We are a world addicted to our technology gadgets. Constantly checking emails, tweets, phone messages or getting updates from our various feeds from our mobile devices. This hyper connectivity has turned us into super multi-taskers sometimes listening, reading, watching all at the same time with no particular focus. While some of us are great at filtering the unnecessary time-consuming activities, others get hooked by small distractions and next thing you know, you’ve spent 2 hours watching a stupid video on Youtube instead of cooking dinner for the kids.
So how do we use our time wisely? Single parents have very little time to spare and every minute of the day counts. But if you only had 10 minutes to spare, what would you do with that time? Here are some suggestions:
1) Organize your email: if you are commuting and have 10 minutes to quickly review your email, delete non-actionable message. If the message requires an action that will take longer than 10 minutes, leave it in your inbox, flag it and come back to it later with a response. If you have no intention to reply to the message, DELETE it and de-clutter your inbox. If you need to keep the information for documentation purposes, digitally file it into a folder. Keep your information organized so you know where to find things quickly when you need it. Learn more about managing your email.
2) Close your eyes: With our busy lifestyle, many are sleep deprived and use caffeine to stay alert and awake during the day. Some may find just closing your eyes for 10 minutes can do wonders for recharging your energy. The recommended and ideal nap time is between 20 – 30 minutes. Anything more may affect your regular sleep pattern. For more information on sleep and napping, visit the sleep foundation website.
3) Listen to relaxing music: Tuning out of the hectic day and cutting out the noise and distraction for a few minutes can greatly benefit your mental and emotional state. Bring ear buds with you and listen to relaxing music. Perhaps it’s the sound of birds and waterfall, ocean waves, guitar or a classical piece by Brahms, leave your worries and anxiety behind and immerse yourself into a different world. Get more information on how music reduces stress.
4) Review or revise your bucket list: I have to admit, I haven’t created a bucket list yet. In fact, I still call it my “100 Things To Do Before I Die List” except that I actually haven’t even listed the 1st item of 100. So take 10 minutes to start it if you haven’t already or review and revise the status of your current one. You may find that you have some things to cross off. If you need ideas to add to you list, visit this website.
5) Review your calendar for the week: Check your calendar to ensure you haven’t forgotten to add any new appointments or deleted any rescheduled ones. With our busy lives, sometimes a phone call to change an appointment may not make it into our calendar. Save yourself the grief and track any changes to your calendar in one notebook and make sure these changes are translated into your calendar before the week begins. All it takes is 10 minutes of opening your outlook or google calendar.
6) Write out your priorities for the week: After reviewing your calendar, write out your priorities and make sure you are realistic about your goals and the time you allocate for completing the activities. For more tips on prioritization, read this prioritization article.
7) Plan your weekly meals: If you have an idea on what you are making for the week, find recipes online. Bookmark them into folders for easy future reference that will save you time. Create folders for various types of recipes such as seafood, pork, chicken, pies, salads etc. This step will help you with making your weekly grocery list more efficient.
8) Review and create your grocery list: If your grocery shopping day is approaching, go through your fridge, pantry and cabinets to create your grocery list. Use your meal plans to identify ingredients you need. Get your kids to suggest lunches and snacks they want to take to school
9) Stretch: We often forget how important stretching is to relieving muscle tension. When we are stressed, our bodies will tense up and you may even be grinding your teeth while you sleep, it’s a good idea to stretch your legs, arms, neck and back at least once a day. Flexibility in your muscles help prevent or minimize injuries.
10) Catch up with loved ones: Send your kids, friends, siblings or parents a quick text message to say hello and see how they are doing (that is if they are not with you).
If you have suggestions on productive ways to spend 10 minutes in a day, share with us.