How many times do you find yourself with “two minutes” between big tasks and just don’t know what to do? There’s not enough time to clean the bathroom like it needs or it’s not time to start dinner yet (You could use work-related examples too.). This happens to me often, and I do one of the most unproductive things. I pace. I do laps around the house thinking of all the stuff that needs to get done and how I don’t have the time right then to get on any one of my bigger projects.
Before I know it I have killed 5, 10, or even 20 minutes (and I could have used that power napping). My anxiety and self-criticizing kicks into high gear making the next big thing I have to do even more difficult. Well, this spring and summer I have tried to change my ways. I’ve tried to be more intentional with those two minutes.
This isn’t so I can pack my day to the hilt and bring on even more pressure. It’s so I can take those minutes of time that I wile away doing nothing and 1) enjoy it if I choose or 2) do something so I don’t kick myself for doing nothing.
I’ve found that having and using this list makes me feel more in control of my time, and it is keeping me more organized. At least we don’t deal with people screaming down the hall for TP as often (which totally interrupts my flow when I’m in the home office working on a “bigger than 2-minute” project.)
Now, I could pace, smoke a cigarette, mix a drink, or criticize myself for not having better control of my time, but those things haven’t worked for me so far. Therefore my list is filled with stuff I might try (and thought you might try too) and stuff I’ve already done that I want to remember for next time, like checking my tire pressure or cleaning my headlights. Those are both good things I can do with the two minutes I’m waiting for the kids to get out of their sports. If I have really thought about it, I might have a nail file or lotion available to fill those two minutes as well.
The list in no order of importance or particular sequence. I tried to include things you could do while waiting in the car and at the mall (if you wait on kids like I do), in addition to things you could do at home or with your mobile phone. Some of the writing and thinking exercises could take longer than two minutes, but if you speed through it, you have less time and propensity to censor yourself.
1. Make your “Monster” list of unfulfilled commitments. It helps to consolidate them somewhere, so you can start knocking them down when you have more than two minutes.
2. Write down a lot of things you’re grateful for …
3. Brush your teeth well
4. Close your eyes, relax, clear your mind
6. Clear off the front of the fridge
7. Sing a song, out loud or in your head
8. Visualize what you’d do with 20 minutes
9. Outline your obituary with things you are remembered for—or would like to be remembered for
10. Rid your fridge of anything expired
11. Do nothing but get a feel for what two minutes feels like. Listen to the “wave” accompaniment and time yourself at donothingfor2minutes.com.
12. Change your scenery. Inside? Go outside. Sitting down? Stand up.
13. Switch to the present giving yourself a mental “restart”
14. Brush your hair
15. Put a cool rag on your neck
16. Feed the pets
17. Water the plants
19. Start your “not-to-do” list. This is where you start identifying your bad habits and begin thinking about changing. I.E. Don’t check your email first thing in the morning. It will usually hijack your schedule.
20. Dance: helpful if you already know a line dance or two, or do-it freestyle
21. Figure if you are a joke-a-day, word-a-day, devotional-a-day, or quote-a-day person and subscribe somewhere for a daily dose
22. Do a clutter sweep
23. Write a love(ly) note
24. Test the pens in your “pen cup” or “pen drawer”
25. Check your calendar over the next 30-45 days. Backwards plan or put early reminders in for anything really big that is coming up
26. Sweep the front steps
27. Check the extended forecast and plan accordingly
28. Synchronize your clocks
29. Make a mug brownie
30. Restock the TP making sure there’s at least one back up to the back up
31. Read the backs of those stacked books and power sort / prioritize
32. Make a cup of tea
33. Walk backwards and feel muscles you’ve never felt before
34. Apply lotion or sunblock
35. Have a snack
36. Break out the aromatherapy
37. Practice speed-thinking (think MicroMachines’ commercial style). If you thought of a “to-do” that is longer than two minutes, then put it on the calendar for the appropriate amount of time.
38. Google “MicroMachine commercials” for a stroll down memory lane
39. Set a DVR timer you’ve been meaning to
40. Brainstorm experiences you’d like to spend your money and time on
41. Hug someone
42. Read a poem
43. Download a free app or two from your favorite categories
44. Check the headlines
45. Disinfect your cell phone, home phone, or keyboard
46. Do the “wall sit” exercise
47. Take stock of your personal grooming needs: Need make-up tips? A haircut? A manicure?
48. Set up the appointment(s)
49. Balance your checkbook or at least glance at your account to verify you recognize all the recent transactions. If you do this frequently, two minutes is all you’ll need.
50. Call a loved one to say “hi” and ask when a good time to talk for 20 minutes would be
51. Pay someone a compliment
52. Put yourself on the Do Not Call list at donotcall.gov
53. Add an ICE (in case of emergency) contact to your cell phone
54. Send an ecard
55. Verify you have updated computer virus software protection
56. Dump the freezer ice bucket and start fresh ice
57. File your nails
58. Practice a hair “up-do”
59. Take a two minute shower, sometimes better than no shower
60. YouTube “40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 Minutes” for fun
61. Walk a brisk 1/10th of a mile
62. Drink water
63. Jump rope
64. Start an ongoing chess game with your spouse or children
65. View how your facebook profile looks to the public
67. Educate yourself on possible dangers (sex offenders) in your area at familywatchdog.us
68. Try a few brain teasers
69. Check bankrate.com for best CD, credit card, and bank account rates
70. Leave a comment on a favorite blog or impactful news story
71. Smile awhile aka “smile therapy”
72. Ask a well thought out, pertinent question
73. Pack a child-friendly “activity bag” to keep in the car
74. Seek out “the source” for local listings of free stuff to do
75. Pet your pets
76. Take your vitamins and supplements
77. Invite a friend for a lunch date or stroll in the park
78. Make a donation
79. Check on the kids
80. Verify you have current registration and insurance cards in the vehicles
81. Practice tying a tie. My son needed one tied during a deployment and I stunk at it.
83. Pitch a fit
85. Solicit help for something
86. Purge your shoes, t-shirts, or unmentionables
87. Download an oldie but goodie, or something totally not you
88. Sign up for the dailyflagstatus.com, so you know why the flag is at half-staff
89. Learn a lullaby
91. Resolve to prune (your relationships, your spending, your clutter, you).
What would that “look like”?
92. Take a picture. It lasts longer.
93. Find a local meet-up
94. Subscribe to the paper. A weekend edition will do. If I do more than that, I would be buried in newspapers.
95. Look up a word in the dictionary
96. Take a quickie personality test like the one at 5lovelanguages.com/assessments/love/
97. Start a load of laundry
98. Put the last one away
99. Change into a fun pair of earrings
100. Try on belts and get rid of the ones that were hanging in the back of the closet anyway
101. Give yourself a foot rub
102. Paint your toenails, just a quick job on bare nails or a darker color over what’s on already
103. Start a private facebook group. I have one just for my cousins of the same generation, on my father’s side
104. Exfoliate by dry-brushing. I do this right before turning the water on in the shower.
105. Get your free credit score (while quantities last)
106. Clean the garbage disposal
107. Weigh AND measure yourself
108. Get fitted for a bra
109. Unsubscribe from some unsatisfying email lists
110. Check your personal printer paper and printer ink stock
111. Have a thumb war with one of your kids
112. Cut up a fruit or vegetables for you and the kids
113. Make some whole grain toast to add some fiber to your day
114. Change some batteries or a light bulb
115. Clean some shoes that need it
116. Back up your important files
117. Clean your vehicle’s headlights
118. Check for any new recalls: vehicles, appliances, children’s bedding and furniture,
toys, and electronics on recalls.gov
119. Check your tire pressure
120. Vacuum your highest traffic area
121. Double check some addresses in your address book. Make sure you’ve made
all the recent updates you know of.
122. Do push-ups (or sit-ups)
123. Check-in or check-out when you or another family leaves or returns to the house:
meaning give everyone hugs and attention when they’re coming or going
124. Laugh. Studies show even forced laughter helps your mood and your muscles. Keep a stash of funnies nearby to help you out. We like Calvin & Hobbes “big books” at our house for example.
125. Work on your “200 2-minute to-dos” list
…. as the title indicates, this is a work in progress. I’m hoping my 125 ideas will inspire 5-25 more from each of you and together we can reach 200. What kind of 2-minute things do you already do, and what 2-minute things have you been inspired to do?
Don’t get wrapped up in the exact amount of time something takes. To go on the list it just has to be something that can be done in approximately two minutes. 1 min 2 seconds is fine. 2 min 59 seconds is fine. The point of the exercise is to get you thinking what things you can get off your plate quickly and have you realize that two minutes is quite long and like a mini-vacation when you’re intentional about using the minutes and not having them “use you.”
How about it; won’t you help me? Help yourself?