30 minutes, half an hour, one episode of international house hunters, that’s all the time it will take to do something your future self will thank you for.
When I get home from a stressful day at work, the last thing I want to do is tackle the abundance of tasks on my to-do list. Especially when I just have “CLEAN EVERYTHING” written at the top in big letters. When I start to think about a large task, like cleaning the whole house or going through all my clothes, I am immediately overwhelmed and inevitably put it off until I have “more time.” So the task just grows and grows until I feel like I need 72 hours and an entire support system to get through it.
This mindset is clearly not helpful, so to fight it I’ve started being very specific on my to-do lists, and breaking up any large task into different items that can be completed in 30 minutes or less. I call these taskers – like a tasker at work, it’s not some big project I need to digest and plan out, it’s just a task that needs to be completed quickly and efficiently. Checking just one item off every weekday evening is a success in my books, and makes plopping my butt on the couch with a big glass of wine feel even more satisfying. I’ve shared some of my favorite taskers below, but take a look at your own to-do list and see if there are any big scary items that can be broken up into smaller pieces!
Have a half hour? Do one of these:
I have a one-bedroom apartment, so I can vacuum the whole thing in about 15 minutes. This is a great tasker because it’s mindless, and I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I finish. Sometimes I’m even inspired to do a quick pass with the swifter mop afterwards. If you have more surface area to cover, try just doing one section of your home at a time.
Declutter (but like, only a little)
Decluttering can seem extremely overwhelming. One way that I’ve simplified it is to give myself a goal of how many things in a category I want to get rid of (2 shirts, 4 books, etc.). I pick my category for the evening, and once I hit my goal, I’m done! I don’t need to pull out every item and give it a hug and think about all our good times. I just need to identify ones I know I’m ready to part with – and leave the big production for another day. Usually when I decide to do this I already have a couple items in mind that I’ve been thinking about letting go. Previously, I would have kept them around until I went on a rampage and decided to declutter everything I own. By getting rid of this mental roadblock, I’ve been able to make small decluttering sessions part of my regular routine.
Major kudos to those people that dedicate half their Sunday to meal prepping beautiful, nutritious meals for the week. I am not one of those people. However, I do enjoy snack prepping. This usually involves cutting up whatever veggie I’m enjoying with hummus that week and portioning them into individual servings. You could also cut up some fruit, hard boil eggs, divide an entire bag of chocolate chips into snack bags, whatever! No judgment here. My snack prep always has minimal effort and clean up, but maximum reward. Cause, honestly, what better reward is there than snacks?
Tidy up your personal inbox
If you’re anything like me, your personal inbox gets a bit…neglected. I have a separate work email, so my personal one is mostly just promotional emails and notifications that my package has shipped (I get a lot of those…). I don’t check it every day, and things can really start to pile up. Taking a little bit of time to sort through it goes a long way. Take half an hour and unsubscribe from some of the promotional emails you don’t care about anymore, archive or categorize anything important you want to be able to reference easily, and delete what you don’t need. Making time to tidy up your lesser-used inbox prevents important emails from getting buried, and stops the unread madness before it gets, like, really bad (7,000 unread emails say what?).
Reach out to a friend or family member
Okay, I’ll admit, this one sometimes goes over 30 minutes when I call someone and we get to chatting. But time spent connecting with friends and family is always well spent in my books (and can sometimes be just as relaxing as a big glass of red). Staying in touch with people can be intimidating, especially if you want to rebuild a relationship where you’ve lost touch. But it just takes consistent effort, and half an hour goes a long way. If I find myself thinking of someone I haven’t talked to in a while during the day, I’ll make a note on my to-do list: “reach out to Amy to catch up” “write a just-for-fun card and send to Aunt Lisa.” Don’t put too much thought into this one – just do it. Putting it off just robs both you and your loved one of time together.
QOTD: Those are some of my favorite taskers to do when I’m short on time but want to get something done – what are yours? Leave them down in the comments below!
Katie is an urban planner 9-5, and a trier-of-new-things always. Her latest endeavors include moving to a new city (San Antonio), taking cooking classes, and entering stage right for beginners improv. She believes that embracing change is the foundation for growth, and encourages everyone to try something new this week. She’s also an INTP, Taurus sun, Sagittarius moon, and Enneagram 7, if you’re into that stuff!