Making Time Stand Still

Have you ever wanted to make time stand still. To stop everything around you and have utter silence. To look around and have everything stopped… no cars honking, no TV’s blaring, no children crying. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a switch that you could turn time off with. You just flip it and everything stops. You flip it back on and everything starts back up.


Imagine what you could get done. Imagine getting caught up on all of your projects and having time to plan out your life. Once you are done, you just flip the switch back on and you are instantly caught up. No more stress, no more madness.

While I haven’t invented a switch like this, I can show you how to simulate it. It takes a little preparation and a small wind up device, but soon you can make time stand still for yourself everyday.

Here is the secret.

1. Time: You need to find a time when those around you are asleep or gone. For some of you that might mean waking up early, for others staying up late. If you are at work, it might mean lunch time when everyone is gone. You need to plan on a quiet hour of time.

2. Place: You need to find a quiet place without distractions. This may be at home, in your office, or outside. You want to find a place that will not interrupt you for at least an hour.

3. Device: To make this work, you need to track your quiet time. The best way to do this is to use a timer. This can be the standard wind up style used in the kitchen, or a small battery powered one. You can also use a timer from your phone, iPad, or computer. You want to set it for 48 minutes

4. Task: The secret is to choose ONE task and do it for 48 minutes. This might be reading, writing, or working on a project. It might be running, walking, or working out. If all the distractions are off, you should find clear sailing to accomplish your task. When you are done take a 12 minute break. Repeat as necessary.

Let me give you some examples of how I have used this technique to get things done. For me, early morning is the quiet time around my house. I get up at 4am. Everyone else is asleep. Here are some projects and places that have worked for me.

Blogging: I turn on the computer at my desk, but I leave e-mail and the internet off. I set a digital timer on my screen. I open my blogging software and write a post for 48 minutes. I watch the timer and try to be finished before it goes off. As I’m writing I may need to open my browser, for links or graphics. I am usually able to write an effective 300-500 word post in this time. Longer or more extensive posts take 2 sessions. When I’m done, I take a 12 minute break while I upload the content online to my blog.

Writing: I open my laptop, and sit in a comfortable recliner in our den. I set an on-screen timer for 48 minutes and start writing. I make sure all external distractions are off. No internet, e-mail or TV. I write until the timer goes off. When the alarm sounds, I take a 12 minute break to get a drink, use the restroom, stretch etc. When the break is over I do another round. I used this technique to write my first book draft in just over 3 months, writing for two sessions per day, five days a week.

Fitness: I used this technique to lose weight and get into shape. I would get up early, and go out and run intervals three days per week for 48 minutes and then do 48 minutes of weight training 3 other days at lunch or in the evening. I followed the Body for Life program for 6 days per week for 12 weeks. Results were 26 pounds lost and body fat reduced from 29% down to 18%

I’ve written extensively about the Power of 48 minutes over the years. It has truly changed my life, and allowed me to complete things that would otherwise go unfinished. The real secret is doing one thing at a time without distractions. 48 minutes works well, because it is 80% of an hour and it divides very well into smaller pieces (1/2 = 24 min, 1/3 = 16 minutes, 1/4 = 12 minutes, etc.) You can divide larger tasks into manageable pieces and track their progress.

Question: What would you do if you could make time stand still?


  1. says

    John, I have seen your comments on Michael Hyatt’s blog and thought I would check yours out. I have seen you mention this 48 minute technique a couple of times, but I am glad to see such a clear explanation of the technique and the benefits you have experienced. You make it easy to follow.

    I have not used the 48 minutes specifically like you do, but I have seen tremendous benefits to block scheduling my time in a similar fashion. I have seen free time available that I never knew existed before because I can get so much more done in blocks like you describe here.

    I will try the 48 minutes and see how that works as well. Thanks for the learning!

  2. says

    Gotta agree with the first 3, but I’ve got some issues with the “48 minutes” concepts. Personally, I find myself much more focused when I aim to finish a particular task, rather than trying to work for a specified period of time. And although I get the concept of taking regular breaks, 12 minutes seems both too long and too short. A few minutes is usually enough to refocus, but feeling fully at ease takes much longer.

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