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How to Stretch those Hours

Remember: There is a time for everything under the sun.

Helpful Techniques for Getting in your Pioneer Time

Coin Laundry Drop

Before heading out to territory, stop by the nearest Coin Laundry and drop off a couple of magainzes.  If no one is there, or if no one wants a copy, leave a copy or two where the rest of the public reading material, a pile of old newspaper for instance.  This will allow you to count drive time, which in rural territory might be 1/2 an hour to an hour.  Using this technique 4 times a week, can add up to over 200 hours in a year.  That's a 20% of your time right there!

The Early Call

Before meeting with the group, make a call on someone you've talked to before, or if you don't have any calls, simply pick a door at random, and practice your presentation.  This allows you to get warmed up, and gets your time started, so you can count the time driving to the meeting for field service.  Some people using this technique even count the meeting time as part of their time.  For instance, if you make your Early Call at 8:30, and it your meeting starts at 9:00, and you don't get to the first door in the field until 9:30, you have done one hour's worth of time, whereas if you hadn't made your Early Call, you would have to start counting your time from 9:30 instead of 8:30.

Study with the Kids

Before school, if you have unbaptised kids, share a scriptural thought with them or engage them in a short Bible discussion.  This starts your time, for the day, and gets them started on a spiritual note.

Wake-up Call

When you wake up on a field service day, call up a relative to tell them your day's plans to witness for Jehovah.  You can encourage them this way by showing how purposeful your life is, while at the same time, getting your time started early.

Breakfast on the Run

If you have made an Early Call, or otherwise don't have time for breakfast before the meeting for field service, you may get breakfast, and still count time.  The way you do this is after the meeting for field service, make a return visit that is close by, so you can get your time started, and then go get breakfast.  But you can't go into the resturant and sit down, but you can go through the drive through, in which case it will be like in previous techniques where you count drive time as field service time.  Should you have to go inside, a good way to legally keep your time going is to place a tract with someone while you are in there, or leave some magazines in the section where today's paper sits.

Shopping on the Run

A good way to count time when you have to run a quick errand and pick up something at the market during the day you are out in service, you can place a tract while you are in the supermarket to keep your time going.

Letters at the End of the Day

It is good to get a list of Letter Writing Territory for the end of each day.  Normally, your time ends with your last call.  However, you can count drive time, and time during the evenings when you can't make calls on people, by writing a letter when you get home.  Don't do it on a computer, or other device that saves time.  We want to extend time, not shorten it.  So handwrite all letters.  The best thing is that you can dress however you want, fix a nice cup of tea, turn on some music, put your feet up, and relax while writing these letters.  Usually it is easiest to include a tract, and write about why many are interested in this topic, so as to pique the interest of the householder.  Be sure to take your time, since neatness counts.

Return Visits Sardine Style

When doing return visits, it is very tiring going the whole day and making too many too frequently.  One way to avoid this is to go in large car groups where people are packed like sardines.  No only does this help save gas, and energy used for heating (during a cold day), but it helps spread out the frequency that you have to talk to someone.  You may get out of the car twice an hour, instead of 5 or 6 times in an hour.  Plus, it gives plenty of opprotunuty to talk and enjoy fine association.  Often times these upbuilding conversations go on while parked, before and after a call is made, hence further lenghthening the times that would normally be spend driving and directly witnessing.  This makes time fly by, much, much faster, so at the end of the day, one is filled with joy, at having such wonderful and upbuilding association.

The Longest Point Between A and B

When going out to make return visits, do not plan out what is the optimal way of making calls.  If you zig zag from one end of the city to the other over and over, you accumulate much more drive time, and hence, you get the same effect as going with a large group, only less discomfort.

Counting Convention Time

It is reported that pioneers are allowed to count time they volunteer working at conventions.  This is an excellent way to get time, if you are tired of the door-to-door, RV, routine.

Walking Magazine Display

If you walk to the meeting for service or a territory, or making a repeated visit, you can hold a magazine to your chest while you walk.  That allows you to count walk time, since you are doing street work.

Teaming Up with Someone in Need

You are fortunate if you have someone only staying out an hour in the morning, and has lots of kids, or is very slow moving.  Most of your time will be spent getting to the next house, you can talk a lot along the way, and after an hour, you can drive her or him home, and count time walking back to the car in the territory, and the drive time home, and the drive time back into the territory.  That may get your second hour in before lunch, especially if you employ the "Shopping on the Run" method listed above.

Meal with the Unbaptised

Having a meal with an unbaptised person is a good way to get out of the cold, and keep warm while having a long nice lunch or dinner while witnessing.

Additive vs.  Subtractive Paradigms

Experienced pioneers practice subtractive time counting, whereby your are out from time A to time B, and you subtract portions out of there that were spent getting a scone or whatever.  Additive is where you have stop watch, and count little by little, adding up the time you spend witnessing.  Remarkably subtractive counting yields more time than additive, and it is subtractive that pioneers quickly learn to be the most maximizing way of counting time.

Study with Children in Tandem

You can only count a certain amount of time with your own kids.  So once you use up the limit (which we believe is 4 hours per month) you can swap kids with another parent, and get as many hours as the kids are willing to endure.  They can get more time with your kids, and you can get more time with there kids.  A good time to get to know others in the congregation.

When No One is Home

It is irrelevant if someone is home or not, the point is you are out in service (of course, we would want to make an effort to find a person at home).  That is the prime thing to keep in mind.  Some people mistakenly subtract time if they don't find anyone at home.  But, many pioneers count this time, and rely upon it.  For an example, one pioneer couple would always start their time by calling on a neigbor down the street.  The neighbor was never home or never answered that early, but they did so anyways.  Who knows? There's always a chance they could answer.  Who's to second guess the angels' guidance.  So, wisely, instead of stopping thinking they were not doing any good, the persisted, and not only is a good witness given to the people in the neighborhood who see their faithfulness, but also they were doing their all for Jehovah, and got time they would never have had.

Go Hi-Tech

Witnessing "on-line" is another way to spread the good news.  There are newsgroups, chat lines, private email, etc.  Observe/read/follow a "thread" (a conversation about a particular topic), and interject a kingdom thought and try engaging people in conversations about the kingdom.  All time, including reading and writing, and research can be counted as time.  Worldly people spend hours and hours each day.  We can too, only for a better cause.  Techniques listed above can be adapted to being "hi-tech." For instance, writing letters at the end of the day to continue your time, can be email letters, instead of paper and ink letters.  All people you carry conversations with are return visits, and Bible study may even be started on-line.

Letters from Readers (not recommended as examples to imitate) ------------------------------------------------------------

The most innovative "time-starting technique" I've ever encountered was from a pioneer brother in Montreal: he would get up at 6 am and promptly toss a tract out of his apartment window.  Then he would hop in the shower, shave, dress, make himself a humungeous breakfast, have a few cups of coffee, then get ready to go to the service arrangement at 9:30 am.  He had 3.5 hrs before he even got to the group.


Many pioneers in my area sit pool side while writting letters to people in security buildings.  The whole day is spent doing this with periodic breaks for conversation, snacks, drinks and meals of course.  At the end of the day they look very relaxed and have a nice tan to boot.


I started pioneering in 1967, but my car needed a *lot* of engine work.  I pulled the engine, rebuilt the engine, put the engine back in--on the WT time clock.  I used to think I would "make-up" the time somehow, but I never did.  I met at the KH in the mornings with a loony few, "softly" rang a few door bells (I thought I was the only one who knew that trick) and took off for some back-calls.  Of course the back-calls were return visits on the engine.  Yep, rebuilt the whole thing on WT time.  Hey, it had to last until Armageddon


When I was pioneering, I had to do tricks all the time.  One of the tricks was to start in the city, go for an hour, and then take the bus to our local district, make a few calls (mostly not at home), then back to town.  Reporting all the time.  This way you could reach an extra hour.