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Say Goodbye to Survival Mode Challenge: Day 4 (Use Your Minutes Wisely)

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Welcome to the 7-Day Say Goodbye to Survival Mode Challenge. Each day this week, I’ll be blogging through the 7-Day Challenge. If you’ve not signed up yet, enter your name and email in the orange sign-up box at the top of the page here and you’ll get the daily emails and challenge in your inbox.

If you want to be more productive, you need to become the master of your minutes. Do you ever find yourself with short five-minute windows of time here and there? Our schedules are so jam packed, but there always seem to be those little niches of time that pop up throughout the day.

It’s easy to mindlessly pick up your phone, browse the web, or check your Facebook news feed for the tenth time. Sometimes, we’re not even aware that we’re spacing out. But consider what you can actually accomplish in a few minutes of time. For example, you can do the following:

  • Write a thank-you note or encouraging e-mail.
  • Clean the kitchen sink or bathroom toilet.
  • Switch a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer.
  • Pull out dinner from the freezer.
  • Make a healthy snack to munch on instead of grazing on high-calorie, low-nutrition foods.
  • Take your vitamins, and drink a glass of water.
  • Do twenty-five sit-ups.
  • Tidy up a room.
  • Read a short story to your child.
  • Wipe down the kitchen counters.
  • Text your husband to tell him you love him.
  • Read two pages of the book you’re currently reading.
  • Pray for someone you know who is struggling or for a need in your own life.

There are a thousand other ideas for how to use wisely the little slots of time that show up throughout the day. Don’t let these golden nuggets slip by unproductively! They can quickly add up in your favor. In fact, if you pay attention and make purposeful choices, you may find they add up exponentially.

Become the Master of Your Minutes

Today’s Project:

Look for little pockets of time throughout the day that you can use to accomplish some of the tasks above — or other small tasks. I bet you’ll find that you have at least 5-10 of these pockets throughout your day (maybe more!) and if you put them to work for you, you’ll end the day feeling much more accomplished!

Your turn: Tell us 1-3 things you accomplish or plan to accomplish today in the little pockets of time. Also, if you have time, I’d love to hear what ideas you have to add to my list of things you can accomplish in a few minutes.

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21 Comments

  • Jenny says:

    In short pockets of time I sort or shred the daily mail (so it doesn’t pile up!), wipe down the kitchen countertops, and load dishes to keep the sink clear! Weight watchers recommends finding a few minutes for physical activity during every hour of the day to increase your calorie burning and physical fitness in small increments. That may be a helpful way to use the time for others- and is something I’m incorporating into my day today!

  • Audra says:

    Another idea is to contact your state or federal congressional representatives and tell them how you feel about important issues! They will only know what is important to their constituents if we tell them. Find their contact info and post it on your fridge- that way you can call them in a short minute when you have an issue on your mind. You will likely talk to a staffer, and all you need to tell them is your name and address and a brief summary of what you’d like them to pass along to the congressman. We CAN make a difference in the direction of our country, if we vote and then use our influence to effect the change we want to see.
    If you don’t know your U.S. congressmen/women or their contact info you can find it here: http://www.contactingthecongress.org/

  • Catherine says:

    Today I’m going to
    1. Clean kids’ toilet
    2. Clean guest toilet
    3. Write e-mail I’ve been putting off

    At first I thought I don’t use those pockets of time well, but looking at your list, I see that I make use of them pretty well!

  • This morning I used a 5-minute downtime to bring another load of wood in for the woodstove…I’ll be thankful this evening when the temperature drops.

    Another pocket of time (less than 10 minutes) was spent hanging the key hook organizer I’ve been meaning to put up for over a month. Thankfully, my husband had all the tools out for another project so this didn’t take very much time.

    Now, I’m going to look for even more ways to use these short blocks of time. Thanks!

  • Carrie says:

    I do this all the time. I always spray and wipe down the sink, faucet and mirror while I brush my teeth.
    I read or delete spam, check email on my phone while nursing the baby.
    I listen to French lessons while cooking dinner.

  • http://hearteningblog.blogspot.com/2014/01/saying-goodbye-to-survival-mode_9.html

    Since my son wet the bed last night, I will be doing lots of laundry in my free time!

  • Katie says:

    Today I’ll use pockets of time to
    read to the kids while the car warms up
    read quietly to myself in the car in the parking lot while waiting
    get the beans cooking early
    prepare all the ingredients for tomorrows dinner
    fold laundry while I’m on the phone
    unload the dishwasher while I allow the coffee to brew
    make a homemade cleaner and spray the shower while the sun is lighting up the room
    wipe up under the cat’s dishes

  • Melissa says:

    1. Today I will use a pocket of time to call a locksmith and schedule him to come and re-key all our doors at the home we just bought

  • Julie Turner says:

    Go through the mail. Put away dishes. Going to try your idea from yesterday of reading while on the treadmill!

    • Michelle H. says:

      Love the ideas!

      I always keep a magazine in my handbag, diaper bag, and car just in case I arrive somewhere early and have a few minutes to kill.

      Whenever I use the microwave I try to see how much I can accomplish before it beeps: load or unload the dishwasher, wipe the counters, sort mail, etc.

      I clean and organize in the bathroom while the kids are in the tub, and since the master closet is attached to the bathroom, I wait for bath time to hang up our clean clothes.

  • Holly says:

    I read this early this morning before I went to the eye doctors and thought I will probably have to wait for a few minutes, so I packed up a few note cards and wrote thank you notes to my Sunday school kids that gave me gifts for Christmas.

  • Erin says:

    Read while on the treadmill, clean out a drawer, go through my mail.

  • Sasha says:

    I’ve already gotten several 5 minute tasks done today! Feels good to mark things off the list!

    http://www.sashasays.com/2014/01/say-goodbye-to-survival-mode-challenge_9.html

  • Joyce says:

    1. Write a thank you note.
    2. Wipe the mirror.
    3. Do a workout from my Daily Workout app, which has 5-10 minute workouts.

  • Great suggestions, Crystal! Thank you : )

    I don’t work or have children. I have a lot of time to get my tasks done. Not that long ago, I used this abundance in time as an excuse to put things off a little longer. End result was many days of being unproductive. Now that I am trying to be conscious of the use of my time, I have found I don’t want to lose any of it. These are a few of the things I’ve done during recent down time:

    I’ve been put on hold quite a bit these last few days. So I looked up and watched videos on Youtube for playlists that I will use to help reach a couple of my goals.

    Though I had plenty to do, I felt a bit bored yesterday and decided to watch TV for a bit. Then it occurred to me that I could do a bit of my type of exercising during that time, so I did.

    I had to wait for my husband more time than planned this morning. I used the time to set-up the start of an online bible guide and began to read passages.

    All these bits of time that I would have previously used unwisely, were invested in my goals. As you say, they added up to a big step forward 🙂

  • REGINA TAYLOR says:

    I ACTUALLY THREW AWAY A BAG FULL OF PAPERS THAT WAS STILL IN A BOX WHEN WE MOVED INTO OUR TOWNHOUSE IN OCTOBER….WOW I JUST REALIZED IT TOOK ME 3 MONTHS TO THROW THAT STUFF AWAY SMH I ONLY KEPT A VERY SMALL AMOUNT UNPAID BILLS AND ANYTHING WITH A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER REALIZING MOST OF IT WAS OLD NEWSPAPER STUFF AND EMPTY ENVELOPES. I ALSO PICKED UP LAUNDRY I WAS ORGANIZING A WEEK AGO. YESTERDAY CLEANED THE KIDS ROOM TO THE T NOTHING WENT UNTOUCHED. BUT I HAVE REASONS FOR MY PROCRASTINATION..I HAVE 3 CHILDREN AND SCOLIOSIS AND SOMETIMES I JUST DONT WANT TO MOVE BECAUSE MY BACK HURTS BUT I PUSH THROUGH DAILY AND JUST DO IT BECAUSE I ACTUALLY GET OVER WHELMED WHEN THINGS ARE OUT OF ORDER 🙁

  • Those little pockets of time could be used to cut/ file a child’s nails or your own, enter pampers rewards codes, and perhaps my new favorite, DREAM! Start a DREAM notebook/ folder and “write your wishes” down on paper. Complete a prompt like, “It would be so nice if…” and spend some time dreaming each day. With a written account via your notebook, it’ll be that much more amazing when you reflect back and see your dreams coming true! 🙂

  • Rebecca M says:

    In 3 minutes I can (1) practice a piano piece for my enjoyment (2) talk to God while watching the snow fall (3) stare into the eyes of my son while he tells me all about his newest obsession.

  • Elizabeth says:

    mail out the last few Christmas letters in response to the late ones we received

    do a load of laundry

    start clearing out some old piled clothes in my room, in the living room, in the kid room…

    make changes to the last Minutes of the DV meeting

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