The secret to good time management is not finding more time for important things, but making efficient use of existing time resources. To do this, you need to change your idea of time. Set a timer for 5 minutes and watch the seconds go by. You will notice how significant this gap is.
In order to make good use of such short moments, it is helpful to have a plan. Here are examples of what can be done in 2, 5, 15, 30, and 60 minutes.
Per-minute time management: how to use free time efficiently
In two minutes you can …
Parse letters and messages. In two minutes, you will have time to view your e-mail and instant messengers and respond to messages that require a quick and concise response.
Write down ideas. You may be familiar with David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done) time management method, which recommends writing down ideas that arise throughout the day. In a way, it helps to unload the brain. Recordings help get thoughts out of your head and begin to implement them faster.
Cheer up loved ones. The strongest relationships are built on small but regular activities. Show concern for a friend, colleague, or family member by sending a funny meme or wishing you good luck on an important job.
Expand professional connections. To start building a professional relationship, all you have to do is make friends with someone on LinkedIn or send someone a message on Facebook. Sometimes even short letters can lead to big business deals.
In five minutes you can …
Restore the nervous system through meditation. You are most likely aware of the benefits of long sessions of meditation. However, short breathing exercises are also incredibly beneficial. They help reboot the nervous system, relieve stress and restore strength.
Start working on a large project. Once we get down to business, we begin to feel interest in it and do not give it up. Researchers call this the Zeigarnik effect. For example, when users of the service see the inscription “Your profile is 64% complete”, they are more likely to add the missing details. So take five minutes to get your project off the 0% mark.
Leave an entry in your personal diary. There are many benefits to journaling, but it can be difficult to find time for it, especially if the habit is not yet formed. Fortunately, even five minutes spent recording events, personal feelings, and plans for the day ahead can make a big difference.
Read the article saved for later. You probably already have a lot of stories that you have been putting off reading. Now is the time to narrow this list down by checking out some of them.
In 15 minutes you can …
Do an intense workout and shower. You don’t need special equipment and sports shoes for this. It is enough to do a few exercises such as push-ups, squats, jumps and planks, or find ready-made short workouts in the apps.
Sketch a draft. Perhaps you have long dreamed of writing a story, novel, article or letter to your loved one, but never got down to business. Try starting with a raw draft (Shitty first draft as the writer Ann Lamotte called it). Write without further thought or editing – leave it for later. These 15 minutes of writing will inspire and energize you.
Call a loved one. Remember how important it is to stay in touch with others, be they colleagues, friends, or family members.
In 30 minutes you can …
Brainstorm. Thirty minutes will be enough to create a stream of thoughts from which ideas can be drawn. Perhaps not all of them will be good. Give yourself the opportunity to come up with 5-10 bad ideas before moving on to the ones worth implementing. Write down everything that comes to mind and evaluate the results at the end of the session.
Make a plan for the coming week. In 30 minutes, you can view completed tasks for the past week and set goals for the future. You can also analyze large projects to determine what else needs to be done and what can be postponed for later.
In an hour you can …
Complete a series of tasks. Most personal errands can be combined and completed within 60 minutes. Just focus, set a timer, and get started: fill out an expense report, check your email, pay your bills, make an appointment with your dentist, and order groceries.
Delve into reflections. It takes an hour to focus on a task that requires mental effort. Spend the first 20 minutes reviewing superficial observations on the topic. Then use that momentum to deepen your thinking. It takes time to reach the state of flow.
Of course, you don’t have to spend every minute doing vigorous activity. However, if you look at free moments in a new way and use them for important tasks, then there will be more time for rest, and there will be much less worries about unfulfilled tasks.