So your meeting ended early? Congratulations! What will you do with these few precious minutes?
10 minutes might not seem like enough time to get anything “productive” done, but don’t be so quick to reach for your phone and dive into social media. Committing even a few moments to digital hygiene will feel empowering and awesome.
Here are five quick, painless ways to use 10 minutes and kick-start your digital decluttering.
1. Unsubscribe and delete and some email
New email messages are constantly being added to our inboxes. And, let’s be real, most of us are subscribed to way too many email lists and marketing newsletters. Take 10 minutes to declutter some email that you don’t really need.
- Have a glance at your inbox and see if you have a lot of unread messages from the same person or company.
- Ask yourself, do I need these emails? Am I going to make time to read them? Are they trying to sell me something? Do I need that thing right now or can I look it up when I’m ready to buy?
- If you decide that the email messages aren’t useful, open one and follow the unsubscribe instructions.
- Once you’re unsubscribed, do a search for that person or company, select all of the emails from them and click delete.
Trust me, you may not realize it until you do it, but it feels so good to see less unread email messages waiting for you in your inbox.
2. Tidy up a folder
I’m looking at you, Downloads.
It only takes a few minutes (and several deep breaths) to organize a computer folder that’s gotten unruly.
- Get started by deleting outdated file versions.
- Move files you want to keep but don’t use often to an Archive folder, so the ones you use most are the easiest to access.
- Once you’re done tidying, remember to take a moment to enjoy the satisfaction of emptying your Trash.
3. Review open browser tabs
Raise your hand if you’ve gotten caught with way more tabs open than is necessary. Use this time to take stock of your open tabs.
- What can you close?
- Are there any you can add to your Reading list for later?
- Can you bookmark anything for frequent quick reference?
- Are you working on something that needs multiple tabs? Group those together! On most browsers, just right click on a tab to create a group. (You can bookmark the group for later, too.)
The more often you take a moment to be mindful about your slew of open tabs, the quicker keeping a tidy browser will become a habit.
4. Tend to your calendar
Even the most diligent organizers can lose track of our own calendars. What’s on the schedule for the next week or two?
Taking 10 minutes to glance at this week’s calendar and look forward to next week can prevent a planning headache when Monday rolls around.
- First, look over this week. Is there anything in the calendar that needs to get rescheduled or postponed? Any urgent tasks that you want to block time for next week?
- Now, look at your recurring events. Are they all marked in your calendar for next week (and beyond)? Any you need to reschedule or remove?
- What else needs to be scheduled for next week? Include your personal time, blocking time for exercise and social time, commute and school drop-offs, and work reminders.
- Next, check for Zoom or other virtual meeting links. No one wants to be asking for the Zoom link 5 minutes before the meeting!
Personally, I do this every Friday! It’s a habit I’ve built over years of managing my own business and providing administrative support to my clients. This is a great 10-minute exercise to think about the calendar-keeping habits you’d like to create.
5. Take a break!
Taking a screen-free break is scientifically proven (gasp!) to help improve focus, mood, and even your memory. Adding moments of mindful self-care throughout your day is a habit you’re going to want to keep.
- Move: Get away from your desk and hop, jump, dance, shake it out, or stroll. Movement has an amazing number of benefits for physical and mental health. It’s a proven mood-booster — which we could all use in the middle of our workdays.
- Go outside: Like mindful breathing, convening with nature is one of the most effective ways to de-escalate stress. Researchers now know that spending time in nature improves cognitive functioning, makes us happy, and helps us be more creative.
- Breathe: Try a five-count inhale and a five-count exhale. Breathing exercises like this are shown to calm our brain, lower our blood pressure, and activate the parts of our nervous system that take us out of stress mode.
You can do these any time you need a moment of space and clarity. You might even set a reminder every few hours to choose a mindful 10-minute task to support your efficiency and wellness.
Looking for more 10-minute task ideas? Check out the Ten-Minute Tasks – Productivity & Organizing Blog Carnival from Your Organizing Business.
What will you do with 10 minutes?