The power of 30 minutes

Many years ago, I undertook an arduous journey by bus. From my home in Edmonton, Alta. to my brother’s home in Warden, Wash. with my two small children, aged two and six.
Before the trip, I was mildly apprehensive as the journey would involve a lot of sitting for my two-year-old son and an extensive layover at a tiny station in the middle of the night.
As I boarded the bus, my fears came true as the driver said in a loud, gruff voice, “Keep THAT KID in his seat!!”
Fortunately, I had taken lots of interesting things along. So “that kid” was a model child. But my six-year-old daughter became more and more nauseous as the big bus swayed through the mountainous roads.
And by the time we left to change buses, she was really sick. Then it happened! She vomited all over the bus steps!
I apologized politely and left. But, somehow, the poetic justice amused me as the mean-spirited driver had to deal with the mess.
Although the trip was somewhat traumatic, the visit was wonderful.
When we arrived, as usual, my sister-in-law, Roberta, had the house perfect. And she commented, “Please look at the house. It won’t be tidy again until after you leave.”
It was true! The four cousins had fun playing together and made a mess.
As a young pastor’s wife with extra guests, Roberta was obviously very busy. But I was impressed one morning when she sat down and penned a prompt thank you note to a parishioner who had brought a food gift.
So that’s how she’s always managed to send her thank you notes on time while mine are always late and sometimes never sent at all! She had found the “power of a half-hour.”
I remembered this incident when reading Tommy Barnett’s book, “The Power of a Half-Hour: Take Back Your Life Thirty Minutes at a Time.”
Barnett, himself a busy pastor, says there is never enough time. But redeeming small blocks of time can make a huge difference in your productivity and effectiveness.
Just imagine what you can do in 30 minutes. Have a quick cup of coffee with a friend or call an aunt in another state. Catch up on your filing or weed your tomato garden.
Read a story to a grandchild or write an entry in your journal. Or take cookies to someone in health care.
Barnett says in 30 minutes, you can “wreck or redeem a life.” Yours or someone else’s. And he goes on to say we exist for other people.
“Life is hard,” says Barnett. “We must help each other.”
He says his idea of “the power of the half-hour” is not rocket science, but it is simple and anyone can understand it. “I believe the idea can change your life, as it has changed mine,” he notes.
Always remember that time is a non-renewable resource. Once gone, it’s gone forever.
As Barnett notes, “Every half-hour in your day is a power-loaded resource.”
Don’t waste it!
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist.
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