Ever went to bed at the end of the day and thought what you exactly accomplished that day? Where did the time go and what did you do that day? Did you do anything to move you closer to realizing your personal goals or fulfilling your dreams? Life is finite which means every moment you don’t live the life you want to live or work towards accomplishing your personal goals; you’ve just wasted a precious moment of your life.
A couple of months ago I stopped browsing my timeline on Facebook because I felt I was wasting my time. Close friends, I speak to anyway outside of Facebook, so there was no immediate need to check in on Facebook every single day. It was the same for other social media channels like Twitter and Instagram for example. The time I saved I could use in more productive ways even if it was just a couple of minutes, say fifteen, a day. That got me thinking. Fifteen minutes may not seem like much. But when you add 15 minutes a day, it can mean the difference between living a dull life and realizing your personal goals.
If you choose to spend 15 minutes a day on something useful instead of wasting it for example on social media or watching dumb TV programmes you’ll increase your productivity in the whole week by almost 2 hours. If you do this a whole year long, it means you’ve gained nearly four extra days (365 days times 15 minutes a day = 91,25 hours in a year)! Imagine that, gaining almost four extra holidays in a year to work on stuff that matters to you.
There are so many useful things you can do on a day than wasting it on social media. Below is a list of 25 useful things you can do in 15 minutes or less. Say goodbye to social media and start living.
1. Learn a new language
Apps like Duolingo and Babbel make very easy to learn a new language. Duolingo, for example, has a game mode where you take short lessons to learn a language which takes less than 15 minutes. Practice a couple of minutes every day, and in a couple of months, you’ll be able to speak a new language.
2. Read a book or blog
How many times have you tried to read that book or tried to keep up with popular blogs in your work field but never found the time to do so? Well, with 15 minutes a day you can finally make some progress! Bookmark your favourite blog(s) and read a couple of articles a day. Try to read a chapter a day of that book you wanted to start on. Not only is reading good for the brain but it’s also fun.
3. Set a goal for tomorrow
What is it you want to achieve tomorrow? Take a few minutes today to make a plan for tomorrow. Think about what it is that you want to accomplish tomorrow and set that as your primary goal for the next day. When you wake up the next day, you can immediately start working towards that goal without having to think about it first, because you already did the thinking the day before.
4. Watch a Ted video
Ted Talks videos are short, influential videos by expert speakers on a wide range of topics like education, business, science, tech, creativity, and more. Get inspired and learn something new.
5. Keep a journal
Writing can be very therapeutic. Start a journal and write in it frequently. Not only is writing a good stress relief but keeping a journal also ensures you document your memories, so you always have a reference available when needed. What happened today, how did you feel, what did you accomplish, what did you learn?
6. Work on your bucket list
Now is an excellent time to work on your bucket list. Either by starting tasks for items already on your list or by adding things to your bucket list.
7. Update your resume
Tired of your current job? Update your resume to start your search for a better job. Review your current resume and LinkedIn profile. Are these up to date? Can you improve the wording? Can you add new accomplishments? Make a small tweak every day until you’re satisfied and start job hunting. Even if you’re not actively looking for a new job, it’s convenient to have an up-to-date resume ready in case something unexpected happens.
8. Make to-do lists
The key to achieving something is to take action, i.e. do something. Make a to-do list of the tasks you need to do to start moving towards your personal goal(s).
9. Decide what not to do
Achieving a bigger goal also means choosing what not to do. Tasks that don’t help you reach your goals and also aren’t necessary to do should not be done. What do you currently have on your plate that isn’t helping you move forward in life? Take a few minutes to think about these things and move them off your list.
Connect with your network. Reconnect with old colleagues, business partners, and clients. Send them a message to ask how they’re doing, and how you could potentially help them. Try connecting with new people. If you try to connect with only five new people a day, that’s a potential of 1825 new connections in a year!
11. Make a healthy breakfast, snack, or lunch
Freshly prepared food is becoming less and less common because everyone seems to be so ‘busy’ in this modern society. But everyone can make some healthy food in just a few minutes. Quit Facebook and prepare your own food with fresh ingredients.
12. Have a walk outside
There’s nothing like fresh air to calm the mind and to refreshen the spirit. Take a short stroll outside to give your brain a much-needed rest. Enjoy the scenery.
Going to a gym, doing a full work and heading the shower may not be possible in 15 minutes. But there are a lot of other exercises you can do in just a few minutes. The app Seven, for example, is a great way to do a full body exercise in only seven minutes.
14. What to eat for dinner
Do you also ask yourself around dinner time what you’re going to have for dinner that night? Think about that question earlier in the day, so you don’t have to worry about it at dinner time. If you know upfront what you’re going to have for dinner, you’ll have more time to prepare it. Or better yet, plan your meals for the entire week.
Meditation has proven to be very good for your mental health. Take the 15 minutes to meditate and let all the stress flow out of your body.
16. Phone someone
Have an actual conversation with someone instead of lurking their timeline. Phoning someone is easy and gives you the opportunity to have a real conversation with someone. Something a superficial ‘like’ or short comment on a post can’t provide.
17. Meet up
A step further than phoning someone is to meet people face to face. Take a moment to make an appointment to meet up with a friend or family in person. It’s always possible to find a day and time to meet with someone, take the time to find it.
18. Do your administration
I know, it’s not the most exciting task, but it’s a task that needs to be done whether you like it or not. The good news is, if you frequently spend a little time on it, it won’t be that daunting a task than if you let it all pile up. Prepare your taxes in advance, make a budget, pay the bills, make calls, review your insurances, etc.
19. Create a backup
How often has it happened that you lost your work or precious photos because your smartphone or computer crashed? It only takes a few minutes to create a backup of your important files, but a lifetime of agony if you lose those precious moments. Upload your important files to a cloud storage solution or external hard drive. Better yet, create an automatic back up routine, so you don’t have to think about it.
20. Find a charitable cause
Kiva makes it possible to help people around the world create an opportunity for themselves. Browse through the many projects and select one which you want to support. Helping others is what we’re born to do.
21. Clean up
There are so many small chores you can do in 15 minutes. Sweep the floor, take out the trash, clear the dishwasher, fold clothes, water your plants, get rid of old newspapers and magazines, etc.
22. Delete unnecessary photos
How many photos do you have on your smartphone that are or have become completely useless? Delete the ones that aren’t needed anymore to free up space on your phone.
23. Create a grocery list
People who go grocery shopping based on a grocery list spend less time in the store, spend less money, and buy less unhealthy food than people who go shopping without a list. So, create a grocery list before you head to the supermarket. It’ll be good for your wallet as well as health.
24. Review your subscriptions
Are you really reading the TV guide? Are you really watching all the channels of your cable subscription? Have you been to the gym in the last month? There are so many subscriptions we automatically extend, which we don’t use anymore. Why waste your money on something you’re not using? Find out which ones they are and cancel them!
25. And finally, Do Nothing.
Sometimes it’s good to do absolutely nothing to ease the mind. There’s no need to cram every single moment of the day with something to do. Your body, and especially your brain, needs rest too. Take a break and do nothing. Just be there in the moment.
Did you find this list helpful? Or do you have any additions? Feel free to add them in the comments below!