Apr 19, 2014

Time Management // The Value of 5 Minutes And Tiny Tasks

Regardless of how many to do lists I write, plans I make, time I spend, or the amount I try to increase efficiency, there are never enough hours in a day (can I get an amen?).  But the worst part is that I let it stress. me. out.  I've tried to keep up with doing at least a load of laundry every night, tried to stay on top of cleaning up all the dog hair, and to always wash the dishes after dinner.  But I've finally come to terms with the fact that there is no cure-all for getting it all done.  Making myself feel guilty about every unfinished task remaining on my mental to-do list doesn't make me more productive.  If anything it just makes me want to curl up on the couch with a Skinny Cow fudge pop (those are delicious) and watch Hart of Dixie over and over again.

I have not discovered how to squeeze in a few extra hours in my day.  I have not stumbled upon a method to function without sleep.  And, I have not found the secret to perfect time management.  I have, however, discovered the value of five minutes and tiny tasks.

Five minutes is longer than you think, just ask the nearest five year old.  And small five minute groupings turn up frequently throughout your day, yet if you're like me, you've been oblivious to the time value they actually have.  I've found five extra minutes waiting at home for departure to dinner with friends.  I've found five extra minutes waiting for my favorite television show to come on.  Five minutes while dinner finishes in the oven.  Five minutes waiting downstairs until the washer kicks off.  Five extra minutes at the end of my lunch break.  Five minutes happens many times each day.  I used to just whip out the iPhone and flip through Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, you know, just getting caught up on all my favorite social network feeds.

What a waste.  Not that I don't love social networks (oh boy, do I ever!) but I can find a much better use for that five minutes that will leave me feeling slightly more accomplished and slightly less overwhelmed.  Five minutes is just enough time to take clothes out of the dryer and carry them upstairs (folding can happen later).  It's enough time to put away items left on the kitchen counter.  Five minutes can handle wiping down counters, sinks, or other appliances.  It's enough time to walk around the house collecting socks and other dirty clothes that didn't quite make it into the basket.  It's plenty of time to hang up the clothes I tried on that morning but didn't wear.  When you really think about it, there are a lot of things you can accomplish in five minute periods.  Tiny tasks.  Tiny tasks that help you get baby steps closer to completely something on that to-do list.

image source: Style Me Pretty

Tiny tasks are little break downs of the overall tasks.  I cannot gather, wash, dry, hang, sort, and fold a load of laundry in five minutes.  But I can get a portion of that done in each available five minute set, and then can actually feel like I made some progress and spent my time wisely.

Now, obviously, at some point I do have to buckle down and spend a good chunk of time cleaning and taking on the bigger tasks.  But for the in-between time, this five minute method works well for me.  Ever since I began thinking about it this way, I've been able to capture just a little more peace of mind.  It's helped me.  So I hope this helps you.

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