A Good Writing Exercise When You Don’t Have Time

The Five Minute Sprint

Do you sometimes feel that you don’t have enough time to write? Here’s an excellent tip, giving credit to Kathleen Adams (authorĀ Journal to the Self): Do a “Five Minute Sprint.” The five minute sprint is just that–you write quickly for a very brief and concentrated five minutes. Unlike a running sprint where you have to warm up and stretch before your start running, with the five minute sprint, you just sit down and start writing whatever pours out of your hands.

You can do this writing exercise almost anytime during the day, even if you think you don’t have the time. Here are some ideas about when to squeeze in a five minute sprint:

  • When you are waiting for your kids, spouse, partner, boss, dentist, doctor, and they are a little late, or you are a little early.
  • Just as you awake or just as you are about to go to sleep. As a transition between two activities–for example, right after you come back from work and before you are changing your clothes.
  • When you are cooking dinner and there’s a five minutes wait between steps like waiting for a big pot of water to boil.
  • When you are sipping a cup of coffee or tea, or glass of wine.
  • When others are taking a cigarette break at work, you can take a writing break.
  • Just as you start up or before you shut down your computer.
  • Find a song that is just about 5 minutes and play it as your background music that signals the beginning and end of your five minute writing sprint.
  • Incorporate it into your daily routine, for example, right before you brush your teeth at night.

The comforting part about the five minute sprint is that it offers a built in boundary: You are limited to only five minutes. Who can’t squeeze in just five minutes of writing time in the course of a day??