5-Minute Organizing Tasks (10+ to do while you wait)

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How much time do you spend each day waiting? Waiting at an appointment. Waiting for a meeting to start. Waiting for the train, subway or a ride. Waiting for a friend. We usually waste that time playing around on our phones. Waste those little chunks of time no more. Use those 5 to 15 minutes chunks of time to get organized with these 5-minute organizing tasks that you can do while you’re waiting.

close up of hand holding cell phone next to cup of coffee with lid with title text reading 5-Minute Organizing Tasks you can do while you waiting for an appointment, bus or friend

Rather than being annoyed with the time you’re stuck waiting, take advantage of the found time and spend it getting organized. When you’re organized you’re:

  • less stressed
  • more prepared
  • more in control of your workload
  • saving money 
  • saving time
  • better able to handle unexpected tasks or changes to your schedule

How many of us really need to spend 5 more minutes on social media or playing games on our phones? Instead, could you accomplish a 5-minute organizing task? And how many of us can use more organization in our lives? Let’s take advantage of that otherwise wasted time spent waiting. 

5-minute Organizing Tasks – You Can Do While You Wait

Delete Old Emails – This one is easy and yet most of us put it off. Why? Because it’s not much fun. It’s scut work. But it’s work that does need to be done or you’ll never be able to find the important emails you need among all the email clutter.

  • Start with your in-box.
  • Skip all the way to the oldest emails in your in-box. It’s easier to make decisions on old emails, so by starting with the oldest ones, we’ve found our pace and by the time we get to the more recent emails and it’s not as difficult to decide which ones to keep and which to delete. 
  • Start deleting ones you no longer need to keep.
  • If you have file folders set up, put emails you want to keep into folders you already have. Don’t have to bother creating new ones at this point. If you don’t have a folder, but want to keep the email, just leave it in your inbox for now. We’ll organize them in the next task.
  • Depending on how many emails you have in your inbox, this task may take several 5-15 minute blocks. Just come back to it whenever you can. And start from where you left off. 
  • Once you’ve tackled your inbox, then move on to clear out folders you have. Always start with the oldest emails in the folder first. 

Organize Emails – After you’ve taken the time to delete unnecessary emails, it’s time to organize them so you can find what you need. You’ve probably already identified some categories you need when you cluttered your inbox in the first task. Take time to decide while type of filing system makes sense for you.

  • Folders by year (and possibly month)
  • Folders by family member name or client name
  • Folders by work project
  • Folders labeled alphabetically
  • Folders labeled for your unique needs

Free Up Space on Your Phone – Go through and evaluate all the apps, documents and photos you have on your phone. Remove anything you don’t want or need to keep. This task will take several to many 5-15 minute sessions. Just do as much as you can during the time you have and then pick it up again the next time you can find 5 minutes. Work on freeing up space by reviewing one category at a time:

  • Apps
  • Documents/Downloads
  • Contacts
  • Photos

Organize Your Phone Screen – Consider what is the most useful screen organization for your needs and your personal working style. 

  • Put most used apps on the home screen
  • Put most critical apps on home screen
  • Organize by type
    • Social Media
    • Photo
    • Work
    • Scheduling
    • Game
    • Family
    • Medical
  • Organize alphabetically
  • Organize personal apps on one screen, work on another and games on another

Plan tomorrow’s, next week’s and next month’s schedule – Take advantage of this time to plan ahead, Wouldn’t it be nice to be in control of your schedule rather than reacting to life? Start by planning tomorrow’s schedule and then move onto planing the week and even the month’s schedule. As you take advantage of your 5 minute time blocks, you’ll find that you’re able to plan farther and farther into the future. This means that you will be in control of much more of your schedule and life and think of how much less stress there will be.

pink spiral notebook with silver pen on white table with title text reading Benefits of Using a Bullet Journal

You can plan on your phone or in my favorite option, a bullet journal. Studies have shown that writing things down help you process and remember tasks better. 

Create a Task List – Create a To Do List for your most pressing task. Break that task into:

  • Specific Tasks – Rather than “Get Decorations”, be specific by area, type or use use of decorations.
  • Smaller Tasks – Rather than “Make Guest List”, break that down into “Make Guest List – Family”, “Make Guest List-Work”, “Make Guest List – Neighbors”, etc.
  • Add All Tasks – Write down every task you can think of. You can always eliminate tasks you determine are unnecessary later. 

Just as with schedule planning, bullet journals are a great way to keep track of To Do Lists. Of course, if you prefer digital lists, there are many apps that you can use. 

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For more 5-minutes organizing tasks, head over to page two. 

Find all my best organizing tips, hacks, printables and favorite products in the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

Photo by Redd Angelo on Unsplash

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  1. What a great idea! I have been trying to break the habit of playing some game and read more on my kindle app, but I really like this idea, as well!

  2. These are all great ideas, and perfect timing! I’m going to start subbing again this week and these are tasks I can work on during recess or lunch.

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