My Story: The Half-Hour Solution

contributed by Judith

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A great time saving tip, which I have discovered, is to use half-hour segments in my planning schedules. On a sheet of paper, I divide up all my waking hours into half-hour segments. It is amazing to see how many half-hour segments there are in just one day, and if I do something different in each half-hour segment, I can get a lot of things done. Of course, some segments are taken up with regular necessary routines such as meal preparation, eating, and personal hygiene, but I am still left with many segments for other tasks.

Some tasks obviously take more than half an hour, but a surprising number of jobs can benefit from 30 minutes spent on them. I now find that I can write in regular times for baking, sewing, mending, gardening, crafts and hobbies, grooming the dog, and a myriad of things which otherwise tend to get left out of a busy person's schedule. If I only commit to spending half an hour at a job, it can be fit in and I feel as though I've achieved much more by the end of the week.

Just as some tasks take up more than one 30-minute segment of time, more than one small task can sometimes be done within a single segment. There are a lot of time-consuming jobs around my farm. These jobs need to be broken down into small portions done each day if I am ever to complete them. I use a half-hour segment in the early morning of every day in which to work on two or three of these jobs. For instance, currently I spend 15 minutes pulling barley grass weeds out of the corner of the large meadow and 15 minutes cutting back gorse. A 15-minute slot allows me to travel to the job and/or get out my tools and still have time to work at the job for 10 minutes. For jobs that are closer to home and don't need special equipment, I can squeeze three jobs into half an hour. Even with just 10 minutes of work each day, the progress is noticeable. It is better for me to commit to working at each job for just 10 minutes a day than to not start them because they seem too big to tackle.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it to

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