The 30-30 Schedule

“Options—the ability to choose—is real power.” - Timothy Ferriss

It’s time for you to become an Efficiency Ninja

One of the best kept secrets in life is that by working less you can get more done. The thing is, if you work for 8, 10, 12+ hours, you aren’t necessarily working more. 99% of people cannot work for longer than a couple hours before becoming fatigued. The trick, really, is to work less (while working harder and more efficiently). There are a few great ways to do this. You can use these in your regular work / school in order to give yourself more time to study Japanese, you can use these with your Japanese in order to study more effectively, or (this is the best), use the following life hacks on both of these things.

The 30-30 Schedule

Of course, some of these work better if you work at home (or are still in school), but we’ll cover the “how to get out of work” stuff later in this chapter. No matter who you are, though, at the very least you can use the 30-30 schedule to study your Japanese. In fact, as I write this very page, I am using the 30-30 schedule, and it does wonders.

First off, I want to make sure you’re thinking long term. The 30-30 schedule seems (at first) like you’re doing less work – this is a bad assumption to make. So, when you learn about the 30-30 schedule, make sure you give it a try before you judge how effective it is. Here we go.

The 30-30 schedule goes something like this (though I’ve seen variations on it).

Step 1: Work for 30 minutes

Step 2: Do something you enjoy for 30 minutes

Step 3: Repeat

It really is as simple as that. The idea is this:

Most people can’t really really focus for more than 30ish minutes. Some people can do a little more, some people need to do a little less. 30 minutes, though, is a pretty good estimate, I think. Now, I know you can work (includes school, homework, chores, etc) for more than 30 minutes, but the idea is that after 30 minutes, you aren’t as focused, which means you also aren’t as efficient. Efficiency, I think, is way more important than how much you work. If you are efficient and focused, you can get more done in 30 minutes than you can get done in two hours (that is, as long as you know you have two hours to use up).

Even better, since you are limiting how much you’re allowed to work, you’re doing a couple of good things for your work ethic.

  1. You are better able to focus on the important things since you only have 30 minutes, which means you get more important things done.
  2. You are less prone to procrastination, because you only have 30 minutes to do something.
  3. You are tricking yourself into thinking work is fun… let’s talk about that for a minute.

Because you are forcing yourself to do something fun for 30 minutes after working for 30 minutes, you’re essentially tricking yourself into thinking that work is more fun than it is. It’s a bit of reverse psychology. By telling yourself you aren’t allowed to work for more than 30 minutes, and that you must do something fun for 30 minutes before you can get back to it, you’re automatically making work a lot more interesting. Even if you know this, it still works. When you think work is more interesting and fun, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll dive into it more enthusiastically, and get more done because of it.

So, why not give this a try? You can use this on your Japanese studies to encourage yourself to study more… you can use this on your work to get more work done (more quickly), so you have more time to study Japanese. You can even use your Japanese as the “fun thing” if you want. It all depends on you. The important thing is to break work up into 30 minute chunks, with 30 minutes of something “fun” in between. Even though it seems counter-intuitive, I’m pretty sure you’ll get way more done than you thought you could (or at least the same amount of stuff done, but have more fun doing it).

By going through this chapter, you’ve learned about the 30-30 schedule. The 30-30 schedule will help you enjoy your work more, get more done, and spend less time doing it. It’s such a small change, but can make a huge difference in your life. You can start doing it right now, too, if you want! 30… 29… 28…

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