As I mentioned in How to Conquer the World without Feeling Stressed or Overwhelmed the key to being fulfilled and stress free is to make sure you are spending time on all the major areas in your life. Typically, they consist of 6 main areas for most people:
- Physical and Health
- Emotional Mastery
- Relationships (Intimate, Family, Friends/social)
However, if you have lost that balance, how do you quickly regain it? When we are reactive we are rushing to put out the fires that have developed in our lives. Once we have that area handled we realize during that process another area has been suffering, so we rush to fix that area which creates a never ending cycle. In a worst case scenario a sense of learned helplessness can develop.
The Wheel of Life
A great metaphor I first heard from Anthony Robbins is the concept of the Wheel of Life.
- Draw a circle and make six equal sections (can be more depending if you break your relationships and career into more detailed categories).
- The center of the circle represents 0% and the outer edge represents 100%. For each category evaluate on that scale where you are and draw a line across it. Then shade in the wedges under the lines you just made.
- Imagine the shaded area is a tire on your car and you are driving 20 mph – how would the ride be? Pretty uncomfortable and bumpy!
- Now imagine you are driving your car at 100mph – what would happen? You would almost certainly lose control and crash.
- Now realize that the car ride is really your journey in life. If we are not balanced we run the risk of burning out and “crashing” in our life, especially if we are striving for excellence in any of the categories.
I was in a similar situation. I was feeling dissatisfied because my life was out of balance. One of the main problems I had is that I always felt like I was trying to do too much at once and would get frustrated because I wasn’t able to make significant progress in the areas without cutting something else out. If I tried to dedicate one day to each activity I would end up getting behind in the week and stuff would still get cut out.
The 30 Minute Paradigm
I came up with a concept I call the 30 Minute Paradigm from modeling mentors and role models who are super successful in the areas I wanted to improve in. I also remembered how grade school used to be. You didn’t do math one day, English the next, history the third, etc. You studied each subject for a small period of time each day.
* Light Bulb *
What would happen if I spent 30 minutes a day on each activity I want to improve on? Would I be able to make significant progress towards my goals?
The answer is YES. The results even surprised me. For illustration when I first implemented the system: I had work related activities (I run multiple companies so these are enormous), martial arts, working out, rebounding/mental conditioning, RPM scheduling/reviewing goals, reading, taking care of my dogs and wanted to get better in guitar, singing, drawing, and learn some magic tricks to entertain my nephew who was big into magic at the time.
So I spent a certain amount of time a day focused on work. Everything else came down to 30 minutes (one hour for the dogs because they get 30 minutes in the morning and evening). In that first week in just my “hobbies” I had:
- Gained 5 lbs
- Re-learned all the white belt to 4th degree black belt forms in Tae Kwon Do
- Gained significant strength from lifting
- Drew over 6 pictures
- Learned to play a song on the guitar while singing the vocals
- Learned 15 magic card tricks
- Built massive momentum in the work/business arena
- Read a book
- Keep in touch with friends via phone, email and facebook
- Went out on a date
I chose 30 minute chunks for each activity because saying just do an activity for a minute or 5 minutes didn’t motivate me to action – “it just isn’t enough time to do anything substantial” or more than 30 minutes – “I don’t have time for that..” For me, 30 minutes was the perfect middle ground and eliminated the excuses for not taking action.
I also decided to approach the goals in 90 day cycles, so every three months I’d re-evaluate what I am working on. Just like if I finished a semester in school, I could then move on to something else having improved greatly or continue to peruse the topic for even greater mastery. For example, I don’t need to keep doing the magic stuff for that long, I can replace it with dance, writing, golf, etc.
Even if you only have to do a couple new things this works great because you build momentum by taking daily action towards your goal. Very powerful.
Most importantly I felt fulfilled and accomplished each day. I was no longer reactive and as I became more proactive I fine tuned my schedule and concentrated on the activities that had the most impact on my life. The 30 Minute Paradigm is a great tool to rebalance your life and help eliminate stress.
|Special Note: In regards to relationships make sure not to tell the other person that you are chunking 30 minutes of your time to spend with them. Everyone wants to feel special and not like an item on your to-do list. Also remember, the quantity of time doesn’t matter as much as the quality, so create magic moments that will create fond memories and strengthen your bond with that person.Your Challenge: Try the 30 Minute Paradigm for a week and let me know what your results are in the comment section.|
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