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How just 30 minutes can change your life. Really.

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FILE -- Custodian Ray Keen checks the time on a clock face after changing the time on the 97-year-old clock atop the Clay County Courthouse in Clay Center, Kan. (AP)

I would never pretend this idea, the one that has changed my life, is particularly profound.  In fact it’s so simple I’m almost embarrassed to share it.  But it’s too good to keep to myself:  I call it the power of a half hour.

I want to explain a simple technique that will help you become successful in all areas of your life, from personal goals and dreams to marriage to raising a family to relationships to work.

To do that you will need to use your small increments of time wisely—not just the big slices of time devoted to both routine daily activities and major life events.

Every waking half hour in the day is a power-loaded resource, but for too many of us these short time blocks are a resource that we misunderstand.

I agree with Harvey Mackay who said, “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”

Many people think of a half hour as a minimal or meaningless gap in time, downtime to catch your breath between periods of major effort. But the truth is that your half hours can determine the difference between success and failure.

Every waking half hour in the day is a power-loaded resource, but for too many of us these short time blocks are a resource that we misunderstand, abuse, take for granted, and ignore.

I know that it’s not easy to find even a “free” hour in the world we live in. I also have learned that it’s difficult to accomplish a great deal in a quarter hour.  But a half hour—it works!

Although I have used the power of a half hours to great advantage in my career (for example, 30- minute meetings), I think my favorite uses of half hours involve meaningful encounters with family members and friends.  

I first learned this principle when my father would stop what he was doing and carefully explain one of his decisions or answer a question.  

In my own family, I’ve spent countless half hours shooting baskets with my kids or stopping for quick date at the kitchen table with my wife.

Here’s the best way to make the power of a half hour work for you:  

1. Set aside—yes!—a half hour and write down the major areas of your life that need improvement—major categories like marriage, kids, career, personal growth, finances. 

2. Then, for every item listed, in the next week, spend 30 minutes on each one writing out specific goals you want to accomplish in the next three months.  

3. Finally, start investing half hours on each goal. You will be amazed at what happens if you stick with it!  

I’ve been practicing this principle so long that I can now say I am a product of my half hours. I don’t always get it right, but I’m very much aware of the gift of life and the value of time. My half hours—the ones I carefully plan, as well as the unplanned ones I discover—are committed to doing the things I know really matter.   

I urge you to give it a try. You can literally change your world-- 30 minutes at a time. That’s the power of a half hour.

Tommy Barnett is senior pastor of Phoenix First Assembly of God, and chancellor of Southeastern University. He is the author several books including "The Power of a Half Hour: Take Back Your Life Thirty Minutes at a Time" (WaterBrook Press December 17, 2013)