How to Get Things Done When You Have a Few Minutes to Spare 47

How to Get Things Done When You Have a Few Minutes to Spare

This is a guest post by Lexie Lu, a designer and blogger. She contributes to the design world and usually has a cup of coffee close by. She writes on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter.

Wouldn’t it be nice if our schedules went according to plan every day?

Close your eyes and imagine — actually, don’t close your eyes. I want you to read this. Imagine a world where meetings didn’t start late, traffic ceased to exist, and you didn’t have to sit in a waiting room for thirty minutes. Each part of our day flawlessly flows into the next part without any delay.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t work this way.

You’ll find times throughout the day where you have to get work done when you simply can’t. Maybe you’re waiting for the subway and have to finish a task on your work computer. Whatever the case may be, life holds on to you for a few minutes and refuses to let go.

If you’re looking for the opportunity, however, these minutes of wasted time can actually be used to get work done. In fact, this time is valuable and can set up your productivity for the rest of the day.

Here are a few ways to get things done when you have a few minutes to spare.

1. Plan 10-Minute Tasks.

Grab your to-do list. What does it look like? Are there a few vague tasks you have to get done? Maybe you’ve written something such as “market research.”

Stop doing this. Sure, that vague task is useful when you’re sitting at your desk at work. But what happens when you’re at the doctor’s office or waiting for your lunch order?

Break your tasks into smaller steps that take about 10 minutes to complete.

Get more specific and list tasks on your to-do list, such as “Write screening questions for survey” or “Send surveys to X, Y and Z.”

A list full of 10-minute tasks makes it easy for you to get work done while you’re away from your task.

2. Send Emails.

Bayer Consumer Care's Digital and Mobile Advertising Strategy

Emails are life’s greatest necessary evil. When I clear my inbox, I feel like Frodo taking the One Ring to Mordor. It takes a long time, but it’s for the greater good.

You can waste an astonishing amount of time reading and sending emails. Don’t let this daunting task take up your entire workday. Instead, leave your emails for lulls in your day.

Waiting for the bus? Have a few more minutes on your lunch break? Waiting to pick up your kids? Take out your phone and go through your inbox.

This will make you productive in two ways. You’ll be getting something done while you have some time, and you’ll have more time at work to do something productive. It’s a win-win for you, and a big loss for your spam folder.

3. Check Meetings.

Don’t want to miss a meeting? Need to make sure your schedule is updated? This is a perfect task you can get done when you have a few minutes.

Don’t wait until you’re in the middle of a project at work to check your meeting schedule. Do this whenever you’re sitting down waiting for something.

It only takes a few minutes to go through your emails, pull out meeting times, and put them in your calendar. Now you’ll get notifications and you’ll never be late for something important.

4. Social Networking.

Let’s say you’re in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. Maybe you’re waiting at the bus station. What’s your first instinct?

It’s to pull out your phone and browse Facebook.

There’s nothing that wastes time more than Facebook. Yes, it’s addicting. But you can get so much more done with that time. For example, you can make new connections that could benefit your career.

Use this time to reach out to people on LinkedIn or contact someone through their website. Instead of looking at baby pictures on Facebook, you can use this time to meet new people in your field of work. Use this time for professional social networking.

5. Utilize Your Commute.

When do you waste the most time? During your commute to work.

If you’re one of the 78 percent of Americans who drive to work alone, then you’re spending a lot of time being unproductive.

Don’t let your commute slow down your productivity. Even if you drive, you can still get things done:

  • Need to learn more about your field of work? Listen to a podcast or audiobook to gain knowledge about your career.
  • Have to make some phone calls? Get in touch with clients while you drive.
  • Want to work out an idea you have? Record yourself and talk through the idea.

There’s a lot you can get done on your commute to work. Make sure you use this time wisely.

6. Declutter Your Desk.

morning habits

Having trouble getting things done when you’re supposed to be working? Look at your workspace. Is there any sign of organization? Your cluttered work area could be hurting your productivity, because a structured environment makes you a more efficient worker.

Decluttering your desk only takes a few minutes. Get rid of papers you don’t need, and organize your items. Not only will you clean your workspace, but you’ll also make yourself more productive in the future. This task will help you get things done when you really need to focus on your work.

7. Take a Break.

What if you don’t have a task that’ll take a few minutes? Maybe you’ve already had a small lull in your day and finished checking your emails or decluttering your desk.

Sit back, relax and take a break.

Breaks are necessary throughout the day. Breaks re-energize employees and boost their stamina for the rest of the day.

If you have a few minutes, you might want to completely shut everything down and relax. I mean, really shut down. Put your phone away and stop thinking about work. Lay down, maybe put on some music. You’ll go back to your work refreshed and ready to get things done.

8. Be Creative.

Find creative ways to utilize the time you’re given throughout the day. Once you get into the habit of planning for lulls in your day, you’ll also eliminate wasted time and get things done.

So, what will you work on the next time you have a few minutes to spare?


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What the Richest People in the World Have in Common 6

What the Richest People in the World Have in Common

Getting rich is something everyone dreams about.

For those facing financial hardships, getting rich seems the only way out to tide over shortage of money. For the bourgeoisie – the working class – getting rich conjures up visions of stuff they want to buy for luxury or higher social status. Millionaires also wish to get rich: they want to become billionaires and enter Forbes List of the world’s wealthiest people.

Unless you inherit a fortune or get lucky at lottery or sweepstakes, getting rich can be quite tough.

Yet, there are countless rags-to-riches stories around the world. Enterprises such as Amazon, KFC, Facebook or SpaceX have become runaway successes within a short span. The reason: their founders have several things in common, which is rare among other people.

Here we look at various traits that the world’s richest and most successful entrepreneurs have in common.

The Common Traits of The World’s Richest People

The Common Traits of The World's Richest People

1. Serving People.

“If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it,” said John D. Rockefeller, who laid the foundation stone for America’s giant petroleum industry and his own enterprise, Standard Oil. The same adage holds good today.

Facebook, for example, was launched by Mark Zuckerberg and his roommate, Eduardo Saverin to allow Harvard University students to share profiles and pictures

There are countless such examples of ordinary people striking rich. However, they share one thing in common: serving people. The main objective of launching these enterprises was to make life easier or enjoyable for people rather than earning money.

2. Reading Books.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, celebrity TV show host Oprah Winfrey, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Berkshire-Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet and several other extremely rich people of the world have one more thing in common: they are avid readers.

Bill Gates reads at least 50 books every year – an average of nearly four and a half books per month.

Elon Musk owes his success at SpaceX, the project to open space tourism to his love for books and the knowledge he gained from them about rocketry. Oprah Winfrey attributes her success to dozens of books, including some 70 top titles she read on her way to success while Warren Buffet spends about 80 percent of his day reading books.

3. Long-Term Financial Strategies.

A report by CNBC states, all wealthy people depend upon long-term financial strategies rather than short-term gains. They utilized their earnings and savings to invest in safe stocks that would assure gains in the long run rather than indulging in risky trading that can offer high returns.

Such financial planning and decisions ensured they do not lose money. Further, they invested money in their enterprises without the hope of immediate returns.

These wealthy people first focused on building a brand, offering value for people to identify with the brand. And later, popularize the brand through word-of-mouth publicity, which is more effective than traditional advertising.

4. Never Say Die.

Yet another common character trait shared by the world’s richest people is, they are not quitters.

Like every other human on Earth, these wealthy folks also witnessed ups and downs in life. Some of these were so overwhelming most ordinary people would have called it quits and gone in search of easier ventures.

Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Bleckharczyk, founders of Airbnb, the world’s largest hotels and accommodations aggregator were plagued with financial problems.


Heavily encumbered with debts, bankruptcy was staring at these entrepreneurs in the very eye. Yet, they did not budge. They innovated their service that made Airbnb the world leader in its field today.

Another excellent example is Colonel Harland Sanders, whose recipe for fried chicken was rejected as many as 1,009 times before it was accepted. Col. Sanders is the founder of global chain Kentucky Fried Chicken or KFC.

5. Accepting Criticism.

Most people flee from criticism of any sort. Rather than learning from negative comments arising out of their behavior or work, they take umbrage rather quickly. Yet, they do not bother to amend their behavior or work pattern.

All wealthy people, however, are different. They are willing to be criticized for introducing new ideas or thoughts.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, rightly says that those who will try and do something new must be willing to draw criticism.

Steve Jobs, founder, Apple, Inc. puts it in even stronger words: “If you want to make everyone happy, do not become a leader; sell ice cream instead.”

The success of Amazon and Apple proves their founders were right when it came to accepting criticism.

6. Out of The Box Thinking.

how regular life looks like and why it won't make you happy

Thinking outside of the ‘box’ or a typical mindset is often impossible for most people. Understandably, because everyone draws their mindset from factors and circumstances they are raised and educated in.

This mindset eventually becomes a formidable fetter for anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur. Generally, most people follow the flock and take professions they falsely believe as best suited for their skills. Others try to follow footsteps of their parents.

The wealthiest people in the world never followed flock or took lucrative professions of their parents.

Mark Zuckerberg’s father was a dentist and mom – a psychiatrist. Bill Gates’ dad was a banker father while his mother was a lawyer.

Despite coming from wealthy families, they chose to follow their passion rather than confine their thinking to the proverbial boxed mindset. Col. Sanders had lost his parents at a young age of six years and had to shoulder responsibilities of his siblings.

Other Examples of What The Wealthiest People Have in Common

As we can see, these qualities or personality traits are common to the world’s richest people. It sets them apart from others. Most of them launched small enterprises with the sole purpose of bettering the lives of people. Their products or services gained popularity because money was never their consideration. Widespread use of their technology, products, and services eventually led them to become wealthy.

These traits are not typical to the US or the western world, as one may mistakenly come to believe. A glance at some richest people in India and elsewhere also reveals, they share the same characteristics with their American counterparts. This amply proves that richest people around the world share something in common, regardless of where they live and flourish.

Another common trait that all rich people share in common is philanthropy.

Since childhood, they believe in giving back to the society and helping the underprivileged. They practiced charity when they were not so rich and continue to donate money for the betterment of the society even after becoming billionaires.

These richest people on the planet never waited to become wealthy. Instead, they were philanthropists since childhood – a trait most other people pathetically lack or try to foist upon themselves to gain popularity.

In Conclusion

It is not easy to become wealthy. Or everyone would become a millionaire. People who do make it to the top have a different way of thinking combined with an undying zest for learning new things and educating themselves.

They do not consider conventional learning at universities as the end of their education. Instead, they try and acquire new skills every day and find ways and means to become better humans rather than focusing on fattening their purses.

The world’s wealthiest people also share one common trait: they are not people pleasers, despite their generosity and willingness to serve the society. Because they know, trying to please everyone will get them nowhere and could mean possible failure.