If you're like most, you're drowning in things that need to get done. You probably find productivity advice such as "focus on what's important and urgent" useless, because everything that hits your desk is important and urgent. No matter how hard you work, stuff falls through the cracks. Fortunately, there's a quick hack you can add to your day that should help catch more stuff from falling.
It's called the 30/30 Rule.
I recently interviewed Jason Womack, an entrepreneur, consultant, and co-author of the new book Get Momentum. He shared with me this technique and the reason he developed it. "I missed my dad's birthday one year," he said. "It was on the calendar, I knew it was coming, and I remember waking up the next morning realizing I had been so overcome by events the day before, and the week before, that I didn't get a card in the mail. I didn't get a phone call; I didn't even do an email or a text." He vowed to never let that happen again.
"I opened the calendar, almost by accident, and I looked out 30 days," Womack said. "I started buying birthday cards, anniversary cards, graduation cards, but what happened was I ultimately started applying this to work. There's always a plane ticket we need to start looking into, a hotel we need to make a reservation at, or a rental car we need to work on." The 30/30 Rule was born.
The 30/30 Rule is simple. "Spend 30 minutes a day working on something that's not due for 30 or more days from today," Womack explained. "Just take a look at today's date on your calendar; go 30 days from today. If you look at your calendar for that week, I promise you, you're going to hear an intuitive voice that says, 'Oh, my gosh. I'm going to wish I had started working on this sooner.'"
That's the whole secret. Carve out 30 minutes a day to dedicate to something 30 days or more on the horizon. If you think you don't have 30 minutes a day, consider this: There are 1,440 minutes in a day, so a half hour is only 2 percent of all the minutes you have available.
Still can't find the time? Womack offers you his 30/30 Challenge: Commit to just five days. One calendar workweek. And schedule the 30-minute slots on your calendar. Block off the time, and, as Womack said, "You are going to start to gain this momentum; it'll start feeling like you are making progress." And that progress will keep you going.