Who says you can’t be efficient with ten minutes to kill? Between meetings, in a line for something, waiting for the bus, etc. – add all that time up and you’ve got a fairly significant chunk of your day.
You don’t have time to do something really meaty, but there’s still plenty to do in that time to help body, mind, spirit and your ever-growing to-do list.
Here are a handful of suggestions.
1. Catch up on your RSS feeds
Flip through with a good mobile app such as Reeder, Pocket or Feedly. Save a few things to read later when you have more time, or email links to yourself for later as well.
2. Brainstorm something
Get out a piece of paper, your Moleskine notebook or Evernote on your mobile device. Have a list of things you need to brainstorm handy at all times, for situations like this – blog posts, a new plan, anything else that can get your brain working but just needs a few minutes.
3. Call your mother (or spouse or significant other, not necessarily in that order)
There are people in your life you should probably call more often, and sometimes it takes just a couple minutes to catch up and move on. Keep a list of people you should catch up with, or rotate through the usual suspects more often. They’ll appreciate you for it.
4. Sort & respond to email (in offline mode)
If you can, best to do this when new email can’t come in on its own schedule and distract you. Work in offline mode to power through the backlog.
5. Close your eyes and relax
Seriously, give yourself permission to do nothing! Take a couple minutes to mentally shut off, reset your brain, and get ready for whatever is coming next.
6. Mind like water, see what comes up (or not)
David Allen’s Getting Things Done system is brilliant for this. According to Allen, when your brain is free from thinking about the same pending to-do’s over and over and over, you can conceive of new ideas, inspiration and other innovations that are just hiding up there waiting to be discovered.
7. Go “like” a bunch of stuff on Facebook & LinkedIn
The fastest, easiest way to show your network you’re paying attention and care about them is with a single click. And if you have 8-10 minutes, you can literally power through dozens of clicks that show dozens of people you care about that you’re noticing what they’re doing and saying. Fastest, simplest way to do a lot of networking in mere minutes.
Stand up and stretch. Sit in your desk and arch your back. Stretching can slow down your heartbeat, help you relax, help reset whatever is stressing you out right now. Even for just a couple minutes.
What’s your 10-minute habit?