So, picture the scene. You’re fifteen minutes away from
a) A lunch date
b) A big meeting
c) Class starting
d) The library/store/whatever opening
It’s too short a time to start a big project. It’s too long a time to sit idly, what with the busy life you lead. You want to do something quick and ultimately productive. Something that’ll make the rest of your day a little easier, or your to-do list a little shorter. You’re always complaining about how there are too few hours in a day, so packing productivity into your stray minutes may give you more cozy time! Here are fifteen ways to be productive with little, inconvenient spurts of time.
Ways to Be Productive
- Write that email. You know the one. That response you were meant to have sent to your father/best friend/colleague that you just keep putting off. Just write it! Get it off your plate for good.
- Read a chapter of your book. Always keep a book in your purse or briefcase for this purpose. Look forward to these tiny pockets of time in which you can whip out your book and get lost for fifteen minutes (or more!)
- Pay bills. A perfectly easy way to be productive. If, like me, your bills aren’t automatically paid, you can use your fifteen minutes to make sure everything is covered and paid for. That way, when you get home, you can use your time for you, not for silly little chores like that.
- Skim yesterday’s notes. A great way to stay on top of your work is to read over yesterday’s notes from lecture or a meeting. You’ll pick up on things you weren’t paying attention to, and save yourself from cramming later.
- Read the news. If you never have time over breakfast, use your quick stretch of time to consume as much news as possible from The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, The National Post, or any other paper of your choosing. Keeping on your toes about current events is a great asset in conversation and forging connections.
- Build your brain. Do a sudoku! Do a crossword, write an article, click on anything that sounds interesting on the Wikipedia homepage, or play Set online (one of my all-time faves), philosophize, etc. Do anything that will keep you alert and awake for the rest of the day.
- Tidy your workspace. Such an easy way to boost productivity! If you’re anything like me, you find it distracting to work at a desk/room that is messy, disorganized, and confusing. You can’t be productive if your desk is littered with papers and you can never find anything. Well, unless you’re Einstein. :)
- Write a to-do list. If you’re stressed out and panicky, chances are it’s because you have at least three upcoming items on your mind that need doing. The best way that I’ve found to diminish this panic is to get it all down onto paper. Write down every niggling thing that needs doing at work/school/home, and you’ll be better equipped to take steps to finish them.
- Brainstorm. Have you been feeling like starting a new project? Creating something new? Or maybe you want to plan a vacation or party. Whatever ideas you’ve got marinating up there in your wee brain, expand and explore them. Mind map online or on paper, adding details as you let the ideas develop. After you’re done, you’ll have lots of new tasks and ideas to build upon.
- Power nap. This may not seem productive in the traditional sense, but read between the lines! Taking a quick nap or rest will re-energize you for the rest of the day and put more productivity into your time.
- Re-organize. Is your agenda a complete and utter mess? Your file folders, your computer’s files, your email account, your bookshelves or your drawers? Well, take these fifteen minutes to tackle on of those problems. Clean, purge, tidy, re-organize and breathe better knowing you are hereby much more in control.
- Get outside! Weather permitting, get yourself outdoors! Go for a little walk to get the blood flowing, or just sit and enjoy the sunlight. Exercise will wake you up and keep you present for the rest of the day.
- Plan meals. Assuming you don’t do this on the weekend, take the time to write down little menus for each day of the week and grocery lists for each of them. This will keep you more sane at the grocery store, diminish impulse purchases, and give you time to ensure you’re eating healthy!
- Relax! You don’t always have to be doing something. Sometimes the best form of productivity is to relinquish stress by doing nothing! Take a few minutes to yourself. Listen to some music, close your eyes and breathe.
Productivity is the key to having more time for yourself. If you don’t waste away the precious minutes you may currently consider too short for anything useful, you might find yourself with more free time to do the things you really want to!
So, what are some things you do with spare minutes? How do you manage your time?