I’m in a season where I’m not always able to block out large chunks of time to get things done. With three kids, one of whom is still in preschool (meaning I only have approximately 12 hours of kid-free time a week—if no one gets sick or has a teacher workday!), I spend hours of my week sitting in carpool lines and driving to and from schools and kid activities. Add in work and general home management, and free time quickly disappears from my schedule.
So while I have a long list of projects I want (or need) to tackle, I’ve been putting them off because I can’t find enough hours to do them in.
The Game Changer
I finally realized I had two options: I could either be annoyed that I didn’t have the big chunks of time I thought I needed, or I could figure out how to work with what I’ve got. Option two won, and a $15 Amazon purchase has been a game changer for me in taking advantage of the time I do have. Instead of letting little pockets of time go to waste, telling myself I can’t actually get anything done in the fifteen minutes I have before I have to leave for carpool, I’ve been using this cube timer.
I know I could use the timer on my phone, but using the cube keeps me from being tempted to check email or social media “really quick” and spending all of my time there. Ten minutes is my most-used setting, but the timer comes in different colors (each featuring different lengths of time).
How I Use It
When I realize I have a little pocket of time available, I pick something that needs to be done–whether it’s folding laundry, doing dishes, an area that needs decluttering, or a few emails I need to send—and set the timer. I always try and leave a five minute buffer before I actually have to walk out the door/jump on a Zoom/whatever my next activity is, so that I have a little bit of transition time.
Now that I’ve been using it for a while, I’ve also trained myself to know that when I flip the cube over to start the timer, I will be single-mindedly focused on one task for this short burst of time. No multi-tasking, no getting distracted—I’m committing myself to ten minutes of focus. Because I work from home, I also use these ten minute bursts when I need to stop looking at a screen or clear my head before moving to another task. It’s a great way to keep up with household tasks without letting them eat up more of my day than I want.
Seeing how productive I can be in these short little bursts has really changed my attitude and narrative around my time. Instead of getting frustrated that big chunks of time to work on projects always seem out of reach, these little pockets of time have become some of my most productive moments!
What are your productivity hacks for making the most of little pockets of time? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
*This post was written by Laura Bass, Whitney English team member.
*Amazon links are affiliate