25 Meaningful Things You Can Do in 30 Minutes or Less

In order to get my work out to subscribers on the same day I publish something, I have to send it out by 12:00 pm Mountain time. I sometimes write a post the day or days before, but I usually write or at the very least edit on the day I publish.

Today, I was curious to see what I could write in 30 minutes. Could I give you something helpful or meaningful in 30 minutes? Timer set …

We use time as a major excuse for not doing things.

  • I ran out of time
  • I was too busy
  • No time for that
  • I’ll do it tomorrow … if I have time

But the real excuse, even if we are really busy, isn’t lack of time. It’s lack of priority. There are so many things that are left undone, because they aren’t important enough.

Author Laura Vanderkam says, “Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.”

What if you blocked off 30 minutes everyday to do one thing that was important to you, or one thing that contributed to something or someone who was important to you? Make a list of a few things you’ve been meaning to do or try one the following ideas.

1. Tell your story
Write the first paragraph of your memoir. Open a free account withBlankPage and write one paragraph.

2. Send love
Call your mom, dad, friend, or spouse and say, “Hi, just calling to tell you I was thinking about you.”

3. Send more love
Box up a care package and place it next to your front door. Mail it when you run errands next.

4. Tap into your purpose
Read about The Beauty and Power of Potential, your potential.

5. Learn and connect
Sign up for a cooking class, yoga course, writing group, or something else based on your interests. Learn while you hang out with like-minded people.

6. Become an early riser
Set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier than you normally wake up so you can start your morning routine tomorrow.

7. Engage
Comment on a blog you read regularly, or in a Facebook group you belong to.

8. Power down to power up
Turn off your computer, phone, and other digital devices, close the shades and lay down for a 20 minute power nap.

9. Listen
Not every conversation requires your input. Talk to a friend but do less talking and more active listening. Instead of advice, just offer your attention. Simply hear and see instead of searching for a solution.


10. Make a smoothie
Throw a handful of greens in a blender with a bit of water. Blend it up. Then add a frozen banana, 1/2 an avocado, protein powder, and chia or flax-seed. Not sweet enough? Add berries.

11. Dance party
Shut down the work, and turn up the tunes. Dance around your living room, or office. Smile.

12. Define fun
If you haven’t had fun for a while, make a list of every fun activity you can think of. Pick one and make it happen.

13. Start reading a new book
I just finished Andie Mitchell’s It was Me All Along. Start there.

14. Stop reading a book you don’t like
You don’t get a prize for finishing every book you pick up. There are too many good books out there to waste time on the ones you don’t enjoy.

15. Make a new playlist
If you are working on a new project (work or home), create a playlist just for that project and the tasks that go with it.

16. Stroll
Take a walk. Get outside and walk around the block, park, or yard. Don’t worry about logging miles or counting steps. Just walk, breathe, and smile.

17. Declutter
30 minutes is enough time to declutter your refriderator, the hall closet, one drawer in your bedroom, your car, or desk.

18. Meditate
All you need is 5 minutes but take a few minutes to read this first.

19. Inbox Zen
The only way to ease the pain of email is to take back your inbox and create a system that allows you to email with intention. Get started in 30 minutes or less.

20. Try a podcast
Podcasts can be really inspiring and you can consume enough information in 30 minutes for some powerful takeaways. My favorites?

  • Invisible Office Hours
  • Good Life Project
  • The Lively Show

21. Boycott Meal Planning
Unless you love to meal plan, simplify and eat more of the same meals each week. The Capsule Kitchen can help.

22. Build up gratitude
Find an unused vase or jar and write down something you are grateful for and put it in the jar. Leave the jar in a common area and encourage your family to add their notes of gratitude. Keep it building until the jar is overflowing with joy and thanks.

23. Sign up for more simple
My friend Brian is working on something new to simplify your life and work. Learn more about his project here.

24. Floss
This meaningful activity takes less than 5 minutes, but making it part of your daily habits will make a big difference. Try this trick to make your new habit stick.

25. Make Tea
Simply boil water and steep your favorite tea, or make it a ritual for focus, health and slowing down.

I set out to give you 30 meaningful things, but 30 minutes gave me time to write 25. (If you are interested: it took me 30 minutes to write this and another 25 minutes to edit, add links and an image.)


Written by PH

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