I’m not a fan of the hardware store, so when my husband said he had to run in to pick up a few items, I opted to sit in the car. To amuse myself while I waited, I pulled out my mobile phone to check my Twitter feed. I read and followed and that follow led me to a new follow and by the time my husband returned, I had made 4 new connections on Twitter and had tagged two dozen potential new followers.
Productive and fun!
The next time you’re waiting for a conference call, the kids to get out of school or the water to boil; try one of these short but powerful tasks. You’d be surprised by what you can accomplish in just ten minutes.
1. Perform a brain dump
You’re carrying around a lot of stuff in your brain. Dump it all on to paper. Real paper is preferred but virtual will do if it’s all you have. Write down all the To Do’s, the blog ideas, the things that need fixing and buying, the wish list, the “I really should’s” – all of it. Getting it out of your brain is cathartic and it’s the first step to finally moving forward on those great ideas that never make it past your ears.
2. Follow people on Twitter
Build up your Twitter following by following people in your target audience. The easiest way is to find the Twitter feed of a similar company then click to view their follower list. Now start clicking the follow button. Stick to the first 50 names. They’re in date order so they’re the people who are mostly like to be currently active on Twitter. If you’ve chosen your target properly, at least a third of those people will follow you back. Those are potential customers you just added to your feed.
3. Clean up your computer hard drive
If you’re at home or out with your laptop, use ten minutes to clean your hard drive. Download CCleaner then run a sweep that includes your internet cache and cookies. Don’t remove passwords. You will have to relogin to all your favorite sites but it’s worth it. Clearing your internet cache will make your browser run so much faster.
Next, click the tab the “registry” tab. Click the Scan for Errors button, then choose to fix all. This will help your computer run smoother. If you’re feeling really adventurous, go to the Tools tab and uninstall programs you don’t use any more. Voila! More memory.
4. Backup your computer
Now that your computer is running faster, run a backup. Even if you have an automatic backup system, take ten minutes to copy important documents to a disc or to a cloud drive. Move your photos, books you’re working on, contracts, tax documents, etc. Also move all those “iffy” documents you might need someday then delete them from your current drive. Less computer clutter makes your brain faster.
5. Organize your photographs
Are you one of those people with 200 photos on your phone? Upload everything to your computer; delete bad and duplicate pics, then sort into folders. Label your folders by event, not by date. When you want the photos of Susan’s birthday at Sea World, you may not remember the year but you’ll remember those details.
Once you have the photos batched, use a tool like the Microsoft Office Photo Viewer to rename all of the photos at once. Just type in a keyword and the software will do the rest. No more 3489j0akd9934.jpg.
Ten minutes of exercise will get you pumped up and ready to take on the world. Turn on your favorite dance music and power through 3 songs. (5 songs if you’re sweating to the oldies) If that’s too much for you, search “desk yoga” on YouTube and gently stretch your way to success without getting out of your chair.
7. Make a video
A mobile phone or tablet is all you need to film a short video. Hop on camera and talk about what’s going on in your life or flip it around to show off your latest creation. You’re not making Gone With the Wind so don’t worry about the lighting, the shaky, the setting, the content. . . just film. Upload the video to YouTube or Facebook before you lose your nerve. This isn’t about perfection, this is about breaking the ice. Video is an excellent way to connect with your customers. Try it. You might like it.
8. Skim through a magazine
Magazines have fallen out of favor and that’s a real shame. If you’re a blogger, you can learn a lot from a magazine without even reading the articles. Examine the layout and typography; the formation of the article titles. Note what’s trending and think about how you can put your own spin on the ideas.
Rip out the photos that inspire you and use them to create or add to your vision board. Magazines of all kinds are great visual inspiration if you simply take the time to examine them with a different eye.
Look around you. What do you see? Pile of mail, random toy, empty mug, sticky notes, restaurant coupon, aspirin bottle. Where does all this stuff come from? Take ten minutes and put everything back in its home. Toss the old mail, put the coupons in the car, medicine in the cabinet. . . clear away as much as you can so your work area if free of debris.
Same goes for the car. Put the CDs back in their cases, dig the loose change out of all the pockets, toss the trash from the floor and the bits stuck in the visor. It’s not as good as a car wash, but reducing clutter everywhere will help you function better.
10. Do nothing
The very best thing you can do with ten free minutes is nothing at all. Simply sit still and be. Enjoy your surroundings. Let your mind wander. Consciously brush away all of the worries, the To Do list and the ticking clock. They call this being mindful and it’s a lot harder to do than it sounds. Once you learn the technique, you’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel each and every day.