It seems like so many of us are in a constant state of busy, letting small but important tasks fall through the cracks because we don’t think we have time. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Some of these important tasks that we ignore could easily be accomplished in just a few minutes! So next time you have five minutes free between meetings or while you’re cooking dinner, resist the urge to scroll mindlessly through social media and instead tackle one of these productive things to do in five minutes or less.
Respond to An Email
I can’t tell you how many times per day I see an email come in that I could respond to right away within a matter of minutes, but put it off until later. And those emails tend to pile up! If you’ve got just five minutes of free time, this should be plenty of time to respond to at least one email you’ve been procrastinating on, and maybe even more than one!
Unsubscribe From Email Lists
There is seriously nothing more annoying than opening your inbox first thing in the morning to find 25 marketing emails that you’re going to immediately delete, probably without opening. Seriously, some of these companies send multiple emails per day, and I can’t tell you the last time I opened one.
Next time you wake up to an inbox full of marketing emails, spend the first few minutes at your desk unsubscribing from any that you aren’t actually interested in reading. You could also use Unroll.me, which helps you mass-unsubscribe from email lists and also only takes a few minutes! I swear investing those five minutes now will save you so much time in the future deleting emails from the same companies over and over again.
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Clean Off Your Desk
My desk tends to get cluttered pretty darn quickly, so I try to make time at least once per week to clear it off. I typically save this for Friday afternoons when things are starting to slow down for the end of the week. That way I can come in on Monday morning to a nice clean desk! It only takes me a few minutes to put away all the office supplies that made their way out of the drawers during the week and either file or toss the papers on my desk.
If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you may even want to actually clean your desk. I keep some Clorox wipes in my desk and once in awhile just wipe down my desk, keyboard, mouse, and phone. Especially during cold and flu season!
This is a task that only takes a few minutes (at least if you keep up with it regularly) and can easily be done between tasks or meetings at work.
Declutter Your Phone
Between photos, apps, text messages, etc., things tend to pile up in my phone and suddenly I’m getting that message pop up saying that I’m out of space. I haven’t hit that point yet with my current phone, and I’m trying to avoid it by regularly decluttering my phone. This means browsing through my apps and deleting any that I’m not using. It means deleting any text conversations I don’t need anymore. Typically the only ones I have in there at any given point are the people I talk to daily. It also means going through pictures regularly and either deleting or backing them up elsewhere and then deleting. I would much rather be proactive about it than get a message as I’m trying to take a picture telling me I don’t have any more room!
If you’re regularly decluttering your phone, it doesn’t take more than a few minutes. This is a great task to tackle while you’re standing in line somewhere or sitting in a waiting room with a few extra minutes on your hands.
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Make An Appointment
I feel like we all have that one appointment that has been on our to-do list forever, and we just never get around to making it. It could be a haircut, a doctor’s appointment, or a trip to the mechanic. Well, it’s time to stop procrastinating and finally do it! It will take you less than five minutes, and it’s a phone call that can easily be made on your way to work, or even on the walk from your car to your job (because it’s going to be that quick).
This is a task we all tend to procrastinate on, but that definitely comes back to haunt us later. For example, I just had to deal with a broken down car an hour and a half from home because I procrastinated for weeks on taking my car in to replace a battery that I knew needed to be replaced!
Update Your To-Do List
When I have a few minutes free during the workday, I like to take another look at my to-do list and see how I’m doing. This gives me a good idea of what kind of progress I’m making and whether I’m on track to get everything crossed off by the end of the day. It’s also helpful because new tasks tend to pop up constantly throughout the day, so this is a good time to get those down on paper.
If you’re keeping up with this throughout the day, it definitely won’t take you five minutes. And it will save you from letting any tasks slip through the cracks.
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Read a Blog Post or Article
Being a blogger, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that I love reading other blogs! When I see a post from another blogger that I know I’m going to want to read, I’ll save it in my Bloglovin’ feed for when I have a few minutes to go back later and check it out.
Having a few spare minutes on your lunch break or while you’re cooking dinner is a great time to finally read some of the articles and blog posts you’ve been saving and wanting to get back to!
Backup Your Files
Last year my laptop unexpectedly crashed when it was dropped in water. I wasn’t able to recover anything on the hard drive, which was a huge bummer. Almost everything of importance was saved somewhere online such as Google Drive or Dropbox, but there were a few things that I lost forever. Ever since then I’ve been super diligent about backing up anything saved on my computer!
If you’re saving any documents or photos or anything else on your computer hard drive, take a few minutes and get everything backed up online, whether it be Google Drive, Dropbox, or the Cloud. It only takes a couple of minutes if you do it regularly, and you’ll definitely be glad you did in case anything happens to your computer!
Anyone else a fan of Ted Talks? If you love watching them and find them super inspiring, here’s a collection of Ted Talks that are all around 3 minutes. There’s still time to get inspired when you’re short on time!
Meditation is something I picked up in 2017 and I’m so glad I did. I was pretty skeptical of it before I started, unsure how sitting quietly was going to anything but take up extra time in my day. Now, however, I’ve officially become a big fan of meditation.
First of all, I’m someone who tends to react way too quickly, which often leads to overreacting. I’m also aware that my emotions tend to sometimes be a bit of a roller coaster, and I struggle with staying focused because I’m constantly overthinking things. It’s a bit of a perfect storm, to be honest.
Meditation has been super helpful for me with balancing my emotions a bit, learning to focus more and block out other thoughts, and learning to react more mindfully and therefore, more rationally. Seriously, give it a try if any of the above sounds at all like you.
There’s no set amount of time that you need to be meditating, so it fits perfectly in whatever few minutes of free time you have! You can do your own meditation, or use an app like Headspace where you can set your own duration of three or five minutes.
Reevaluate Your Goals List
Unfortunately, many people write down their big goals and then push them aside, never to look at them again. Writing down the goal is the first and only step they take, without ever writing an action plan to reach them.
Your list of goals is something you should be regularly reevaluating and keeping front of mind, so when you have a few free minutes, this is a great time to reevaluate your goals.
Some goals lose their relevancy, and this is a great time to cross those irrelevant goals off the list. This will also remind you of your most important goals and give you an opportunity to write some action steps to help you meet them.
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All of these productive things to do can be tackled in 5 minutes or less. Pin this to look back at next time you have five minutes to spare!