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The Ten Minute Rule

Updated on June 23, 2011

For those times when you really don't know what to do.

I have a rule I like to call The Ten Minute Rule. I had thought I wrote about it already, but I didn't, or at least I don't remember doing it. 

So many times we look back, and in retrospect we can see where and when our mistake was made. Due to that mistake there was a domino effect. The movie "The Butterfly Effect" was based on the principle that if you could go back in time and change a single event, you would change the future in astronomical ways. So this is part of my Ten Minute Rule.

I read a book that said anything could be accomplished in just ten minutes a day, and that became a part of my Ten Minute Rule. And, when I was young, I read a lesson by Harry Lorraine, which stated that any habit could be broken by a ten minute delay, and that became part of the Ten Minute Rule.

This is for my Friend

I promised to write this before, and I didn't get around to it. Today a friend had such a hard day that she wanted to quit her job. This is for her. I wish I'd written it sooner, because I would have given it to her right away, but maybe it needed this immediacy to be written and be effective.

The worlds problems could literally be solved in ten minutes, if all of us obeyed the Ten Minute Rule in every aspect of our lives. It involves taking a step back from the situation you are in, and making a conscious decision after ten minutes has transpired.

In the Tracy Chapman song "Give Me One Reason" she is asking someone to give her a single reason to stay. I imagine that if my friend had said those words to her boss there would have been a singular outcome. Any supervisor with any intelligence whatsoever could give her that reason "Because you are important to this firm." "Because you make a difference here, that you wouldn't make anywhere else." or simply "Because you belong here."

How many times in your life have you been given an ultimatum, or given someone that ultimatum, and in a split second wished the situation hadn't escalated to that point.

Conscious decision making is what separates us from the lower life forms on the planet. Some animals actually wake up, put food in their mouth, and fall asleep while they are chewing it. Some will kill reflexively, because that is how they are "wired". Some animals will stalk anything that moves, even if what they are stalking is not good for food. It's in their nature. If you throw a ball or a stick, the dog will chase it. It's in his nature.

Humans do not do that. We think, plot and plan. Sometimes we plan when we don't even know we're doing it. So how is it that we are killing each other, running our economy into the ground, living far outside of our means. Why are we unable to maintain our relationships, how can we become addicted to things that are bad for us? What were we thinking?

That's where the Ten Minute Rule comes in. See, we weren't thinking. We are reacting.

If I yell at you, you yell back. What if you take ten minutes. How about, if I yell at you, you say, "Hey, I know you're upset, how about we both take ten minutes and cool off before we both say things we don't mean."

Call it a time out. When we were children we were given time outs when our temperament didn't match that of our elders. Think of it like that, take a time out.

Applications of the Ten Minute Rule, and Variations

Teach your children the ten minute rule, by telling them to take ten minutes, rather than calling it a time out. Hopefully,  when they are about to make a decision that could have repercussions, they will remember to use The Ten Minute Rule.

Try it. When you get a call from a bill collector, and you don't have the money to pay, don't get upset, say "Look, this is really out of the blue, can you call me back in say, ten minutes?" One of two things will happen, either they will, or they'll give you their number to call them back.

When your child (or spouse) has really gotten on your last nerve, instead of flying into a rage say "Honey, can you give me ten minutes alone to gather myself?"

When your boss (or teacher) wants to know if you completed that assignment, and you haven't, say "Can you just give me ten minutes to pull the loose ends together?"

Once you have asked for the ten minutes, use them to the best advantage for your personal situation. Calm down, finish that essay, print out some research for the report you forgot to write. You don't have to lie, fight, or freak out here. Sometimes you are put under pressure, because the other person in the conversation is also under pressure.

When you take ten minutes you are giving them ten minutes as well.

For a person who works forty or more hours per week, then goes home taking on all of their responsibilities, ten minutes a day to give yourself a break is not going to hurt anyone, or anything.

Applications of the Ten Minute Rule

Temptation: You are on a date and things are looking pretty good for taking this to the "next level" but you aren't sure. Take Ten Minutes.

You're on a diet and that chocolate cake looks really good, Take Ten Minutes. If you still want the cake, take one bite, and savor it, then wait ten more minutes. One bite may be enough.

You've quit smoking, but someone just walked by and that cigarette smelled really good, and you are under stress... Wait Ten Minutes.

You are having a real fight with someone you love, and you just want to prove that you're right, and they are wrong... It's someone you love, back up, tell them "I love you, I need to take ten minutes."

You're an alcoholic, and you want that drink! Take ten minutes, talk to somebody else, but do it for ten minutes.

You forgot to take your pill, and you know that if you have sex you're going to get pregnant, that's just the kind of luck you have, right? Take ten minutes, really think about it.




Getting things done in Ten Minutes

If you take ten minutes each day and exercise, you will get in better shape. If you write for ten minutes each day, you will write a book. If you sing for ten minutes a day, you will become a better singer. If you read for ten minutes a day, you can learn anything.

If you paint for ten minutes a day, you will paint a picture, or your house, depending on what kind of painting you're doing.

If you meditate for ten minutes a day, you will be more relaxed. The possibilities here are absolutely endless.

If you study your Keyword research and SEO for ten minutes a day, you will learn it, understand it, and then you can spend ten minutes each day doing it. If you spend ten minutes each day promoting yourself on line, you will become successful on line.

Life is made up of moments. Moments become minutes, and taking ten of those minutes to make conscious decisions will affect your life, and the lives of those around you. 

When you have seen the pleasant turns your life has taken, that your bad habits are broken, and good habits formed, you stress is lowered, and you're in better shape, and you see others noticing too, you'll become addicted to these "Ten Minute" intervals.

Someday, someone will ask you how you achieved all that you have, and you can tell them, I just broke it down into sections, of  ten minutes each. Maybe they'll try that too. That could change the world.


Submit a Comment

  • Faybe Bay profile imageAUTHOR

    Faye Constantino 

    6 years ago from Florida

    Great, thanks for your comment!

  • schoolgirlforreal profile image


    6 years ago

    I enjoyed watching 10 minutes of Polish history.

    History is one subject I always hated but watching that was interesting. I will have to make it a new goal to learn history ten minutes each day.

  • Faybe Bay profile imageAUTHOR

    Faye Constantino 

    6 years ago from Florida

    Thanks Lady and Brandy. I don't get around here as much as I'd like, not because of the Ten Minute Rule, but because of my health. I'm sure once I get back I will see a lot of you two

  • brandyBachmann profile image


    6 years ago

    Nice hub and very interesting.

  • ladycebuana profile image


    7 years ago

    i really love your hub.. i even shared it to my friends... so nice and inspiring.. :-)

  • Faybe Bay profile imageAUTHOR

    Faye Constantino 

    8 years ago from Florida

    Agvulpes, Thank you for Twittering it out! I do appreciate it! I'm glad you liked it.

    Jai Warren, you made my day as well. I hadn't thought of how many chances we have to implement the rule. I would probably accomplish a ton just by adding it in 10 times more a day. We really do have all the time in the world, if we use the time we have.

  • Jai Warren profile image

    Jai Warren 

    8 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas

    This is really sound advice, Faybe Bay. Let's look at from a different perspective. Say we sleep eight hours a day, that leaves 96 ten minute intervals in a day. Can you imagine what we can accomplish! Even if we only use your rule a third of the time. Enjoyed this Hub... Thanks, Ciao!

  • agvulpes profile image


    8 years ago from Australia

    What a great Hub:-) The Ten Minute Rule sounds like an extension of the old rule of 'Counting to 10'?

    I will certainly keep it in my mind the next time I'm in a debate! Twittering this Hub out :-)

  • Faybe Bay profile imageAUTHOR

    Faye Constantino 

    8 years ago from Florida

    It's the best ting you can do for yourself. Even makes a great sales tool, write yourself a speech that covers ten minutes (or less) then all you have to ask people for is ten minutes of their time.

  • wilderness profile image

    Dan Harmon 

    8 years ago from Boise, Idaho

    A good thought - just 10 minutes! I like it. It will find a new home with us; "Please, just give me 10 minutes".

  • Faybe Bay profile imageAUTHOR

    Faye Constantino 

    8 years ago from Florida

    Still the ever charming Epigramman, turning my head and making me blush. Ten whole minutes! And to think, my kids hate the photo, lol.

  • epigramman profile image


    8 years ago's been the ten best minutes of my life looking at your spectacular profile photo - and that is my ten minute rule!

  • Faybe Bay profile imageAUTHOR

    Faye Constantino 

    8 years ago from Florida

    Haha! That's funny, because it did occur to me that someone might get the two confused! Oh, just for clarification, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Nestles Tollhouse Cookies and Brownies get an extra two seconds on the Ten Second Rule. Unless the brownie lands frosting side down, then we have to scrape the frosting off, just to be clear on all points.

  • brianzen profile image


    8 years ago

    I was relieved to discover this wasn't the ten second rule with extra time added. (gotta let some floor cookies go)

  • Faybe Bay profile imageAUTHOR

    Faye Constantino 

    8 years ago from Florida

    Thanks K9! I am so glad you found out! I do use it, especially when trying to clean out my closets! LOL.

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 

    8 years ago from Northern, California

    Putting this to use last night made a really crummy task in perspective. It really works your The Ten Minute Rule! Tahnk you for a different way to take in life.


  • Faybe Bay profile imageAUTHOR

    Faye Constantino 

    8 years ago from Florida

    @Kimh039, That's true about the reps, I am just starting to learn that, as I have been working out, but sometimes the video gets a bit advanced and I switch to another workout. I still get the workout , just bits of one and bits of another.

    @ Jane@CM Thanks for reading and commenting! I know it is simple enough, but it's so easy to get overwhelmed by a huge task, and breaking it down into smaller bites gets it done without the stress.

  • Jane@CM profile image


    8 years ago

    The 10 minute rule certainly makes a huge difference! Great topic to write about! j.

  • kimh039 profile image

    Kim Harris 

    8 years ago

    awesome hub faybe. rated up and awesome. it's amazing what we can do 10mins at a time. It goes along with what I learned from my trainer, that you can do 10 repetitions at a time too! before you know it, you've had a full workout. I love how you presented this. thank you.

  • Faybe Bay profile imageAUTHOR

    Faye Constantino 

    8 years ago from Florida

    Thank you Paradise7, I'm glad you like the video. As I said, my friend was feeling just that way and I know we all have! I plan on doing a couple of more hubs about this incredible tool, as many have said there are more applications that would make a whole hub in themselves. My son actually said he uses the ten minute rule all the time in school, when things escalate between classmates, he takes that step back, and consciously decides whether or not to get involved.

  • Paradise7 profile image


    8 years ago from Upstate New York

    Love that Tracy Chapman video. I love her voice. And you know, the ten-minute rule DOES seem like a GREAT idea for a lot of situations. Thank you, Faybe!

  • epigramman profile image


    8 years ago

    ...but to be truthful and perfectly honest you bring it out of me .....

  • Faybe Bay profile imageAUTHOR

    Faye Constantino 

    8 years ago from Florida

    I adore you Epigramman, you always make me smile and brighten my day! You really have to be careful with that charm! :-)

  • epigramman profile image


    8 years ago

    ...well my 10 minute rule with you is I need more than 10 minutes - I need a lifetime!!!! (and meeting someone like you is one of the pleasure in my lifetime)

  • Faybe Bay profile imageAUTHOR

    Faye Constantino 

    8 years ago from Florida

    Thanks LeanMan! Some days I take too many 10 minute breaks, lol. Glad you like Pink Floyd

  • LeanMan profile image


    8 years ago from At the Gemba

    Pink Floyd, I will take some extra 10 minute breaks to think today, if only to listen to them! Great hub and very good advice.

  • Faybe Bay profile imageAUTHOR

    Faye Constantino 

    8 years ago from Florida

    @ Cagsil, You also had a disappearing comment when I got here, how weird! I had a feeling you'd like the rule. Sometimes we do not stop to think and once the words are out it's too late to take them back. Sometimes "I'm Sorry" and "I didn't really mean that" are just a bunch of words. They may work for one person and not another.

  • Faybe Bay profile imageAUTHOR

    Faye Constantino 

    8 years ago from Florida

    @ Jerami, I have definitely missed you! Thanks for the compliment.

    @ Humagaia, You are one of those enlightened individuals who already thinks before acting. Some of us never learned and still live reactively. And what's wrong with living five lifetimes? I mean the Buddha lived more than that, and he's still coming back!

    @Carolina Muscle, I looked for The Ten Minute Manager, to find out if that was the book, but it wasn't. I had read excerpts of this guys book in either guidepost or Readers Digest. It was "How to Accomplish Anything, in Ten Minutes a Day" Now it seems that millions of people have worked off of that theme, from workouts, to languages. The Google search turns up plenty of pages. I had contacted Harry Lorraine because I wanted to sell the lessons that he wrote, but he said that series is long out of print. I want to give credit where credit is due, but I never read the Ten Minute Manager, and can only find one called "The One Minute Manager" which I'd never heard of before.

    @ GMA Goldie, thank you for reading and for the high compliment!

  • GmaGoldie profile image

    Kelly Kline Burnett 

    8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

    Excellent advice. Wonderfully written. Awesome!

  • carolina muscle profile image

    carolina muscle 

    8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    This is a valuable concept, and I have the used the Ten Minute Manager rules most of my career!!

    !!!!!! Thanks!!!!!!!

  • humagaia profile image

    Charles Fox 

    8 years ago from United Kingdom

    If I followed this rule I would need 5 lifetimes. It is good though to take the time to relax and get to a decision. The way I probably follow this rule is to have a delay mechanism. Make the decision but don't let anyone know until a few hours later. That way there is just a time delay to make the decision known and have time to come up with enhancements

  • Jerami profile image


    8 years ago from Houston tx

    Thought about leaving a comment. Didn't know if I should.

    Thought about it for ten minutes, couldn't think of anything to say ..or ..why I shouldn't... So

    Great HUB.

  • Cagsil profile image


    8 years ago from USA or America

    Hey Faye, I appears as if I got an error on my first attempt at writing a comment. And, no I didn't use the Ten Minute Rule, before posting my first comment. However, I would like to let you know that I found your article quite interesting. It can be very good to use the Ten Minute Rule in specific situations. Especially, when sparks begin to fly and/or conversations get heated. I voted up the hub and marked it as Awesome. Thank you for sharing. :)

  • Faybe Bay profile imageAUTHOR

    Faye Constantino 

    8 years ago from Florida

    Thank you Fucsia, let me know how it works out!

  • fucsia profile image


    8 years ago

    I will try your rule! I think it is a very good advice ...

  • Faybe Bay profile imageAUTHOR

    Faye Constantino 

    8 years ago from Florida

    @Breakfastpop, you are sending my ego through the roof! I think that since it was a gradual thing with me that I learned over the course of years, I just thought it was common knowledge. The funny thing is, now I realize it isn't.

    DoorMattnomore! So good to see you, you look marvelous! A sight for sore eyes as well. I wanted a good song about time, and I kept looking, then I was like "Time" duh, much? I wanted a good video, but just listening was better.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    love love love the pink floyd song. one of my favourites. :)

  • breakfastpop profile image


    8 years ago

    I love this commonsense powerful hub.It should be required reading. Thumbs up on an awesome piece of writing.

  • Faybe Bay profile imageAUTHOR

    Faye Constantino 

    8 years ago from Florida

    Hi Viking, and Wendy! I'm glad you found this to be sound advice, I really can't believe I forgot to write about it. This was supposed to actually be one of my first hubs. I give The Ten Minute Rule (verbally) as a gift to any who ask my advice, and I have for years. I even gave it for Christmas last year, true story.

  • Wendy Krick profile image

    Wendy Krick 

    8 years ago from Maryland

    This is great advise! Love it.

  • viking305 profile image

    L M Reid 

    8 years ago from Ireland

    What a great idea and it really does make a lot of sense too. I will give it a go when the need arises and see what happens.

  • Faybe Bay profile imageAUTHOR

    Faye Constantino 

    8 years ago from Florida

    Hi Ivorwen! I am so glad you gave it a go! I have to say that sometimes I procrastinate way too much (okay, almost all the time) so when I think, okay I'll start in ten minutes, then work on it for ten minutes, take a break for ten and work for ten, I can get that drudgery done! Sometimes I forget to take a break, and my son has stopped me saying "Hey, I though it was work for ten, off for ten, take a break!" So it does pass down well, too.

  • Ivorwen profile image


    8 years ago from Hither and Yonder

    Hello Faybe, I read this yesterday, and didn't know what to think, so I gave it a go. It really did make a difference, especially when dealing with things that I didn't want to do. I know that the principle is simple, but I think that is what makes it so wonderful.


  • Faybe Bay profile imageAUTHOR

    Faye Constantino 

    8 years ago from Florida

    I want to thank you all for visiting, this is one rule that I wish I applied more often in the past, and hope to apply always in my future. Sometimes the simplest of habits can change your life.

    Lorlie, that's great about the Ice Cream! It just shows that Ten Minutes can make a difference in that most basic of human urges, Ben and Jerry's!

    Pamela, I hope it serves you well!

    Lisa, and Creativeone, thank you both for commenting, I am glad you enjoyed the hub and hope you can find more ways to use the Ten Minute Rule.

    Now I have to take my son to school, it's like ten minutes away.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    What a great way to look at life. I think the 10 minute rule is a great idea and think how much time it would save and how many more little things you could accomplish. Great hub!

  • lorlie6 profile image

    Laurel Rogers 

    8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

    Ah, Faybe! What a wonderful idea, rule, whatever you choose to call it. I had a weird experience this morning, didn't get my daily digest from HP, was sort of thrown for a loop, but rather than freak out, I decided to write to them and did some chores rather than play on the Internet all day. It wasn't a conscious choice, perhaps, but 'going with the flow' was what I really needed today.

    Oh, and it's about 12:15 here in California and I just used the 10 minute rule regarding some yummy Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. It worked! Yeah!

  • lisabeaman profile image


    8 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

    Great Hub Faybe Bay! You've got some really good common sense guidelines here! Ten minutes sure can make a huge difference - both in waiting and in doing. Great job!

  • creativeone59 profile image

    benny Faye Douglass 

    8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

    Thank you Faye, for an awesome hub, that can heal what ails you. Thank you for sharing it. Godspeed. creativeone59


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