You have a few minutes of unexpected down time.
Do you make use of it?
Or do you spend it surfing the news or playing Candy Crush?
A secret of highly productive people is that they know how to make the most of their in-between time.
The Time In-between
When you don’t have enough time, one of two things is happening.
You are truly overloaded, in which case you need to assess your work.
Or more likely, you are not making good use of the time you have.
We all have the same amount of time in the day, the key is making the best use of it.
Chances are, you are frittering away much of your time “in-between” the events of your day.
5 minutes after that meeting… 10 minutes in a waiting room… or even the last 15 minutes before lunch.
These small moments add up. You may be letting several hours slip through your fingers.
What could you accomplish with an additional two hours in your day?
Much of your day is spent in-between activities.
Between meetings. Before appointments. Waiting in line. And more.
Making use of this time can make all the difference.
It’s not about cramming as much into your day as possible, never taking a moment to breathe.
Rather, it’s about being smart with the small amounts of extra time and using them in a smart manner to get your work done.
“It’s not about squeezing endless tasks into your day, but rather fitting productive tasks into the time you have.”
If you are losing your time to the in-between, you need to keep in mind the small tasks that you could fit into those times. Even five minutes is long enough to accomplish many of the todos on your list.
Here are 10 Tasks To Keep You Productive in Your Time In-Between:
- Email – It seems the email monster follows you everywhere these days. On your phone, iPad, and more. While I don’t recommend incessantly checking it, email can be a great in-between task. Take care of 5 emails during that unexpected wait. Or get your inbox one step closer to zero. Attacking your email during quick breaks also ensures that you keep responses short.
- Read – Having a good book with you used to mean lugging around a book even when you didn’t need it. Now, you can keep dozens of books at your fingertips on your mobile device. I usually have 5-10 books on my Kindle app or iBooks.
- Check Your List – Use those few extra minutes to check your todo list. You can make sure that you are doing your top priorities, or let your list remind you of that task that you wrote down so you wouldn’t have to remember it.
- Prepare for Your Next Event – Use those few minutes of downtime to get ahead of what you need to do next. What can you get ready for? Prepare for your next meeting or appointment. Read the pertinent notes or details so that you will be ready.
- Breathe – Sometimes you just need to take a break. And those 5 minutes between meetings are a great time to recharge. Take a moment to breathe deeply. Better yet, get up and go outside for a quick walk.
- Small Tasks – Those little tasks on your list are perfectly suited for quick moments of time. These are often the “little things” that slip through the cracks. However, these tasks are perfect for when you have “just a few minutes.”
- Phone Calls – Ever have a phone call that you have failed to return for days? Yet, you probably had your phone on you at all times. Sometimes we forget that. Five or ten minutes is the perfect amount of time to return a call or two. Make sure you set expectations that you only have 5 minutes. It’s a great way to keep calls short, as well.
- Write in Your Journal – Many find it hard to find time to write in their journal. You don’t have to write your autobiography. Simply jot down a few sentences about your day.
- Learn Something – You might think that a few minutes isn’t enough time to study something new. However, I keep e-learning courses bookmarked on my iPad, and I listen to my favorite podcasts on my iPhone. These are great when you are unexpectedly waiting (like the doctor’s office) or during your commute (podcasts and audio books).
- Talk to Someone You Are With – It seems these days that during a wait people immediately go to their phones. Yet, a few minutes here or there can be a great time to actually communicate with the person you are with. This is especially important when you are with your spouse or kids. A five-minute conversation could make their (and your) day.
Reclaim Your In-between Time
Much of your day is lost to being in-between.
Reclaim the small amounts of time between the big events in your day.
You will discover that a few minutes here and there add up quickly.
And you might just find that you do have the time, after all.Question: How do you make the most use of your in-between time? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
15 thoughts on “10 Tasks To Make You More Productive In Your In-between Time”
Craig, I like #4, Prepare for Your Next Event, and I’d add a related one, “Follow Up on the Last Meeting.” I aim to end hour meetings in 50 minutes so I can record my notes and to-do items before getting swept into the next calendar item. Great list, thanks!
Great point! Closing out the last meeting is something that many miss.
This is a great list! I keep podcasts on standby for when driving somewhere and I have some free time. I usually spend the in-between time of 5-10 minutes waiting on something/somebody to check Twitter, but you’ve challenged me to rethink that and make the most of the minutes I have! Thanks.
John, I have just gotten back into Podcasts and have several ready at any time on my iPhone.
I surprise myself have many I can listen to at various break points in my day. 🙂
As do I! Podcasts are a great resource.
What would you like to achieve if you could be more productive?
I started timing how long it takes me to do some of my daily tasks. I always used to guesstimate, but now that I know how long they take, I have actually freed up some more time that I can put into more productive things. I always thought it took me an hour to get ready for work, but I realized it only really takes about 35-40 minutes. That’s over 20 minutes I can spend somewhere else.
Like this… this often we let those simple tasks “expand” to fill that extra time that we think it takes.
I am terrible at taking advantage of in-between times. My husband is awesome at it. The only way I can use the time well is if I have a list of small, quick tasks in my planner. Then when I have one of those in-between times, I check the list and do one of them. If I don’t have the list, I play a game or surf the net.
It doesn’t help that I have ADHD. I have to be very careful doing in-between things because I can lose track of time and forget the next thing I was supposed to do. That’s why I sometimes do something mindless – it’s easier to interrupt myself for the next thing.
Yes! Always go to your list first. (I do…)
In addition to the things mentioned in the post, now that it is really cold out, I use the time while I am letting the car warm up to read or to watch videos that I need to watch for a course that I am taking.
I use my lunch time to read, catch up on things (Facebook, Twitter), or to mind map.
Nice article. Speaking of productivity and time management there is an app just release on Google Play that does a pretty good job in forecasting ones daily productivity. It call time caster, thought I’d share, the link below.
Relax for an hour after work and then planning for the next day
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