28:48 - First step for process first

(when there is no room to add one more thing to your schedule)

It seems like a catch-22 and it is

You know how great it would be to design and live your life by putting process first before results. (See What's the full idea of process first?) But you're already sacrificing other important things because there's not an extra minute you can squeeze out of your already overwhelmed schedule. There is just no time to even start working on being a good "traffic controller" of your life.

You're trapped in that vicious cycle of the urgent pushing out the important, which even makes more things urgent...which continues to push out the important even more. Similar to, "I've got to drive faster to get there on time...so I don't have time to stop for gas even though I'm running on fumes."

Okay, I agree and I don't agree. You can do it step by step so that the transitional costs are minimized. But you've got to take the first step, which will seem like the hardest. 

You've got to make the first step sacred

I'll explain. There are already certain things in your day that you generally don't drop out, no matter how full your schedule is: eating, some sleep, going to the bathroom, getting dressed before you go out. With one of my clients, one of those things he never drops out is feeding his dogs. 

This is the evidence that there are some things that you will not let slide no matter what. Ask yourself, how do you need to think about taking the first step in putting process first so that it essentially never gets dropped out?


If you're going to break out of the vicious-cycle jail of the urgent pushing out the important (except when they happen to align, like when you've just got to get to sleep), then you'll need to carve out 28 minutes and 48 seconds (just 2% of 24 hours) from your day that never gets dropped out. But the extra good news is, not only will doing this break the vicious cycle and put you firmly on the road to process first, it will immediately (almost from the first day) pay dividends by reducing your stress and you being more effective...and maybe even "freeing" up some time, because you ended up avoiding some breakdowns.

What is 28:48?

28:48 has got two parts, two legs. Both are essential.

The first leg of 28:48

The more urgent of the two, if you had to choose on a given day, would be the Doer and the Planner. It means spending at least 14 minutes and 24 seconds (if needed) each day (in the afternoon/evening for the next day or in the morning before a certain time) to plan your day according to the guidelines provided at the Doer and the Planner link (which you read and re-read to keep them in mind). 

Allow yourself to "fail" at doing this. Just spend the time. Do it "half way." Remember the maxim, "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly." Keep reviewing the guidelines to remind yourself that you're going to be better off, step by step, to whatever level you're able to plan and implement your day according to the guidelines in the Doer and the Planner.

The second leg of 28:48

The second leg is doing 14.24: The Key to Your Life, with special attention paid to the NNI toolkit. Even within the NNI toolkit, review regularly What's the full idea of process first? Lifestyle first, results second, buffer, under promising, 100% responsible, Are you going in the wrong direction?, Is your life a buffet?, Life's a game. Did you forget?, You are Siamese twins, and Do you know that one day has 24 hours?

It's got to start now!

You may need months or more to reach a point where you can say, "Wow! Life is so amazing with process first! Why did I spend so many years doing it the other way!?" If you keep 28:48 in place, it will happen (see Thank God it'll take a long time).


But it won't happen if you don't start. It will never happen if you keep believing that lie that you tell yourself that "someday" you'll be able to start this, but not today. You are both the teller and believer of the lie! 

It's got to start now! What do you need to do to put this in place and keep it in place? 

What's going to be the best way for you to make doing 28:48 sacred?

Which one these (or combination of) is needed to nail this?

  • Use Kickstarting a mental habit as a reminder.

  • Partner with a very reliable friend (or two friends to make very sure) to hold you accountable (maybe with a consequence) along with a mandatory daily report/celebration to them that you did 28:48.

  • Keep comparing 28:48 to something else you would never drop out, like my client knowing that he would never not feed his dogs or that you would never leave your house without locking the door.

  • Keep yourself present to the stress, overwhelm, guilt, pressure, and all the other unpleasant consequences that your current way of putting results first creates and perpetuates, while knowing that doing 28:48 is your ticket out of all this.

  • Tie it to something else in your day that you always "have to do" like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. More specifically, make an absolute rule for yourself that you cannot brush your teeth until you plan your day according to the Doer and the Planner guidelines. 

  • Brainstorm with someone else to come up with a foolproof way to start and maintain 28:48.

Don't leave this link before putting something in place


Put something in place (a note to yourself, a quick call to a friend, whatever) to ensure that you'll followthrough on this idea (assuming you have any intention to do so). Don't believe the probable lie, "Oh, I'll come back to this later.")

Welcome! You've just taken your first step into the new world of...

  • Loving the journey and process as well as getting satisfying results

  • No more procrastination

  • Persistence is not a problem

  • You're rarely impatient or frustrated

  • Feeling overwhelmed or pressured are things of the past

  • Stress has disappeared or is no longer a problem

  • You easily stay focused and you're not tempted by distractions

  • Almost always you're able to keep your promises to yourself and others

  • You have more room for spontaneity

  • You're getting plenty of sleep and taking enough breaks

  • You're consistently doing the important stuff, not letting the urgent push it out

  • You're feeling that you "have enough time for everything"

  • You're no longer getting behind on things and feel you have to catch up

  • You have enough time to take care of yourself