Soil respiration (Rs) has been usually measured during daylight hours using manual chambers. This approach assumes that measurements made during a typical time interval (e.g., 9 to 11 am) represent the mean daily value; locally, this may not always be correct and could result in systematic bias of daily and annual Rs budgets. We propose a simple method, based on the temporal stability concept, to determine the most appropriate time of the day for manual measurements to capture a representative mean daily Rs value. We introduce a correction factor to adjust for biases due to non-optimally timed sampling. This approach was tested in a semiarid shrubland using 24 hr campaigns using two treatments: trenched plots and plots with shrubs. In general, we found optimum times were at night and potential biases ranged from −29 to + 40% in relation to the 24 hr mean of Rs, especially in trenched plots. The degree of bias varied between treatments and seasons, having a greater influence during the wet season when efflux was high than during the dry season when efflux was low. This study proposes a framework for improving local Rs estimates that informs how to decrease temporal uncertainties in upscaling to the annual total.