In Praise of Half an Hour

By MaryAnne Andersen

Cedar City Arts Council


It occurred to me again last week–not for the first time–that I live my life in 30-minute units.  I think it stems from a lifetime of teaching 30-minute piano lessons. True, some lessons are 45 or 60 minutes, but they are multiples of that convenient 30-minute time slot.   My sense of how long that is is very finely tuned; sometimes I don’t even have to look at my watch.  There are many useful and productive activities that can be accomplished in this relatively short period of time.   I recommend them to you. 


First, practice your instrument!  Just 30 minutes a day of consistent, focused practice results in measurable progress over the weeks and months.  The key is doing it every day, not for 3 hours on the weekend.  If my university students would do this, they would be surprised at the results.  However, they seem to know better than I about this matter…


Exercise for 30 minutes daily.  I have a sports watch to monitor my exercise time each day.  However, this is one activity in which I have to split another 30 minutes and add half of it again.  But still, it is a set time that allows me to feel quite healthy and smug when my watch beeps.  But then, I have to decide what to do with that leftover 15 minutes.  (Just kidding)  


Read your weekly edition of Iron County Today.  There is much information in here, especially about the arts, that you won’t know about unless you read the paper.  Reviews of past events either confirm your experience or make you sad that you missed something.  I always find something I am happy to know, and since the paper comes free, the cost to me is just that 30 minutes.  (Is that a self-serving plug? Yes)


Yard work, which seems overwhelming as you look around, is more doable in 30-minute segments than five hours on Saturday.  Thirty minutes daily is enough to see some progress and not make you too stiff to get out of bed in the morning.  So I work my way around the yard, only to find that when I get back to where I started I need to start over.  Oh, well.  At least I’m outside.


I knew someone who had to assign herself a goal of reading for 30 minutes a day.  (If I didn’t have all that practicing, exercising, and yard work to do, this could eat up several time units for me.)  If you don’t read, get a good book recommendation and go for it.  There are worlds out there that you don’t know about.


Use two units and visit the latest exhibit at SUMA.  You know it’s free, right?  Ditto for the greenshow on the Shakespeare Festival lawn every evening at 7.


Finally, use half an hour to fill out an application for a CCAC Artists’s Mini-Grant.  (Go online.)  Do that today; the deadline is Friday, and it could make you $500 richer.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.