10-Minute Organizing Tasks
Have you ever set a timer for one minute and then waited? A minute is a long time when you are just sitting and watching the seconds tick by. Or maybe, like me, you sometimes race the microwave timer to see how much you can get done before whatever's in the microwave is finished. If you've done this, then you know you can accomplish a surprising amount in just a minute or two. With that in mind, think how much you could achieve in ten minutes!
A common reason for procrastinating organization tasks is the notion that "I don't have time". In reality, there are many simple organizing tasks that can be completed in 10 minutes or less. What's more, many of these tasks, if done regularly, can make life easier by helping us to stay ahead of the game and maintain a basic level of organization.
The next time you have a few unclaimed minutes, try accomplishing one of these 10-minute organizing tasks. Some need to be done at home, but several of them can be achieved while waiting for a doctor's appointment, or for soccer practice to end, or anywhere you may find yourself waiting.
Meal Planning for the week only takes a few minutes, and it is time well spent. Not only is it a great way to save time and money, it is also an excellent way to ensure your family eats healthier.
Ten-minutes is generally plenty of time to do any of the following:
If done every day or two, it only takes a few minutes to sort through the mail, recylce or shred the unwanted items, file what needs to be filed, and set aside or act on those things that require attention. The same can be true for other piles of paper that may have begun to accumulate around the house.
If you're talking on the phone or waiting for a pot to boil, take a few minutes to clean out your purse, work bag, or child's backpack. It's quick and easy, and it feels like an accomplishment. As a bonus, doing this task regularly can prevent forgetting or missing something important.
Stuff piles up quickly on desktops. The presence of clutter, especially on a work surface, can impact a person's productivity, creativity, and ability to focus. Clearing away the clutter will leave you feeling refreshed and make it easier to concentrate.
Countertops are clutter magnets, so taking a few minutes every couple of days to clear away whatever has collected is a good way to keep things from getting out of control. Clutter-free countertops set a tone for the space. Maintain a feeling of order by keeping your counters free and clear.
Even fairly messy rooms can be tidied or reset in a matter of minutes, provided everything has a place. A tidy space speaks to our subconscious in much the same way as a cluttered space. The difference is, instead of leaving us feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and unsuccessful, a tidy space engenders feelings of control, accomplishment, and calm.
Got ten minutes? Why not clear the junk mail from your inbox? While you're at it, unsubscribe to newsletters and emails that no longer interest you, delete unneccessary or outdated emails, and organize the rest.
This is something I rarely think to do, but it only takes a few minutes. Use the time to merge duplicates (am I the only one who has these?) and delete contacts you no longer need. While you're at it, why not clean out your voicemail inbox as well?
If you're like me, you save websites and then forget about them. Before long, your favorites folder can become a cluttered mess of disorganized information. Take a few minutes to delete bookmarks for sites that no longer interest you and organize the rest.
Here's another simple task that has the power to lift your spirits. Go through the glove compartment, the center console, and any other cubbies where you may have things stashed. Toss out any trash, and if time allows, give the whole interior a good wipe down. If you're really feeling ambitious, vacuum it all out. Of course, that will take a little longer, but not much if you're using an industrial strength vacuum.
My husband surprised me awhile back by picking me up from the airport in a newly cleaned out car. I noticed it immediately and every time I got in the car for the next couple of months until winter arrived with its dirty melted snow and salt encrusted roads and ruined everything...
This is yet another task that can leave you feeling a little better about life. In mere minutes you can empty out sketchy leftovers, remove expired items, wipe down shelves, and arrange the remaining contents of your refrigerator in an orderly fashion. Once you've done so, opening the door will give you a little sense of accomplishment as you are confronted with the neatly arrayed shelves.
The next time you're waiting on hold, take a few minutes to sift through your pantry or food cupboard in search of expired food. While you're at it, combine open containers of the same product. Wherever it makes sense, remove unnecessary packaging to save space.
The junk drawer is always a good place to start if you want to complete a quick household organizing task. Other prime candidates are desk drawers and night stand drawers, but any drawer will do. Who knows, you might even have time for two!
Spruce up your entry by organizing your coat closet, hall tree, or other entry storage space. Because these spaces are the first ones we come across as we enter our homes, it's easy for them to become dumping grounds for whatever we're carrying with us. A few minutes once every couple of weeks will go a long way toward keeping this area clutter free, which is a desirable thing since it's also the first thing visitors see when they come to call.
Write down all the little tasks and ideas that are floating around in your head, and organize your notes. You can also brainstorm a topic such as vacation ideas or blog post ideas or anything else that interests you. If something is troubling you, write out your concerns. If you have a decision to make, create a list of pros and cons. Writing things down is a great way to relieve both mental and emotional stress.
If you're eager to introduce a little more organization into your life, try starting with some 10-minute organizing tasks. They offer a quick and effective way to make meaningful progress toward the ultimate goal of becoming a more organized person. Many of them are easy to do while you're doing something else, like waiting for an appointment, waiting on hold or even talking on the phone. What's more, they leave you with an uplifting sense of accomplishment. What can you do in 10 minutes?
4/26/2021 08:29:55 am
I agree that 10 minutes is actually a pretty long time! I particularly love your suggestion to clear out your bag. A bag has natural boundaries, so it won't spill into a bigger project. It's also a task that we might not think to do. Got a few minutes, just dump it out and go for it. Then toss the "keeps" back in and feel great about yourself, right?
4/26/2021 11:51:33 am
It's true that we don't often think to clean out our bags, but it's a good idea since we often stuff things in there while we're running around and then forget about them. Plus, there is just something satisfying about clearing out the trash, the old receipts, and whatnot and starting fresh.
4/26/2021 09:35:35 am
I love your list of organizing tasks to do in 10 minutes or less. I've always believed in the "master the minutes" concept when it comes to organizing. Often we procrastinate because we feel like we don't have enough time to get things done. Or we have that all or nothing feeling that we have to organize the entire closet at once rather than doing just one shelf or rack. Minutes are powerful entities. And when we allow ourselves that opening to do a tiny task in a small amount of time, we can see HUGE results.
4/26/2021 11:54:13 am
Well stated, Linda. I agree. I like your phrase "master the minutes". It's something I'm trying to do better in my own life. While it's easy to see progress with just a few minutes of concerted effort, it's also easy to lose track of time! I think having a plan for how to spend those few minutes (instead of pulling out your phone) can go a long way toward mastery.
4/26/2021 11:20:48 am
"Just" ten minutes are so powerful, I agree, Sheri. Amazing what you can get done - and this list of ideas of where to start is so helpful. If I can spend the whole ten minutes on something, I get so much more done than if I spend eight of them deciding what I could do.
4/26/2021 11:58:08 am
It's so true. We do tend to spend a lot of time deciding what to do before we actually get to work. And the more time we spend deciding, the more likely it is that we will either run out of time or talk ourselves out of doing anything. I was presenting to a group the other day, and we were discussing procrastination vs. action. I was recommending working in short bursts, and that got me brainstorming organization tasks that could be done in 10 minutes or less. I'm sure there are lots more I didn't include.
4/26/2021 11:20:52 am
I am a fan of resetting the room. It keeps my open spaces organized and clear. Thanks for sharing these suggestions.
4/26/2021 11:58:48 am
I love that concept as well. I don't think people realize how quick and effective it can be.
4/26/2021 05:55:19 pm
Great suggestions I too practice and teach that 10 mintue focused organizing can accomplish alot. Great job.
4/27/2021 08:26:45 pm
4/29/2021 04:53:39 pm
Sometimes, it's shocking how much you can get done in 10 minutes. We take way more than 10 minutes of mental energy to avoid doing something (emptying the dishwasher? cleaning out the car?) to do something in ten minutes, start-to-finish! I love all of these ideas!
4/29/2021 05:06:43 pm
Thanks, Julie! I often marvel at how easy it is to waste time - either by succumbing to distraction or procrastination, and on the flip side, how much I can achieve in just a few committed minutes. And if you can knock out one or more of these tasks while you’re waiting, that’s the best kind of multitasking there is.
6/27/2021 12:34:09 pm
I was just reminded of when we would watch tv as a child. We would clean during commercials and by the end of the show we would have the house cleaned. Of course someone would stay close enough to let everyone know when Dukes of Hazzard came back on. It was actually team building and I miss that with my kids.
6/28/2021 09:55:33 am
I love this example! What a great way to make it fun and easy while getting the job done. Thanks for sharing.
1/20/2022 05:19:43 am
It's amazing how many tasks we put off because we "don't have time" to do them, but when we finally do, they take very little time at all. These are all great suggestions!
1/21/2022 02:44:57 pm
Thank you, Janet. It's so true! I'm always impressed by what I can get done in just a few minutes if I put my mind to it.
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