Got 10 Minutes? Here Are 18 Ways to Improve Your Life

by Nina Post

1) If you're a writer and feel stuck, take 10 minutes to work on that project you've been neglecting or haven't started yet. Start the file. Get the file ready. Make a separate page of the most important stuff: your logline, your theme, your setting, why you/why this/why now. Do another ten minutes the next day.

2) Take 10 minutes to review a book or a podcast. Reviews matter. And it feels good to get it done and help someone out (even if you think they don't need it).

3) If you're a startup founder, take 10 minutes a day to look into a potential partner or acquirer, find an accelerator you can apply to, or find a mentor or peer to email.

4) If you want to eat healthier, take 10 minutes to plan your food for lunch and dinner this week: salads, eggs, fruits & veggies, smoothies, baked chicken, etc. And if you need healthy food to have with you when you travel or are otherwise out of the house, take 10 minutes and look for single-serving packs of high-protein, single-serve items (hummus, chicken jerky, cashews) that you can order in bulk.

5) Take 10 minutes a day to read. Unless you use your phone, keep your Kindle or a paperback handy.

6) Take 10 minutes a day to ask three friends or colleagues how things are going.

7) Take 10 minutes a day to walk outside (you remember "outside," right?), or to do more of a secondary exercise—running, plyometrics, kettle bells.

8) Take 10 minutes to list the activities you're spending too much time on—TV, reading TV recaps, Facebook, games, web browsing, meetings, etc.—at the expense of activities that can have a better return for you (creating, learning, getting into flow with one of your hobbies).

9) Take 10 minutes to figure out a time management/scheduling system, if you don't have one or if you want to change what you have. Maybe you want to use GTD (Getting Things Done). Figure out the best app or software (or paper system) to help you do that.

10) Take 10 minutes to get started with some software that can help you get your work done, make your work easier or more efficient, or achieve something.

11) Take 10 minutes to do something about a fear you have. Maybe it's something you want to get better at, know it would help you, but are reluctant to do.

12) Take 10 minutes to maintain familiarity with a second language (or learn a new one). I like Radio Lingua/Coffee Break (for listening during breaks!), Duolingo, and Mango via the library.

13) If there's a tool you've been putting off buying, and it's less than $100, think about whether it will generate more than $100 in value for you, and if so, buy it. This works equally well for $50 or $20 or whatever. For writers who have been putting off buying Scrivener, consider getting it.

14) Take 10 minutes to do a bunch of small tasks you've been putting off. 

15) Take 10 minutes to look through the resources you can access through your local public library, like

16) If you're already pretty functional at managing your schedule, take 10 minutes to find a commitment or activity that will add to your already packed schedule, but also add to your life in a positive way. Often we're even more productive the more we have to do. It doesn't have to be spread out; Adam Grant points out in Give and Take that givers who chunked their giving (mentoring, etc.) into a single day achieved gains in happiness, as opposed to when they distributed it across the week. Consider chunking as a strategy for this.

17) Take 10 minutes to send someone a paper card to thank them or tell them how great they are or what a good job they're doing. Think of the service vendors who wouldn't normally get a card like that and consider giving one to them.   

18) Take 10 minutes to draw. You can take a Monster Drawing Workshop at; each installment is well under 10 minutes.

10 minutes may not seem like a lot of time, but if you use it wisely, you can make important strides towards the goals that matter to you.

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