training program, The 7 Minute Life System, here. She also has a blog and a Twitter account.

The author is not an employee of Morningstar, Inc. The views expressed in this article are the author's. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Morningstar.

The author is a freelance contributor to MorningstarAdvisor.com. The views expressed in this article may or may not reflect the views of Morningstar.
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