Intentional Living: The 30/30 Rule

About 5 years ago, I totally spaced out on my dad’s birthday. We are really close, so it was a big surprise and a big disappointment, to both of us. I called him and we talked, but it had a huge impact on me. I never wanted something that important to sneak up on me again!

Our calendars are full of important dates: birthdays, anniversaries, deadlines, big meetings, vacations, conferences. The things that matter to us make it to our calendars. We don’t want to miss these big life events, and we certainly don’t want to forget them. But sometimes we do, and it hurts.

In Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he describes the Eisenhower Method. Do you remember this quadrant system with the important/not important and urgent/not urgent sections?

We know we should be spending more time focusing on the things in the “important but not urgent” category. The are the big things like building meaningful and deep relationships with family and friends, developing our professional growth and careers and even taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually. Desiring deep connections with others, good health and to live a spiritually and emotionally balanced life is normal. These are the things that feed and nourish our hearts.

So why is it that we never seem to have enough time to devote to these things the way we would like? And why on earth was I so busy doing life that I forgot it was my own dad’s birthday?

When we fail to live fully into the important aspects of our lives that bring us the most joy, we feel it. It hurts. This is where things get personal, and if we are being honest, everything seems to feel off when we don’t take care of the things that keep us going.

These are the things that make our hearts happy and make us feel alive! But how do we do it? What is the secret to finding the time to devote to the not so urgent but very important aspects of our lives?

The 30/30 Rule

In Jason and my latest book, Get Momentum: How to Start When You’re Stuck, we talk in depth about The 30/30 Rule. To me, it is more than just a rule, but a way a life. The idea is to spend 30 undistracted, uninterrupted, completely intentional minutes every day on something that is 30 or more days out.

By checking into your schedule 30 days out, you are not only seeing what is coming up but gathering perspective on your life by acknowledging what you have already said yes to.

If this sounds hard because you’re already busy, start small. Start with personal items like birthdays, travel plans and family visits. This is an investment in your future well-being. When you start applying this to work items, you’ll be amazed at how much momentum you create when you start projects early and get the ball rolling! If you’ve ever felt like the bottleneck at work holding up other people’s work until you can review, The 30/30 Rule will be a game changer for you. Consider it an investment… as you put time in now, it will have a compounding effect in a month with the productivity that’s already started.

If it’s on your calendar, you’ve already said yes, meaning you care about it and have made it a priority. Whether it is a FYI or a reminder, you more than likely have a to-do associated with it. Now, when I see my dad’s birthday is 30 days out, I run to the store and get him a card or order the gift I have been wanting to get him so it delivers on time!

Life is full of surprises! Don’t let the things already on your calendar come as surprises!

These 30 minutes each day will change the way you live. They won’t stop your your boss from dropping a big project on you at the last moment or your kid telling you she has a science report due in the morning, but at least you’ll have peace of mind about everything else on your schedule, and you’ll never forget your dad’s birthday again!