Watching your favorite show on TV can be a fun, relaxing Dessert in your schedule. I usually advise people to make their relaxing time a work-free zone, but we’ve all had those evenings when we need to squeeze in as much productivity as possible to keep our time management on track.
For me, watching Shark Tank on ABC is a favorite Friday ritual, and I don’t want to give that up just because I have a lot of work to do. The answer? Utilize your commercials! Here are 10 things you can do in a 2 or 3 minute commercial break that will help shorten your to-do list.
1. Manage Your Inbox
We can easily become lost in a sea of unread messages, but under a 2-minute time crunch, we have no time for distractions or unnecessarily complex answers. Eliminating the messages that only require a brief response makes it easier to wade through the more involved ones later.
2. Clean a Few Dishes
I am guilty of putting off kitchen-duties because “cleaning takes so much time.” It really doesn’t. In two minutes you can easily scrub a pot, rinse a dish, or empty the glassware from the dishwasher. Knowing you have a show to get back to makes the work go faster and seem less annoying.
When we get busy, the gym is usually one of the first things to be cut from our schedule. Maximize those 2-3 minute commercial breaks with some jumping jacks, pushups, or crunches. Sparkpeople.com has a great Commercial Break Workout Routine.
4. Get Your Coffee Ready
As I’m racing out the door in the morning, I inevitably go to grab my coffee only to realize…I forgot to make it. Take a few minutes to get your coffee ready the evening before so all you have to do in the morning is press “start.”
We all know that follow-up is key when meeting a new business contact, client, or possible job-lead. Use your commercial break to reach out with a friendly, “great to meet you, let’s keep in touch” email.
6. File Something
Staying organized helps us find our materials faster, but finding time to file the mountain of papers we generate can be tricky. Take a minute to sort the mail, file some receipts, or organize a drawer.
7. Make Your List for Tomorrow
Taking a moment to plan ahead for the following day can help you work more efficiently and with stronger focus. Jot down your plan for tomorrow while waiting for your show to come back on.
8. Pay Someone A Compliment
It’s easy to get caught up in a busy day and never make time to say “Thanks” or “I really appreciate the work you do.” Jot a handwritten note or a quick email to someone you appreciate and know that you’ll brighten his or her day tomorrow.
9. Take Care of a “Meaning to”
We all have those small tasks that linger on our to-do lists forever, but never seem to rise to the level of importance required to actually finish them. Pick a “meaning to” task that you’ve been putting off and knock it out in a few minutes.
10. Catch Your Breath
Even though watching TV is an enjoyable activity, never underestimate the power of just letting yourself….be. Mute the commercials, close your eyes, take deep slow breaths, and enjoy the feeling of doing absolutely nothing for a minute. It’s more beneficial to your stress level than you may think.