Maximize Your Time

The Power of 20 Minutes

by Christie Perkins

Copy of Germany 6-12 177Alright, we’ve all said this lame excuse: “I just don’t have time.”  In fact even I’ve said it a lot this week.  But as we know, the truth of the matter is that we don’t “make time.”

Blah, blah, blah.  I know you’ve heard it a million times.

“Having time” relies on the day being blind to the journey that leads it; never getting to what you really wanted.  “Making time” is prioritizing, planning, and squeezing.

If you’re a chronic lame excuse user- you’re going to like this tip to power up your day.  So, you want 24 hours and 20 minutes out of your day?  I’ll fabricate how you can.  Yes, fabricate.  You know, as in trick your mind into thinking that you actually created more time in your day.

I have used this tip for years to accomplish the things I dread.  And it all started with a dresser top.


The Dresser Top Analogy

Ok. So, here’s a little something I don’t want you to know about us.  (Yeah, it’s not a typo you read that correctly: don’t.)  But in the purpose of proving a point I’ll have to divulge.  So here goes: We actually own a junk collector dresser.

No.  It’s not an antique- it just has special skills.

I’m not exactly sure how it works but the salesman told us nothing about its amazing ability to attract receipts, coins, stray and missing parts, scissors, and scraps of kid art; mismatched socks, first aid cream for stings, and decorations (behind a pile you can’t see).  It’s a little deceiving if you ask me.  You know how slick those things look in the store- but, I guess, first dates usually are.

I should return it for not living up to its true claim: an oak dresser.  Come on now, where’s the proof!  I can’t even see it.  I’d take it back but then I’ve got to find a home for all those stray things.

No thanks.

But, let me tell you it’s an energy zing.  I wake up every morning greeted by this stack.  And zap!  Energy’s zip tied and gone.  Oh, that pesky pile on the dresser.

So one day I got brave or irritated, I’m not sure which.  (I’m not going to lie to you but it remained a collector item for at least a year.  Yep.  Now you know me more personally than I ever wanted you to know.  But, hey!  We’re still friends right?)

I devoted what I thought would be a half life to the problem.  And to my utter surprise I discovered that it only took 10 minutes.  T. E. N.  Crazy how I’d spent an entire year stressing about a little teensy-weensy 10 minute project.

How lame is that?


Spend 20 Minutes a Day

So, your wondering about the title: The Power of 20 Minutes.  Yes, I can add (no joke).  But, it’s the principle folks.  And guess what?  The other 10 minutes was spent smiling at the dresser.  Now that’s power, because I can’t say that I’ve ever greeted it that way since our first date.

Here’s the kicker.  If you can trick your mind into saying this little phrase just once a day you’re going to start getting more out of it: “20 minutes, tops.”  By  this I mean that you will spend no more than 20 minutes on it… then wash your hands of the project and get back to your day.

I actually will set a timer (because I don’t want it to infringe on the remaining 23 hours and 40 minutes of my day).

Remember to consider the wrap up of the project so you won’t be swimming in deep waters when the timer is beeping at you.  If you don’t finish, no big deal.  Devote another 20 minutes tomorrow.  You will be amazed at the progress you achieve in little steps.

And it’s going to be so satisfying.  I’m SO not lying.

I can’t wait- I’m thinking of a project right now.


Remember P.O.W.E.R. to Include These Areas in Your 20 Minute Power Up

There are many ways to POWER up your day in just 20 minutes.  Your focus should be on Passions, Organization, Word of God, Entertainment, and Relationships.  Choose one or all.  It’s up to you.  But, make time for all of them every week.  See how it adds a little perk to your life.



If you don’t feed your passions it’ll start gnawing at you.  Then, who’s eating who?  Lets face it, you’re the one that needs to remain at the top of the food chain here.  And you can do that by feeding your passion in just 20 minutes a day.

Don’t worry about perfection right now.  Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way said, “Do what intrigues you, explore what interests you; think mystery, not mastery.”

I love that.

I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t do something because I figured I wouldn’t be good at it.  Discover.  That’s what your passions are about- learning what works for you and what doesn’t.  You may be surprised.

I hope you are.



Pick your most overwhelming task.  Just choose one.  You will be most effective if you apply this principle to the task that bugs you the most.  Chip at it slowly, all week at 20 minutes a day.  See how you feel by the end of the week.

You automatically know what needs a little TLC: the garage, the basement, (eh, hem) my laundry room.  Scope out the stacking grounds, demolish that paper skyscraper, organize the spice rack, towel rack (who knows?), or that stash of car tracks.  If you are lacking in drafty drawers- well, get to it.

You know your eyesores because it drives you crazy!


Word of God

This is one that I would recommend as a daily effort.  Why?  Howard W. Hunter said, “…there must be concentrated study.  It is certain that one who studies the scriptures every day accomplishes far more than one who devotes considerable time one day and then lets days go by before continuing.”  (Oct. 1979 Ensign)

Cha- ching.  It’s squeezing more time into your day by spending more consistent time on your day in scriptures.  Did you catch that: “accomplishes far more”?  What’s not to love about that?

I also like what Ardeth G. Kapp said.  And I agree.  “…Searching the holy scriptures can answer every question you may ever have in life.”

Pretty bold.  I’ve found answers in the Bible and the Book of Mormon that have lifted me up in some very difficult times.  They truly are an amazing source of help and inspiration.

Scripture study is an issue of trust.  I believe that when we take time for God he takes time for us.  He will help you with your difficulties and He will help you accomplish the things you need if you will take the time to study the scriptures.  Reading the scriptures is how we can listen to what God is trying to tell us.

I’ve seen it.  I’ve felt it.  And there are times that I’ve just had to trust in it.



Sometimes you just have to give yourself a break.

To be uplifting, entertainment should be quality.  Make sure it is filling a need not taking away from developing character.

You know some of the personality suckers that I’m talking about: gaming devices.  Set a timer… yes, I’m a big clock watcher.  (Poor, poor, picked on kids.)  Don’t spend hours on these things in mindless activities and don’t justify how it’s making you a better bird hunter, basketball player, or geometric organizer.

Because I find it funny.  You will get no congratulatory comment from me on your excellent lifeless slump on the couch slouch.

Spend 20 minutes planning a real life experience, then take a day and execute it.  Yes, it’s not as easy but it is much, much, much more satisfying.

Move that body.

Ok, I’ll get off my soap box (Everyone has one.  Yes, a body and a soap box.  Use both.  And together would be nice.)



Ah.  Last but not least.

I’ve been amazed at the joy manifested on someone’s face for even a brief interaction.  Ok, this is where I ditch the clock.  Please, please, please, please, PLEASE do not set a timer when you interact with an adult.

That could be awkward. (…unless you have cookies in the oven that you have to get back to.  I hate burnt cookies.)

Though, you do not have to attend to someone else’s needs all day long just a simple interaction does wonders for the relationship.  Make daily efforts to interact and connect.  And don’t worry so much about the clock.

A simple interaction is all that is needed and it can be minimal, but just be certain to give 100% when you are with them: go for a walk, talk, shoot hoops, ask about their life, find out something new that you didn’t know before; play a game.  Whatever.  Just make time for them.

Enjoy the moment.  Make your small moment last a lifetime by being present in the lives of those around you.   People truly do matter.  Take the time to take the focus off you- if even for just 20 minutes.


Conclusion (And a Warning)

Spoiler alert:  in the end you may actually devoting more time to any of these areas because it is soooo much fun!  No.  I’m not kidding.  How’s that for ruining my entire article.

Hey, it was meant to be a kick-starter for making your day more meaningful.  Glad I could trick you into reading (and applying) it.

Have a fantastic day.  I hope you get a little more out of it today.


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3 thoughts on “Maximize Your Time

  1. Organizational skills is an area I could truly do better in! Focusing on a given task for just a few minutes can reduce the stress and overwhelming feeling of completing the task. Just a few minutes a day! That’s good advice. I can apply that to the overwhelming task of writing in my journal right? 20 minutes!!! I think I can do that! 🙂

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