Working efficiently – The magic of 10 minute tasks

I’m in week before vacation mode. You know that time when you’re trying to wrap up projects before stepping away from your desk for a few days? I usually find week-before-vacation to be some of my most productive time. When I have a deadline and I want to be able to leave with a (relatively) clean plate, I get a lot done.

During a period like this week, I make sure that I use every single minute and I realize how much power there is in working efficiently. I’m not necessarily putting in more hours. I’m just making better use of the hours that I usually work.

One of my favourite efficiency tricks is 10-minute tasks.

Often I’ll have a meeting or a task for which I’ve designated a certain amount of time. Sometimes, these things don’t take as long as I planned. Rather than surfing social media or browsing the news–both of which I’ve already checked at least once earlier today–I like to have some quick and fairly easy tasks to tackle.

Here are 10 of my favourite 10-minute tasks. I’d love to hear what you’d add to the list.

  1. Write an agenda for an upcoming meeting
  2. Proofread a report for a colleague
  3. Draft an email for a client
  4. Update a wiki
  5. Outline a blog post that I’ve been thinking about
  6. Pass along an interesting link to a client
  7. Find a few new connections on LinkedIn or touch base with a couple current connections
  8. Provide a status update for a client or co-worker
  9. Review my calendar to make sure I’m prepared for upcoming meetings and tasks
  10. Juggle in those personal things–even when I’m crunched for time, it’s important that life goes on, so that means taking time to reply to that text from my sister or set up the appointment with my dentist

All of these tasks are on my to-do list anyways. Rather than trying to hurriedly wrap them up all at once, breaking them up into small chunks during my day enables me to check them off and keeps me motivated. Plus it can be a bit surprising what I can accomplish in just 10 minutes.

How do you like to schedule your time? What’s your secret to working efficiently?

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