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Apps for Life: 30/30

September 17, 2012

“I don’t have enough time.”  “I’ll do it later.”  “If I only had more time in the day…”  “Time is money.  Don’t waste it.”  People pay lots of money to hear speakers talk about managing priorities and keeping better time management. Seems like a typical session topic at most conferences.  We all share the important need of managing our time at work, as well as at home.

As an Apple ios5 user, I was using the Reminders app (which became a fancy, yet stale “to do” list) to assist me in managing my tasks.  I recently began using a simple and savvy timer app called 30/30 to help me manage my time.

The concept behind the app’s name says that people are most efficient when focused on a single task for a short period of time.  How many times have you had some sort of work-systems issue where you are stuck for hours staring at the computer?  Maybe you took a walk, maybe even went home and went to sleep, and then, all of a sudden the solution just hit you!  The 30/30 concept says that it is the time constraint that forces the focus so things get done.  Basically, you know you don’t have much time, so you don’t waste it doing something else.  Take your break, collect the reward (break time), and enjoy it so you can move on.  A light bulb might even turn on during your break!   The idea is one should work on one project for 30 minutes and then break for an equal number of minutes – “30/30”.

While the plan (30 minutes for work/30 minutes for break) seems balanced, it’s not very realistic.  Some tasks require more or less time, devotion, and energy (and I didn’t even mention the “D-word” – deadlines).  And, the need for a walk to the coffee machine, the trip to the bathroom, or time to hide from the ones that distract you may not take 30 minutes.  The app takes the 30/30 concept and makes it better by letting you assign your task and it’s time (1 minute to 3 hours).  Create as many as you like.  You don’t have to create strict work/break pairs of tasks on any template.  Its’ all customized for your schedule.

Maybe your day will include 60 minutes of writing your next informative financial aid presentation; 15 minutes to chat with colleagues on LinkedIn; or 45 minutes later in the day to walk the dog.  Type yourself a short label for what you are currently doing, like “conference call.”  Specify the time duration, and select a phone icon to act as an instant reminder for that task.  The app provides reminders to help you, by color coding tasks.  The entire screen changes to the color of your task when it’s time to start.

Your screens are simple, attractive, and clutter free of buttons.  “Gestures” are used to manipulate your tasks and navigate the app.  Bottom line – the app tells you what you are supposed to be doing right now and how much time you have left to do it.  30/30 app is free and is available in the App Store.  Check it out and good luck!  Don’t forget to save some time to review your weekly Nelnet News!  🙂


Lou Murray, Southwest Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

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