Remembering What Matters in Just 30 Seconds of Your Time

RememberingRemembering what matters is a time and productivity challenge that has many people stymied.

In today’s culture, information is flying at us from all angles – and what we find ourselves remembering is too often rather random, if we remember at all!

So, I was very pleased to come upon a brief article by Robyn Scott titled  “The 30 second habit with a lifelong impact.” It’s a neat time skill that she describes – and since it involves just 30 seconds, I’m guessing it will be an easy habit for most of us to develop.

Remembering – The Basic Idea

This advice was shared by a successful businessman with the author.  It had been passed down from said businessman’s grandfather.  It’s advice about remembering that formed the underpinning for this gentleman’s success – and it seemed solid enough that I wanted to share it with readers of The Time Finder … so here it is:

Immediately after every lecture, meeting, or any significant experience, take 30 seconds – no more, no less – to write down the most important points. If you always do just this, said his grandfather, and even if you only do this, with no other revision, you will be okay.

Remembering – The Essence, Not the Details

It is important to stick to the 30 second timeframe and to work to fully focus on capturing the essence of the experience you’ve just had.  As the author notes, this isn’t easy – but it’s a habit that becomes second-nature over time, with practice.

Not only that, but it changes the way you experience things – the way you engage with your moments:

Once you get into the habit of the 30 second review, it starts to change the way you pay attention, whether listening to a talk or participating in a discussion. It’s like learning to detect a simple melody amidst a cacophony of sound. And as you listen with more focus, and ask better questions which prompt actionable answers, so your 30 second review becomes more useful.

Remembering, using this 30 second method, becomes a disciplined exercise in distilling experience. It reminds me of the way Michelangelo talked about his sculpting, describing it as chipping away the unnecessary elements to reveal the form embedded in the block of marble.

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

And while we’re on the subject of remembering, I don’t want to forget to mention that Medium looks like a very interesting venue for sharing (and discovering) stories and information.  I think we’ll be taking a closer look at Medium as a place to share time tips; and I know we’ll be developing a 30 second review habit … how about you?


  1. Brilliant! I’ll try it – starting with this post. By taking just 30 seconds to distill and record significant insights (from others and from self, too), I strengthen concentration, focus and memory. THANKS!

  2. Well said, Alison. I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

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