The Fifteen-Minute Rule

In 2004, I went though a “phase” where I listened to bluegrass music and I bought a banjo. I was going to be the next Earl Scruggs! The banjo is a hard instrument to learn how to play so I took lessons and this is where I learned of the fifteen-minute rule.

Just to be clear I want to state again, the banjo is very hard to learn how to play. I played guitar a lot of my life and the banjo is a different beast all together. At first, I thought I could teach myself but it was quite clear that I needed professional intervention and that is when I met Beezy.

Beezy had been playing banjo for nearly 50 years and she was well known locally as an excellent banjo player. I learned a lot working with her but still learning how to play was danged hard.

Of course, when you are learning or trying to learn something new you have to practice and I had “banjo homework” and had to practice every week between lessons. I was also going to school at the time to get my Masters Degree in Counseling and when you add in everything else going on in life, carving out time to hone my new skills was yet another challenge.

But Beezy set me straight and she told me to not wait for the weekends or large blocks of time to practice. She advised me to give it just 15 minutes a day, every day. So that’s what I did, and guess what?

I did not any better. Okay… maybe a little bit, but as I have said, the banjo is HARD to learn. In the end, I only sort of mastered playing You Are My Sunshine but that’s about it. Life took over, I had to decide what I wanted to do, and I put the banjo down for good. There would be no Foggy Mountain Breakdown in my future.

But where I fell short on the banjo, I applied the fifteen-minute rule to other areas in life with amazing results. For instance I was set up to go on a once in a lifetime bowhunting trip in 2005 which I had booked in 2004. Being a once in a lifetime trip, I practiced shooting my bow, every day at least for 15 minutes and when I went on my trip my shooting abilities were solid.

It takes me longer than 15 minutes to write in my blog every day but the same principle applies… a few (more than a few) minutes consistently spent everyday writing has helped me to become a better writer. (At least I would like to think so.)

It is that very same principle that I intend to apply to learning my new hobby of skateboarding and dowhilling on a longboard. My intention is to ride at least 15 minutes a day and allow my skills to increase in increments over time. I won’t be bombing down any large mountain passes anytime soon, but in a few months I except to ride proficiently enough to do some incredible downhill runs and be both competent and safe while doing them.

Just 15 minutes a day… of course that is a minimum, but if you are trying to learn something new and are struggling, I suggest trying this idea if you can fit it in. So much can be accomplished in that amount of time if you consistently apply yourself.

What can you do in fifteen minutes a day that will help you to learn or advance your skills? Let me know as I would love to hear what everyone is is learning and trying to master especially if it is something new in your life.

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

If you enjoyed this article or if it helped you, please consider sharing it!


  1. […] top, you need to work harder and practice more effectively than your competition. And even if you only apply yourself for 15 minutes per day, every day, for a year, you are going to see massive results. But you have to show up and you have […]

Speak Your Mind