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  • Writer's pictureMartin Svolgart

The Tool of 30-Day Unites

We can quickly become overwhelmed by the idea of delving into something new, and we have so many opportunities and stuff we want to do that we end up with analysis paralysis. Often times, that's what ends up being the very grounds for the symptom that is procrastination.

This is the tool

The 30-day units are where I dedicate time for that skill every day for 30 days for a minimum of just 15 minutes.

That’s the tool I've taken into rotation to help combat analysis paralysis while learning everything I need to be able to grow a YouTube channel. First, I need to learn to talk to a camera.

Struggling to find time for it, I started setting the alarm clock 15 minutes earlier, and I dedicate those minutes to focus on that. In this case, I convey something I've learned/read/know verbally to a camera. Most is useless for any video, so it becomes material for “the Drawer” (project description here)

Learning to make YouTube videos obviously have many steps, and to avoid the part about getting overwhelmed or go into analysis paralysis, I've split it into segments or bases to be conquered. Learning to talk to the camera is just the first of many, and I work those into 30-day units.

It's a mindset tool that can be used for many things, and if you tweak the tool, it could probably help you with what you need.

If you're up for it, join my group, "Drawer Tribe", on Facebook, and I'll help you stay consistent. You get to help ME get through my personal challenges, too. I always have more than one going at a time to be able to come up with ideas for how to tweak tools to help as many as possible get out of their own head in order to get out of their own way and harness their true potential.

30-day units with added bonuses

Yesterday, I challenged a few coworkers to join me in a challenge that I saw on YouTube.

To do 100 pushups a day!

Why on earth would I do that?!?

That's because it's not about the pushups.

Getting into better shape is but a side bonus to doing this challenge. It also challenges me to find opportune moments to work on something. This is where it becomes a mindset tool to learn to recognize opportunities and think about our time different. In this case, it helps us see what we can incorporate with our challenge and look for the added bonuses of what we get out of investing our 15 minutes in.

When picking a challenge, it's important to look at the added bonuses to see why and how those minutes are a good investment.

Remember that efforts compound. Yes, we're taking 15 minutes away from something else, but what are we exchanging that time for? What are the added bonuses?

Let's stay with the exercise one:

Are you a parent to a newborn or a toddler and can't find the time to exercise?

Try this: Put the kid on the floor under you, and kiss their chubby little cheeks for every time you make it down. It'll have the added benefits of you stopping before you collapse on them, thus not overtaxing your muscles to be so sore that you're useless later. And then you repeat that for however many times you need to do that in order to make your 100 (or whatever your current fitness level allows. 10x your first attempt max and spread it out over the entire day). Squats? Hold your child and do the squat and say WEEEEeeee every time you get up. Seriously, mom and baby fitness is a thing—search it on YouTube. Dads can get in on it, too!

Added bonus:

You show your kids that taking care of your health can be something fun and interactive you can bond over.

You get stronger to be able to play with them.

Quality family time for 15 minutes.

If you challenge yourself to become better at drawing, carve out 15 minutes to draw the same object for 30 days (to avoid the typical grounds for procrastinating that, drawing the same object will take away the reason of not knowing what to draw). Do it on your lunch break instead of scrolling social media. Draw with your kids. Get up 15 minutes earlier to draw while having your morning coffee. Bring a piece of paper at bedtime and spend 15 minutes lounging and enjoying a bit of downtime before you go to sleep.

Added bonus:

15 minutes of creative quality time with your kid, showing them that being creative together equals quality time. 15 minutes of me-time after a long day with no blue lights from a screen to mess with your sleep.

Or, you created something instead of consuming other people's creations on social media.

If you challenge yourself to learn a new language, you can do that for free by downloading Duolingo and pick and choose between 40 languages. Yesterday, I rounded 1500 days straight of studying Spanish 5 minutes a day along with Dutch because I needed to be able to find my way around and understand basic menus and stuff when going to book conferences there. I taught myself English the same way, but that was long before Duolingo or even the cell phone was a regular thing for people to have. (If you try it, friend me. I'm MartinSvolle on Duolingo)

Added bonus:

One cannot learn a language without also learning about a new culture. Once you’ve learned a new language, learning in general becomes easier because your mind learns to decode patterns.

The real bonuses

The real bonuses you get out of the 30-day unit challenges, however, aren’t just the little things—the real bonus is on a much deeper level.

Taking on small wins like these can, if you look at it from a time perspective, let us see the compounding power of even small efforts. Those fifteen minutes a day have become 7.5 hours of dedicated action toward a goal in just 30 days.

It doesn't matter that we start out a challenge that lies outside of how we identify because our identity is malleable by consistently putting a vote toward who we want to become.

You want to become an author but can't find the time? Get up 15 minutes earlier and write something because then your identity will shift from "I want to be a writer" to "I AM a writer".

You want a great body but can't find the time? Get up 15 minutes earlier and do a bit of exercise.

You want to run a marathon but you're not a runner? Start with putting on your running shoes every day.

Studies have shown that we are more likely to act in ways that correspond with our identity, and our identity is often based on our habits. Making something a habit is said to take 6 weeks or so, but the reality is that there's no set number, and things don't magically become a constant just because we performed them for 6 weeks.

Habits become our identity, and we are prone to act in ways that support our identity.

So, the real bonus of doing these challenges is more than just getting stronger from doing 20 or 200 pushups a day or drawing the same mouse every day or spending 15 minutes learning a few new words in another language.

You put a vote in the "win" jar every time you complete a day's challenge, changing the way you look at yourself because you overcame a set challenge, you crushed it, so you're the type of person who can do that. Crushing it becomes part of your identity and raises your self-esteem by knowing that you can overcome challenges.

You learn to think outside the box to recognize and harness small opportunities. Your efforts compound over time that'll pass whether you use it to evolve on a personal and professional level, or whether you stare at a wall and hope for a change.

I challenge you to join me for 15 minutes a day in the Drawer Tribe and tell me what you want to challenge yourself with. Look at it from all perspectives and list the added bonuses and opportunities you can think of. If you come up with more than one challenge? Awesome. There’s 365 days in a year, so we’ll just have fun with more wins as we explore the tools that’ll let you harness your true potential.

I highly recommend the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. In fact, I'll gift it to someone who takes up this challenge with me and document their daily efforts in the Drawer Tribe. When?

Once we’re 25 people in one 30-day Unite Challenge, so share this blogpost to help others find this tool, too. 15 minutes a day. 7.5 hours a month. What will you invest that time in?

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Laura McNellis
Laura McNellis
Nov 27, 2021

Hmmm, my 30-day challenge. I'm moving houses over the next couple of weeks. I need to move and paint at the same time. All while building my editing business back up and dealing with the loss of the day job and a shoulder injury. Figuring it all out has my brain hurting! Then factor in winter weather in Minnesota...yeah, not so easy. lol My 15 minute drawer is going to consist of frustrated pain in my shoulder. Taking the time to stretch and strengthen a few times 15 minutes a day to stay active. Then put it away to have complete focus on moving, scheduling, lawyers, and editing. 😎

Martin Svolgart
Martin Svolgart
Nov 27, 2021
Replying to

Oh wow, that's tough! Let's hope those 15 minutes focus on your shoulder will help it improve its range of motion and not be strained too much during a move like that. Please take care!

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