January 18, 2019

The Most Productive Things You Can Do In 5 Minutes

Waiting before a meeting? Looking for a fast and productive way to start your day? Need a boost for when your focus is going down?

Although productivity is more of a well-constructed process rather than a quick-fix hack, busy people are always looking for ways to better optimize their time and work. And, sometimes, you don’t over-complicate things.

Here are the top productive things that only take 5 minutes:

  1. Take a break
  2. Clear your desk
  3. Prepare a done list
  4. Clear your inbox
  5. Divide big tasks into steps
  6. Confirm meetings and appointments
  7. Assign priorities

#1 – Take a break

It sounds counter-intuitive, right? When we’re super busy, taking time to stop working doesn’t sound like the right thing to do.

Quite the contrary: taking regular breaks, especially during rush hours in the office, is as important as actually getting tasks done. The brain needs some rest from time to time, and ignoring the symptoms of tiredness can damage our concentration. On the long run, it can lead to stress and burnout.

So get up and stretch by walking around the office, go grab some coffee or tea, and allow yourself a little pause. The time you spend taking a break will become minutes earned in concentration and efficiency.

#2 – Clear your desk

Clutter, at home as well as in the office, creates visual stress that can affect our productivity.

In addition, keeping your work material all over the place will slow you done when you need to complete tasks in a hurry. Just think about how much time you’ve wasted looking for “that piece of paper” and finding out it had slithered between the desk and the wall (that never happens to me. *cough*.)

Although you don’t have to KonMari your whole office, take five minutes to clean and tidy up your desk. If it takes more than 5 minutes, well, you might have a bigger problem at hand. (again, that never happens to me, my desk is immaculate. *double cough*)


#3 – Prepare a “done” list

Everybody talks about how they keep organized with to-do lists. But how do you know how much you’ve really been productive?

You can write down all the tasks you have completed. Not only will you have a clear picture of how your work has progressed. You’ll also get a motivation and confidence boost by seeing all the stuff you’ve achieved. Yey productivity!

#4 – Clear your inbox

Did you know? Workers spend 2.5 hours a day answering email and check their inbox every 36 minutes on average. Clearly, the modern workplace has an email problem.

To keep your inbox at least manageable, you can take 5 minutes to:

  • archive old conversations;
  • answer quick messages (Gmail even added suggested replies recently);
  • turn requests into to-do lists items (some services like Trello and Asana both have features to turn email subjects into tasks within the app)

#5 – Confirm meetings and appointments

Another thing you can do is to make sure all your scheduled meetings and commitments are confirmed.

Not only it’s a gesture of courtesy and collaboration towards clients, colleagues, and everybody involved. But also, it’ll serve as a polite reminder and you’ll know right away if someone needs to reschedule.

# 6 – Break down big tasks into smaller steps

Obviously, you cannot start tackling a huge, complex task if you only have 5 minutes, unless you’re OK with the idea of picking it up later on.

What you can do is to identify the main steps and task within the tasks, and write those down. After that, the work will seem less daunting and you’ll also progress in a more organized way.

Know each step of the project and how much it takes to complete them

#7 – Assign priorities

Since you’re already into organizing tasks, one thing you must have absolutely clear is what the scale of priority on your to-do lists. Without that, you’ll risk allocating time to menial task while leaving something crucial behind.

From your to-do list, pick 3 items and order them from most to less important. Then when you’ve decided your priorities, commit to sticking to the plan and try not to be distracted, and say no to other commitments.

What easy and quick productivity tips do you have that you use to optimize your time? Make sure to let us know in the comments below! If you really want to know how your 5 minutes are worth, start taking better care of your time today.

Cover photo via Stocksnap.io


Marketing Manager at Timeneye. She’s passionate about technology and finding better, smarter ways to work. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and belting out tunes from Broadway musicals (although the neighbours don’t seem to appreciate that). Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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