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  • Can You Chnage Your Life in Thirty Minutes?

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    7 posts, 7 voices, 1073 views, started May 3, 2009

    Posted on Sunday, May 3, 2009 by Jane Woods


    • Can You Change Your Life in Thirty Minutes?  

      When you are finding it hard to motivate yourself, or can't see a way ahead, try the thirty minute rule!

      The Thirty Minute Rule
      Thirty minutes, half an hour, 1800 seconds, is not a long period of time but it can be long enough to help set you on the way to some serious life changing stuff.

      Recently I found myself with a task I really didn't want to do and kept putting off day after day. It was finalising my book, something I really needed to do. I'd done the bit I loved, the actual writing of it, but was taking almost as long to get it ready for print. I had a deadline, which always helps, but the nature of the task meant that I couldn't actually do it all in a mad rush the night before (something I have been known to do). I needed to let my secretary have the pages well in advance and I needed to have checked with the printers, the cover designer, incorporated the ISBN and so on.

      So I applied the thirty minute rule. I decided that for thirty minutes every day I would focus on getting it done. And it worked. Some days those thirty minutes seemed to last forever but I ploughed on. Other days I didn't stop at thirty minutes and carried on for over an hour feeling smug and virtuous! But most importantly I got it done and off to the printers in time. I now have a stack of books here to take to London this week and it feels good!

      It's a great rule and works for all sorts of things, however deep, or difficult, or trivial.

      Try it.
      We all have things we don't like doing, are frightened to do, are putting off, or which represent a real developmental stretch for us. None of us are immune. But for years now I have also used the thirty minute rule as a way of helping people to manage the really difficult episodes in their lives, as well as a way to motivate myself to get on with both inconsequential and important things!

      I first used it when working with individuals who had experienced great trauma in their lives. They would ask me, how am I going to survive this? How can I go on? What will my life be like in these new circumstances?

      At times of great personal change our minds can be flooded with possibilities; we overload ourselves with possible scenarios, usually negative ones. We race ahead in our minds to the new life of which we have no experience, like managing as a single person, [Link Removed] a diagnosis of life changing illness, losing our job. It can be overwhelming.

      At this point, when life feels out of control, we need to find a way to take back a little control. And we can usually exert a little control over the next 30 minutes of our time. Like driving home safely, getting food in the house, and so on. We are not in a position to make rational decisions so don't. Just focus on the minutiae of life for a while; the big things are going on anyway. Plot your life thirty minutes ahead.  When you can't see the wood for the trees, just focus on each twig on each tree in front of you; one step at a time, and eventually the path becomes clearer.

      On a slightly lighter note, imagine that you are feeling stressed at work. You know you have to take a breather but your mind presents you with all the chaos and endless problems that will ensue if you so much as slacken your grip a little.  

      But even the most egocentric of us can't believe that the world will fall apart if we take a thirty minute break. So try and plan in thirty minutes of each working day when you only focus on you. That means you do have to leave the office and switch of your cell or mobile. (If you don't know how to turn it off that's telling you something!)  

      Better still, turn it off and shut it in your desk drawer.
      Walk away from the office, don't look back! Walking itself is really good for you but this has to be totally your time; it doesn't count if you are walking to a meeting as your mind will be on the meeting. In thirty minutes you can go back, refreshed but if you can do this for a whole week you will have begun to acquire a habit – a good habit!
      Try this with any task you don't want to do.  

      A woman on one of my seminars recently was genuinely overwhelmed by the amount of clutter and filing in her office. She knew what she had to do but it seemed such a huge task that the prospect of ever finishing seemed unlikely and would mean that she got behind with her real job. It was really cluttering her in every sense of the word.

      So she tried the thirty minute rule. In fact, in her case we agreed that she would not do any longer than 30 minutes, even when she wanted to. This helped her make really good use of those thirty minutes and it never got too dull or boring. You know how we spin taks out when we have all the time in the world! And within weeks she had got it under control.

      Thirty Minute Dream Catching
      How many dreams do you have that remain unfulfilled? Try the thirty minute rule with your dream life. Resolve to spend just thirty minutes a day on pursuing your dream. For example, if you have a dream of writing a novel, or retiring to the country do you know where exactly? Break the first steps down into 5 simple 30 minute tasks, for example:
      Monday - Research areas that have the 'good places to live' tag.
      Tuesday - Sign on with an on line estate agency to see what properties there are in that area.
      Wednesday - Apply for a pension forecast to get some idea of how much income you will have on retirement.
      Thursday - Make a list of the reasons you originally wanted to move to the country. Stop after 30 minutes. If this dream is still current the reasons should flow fast
      Friday – Review your list and cross off anything that no longer holds true.

      Each one of those exercise will help you focus on your goal but by taking it a twig at a time it stops becoming overwhelming. But each 30 minute block is taking you nearer and nearer to achieving your goal.
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      This is a preview of my next newsletter article.

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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Mjmurphy wrote May 3, 2009
        • Wonderful Jane, thanks so much for sharing this!

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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Susan Dahringer wrote May 7, 2009
        • Thank you definitely are a blessing


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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Faye43 wrote Aug 27, 2009
        • I was taught something similar to this in college. We were there to get our degrees. Mine was an AS in graphic design. That was a big goal that at times could seem insurmountable because it was 2 years away. We were told to have little goals each hour, day, week, month, term, year and so on. This helped my succeed. The goal of the hour was to listen to the teacher and take notes. The day was to do homework. The week was to keep up with all classes in the same way and so on and so on with midterms, finals our bigger goals etc. I graduated with a great portfolio and a 3.9 GPA. With the economy the way it is, securing work is a little hard so am an going back to school.  

          I never thought about it in relation to other things in life but it is sage advice.  

          I love your articles, Jane. Thank you so much for sharing, Faye happy

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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Jane Woods wrote Aug 28, 2009
        • Faye, thank you so much for sharing your story; I like it! I guess it's the same as the longest journey starts with a single step, or if you're going to eat an elephant start with a small bite (I think I might have misquoted that last one-sounds ghastly!!
          Good luck with going back to school- that's brilliant. I wish you well.
          If you like my stuff you might like to take a peek at the [Link Removed]

          Changingpeople, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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