The 30 Minutes/Day List

by JL Beeken on 11-02-2012

When your to-do list is scrolling off the bottom of your monitor, what are you going to choose to do today? Enter the 30 minutes per day list.

One of the worst things you can do to your mind, body and spirit is to sit in front of a computer without a plan. Once in awhile is OK but a daily diet of it is not.

When I was growing up, I was allowed to watch only two hours of television a week so I had to choose carefully. I hated being bossed around and I had all kinds of ideas of what I would do when I was older and could make my own decisions 24/7. That worked out pretty well; I gave up trying to be anyone’s employee decades ago but sometimes growing up comes with no common sense.

Just as a quick reality check, (even if it takes you all day) write down everything you think you should, could or want to do. I like to do this on a mind map because it’s easy to drag and drop things around when I change my mind.

After you’ve got it all out, do a rough sort between 3 categories: Now, Soon and Someday.

I keep a screenshot of the mind map on my desktop. And I keep the map pinned to my taskbar in Windows7. (Or you could sign up for a free account at MindMeister and keep it in your browser.) There are 3 sections to it.

  • Now. My 30 minutes/day list.
  • Soon. Things I’m going to do over the next few months, (I swear.)
  • My Someday list of wild imaginings.

Mind Map

At the end of each day, I review the map and add, delete and move things around. For instance, my Soon list may contain a multi-step project and my Now list will hold the next step in the process.

If you don’t want your list in a mind map, make an outline somewhere else, (like ActionOutline) or print it out and pin it to your bulletin board so you can see it.

30 Minute Timer

Every time you think of something you could or should do every day to move yourself forward, add it to the 30 minutes/day list.

Don’t over-think it. What you really care about will make itself known as soon as you begin implementing the plan.

After breakfast and everything else you can think of to distract yourself, set a timer for 30 minutes. Here’s mine, fingerprints and all.

When I hit Start it starts running down. When it gets to zero it bleeps (and bleeps and bleeps.) When I hit the Start button again it automatically resets itsef to 30:00. Before I re-start it I take a short (or long) break to run around my house and get some air, go into town, sleep, or whatever.

It would be a good idea to put email/social networks as a single 30-minute item unless that’s the only thing you’re interested in doing all day.

Go to your Now list and begin.

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