I don’t know about you, but I often think that I need a huge chunk of time in order to “get something done.” I used to be so spoiled pre-kids, when I had the time to devote an hour or more to projects. Completely focused with no interruptions.
But now, with three kids at home, I have really had to adapt. Sometimes, while juggling the small army, I find I only have a couple of minutes to spare. And it’s easy to get stuck thinking that there is nothing I can do in such a short amount of time, which leads me to squander away those precious minutes scrolling through social media or on other unproductive time wasters.
But, if you think about it, 10 minutes is actually plenty of time if you change the way you look at it. Breaking down tasks into bite-sized chunks helps me see all kinds of things I can do in a short amount of time. Here are some ideas:
- Set timer for 10 minutes and pick up around the house – no rules, just put stuff back where it belongs, and no worries if you don’t finish, it will be an improvement
- Get a load of laundry started
- Vacuum one room
- Clean out fridge, dump old food, check dates & discard old condiments
- Do dishes – this might not work for after dinner dishes, but for those small piles that accumulate during the day, 10 minutes is plenty of time to wash them quickly or throw them in the dishwasher
- Start a goodwill bag – I like to keep one in the laundry room so clothes I’ve identified as goners go in directly after washing
- Make a to-do list – if you’re like me, there is a never-ending list of things to do, take 10 minutes for a brain dump of everything you need to get done
- Start a grocery list
- Organize your catch-all drawer
- Plan out meals for the week
- Research new recipes on Pinterest
- Organize & restock your purse/diaper bag
- Unsubscribe from junk emails – this may seem like a never-ending task but taking time to unsubscribe from new mailing lists will help tame the email beast
- Declutter your phone – weed out bad/duplicate photos, clear out voicemails and text messages
- Check bank balances and scan through latest transactions – keeping an eye on your finances can be quick if you do it regularly
- Pay bills – pop onto your banking website to initiate whatever bills you don’t have set up on auto deduct or write out checks for mailing
- Do some research on something you’ve been wanting to buy
- Call someone you’ve been meaning to catch up with – tell them that you only have a couple minutes but you wanted to check in
- Write a note to a friend
Take Care of You
- Fix yourself a cup of tea and relax while you drink it
- Eat a healthy snack
- Freshen up – touch up your hair and makeup
- Go to the bathroom in peace
- Stretch – Get up, move around
- Rest your eyes – 10 minutes may not be long enough for a power nap, but with the prevalence of digital devices, it’s good to relax your eyes and closing them helps with lubrication
- Meditate – take a moment to regulate your breath and let your thoughts flow
- Journal – free form, gratitude, etc.
- Read a short chapter or a magazine you’ve been meaning to get to
- Write a list of 10 ideas – I’m borrowing this one from this brilliant guy I’ve been following recently
- Get outside – go for a short walk or sit outside
These are just a few ideas off the top of my head, but I am sure that you can think of so many more!
One extra note on this topic. Reading this you might assume that I’m a productivity nut, which I’m not. The reason why you’ll find things on this list like meditate, stretch, or rest your eyes is because I believe that the body and mind need down time. We cannot run around expecting to fill every last minute of our time on this earth without negative impact. Our bodies and minds were just not made to be like machines.
This list is really about becoming intentional about your spare time and not wasting it because you think it’s already wasted.
I’d love to hear your ideas. What do you do when you only have 10 minutes?