20 Minute Attack Ideas

Tuesdays are all about Time Management in G.O. with C.G.O. month!

Today, we’re going to talk about how to make the most of a focused, specific attack on tasks around the house.  

Set the timer for 20 minutes, and have a blast of productivity!

If you’ve been following Clever Girl for a while, you know how I LOVE the Twenty Minute Attack.  

 go month 20 minute attack


5 Steps to a Great Twenty Minute Attack:


1) Pick a task. 

  • Make sure it’s limited in space and scope such that you can really make a difference in a short period of time


2) Cut out the distractions.

  • Make sure you’re really able to focus for 20 minutes without distraction, especially from the little humans :-)  Make sure the kids are occupied, or better yet, not around.

  • Turn off the TV, even the phone, if you tend to get a lot of calls that you can put off for a few minutes.

  • Music, however, is okay. In fact, you might have a few songs that totally energize you…  how about building a 20 minute playlist as your timer?



3) Get the tools you need to be fully ready to work.

  • This project is going to involve a lot of sorting, and the items need their places.  You’ll have “Keep here”, “Trash”, “Recycle”, “Move to Another Space” and “Donate” are the usual categories.

  • Use tools like laundry baskets, boxes, trash bags, recycling bins, box for donations, etc.  When you’re putting something in its pile, make sure that pile has a new place to go.

  • If visual motivation works for you, snap a “Before” picture.


4) Set the timer.

  • You have timers all around the house:  watches, phones, microwave, oven, kitchen timers, etc. Set to 20 minutes.  You know your iPhone has a built-in timer under the clock function, right?


5) Get it done!

  • Stay Focused – It’s easy to get distracted with things like, “Oh, this goes in that room… I’ll just move it now…”  Stay focused on your limited task. The follow-up can wait 20 minutes.

  • Move fast – the goal is to deal with as much of the volume of stuff as possible in this short period of time.

  • Touch Everything Once – Don’t spend too much time with any one thing. Make quick decisions and keep moving.

  • Keep in mind that the space was cluttered because you probably had more than you needed to keep there. Do not be afraid to get rid of things that you haven’t touched or used in a long time. So much of clutter in our lives is when we keep space for the unnecessary, and it hides all the items that really are functional and that we love.  Get rid of the things that don’t fall into those categories.

  • When the timer goes off, evaluate if you need a few more minutes (work through it to the end!) or if it has to pack up for another session. Get rid of the items that were meant to go to another room, remove the trash and recycling, and set the donation items aside in a space you won’t be tempted to retrieve items from.   Put the “Keep in here” items back in the space.

  • Snap an “After” picture, and compare it to the before… And then, congratulate yourself on serious effort with great results!


So, today, I thought we could brainstorm 20 different  20 minute tasks you could tackle TODAY.  Could you pick one?  two? maybe even three???  Some of these might be 15 in 15 in ’15 challenges soon… maybe you’ll get a head start? 



  • Go through your utensil drawer
  • Sort through coffee cups, keeping only enough, and only your favorites
  • Clean out the spice collection
  • I would say “sort through tupperware and plasticware”, but you did that last week, right? right?
  • Clean out a few pantry cabinets


  • Check over your shoes:  Not worn them in a while? Not great fits? Not comfortable? Good bye!
  • Go through your underwear collection
  • Sort through your sock drawer
  • Organize your jewelry box
  • Clean out your night table drawers

Coat closet:

  • Go through the coats you’ve got hanging — take them all out, sort between “wearing and current size” and “not wearing or outgrown”. If no one in your house is going to be able to take advantage of the hand-me-down (both in terms of size and style) considering donating now, while in season, to someone who needs them more. 
  • Similarly, go through the hats, gloves, mittens, caps, scarves, etc.  Got some new stuff at the holidays? Get rid of the old stuff.

Kids rooms:

  • Sort through the toys and games… what’s broken, no longer a favorite, no longer age appropriate? 
  • Clothes — What are their favorites and what hasn’t been worn, probably won’t be worn while they’re still in this size? 
  • Sheets — more sheets and linens than you need?  Any sets threadbare, or with designs and themes your kids have outgrown? Let them go


  • Clean out your wallet or purse
  • Organize the files on your desktop of your computer
  • Clean out the items lying around in your car
  • Sort through the medicine cabinet in your bathroom
  • Go through your pet toys and supplies


So, get that timer, and get to attackin’!  







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