Sally is a business communications coach who gives workshops on how to keep your professional reputation squeaky-clean and drama-free.
Get One Small Task Done Each Day
Everyone is looking for a better, faster, smarter way to do things around the house, but there never seems to be enough time to get to all the little things that need our attention. Or is that just a myth that we’ve been taught to believe?
If you set aside 20 minutes per day to do one small project, in one year, you’ll have added an extra 121 hours of productivity to your life. That’s more than three weeks' worth of full-time work!
Eight 20-Minute Tasks and Projects for Productivity
To get started, here are seven small projects that should take no longer than 20 minutes to complete. Many of these tasks are easily overlooked on a day-to-day basis until you are eventually inconvenienced, or worse, put in harm’s way, because you neglected to tend to these 20-minute tasks.
1. Write a Note or Letter
Hand-write a note to your mom, grandmother, uncle, or any other elder in your life. Put a stamp on it and mail it. Even if you don’t think you have anything useful to say, people love getting handwritten letters and notes in the mail. Now, do the same for a small child in your life: your own child, a grandchild, or a niece or nephew. Kids love getting mail addressed to them. You will feel good, and your recipients will feel good too. I can almost guarantee it.
2. Guard Against Credit Fraud
Order your credit report from a legitimate credit reporting agency, not from a pop-up site on the internet. In Canada and the United States, you can order your credit report for free from Equifax. If you aren’t sure how to read your credit score when your report arrives, visit the agency's website for a glossary of terms, tutorials, and even live help-line.
3. Roll Up Your Savings
Dump out that glass jar of small change that has been sitting on your dresser forever and start rolling your pennies and loose change. Set the rolls aside in a sturdy bag and deposit them in the bank next time you run errands. You can deposit the cash into a savings account, your child’s bank account, or even a foreign currency account.
4. Organize Your Pinboard
Take down stale, dated articles, notices, coupons and other flotsam and jetsam, so that the space above your desk is neat and tidy. Remove those business cards, expense receipts and invoices that you tacked up months ago and file them properly.
5. Test Your Smoke Alarms
Test all the alarms in your home and replace the batteries as needed. While you are at it, check the expiry dates on any household fire extinguishers you own. If the extinguisher has expired, purchase new extinguishers on your next trip to the store and then dispose of the old ones responsibly, as per the container’s label.
6. Check Your Zombie Apocalypse Kit
Ok, so maybe you won’t ever need an emergency kit to fight off Zombies, but you should have a well-equipped supply cabinet of food, bottled water, first aid supplies and other essential items in case of natural disasters or major emergencies. Check the expiry dates on canned and non-perishable food items, bottled water, medications, batteries and other energy sources. Make a list of items that need to be replaced and take it with you on your next big shopping trip.
7. Sort Through Your Office Supplies
Do you have a desk drawer full of pens that don't work and markers that have run dry? Then toss them out! The same goes for stubby pencils with no erasers, dried up white our and crusty glue bottles. Once you have sorted through your supplies, If you find out that you have multiple items in that are still in good condition, (i.e.; felt pens, erasers, rulers, etc) consider passing those along as art supplies to your kids or give them to any high school or colleges students you know.
8. Keep All of Your Online Accounts Secure
Even though your accounts may not have been compromised, it’s always a good idea to change your computer passwords on a regular basis. Take some time to renew your passwords for greater online safety and security. While you are doing that, back up your files and run a full virus scan on your computer.
These are just a few examples of important things you can get done by setting aside an extra 20 minutes in your day. The possibilities are endless. Take 20 minutes and write down all the things you could get done in 20 minutes! Share them in the. comments! You might not be able to do a 20-minute task each day, but if you find yourself idle, bored, or facing writer’s block, you’ll have a handy list of things that you can start working on.
Bonus: Quick Tricks and Tips for Decluttering
- If it is broken and you can't get it repaired toss it. Take all broken electronics to a proper recycling facility.
- Remember that letting go of sentimental items doesn't mean that you are forgetting the person who gave you the item. The love and friendship you shared with that person is much stronger than any object, no matter how cherished it is.
- Put items that you are not sure you should get rid of yet in a box or closet in your basement with a Use By Date note posted on the outside. If you haven't thought about or unpacked that item by the expiry date then that's a sign you probably don't need the item anyway.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2012 Sally Hayes
Kathy Sima from Ontario, Canada on April 22, 2012:
Great hub! I like your idea of taking 20 minutes a day to tackle simple tasks, and can see how it could certainly make me feel more productive and organized. I'm going to make a list right now for 20 minute projects I'm going to tackle this week. Thanks for the inspiration!
Amelia Griggs from U.S. on March 05, 2012:
Hey, great hub...I love saving time, and these are great little to do's and they accomplish a lot in a little time! Good job. :-)
Roberta McIlroy from Ontario, Canada on March 04, 2012:
awesome ideas! Thank you for sharing them
Mary Hyatt from Florida on March 03, 2012:
Good ideas here! Thanks.