I (Sarah) never used to make the bed.
It wasn’t that I didn’t like our bed to be made—I really did. A made-up bed is nicer to slide into at night, creates a level surface for folding clothes, and makes the whole bedroom look more orderly. But I just didn’t have time. Making a bed takes forever.
I sighed over this until I happened to run across some advice to time your everyday tasks—folding a load of laundry, emptying a dishwasher, making your bed. The reasoning was solid: if you know how long it takes to do something, you can better judge if you have time to slide it in before you need to run out the door.
Curious, I gave it a try. I straightened the sheets, spread out the comforter, and stacked the pillows as slowly as possible, ready to confirm there was no way something this time-consuming could fit into my morning routine.
I was floored. My entire mindset shifted. I wasn’t too busy to make the bed. I was just bad at estimating how long it would take to accomplish. I was giving up before I’d even begun.
Maybe you run into the same problem with time estimation. How could I possibly have time to fold the laundry? Read a book? Go for a walk?
We even do this with spiritual disciplines, where the consequences are more serious. Who has time to read a chapter in the Bible? Write in a prayer journal? Memorize a verse?
My friend, we do. If you need proof, grab your phone and measure for yourself. Or if you don’t have time for that, Megan Hill and I have been busy with our stopwatches. While we were at it, we found it helpful to pair one of these spiritual habits with a daily task that takes the same time. While you are putting on your jacket and grabbing your car keys, you could be growing in grace.
If you have 30 seconds (the time it takes to put on your shoes or feed a pet), you can
- Pray for a friend
- Sing one verse of “Amazing Grace” (or most other hymns)
- Read a Bible verse aloud
- Find Shane & Shane on Spotify
- Sign up to receive daily Bible commentary from TGC’s Read the Bible plan
If you have one minute (the time it takes to start a load of laundry or take out the trash), you can
- Read the first prayer from The Valley of Vision
- Sing two verses of most hymns
- Print out a Bible reading plan (we recommend this one)
- Write a Bible verse on an index card
- Give online to a charity
- Tell your coworker you’re sorry for being impatient
- Invite someone to church
If you have three minutes (the time it takes to vacuum a room or make a K-cup of coffee), you can
- Read (or listen to) Philemon, 2 John, or 3 John
- Write down three things you’re grateful for
- Send someone an encouraging message
- Sign up to serve in the church nursery
- Text someone to ask if they’d like to have coffee
- Share the gospel with someone on the subway
If you have five minutes (the time it takes to fold a load of laundry), you can
- Read (or listen to) Obadiah or Jude
- Sing all of “In Christ Alone”
- Listen to TGC’s podcast devotional commentary for today’s Bible reading
- Read a chapter in The Pilgrim’s Progress or The Screwtape Letters
- Read about Christians facing persecution in a particular country and then pray for them
- Order a pack of low-cost Bibles to give away
If you have 10 minutes (the time it takes to make a cup of tea or take a shower), you can
- Read (or listen to) Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, 2 Thessalonians, Titus, or 2 Peter
- Write a page in a prayer journal
- Call your spouse at work and pray together
- Read a chapter in Identity Theft: Reclaiming the Truth of Who We Are in Christ
- Listen to the storyline of the entire Old Testament or New Testament
- Send an encouraging email to a missionary your church supports
If you have 15 minutes (the time it takes to wash dishes after dinner or walk the dog), you can
- Read (or listen to) Ruth, Joel, Malachi, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, or 2 Timothy
- Walk a mile, praising God for the creation around you
- Read a chapter of John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life
- Buy the person in line behind you a cup of coffee and offer to pray for her
- Use your church directory to pray for members whose last name begins with a particular letter
And if you have even more time, in less than 30 minutes, you can
- Read (or listen to) Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Hosea, Amos, Micah, Galatians, Ephesians, 1 Timothy, James, 1 Peter, or 1 John
- Read a chapter of Augustine’s Confessions
- Complete a Bible study lesson (some of our favorites have only a few minutes of homework)
- Make a meal for someone in your neighborhood or church
- Listen again to Sunday’s sermon online or catch up on a sermon you missed
- Use your church directory to pray for 50 members by name
- Do family worship with the people in your home