12 Useful Projects for that Spare 5 minutes

If you are a task orientated personality, high D or C, you may find yourself with the occasional 5 minutes before a meeting, or call, and feel frustrated you can’t use it to complete a task AND be on time for your meeting.

Don’t waste that time… You can’t complete a typical task, but here are some things you could profitably do for your business and career in that 5 minute window.

1. Send a thank you note

Either use a 4 X 6 card or buy “thank you” cards from the stationery shop… Take the time to hand write a quick thank you to a colleague or customer or contact who has helped you recently. If you can’t hand deliver to note, write their address on the reverse and post like a post card.

2. Send a thank you e-mail.

So you don’t have physical note cards ready, then take the easy way out and send a thank you email. Short share with a detailed account of why you are thanking them.

3. Review your contacts list

I’m sure you have several hundred people in your contacts list, how many have you contacted recently? Why not take that 5 minutes to jot down two people you want to connect with this week? Just identify them what you’d like to discuss and put the connection into your to do list.

4. Review your To Do list

You don’t have a to do list? Well start now. Especially if you are a boss, you need to easily track three To Do  lists … 1) A list of things you want to do, yourself, 2) a list of things your boss has delegated, and 3) Things you have delegated to your team members.

Keep on top of these 3 lists to have a stress free life.  Use technology- iPhone and Android have simple To Do lists to download, with both reminders and importance, and the ability to create separate lists of things to do.

5. File emails

Zzzzzzzzzz yes, boring, but getting stuff out if your inbox is important. Don’t spend time arranging things into separate files by topic, cross matched with files for people, put everything in one file, it’s easy enough to use the search function on your email program without thinking to create separate files. Id stuff needs to be done for that e-mail, then put it (drag and drop) into your to do list with a reminder set for when you want to do it.

6. Sign up for Pocket

Pocket is an application for managing a reading list of articles from the Internet. It is available for iOS and Android as well as multiple web browsers . Pocket allows the user to save an article or web page to your Pocket list (synced to all of your devices) for offline reading. Pocket removes clutter from articles and allows the user to adjust text settings for easier reading. So never be without those articles you’ve been meaning to read, with your spare 5 minutes.

7a. Then Save articles to Pocket

Do you get reading lists, or colleagues that recommend reading, but never have enough time to read them, go online and save the article for future reading!

Don’t get lists of reading, then check out The Browser or Longreads for rthe best of reading on the web or Business Insider for short business related articles

7b Read a Pocket Article

With pocket available off-line you can bring your iPhone or iPad to the meeting and read your pocketed articles.

8. Do your 5 minute office workout.

So you have 5 minutes to spare why not destress by stretching-  target neck, shoulders, arms or legs- see here for ideas how to do it. Want something more? Why not do a 5 minute workout? View the Youtube video or this one here.

9. Play with your Gmail settings.

Gmail has now decided on your behalf what you see in your inbox, what’s social and what’s promotions. You need to be careful to ensure none of your work related mails are sent to the wrong folder (thanks Gmail for making my life harder). If a particular email goes to a tab like ‘Social’ when you really want it in ‘Primary,’ simply drag the email to the correct tab. Gmail will then ask if you want all future emails from that sender to come to ‘Primary.’ From now on, your emails will go to the right place.

10. Update current job details on LinkedIn.

When was the last time you refreshed your list of responsibilities/ accomplishments? Take five minutes and see if you should reset your job description. And when you do, remember to include targeted keywords that highlight specific skills. Online reports note employers often use keyword search terms to find people.

11. Write a short note on a handful of your business cards.

Take out a stack of business cards and write a quick note on each one. It could be an additional Web site, phone number or short sales pitch. You could even just circle the phone number you want others to use. People find cards with actual handwriting more valuable and may hesitate to toss them out.

12. Start a list of 5 minute projects

Why not have a 5 minute to do list, those good-to-do but not urgent things that take a short period of time, but not yet. Well start that list and you’ll be able to fill in those odd minutes you’re waiting for people to join meetings, profitably.

OK, that’s a reasonable list to start with, if you have any suggesting please note them in the comments.