15 productive things to do in 15 minutes.
15 productive things to do in 15 minutes.
Do you have 15 minutes before your next meeting? Got yourself ready to leave the flat a little too early? Waiting for your friend to arrive for coffee? Sometimes, we find ourselves with these awkwardly short periods of time that seem just a waste to do nothing with. So, if you've already scrolled through Twitter a hundred times today and you're looking for something else to do with a small amount of time, we've got you covered with these 15 productive things to do in 15 minutes.
De-clutter your desk
I don't know about anyone else, but I can't work as well if my desk is a mess. Tidy space, tidy mind and all that. I very much implement a clear desk policy for myself while I'm at work, but sometimes things just pile up before I've even realised. It takes only a few minutes to organise things into folders or pop stuff in your drawer and ta-da! A de-cluttered working environment for the rest of the day.
De-clutter your emails, too.
There are some days when I write 'emails' on my to-do list, and I'm not reminding myself to reply to them.. I simply just mean tidy them up! I like my inbox to be as de-cluttered as my desk, and so every now and then I'll dedicate some time to deleting old emails, organising threads into folders, and flagging any that I need to reply to or chase up. If you've let your inbox build up, this can sometimes feel like a mammoth task, but it actually doesn't take very long and makes the thought of replying to the rest much easier.
Catch up on the news
For me, my morning news fix comes from my Twitter feed, which is all well and good but sometimes it's a good idea to check in with the actual news, right? Nothing bad can come from being up to date on current events - if only so you have a conversation starter for those awkward encounters with colleagues you barely know at the tea point.
Unsubscribe from all of those annoying emails
My personal inbox can be overflowing some days with unsolicited emails from companies that I'm pretty sure I never signed up to… or those newsletters I did accidentally sign up to without realising and have no interest in them whatsoever. Instead of spending your life getting annoyed and deleting them every day, go through them and hit the tiny unsubscribe button at the bottom instead.
Update your LinkedIn
Keeping your LinkedIn and CV updated is important. So many professional and growth opportunities can come from LinkedIn, but no one is going to reach out to you if your LinkedIn is bare! Use this little time as an opportunity to update it with any new roles or responsibilities you've been given at work, any awards you may have won or any new qualifications or courses you may have taken since you last looked at it. You never know when someone may be searching for someone just like you.
Or list out your most recent accomplishments that you can put away for your next review
Mention the words 'annual review' and I'm pretty sure you'd get a simultaneous groan from the whole team. It's probably one of the most dreaded times in the work calendar, however, you can make things a little easier by gradually building up a portfolio of achievements and praise throughout the year. Create a folder in your emails or desktop, and file away anything that you feel has been a particular achievement recently, something you've worked on and are proud of, or even just an email from a colleague saying thank you. This way, it'll be much easier when it comes to writing your personal review, as you've got all the material and evidence ready to go.
Reply to those texts you've been meaning to reply to.
A lot of my friends and family will attest to the fact that I can be pretty terrible at replying to text messages, and quite often I find myself quite literally having to dedicate some time to catching up. A spare 15 minutes can be perfect for this, or even just checking in with your friends you may not have spoken to a while - you never know, you may even make someone's day!
Or write that email… you know the one.
If there's an email that I need to write but I'm not entirely sure how to word what I want to say, I'm anxious about how it will be received or what the reply will be, I have a habit of just putting it off and rolling it over onto tomorrow's to-do list. With a spare 15 minutes, this is the perfect time to just do it. Write that email you've been meaning to write and get it completed for good.
Get a fresh breath of fresh air for a few minutes
I cannot tell you how much of a difference a little fresh air makes for me. If I'm feeling a little anxious, overwhelmed or frustrated in the office, I step outside for a few minutes and just breathe. Offices can be busy, noisy and pretty stuffy at times, so taking a step away from your desk and getting 10-15 minutes of fresh air, could totally reset your mind and do wonders for productivity for your next task.
Clear out your purse of all of those receipts.
As someone who used to work away and travel a lot for work, my purse used to be overflowing with receipts. Petrol receipts, train tickets, coffee receipts… everything and anything that I could get away with throwing on expenses! However, actually ~doing~ your expenses can be a chore and time consuming, and is something that I stupidly used to put off quite a lot meaning I would end up drowning in paper and receipts. I still keep receipts now, if only to track my personal spending but it doesn't take much time for them to build up. To stop this from happening, it's a good idea to go through them and make a written note of what you've spent, where, and when, and then you can throw them all out and feel much better.
Read a chapter of your book
I've really got back into reading recently and now I take any chance I can get to read another chapter of my book. It helps that I've been reading some incredible books by incredible business women on subject matters and discussions that I’m passionate about, but that's a whole other post in itself. But, reading can be good for the mind and depending on your material, could even give you a little boost of motivation.
Do some brain training
I love puzzles, and so I have quite the number of brain training apps on my phone. I'm not sure what it is, but I find completing my daily tasks so satisfying, and these are a quick and fun way to fill 15 minutes - if they're keeping your brian in gear too, then all the better!
Transfer any excess funds from your PayPal to your bank account
I did this for the first time a few weeks ago and it was quite the pleasant surprise. I'd had a few bits and pieces refunded onto my PayPal account and had completely forgotten about them until I'd checked. As all of my PayPal payments are set to be taken from my card and not my balance, I'd had some money saved here that I was then able to transfer back to my current account and it felt like I'd just given myself a little treat!
Pay any bills
Paying bills can be such a simple task. Quite often, all you have to do is call a number and pop in your card details but it's a task that I seem to put off every month. It doesn't take very long at all, so if you do have a spare 15 minutes, this is a perfect task that you can tick off your to-do list, for at least another month.
Re-organise your to-do list
Speaking of your to-do list, sometimes even your to-do list can need re-organising. I love a good list, but when I've scribbled a few things out, written additional notes next to certain points or tried to squeeze some more things at the bottom, it can be more disorganised than if I just didn't have one in the first place.
With a spare 15 minutes, it's plenty of time to copy over the things you still have left to do, organise them into new categories and start afresh with a cleaner, tidier list that will make it clearer which points are the most urgent so you can be more efficient with the rest of your day.