We’ve all heard it before, “I’ll be there in five minutes.” or “just give me five more minutes.” Everyone always throws around five minutes even if it’s going to take them 10 or 15 minutes. Throwing five minutes around annoys me. Maybe it’s the producer in me because I’m used to being very precise with time. I’ve been known to have meetings at odd times like 4:37 or 12:23 because I know exactly how long it will take me to get somewhere and every minute counts.
But if you’re smart enough, you can spend those “five minutes” actually doing something really productive. Five minutes is a very valuable chunk of time — if you know how to use it correctly. Here’s a list of things you should use those extra five minutes doing:
1. Prioritize and prepare: Before you go to bed each night, take five minutes to jot down the most important activities that you need to get done tomorrow. This will help you schedule your time appropriately and be productive from the start of your day. Once you have created your list, look through it and identify any ways you can make each task a little easier. If you’re planning on going for a run in the morning, lay out your workout clothes the night before to save you time when you wake up. Not only will this be time efficient, but this will also encourage you to follow through with your workout plans!
2. Refine your list: It’s easy to get caught up in miscellaneous tasks throughout the course of the day. If you find yourself straying from your ‘to-do list’, take five minutes to rework your list. Keep it as simple as possible—if you take on a new task; replace it with a different task on your list. This way, you won’t be taking on more than you can handle. And don’t be afraid to say no when necessary!
3. Limit your media consumption: From cell phones, to social media, to e-mail, it’s easy to get distracted. In order to ensure that you do not stray from your priorities, take five minutes to download apps, such as “AwayFind”, which will send an auto-reply text message stating that you are currently busy. It will also provide emergency contact information just incase. This eliminates the social distractions in your life and allows you to focus on what’s important so you can check another thing off your ‘to-do list’.
4. Clean out your closet: If your clothes drawers are so stuffed that you can’t close them, take a five minutes to give one drawer a once over. Pull everything out, set a timer and get rid of any items you do not use. This will save you an extra five minutes in the morning when finding something to wear. Same goes for your “junk drawer” — ask yourself “do I really need this?” You’ll be surprised how quickly you can clear clutter when you give yourself a five minute time limit.
5. Eliminate any junk mail: If your email inbox is overflowing with messages, it becomes difficult to find that important email from a few days or weeks ago. Take five minutes to clear out any unneeded messages or spam from your inbox in order to make your account easier to manage. Next time you go to look for an old e-mail, it will be much quicker to find.
Hopefully, the five minutes you took to read these steps will buy you five extra minutes in the future!