50 Productive Things You Can Do in 5 Minutes

50 Productive Things You Can Do in 5 Minutes

Do you have 5 minutes to spare in your schedule at work, home, or school?

Are you looking for some productive things to do before your next meeting or appointment?

Five minutes may not seem like a lot of time in the grand scheme of things.

But that’s only because you think you can’t get things done in 5 minutes.

The truth is you can be productive in any amount of time.

It is wholly possible to get things done in 5 minutes.

Ultimately, what will determine your success is your mindset.

Once you put your mind to something, you can get it done!

In the post, you’ll find an intriguing list of fifty productive tasks you can do in 5 minutes.

The next time you’ve got 5 minutes or more on hand at home or at the office, be sure to take a look at this list.

Select a task you’d like to work on.

Then, set an alarm for 5 minutes on a kitchen timer, your watch, smart watch, cell phone, or some other convenient time management tool. 

All that’s left for you to do is to roll up your sleeves and get to work!

Be sure to bookmark this page so you always have a list of productive things to do at home, work, or on the go in your back pocket.

1. Change the password to your email account(s).

When’s the last time you changed your password to your email account(s)? It’s most likely been some time.

Take a moment to login to at least one of your email accounts and change the password.

Be sure to take note of your newly-updated password so you don’t forget it.

You can also schedule a reminder into your calendar to update your password in a few months’ time.

2. Review your schedule for the next day.

Prepare your mind for what’s to come by reviewing tomorrow’s schedule or calendar. The process is simple.

First eliminate all distractions. Second, open up your printable calendar, paper planner, or digital calendar. Third, take a moment to review the contents of your day.

What items are scheduled? When are they scheduled? Make any preparations for your day as necessary.

3. Delete items from your computer’s recycling or trash bin.

Navigate to your computer’s recycling or trash bin area.

Quickly review the contents to ensure there’s no files or items that need to be saved. If there are, take a moment to drag the items into the appropriate folder on your computer.

Otherwise, if everything looks good, use your mouse to select “delete items.”

And just like that, you’ve cleaned up your computer!

4. Clean your eyeglasses, reading glasses, or sunglasses.

Gather any eyeglasses, reading glasses, sunglasses, or any other reading optics you may have that would benefit from some cleaning.

Use eyeglass cleaning solution to clean glasses or use water and mild soap. Carefully dry the lot with a soft clean cloth.

Replace items back where they belong, be on your face, or in a glasses case, and get ready to enjoy a clean, dust, and dirt-free view!

5. Unsubscribe from an email list or newsletter you no longer wish to receive.

You know that email list you’re tired of receiving? Reading? Deleting? Now’s the time to do something about it.

Open up your email account and locate on of the list or newsletter emails. Navigate to the bottom of the list and look for the word “unsubscribe” or something similar.

Complete any further steps as necessary to remove yourself from the list.

6. Make a grocery list for the week.

Feed your mind and your stomach by creating a grocery list for the week. What groceries do you need to stock up on? Walk your way through your kitchen pantry and refrigerator.

Consider any fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, non-dairy, meats, condiments, or spices you need to replenish. How about dry goods, canned goods, baked goods, other food items or any other household items?

You can also take this time to create a shopping list for individual stores such as supermarket, specialty store, or big box store. 

7. Clear your internet browser’s cache.

Go to your desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smart phone.

If you’re on a computer, laptop, or tablet, open up your preferred internet browser’s cache and clear the cache.

Using a smart phone? Open up your phone’s settings and navigate to the internet browser area to delete the browser cache.

If you need step-by-step instructions on how to do this, do a quick online search for a written or video tutorial.

8. Brainstorm gift ideas for a friend or family member’s birthday.

What are you going to get your best friend for their birthday this year?

How about your partner, spouse, child, mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousins, grandmother, grandfather, or grandchildren?

Grab a notepad and a pen and start brainstorming some suitable gift ideas.

9. Assemble an outfit for tomorrow.

Walk over to your closet or dresser. Browse tops, bottoms, shells, and accessories.

Think about your schedule for tomorrow: will you need to dress professionally, casually, sporty, relaxed, or something else?

Assemble an entire outfit based on your taste and requirements.

10. Clean a dirty mirror.

Dirty mirrors don’t necessary seem dirty…until you take a moment to clean it!

Locate some glass cleaning solution and a soft cloth. Walk over to a dirty mirror in your home or office, spray on the solution, and start wiping down the surface.

Repeat until the surface is clean and you can see your smiling face. Then, take a step back and admire your handiwork!

11. Sit quietly to collect your thoughts or to relax.

When’s the last time you took 5 minutes out of your day, just for you?

If you can’t remember the last time you took a time-out, consider this your invitation to do so!

Make sure you are in a place where you can be quiet and by yourself for 5 minutes. Then, sit quietly.

You can meditate, relax, or just sit with your thoughts. The whole idea is to take a break from your busy day and just be.

12. Change a lightbulb.

You know *that* flickering, dim, or dead light bulb that’s been on your mind for…well…forever?

Now’s the time to change it! You can either do this yourself if you’re at home.

What if you’re in a shared space like an office, school, or other location? Enlist the help of someone else or request a maintenance ticket.

13. Write a thank you note or email.

Show some gratitude to a friend, family member, coworker, colleague, client, or vendor.

Who has recently given you a gift, helped, or assisted you in a way that was thoughtful, kind, much-needed, or above and beyond the call of duty?

Express your sincere thanks in a well-written note and send off to the recipient.

14. Shine a pair of dress shoes.

Look your best for yourself and everyone you meet! Pull out a pair of dress shoes or boots, along with some shoe polish, and a clean cloth. Sit down and shine them until they are sparkling.

Never shined shoes before? Do a quick online search for a tutorial and purchase or gather any necessary materials so you can take care of it in future.

15. Update an app on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop.

Have an app that’s running slowly or that you haven’t used in some time?

Open up the app in question on a specific digital device and select “update app” from your device’s selection.

If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, you can update apps on several of your devices.

16. Dust a piece of furniture.

Grab a dust cloth, duster, or vacuum cleaner with an appropriate and suitable attachment.

Spend your time over the next few minutes to completely dust the surface and any nooks and crannies of the piece of furniture in question.

17. Clear the sink drainboard or unload the dishwasher.

Make meal time that much more tidy for yourself!

Take a moment to completely clear out the sink drainboard or unload the dishwasher.

Depending on your situation, you can simply return things back to where they belong in shelves and drawers in the kitchen, or you may need to use a dish towel to dry things before you store them.

18. Check your bank account balance.

What’s sitting in your bank account? Go online or use the phone to check your bank account balance.

You can do this for any of your frequently used personal or business accounts.

You may also decide to check the balance of any other accounts you do not frequently use, such as a savings account.

19. Scrub the kitchen or bathroom sink.

Take a moment to put that elbow grease into action!

Locate a sponge and sink cleaner.

Read the cleaning instructions and treat the sink as directed.

20. Open the windows to air out a stuffy room or office.

Tired of feeling tired indoors? Let some fresh air circulate in a stuffy room or office.

It’s as easy as opening up a door, window, or transom.

Don’t forget to close all doors and windows when you’re finished with your airing.

21. Fill out an appliance rebate or warranty application.

If you’ve made a new or recent appliance purchase, then this is a great time to complete your rebate or warranty application.

Round up your receipt, the appliance information details, and get to work.

22. Vacuum a small rug or section of carpet.

Pull out that vacuum cleaner and vacuum a small section of carpet or a small rug in your home or office!

23. Replace batteries in a remote control or other device.

Locate some fresh batteries  in your home or office. Then swap out old batteries in a TV, DVR, or other devices.

Be sure to recycle batteries appropriately as necessary.

24. Take out the trash or recycling.

Put on your outdoor shoes and grab that trash or recycling that needs to go outside.

You can do one or both of these steps.

25. Change the toner cartridge(s) in a printer or photocopier.

Give your printer or photocopier a fresh start. Remove the old and used toner cartridge and swap it out for a fresh one.

Run a few tests to make sure the cartridge is correctly setup and the printer is properly working.

26. Recycle broken or damaged umbrellas.

Check out the umbrellas in your hallway, mudroom, breezeway, garage, or other entrance to the home.

Are any damaged, broken, or unsalvageable?

If so, recycle them!

27. Charge an electronic device or two.

Which of your electronic devices could use some juice? Round up those chargers and charge up your devices.

Some ideas include your laptop, tablet, smart phone, smart watch, fitness tracker, and backup battery chargers.

28. Donate money to a favorite charity or organization.

Give a thoughtful gift to your favorite charity or organization. You can do so online, via phone, or via mail.

29. Restock office supplies at your desk.

Running low on office supplies at your desk or workstation? Do a quick survey of items you need to restock.

Then, head on over to your office supply cabinet or storage area to restock your supplies.

Alternatively, you can plan on online order to order more supplies. If you’re looking for an office supply checklist, you can take a look at my post here.

30. Pay a bill online or by phone.

Do yourself a favor and take care of that bill payment you need to pay.

You can do this online or by phone, or via postal mail or in person.

No matter which method you choose, make sure you pay the bill and record your payment for your files.

31. Sort through the day’s postal mail.

Learning how to organize mail is a smart move, even in today’s digital world.

Simply taking a few minutes to process postal mail now means you won’t have to deal with a backlog of mail in the future.

Review each piece of mail and sort it appropriately: to be reviewed, to be filed, to be paid, or to be shredded.

32. Delete an unused app from your smartphone or computer.

Have a smart phone or computer app you haven’t used in awhile? Make a decision to either keep or delete the app.

Should you decide to delete the app, take action! Perform the necessary steps to delete it from your digital device.

33. Make your bed.

Give yourself the gift of a freshly-made bed. It’s free, plus it just “pulls together” a room so quickly.

If anything, making your bed can be the start of a productive day. It can also be a satisfying task that allows you say you accomplished one task today.

34. Throw away expired foods and condiments from your refrigerator.

Go over to your refrigerator and open the door. What do you see?

If there’s any expired foodstuffs or condiments lurking inside, you’ll want to remove and dispose of them items appropriately.

Still have time on your hands? Open up your freezer door to take a peek inside and repeat the above process as needed.

35. Redeem a gift card online by purchasing a good or service.

You know those gift cards you’ve got lying about your desk or drawer? Why not put them to use?

You can purchase a workspace item online for your home or office.

You may even choose to purchase a personal item for yourself, like clothing, footwear, toiletries, hobby supplies, and so on.

If you’re hitting the stores soon, you can tuck away your gift card in your wallet or leave a reminder for yourself to use your digital gift card the next time you’re at the store.

36. Place dirty clothes in the hamper or washing machine.

This action step is quick, but super-effective! Round up any dirty clothes in your bedroom or home.

Place the lot into a hamper or straight into the washing machine. You can choose to do a load of laundry now, or later, depending on your schedule.

37. Check your credit score.

Keep your financial life in check. Request your credit score online from a credit reporting agency.

Carefully review the score along with any other relevant information as necessary.

If you’ve got more time on your hands, you could request a credit report from the reporting agency as well.

If you’re in the United States, visit the FTC’s site for more information on obtaining credit reports. 

38. Add your vacation days to your calendar or planner.

If you’ve recently scheduled your vacation days, now is a great time to add them to your calendar or planner.

Be sure to add in any buffer days of preparation or travel, if necessary.

And if you haven’t yet requested your vacation days for the year, you can schedule your vacation time with this helpful tutorial.

39. Update your LinkedIn profile or resume.

Give your professional life a refresh by updating your resume and/or LinkedIn profile.

You can start by adding any new positions, promotions, or responsibilities. Once you’ve done that, you can add in any new skills, education, training, awards, or certificates.

If it’s been some time since you updated your resume, schedule time in your calendar to do more in-depth work at a later future date.

40. Wipe down a countertop or table.

This idea is oh-so-easy, yet oh-so-satisfying!

Grab a clean sponge or paper towel.

Soap up or use a cleaning spray as necessary and completely wipe down a countertop or table.

Repeat as many times as you need until that flat surface shines!

41. Check the expiration date of your driver’s license, passport, or visa.

Take a moment to make sure your identification documents are up-to-date and valid.

Locate your driver’s license, identification card, passport, or visa and look for the expiration date. Jot down the date into your calendar or planner so you’ll have a reminder of it when it comes around.

If the expiration date is rapidly approaching or has passed, take action to renew or update the document.

42. Polish a small piece of silver jewelry.

Looking for a simple, quiet, and one-and-done task?

Head over to your jewelry box or remove a piece of silver jewelry from your wrist or neck.

Pull out a small soft cloth and silver polish and follow the cleaning instructions. In just a few minutes you’ll have a clean piece of silver jewelry that will make you smile.

43. Shred a stack of papers.

This is the perfect time to process a stack of confidential, private, or sensitive papers.

Gather up the papers in question and head on over to your shredder. Shred items as necessary until the lot is complete.

Don’t own a shredder? Do some online research into online shredders for purchase or local bank or government shred-a-thon drives that accept papers to be shred in a safe, confidential, and private manner.

44. Schedule your next haircut appointment.

When’s the last time you had a haircut? Even if you’ve gone to the hairdresser’s recently, you may not have scheduled your next appointment.

Call up your stylist or book an appointment online. Don’t forget to enter the date and time into your schedule or planner!

45. Read a brief magazine article.

You know that magazine article you’ve been meaning to read for the past several days? Take a moment to read it!

Open up your email, internet browser, or pull up that clipping, or magazine issue. Sit down and read the article.

If you’ve got more time on your hands, you can read another article.

46. Vacuum or use a pressurized air canister to clean your computer’s keyboard.

Even your computer keyboard can use some tender loving care every now and then.

Switch off or unplug your keyboard. Round up a vacuum cleaner or pressurized air canister.

Stand over a trash can with your keyboard, and start vacuuming or cleaning the keyboard.

You’ll be glad you did!

47. Go outside for a quick walk and a breath of fresh air.

Feeling a bit foggy in the head? Muscles feeling tight?

Head outdoors for a little bit of light exercise.

Take a walk around the block or a quick walk through your local neighborhood.

If you are pressed for time, set a timer for 2.5 minutes. When the timer goes off, turn around and head back.

48. Refill paper in a printer or photocopier.

Head over to the printer or photocopier in your office or home. Open up the paper tray and refill as necessary.

Don’t have any paper on hand? Place an office supply order for more paper, be it a single ream, case, or several cases.

49. Delete old texts and voicemail messages.

When’s the last time you delete old, outdated, or unnecessary text messages and voicemails?

Pull out your smartphone, cell phone, or landline phone.

Go through your messages and delete any you no longer need, want, or have use for.

Set a little reminder for yourself in your calendar to delete messages in a few weeks’ time.

50. Gather clothes to drop off at the dry cleaner’s.

Go to your closet or dressing area and do a quick survey.

Which of your clothes could use a cleaning at the dry cleaner’s?

Round up all garments, place in a clean shopping bag, and leave by the front door of your home.

Plan on making a trip to the dry cleaner’s today or later this week.

How about you? What other productive tasks can you think of that can be accomplished in five minutes’ time? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

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    About the Author

    Rashelle

    Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based productivity coach and consultant who helps people manage their time and energy so they can reduce stress, work less, and make more money in their careers and businesses. She has been featured in Fast Company, NBC News, The Washington Post, Business Insider, NPR, Huff Post, Fox Business, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.

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