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 can actually make you less productive. 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 out the unnecessary time-consuming activities, others get hooked by small distractions and next thing you know, you’ve spent 2 hours watching a 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:
Single parents have very little time to spare and every minute of the day counts.
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.
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
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
Review or Revise your Bucket List
Have you ever heard of a bucket list? If you ever dream to accomplish or experience a few things in life before you die, you might want to consider creating a bucket list. It’s another productive way to spend 10 minutes. Think about the places you want to go to and the activities you want to experience. If anything is possible, dream it and you can do it. Put it in your bucket list. You can start with 10 things and work at it over time. For instance, I wrote a list of places I want to visit, then I wrote a number of financial goals I want to achieve. Here are some ideas on how to create one.
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.
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.
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.
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
Stretch Your Body
Another productive way to spend time is to look after your body. We often forget how important stretching is to relieve muscle tension and de-stress. It doesn’t have to take too long to feel the positive impact of stretching. If you have a yoga mat, simply do a few stretches each day. There are a number of great videos on youtube that will give you ideas on stretching. Flexibility in your muscles helps prevent or minimize injuries. You can try using a resistance band to help you stretch your legs. They are very affordable and really helpful. Do it a few times a day at your desk for your arms, back and legs.
Catch up with Loved Ones
These days, we are so caught up in texting and I’m guilty of this myself. It’s easier to manage your time when you can decide when to respond to people through text. But, talking on the phone and hearing your loved one’s voice is certainly a different type of connection. We need to do this more often, especially with friends and more distant relatives.
Maybe some of these ideas will take more than 10 minutes but if you have the right intention to make your life more productive, these are starting points you can build on. If you have suggestions on productive ways to spend 10 minutes for a happier, healthier and more balanced life, share it with us.
Between work and managing a family, I feel as if I am a hamster on a hamster wheel and have stopped thinking about myself and stopped taking care of myself. This article has reminded me of the importance of taking some time out for myself and focusing inward.