This 3-part series will help you accomplish more on a daily basis. Effective time management is crucial if you want to experience personal success. If you struggle to meet your goals, then this series will be of interest to you.
The series is broken down as follows:
Part 1: The 30% Rule
Part 2: The 80/20 Principle
Part 3: Time management skills
Let’s get started.
PART 1: The 30% Rule
What is the 30% rule?
Let me tell you a story to help illustrate what the 30% Rule is all about.
I had a life-altering realization one day when I was stuck in a never-ending stretch of traffic. It occurred to me that I spend a lot of time in my car. I was in college at the time and because I had classes that fit into a 9-to-5 schedule, I usually got stuck in the morning and late-afternoon rush. It was awful. I must have spent at least 2 hours every single day commuting, or roughly 10 hours per week, 40 hours per month, etc. Classes usually ran over an 8 month period, so I was blowing through 320 hours each school year! To put that into perspective, that equates to approximately 13.3 days of time wasted sitting in my car in rush hour traffic every year. There were days when I spent 3 hours (split between commutes to and from campus), so in reality I probably spent more than two weeks each year commuting. But for argument’s sake, let’s just say two weeks for the purposes of this article.
That day, when I was stuck in a gridlock that had no end in sight, I realized something quite profound, which I now call the 30% rule.
- there are 24 hours in a day
- typically, 8 of those hours (or, 33%) is spent sleeping
- another 8 of those hours (or, 33%) is spent working
- finally, the remaining 8 hours (or, 33%) is spent doing ______________?
What you choose to do with your time in that final 30% of the day (what I affectionately call the daily 8) can literally make or break you.
Do you want to be a multi-millionaire, starting from scratch? You probably have a job at the moment and you definitely have to get some sleep every night, so you that leaves you with only the daily 8 in which to realize your financial goals.
Are you interested in losing weight and getting into shape? You guessed it: all of those workouts must be done in those final 8 hours.
What about your social life? Yep, that time is spent out of the final 8 hours.
And we haven’t even touched on your love life yet! If you’re single, then you most likely use some of the daily 8 towards dating. If you’re married, then you’ll naturally use some of this time towards your spouse. If you’ve got kids, well then you can say goodbye to even more of the daily 8!
Clearly, the final eight hours left in the day don’t amount to much when you factor in everything that you want to do in your life.
When I realized that I only had eight hours left each day to ‘make or break’ my life, I began to feel even more agitated over my daily commute because suddenly, it occurred to me that I didn’t even have those eight hours. I only had six left after the daily commute! What’s more, back then I spent plenty of down time kicking back with friends, going to parties, hanging out at book stores (loved that), etc. I needed such releases – everybody does – but with all the other demands of my life factoring into the equation, I didn’t have much time left for growth and advancement. Aside from school there were other things that I wanted to achieve in my life and during those years and I had barely even scratched the surface in getting closer to realizing those goals. I wanted to start a small, part-time business so that I could get ahead financially and start paying off some of the student loans I’d accumulated. I began a web design business, which today has blossomed into a digital publishing business, but back then, the business barely got enough steam to take off. Sure, I made money here and there, but I was too busy with school to really have the time to make it fly. And I clearly was not utilizing my daily 8 effectively so the business suffered. Once I graduated, I took the business to a new level, but only because I chose to make the business my full time job.
And so, the 30% Rule is…
Treat your time as if it’s gold because you only have 1/3 of each day (30%, or the daily 8), to make a difference and realize your goals in life.
EXERCISE: Taking inventory of the daily 8
Get a fresh sheet of paper and make five columns as follows:
- Family & Friends
These are the five key areas in life that need your immediate attention. Once you’ve achieved balance in these areas, you can dedicate your remaining spare time to other pursuits.
You have 56 hours each week (the daily 8, Monday to Sunday) in which to make sure you are hitting the mark in all these areas. Use this chart to take an inventory of how you spend your daily 8. Are you spending more time in one column at the expense of the other columns? Is it even possible to distribute your time equally between all columns at this point in your life? If not, we’ll talk more about what you can do about this in Part II. Perhaps you might be wasting too much time doing something that does not even fit into the five areas above (like watching too much TV or surfing the net, for instance)?
The purpose of this exercise is to get you to start thinking about how you use your time. Once you become pro-active, you will become better at making full use of every hour available to you. You will even surprise yourself when you see just what is possible with those 56 hours available to you each week.
In the Next Installment…
Part II of this series gets into a discussion about how to get more value out of each hour in the daily 8 so that you’re getting more done in less time. It’s important to complete the exercise above and take stock of where you are falling short so that you can carry on with your work in the next part of this series.
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