Monday, December 12, 2011

The 30 Minute Principle

The list of things I'm falling behind on grows by the minute. It's beginning to look a lot like those giant Christmas lists Santa unrolls in the movies. For example, when I learned I was having a girl this time around, I purchased material to sew some adorable clothes in Making Children's Clothes. I'm a beginner seamstress; I just haven't begun.

Another example--
My third son (who just turned three and can't say his "j's" yet) looked at the wall of pictures the other day and said, "Mom, where's Whack in these pictures?" (His name is Jack). Yeah, no pictures of him on the wall anywhere. In fact, his baby book isn't even begun.

That's why I love the 30 minute principle:
Work at something every day--be it a creative project like scrapbooking or sewing, or a necessary project like putting laundry away--for 30 focused minutes (or as many focused minutes as you can with small children in the house). Set a timer if you want. When the 30 minutes is over, put the project away for the day, and start again the next day where you left off.

I read about this idea in Teri Maxwell's book Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit (which is fabulous, by the way). She says that disorganization can be one of the biggest hindrances to a meek (not easily perturbed) and quiet (gentle) spirit. I definitely find that to be true in my own life. This 30-minute principle, although referenced in Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit, is actually from her other book, Managers of Their Homes.

So whether it's getting your house under control, or finding time to work on a hobby, I encourage you to find a way to put the 30 minute principle into action! That half hour is a perfect length of time to get something accomplished without getting burned out (especially when you're cleaning or organizing). Thirty minutes a day, then stop until the next day. You may find yourself even looking forward to it...unless of course, the job that's been put off too long is cleaning out the fridge!

(linked up at Works for Me Wednesday)


  1. Great thoughts! I love the Maxwell's books!

  2. This is such an important tip, which I need to hear again and again in various forms!! I have such a tendency to wait until I "have time to do it right" and thus end up never doing it at all. This past Lent I really got a handle on several long-put-off projects simply by resolving to do SOMETHING on each of them each day...but I have worked on them much less frequently since then. Sigh! Thanks for another reminder.

  3. Good ideas! I have struggled with making time for me to work on projects (fun and not so fun) because I don't have enough "time." But even my house got ready for the holidays, 15 min. stretches at a time, even with a sick child.

    What I need to do as I approach the new year is to remember to spend those time blocks maintaining my stress levels by staying on top of aggravating projects -- and squeezing in some planned down time for me!

    Merry Christmas!