12 Most Delightfully Old School Things to Do with Ten Free Minutes

12 Most Delightfully Old School Things to Do with Ten Free Minutes



The more technology that swirls around us, the more it seems I crave glimpses of a slightly slower time, when people didn’t send a text message first to see if someone was available to Skype.

Here’s a list of some things to do if you find ten minutes on your hands. Oh, and put down your smart phones. These are all throwbacks to, let’s say, a quainter era.

1. Write a thank you note

So, you didn’t just have a birthday? Or don’t “owe” anyone a note of gratitude? How about leaving a card for the mail carrier, or your son’s teacher? Or your mom?

2. Clear a pile on your desk

Oh, the light sense of freedom that banishing some clutter can create! Okay, so you won’t get your whole office straightened. Don’t let that deter you. Even a few minutes of desk-clearing can bring a solid sense of progress and accomplishment.

3. Cuddle someone you love

You might be getting dinner ready, or doing laundry or making the grocery list. These tasks are all important. But they can also usually be pushed aside for a few minutes. Go find your kids, your partner or your furry four-legged companion and give ‘em a good squeezing.

4. Make amends

Ten minutes is not going to afford enough time to delve into a soul-searching quest to repair serious interpersonal damage. But, were you short with your sister on the phone yesterday? A little snippy in that email to a friend? Maybe too curt with a colleague this morning? Take a moment and let them know you’re sorry about it.

5. Sew on a button

At one time or another, most of us have had an item of clothing we kept sliding aside in the closet because it was missing a button. When you take a few minutes to fix it, you’ll thank yourself next time you’re running late and really need that exact garment.

6. Breathe

Close your eyes, quiet your mind and drink in some soul-calming oxygen.

7. Allow yourself to daydream

Give yourself permission to let your brain have a micro-mini vacation. It’s okay — and probably even necessary — every once in awhile to just be. No agenda, no problem to nut through and no negative self talk allowed, though!

8. Offer to help someone

Undoubtedly, you have a skill that others really value. A colleague, neighbor or friend might really dread a task that you find relatively easy, or even fun. I’m on a nonprofit board that’s hosting a big fundraiser. The organization’s director was already being pulled in a million directions and still needed to draft a letter for the event program, which was due at the printers — yesterday. A job that was going to heap more stress on her was something I could do in about ten minutes. So I volunteered to do it. She just had to look it over. Ahhhh.

9. Smile

As you’re out doing a quick errand, smile at the store assistant helping you. Or at the other customer in line. Or at the harried mom who looks like she needs a break. A pleasant, genuine smile is a small gift. Why not spend a few minutes passing out some free joy?

10. Reconnect with a friend

Life gets so busy that we sometimes forget to make time for people we really love to see. Pick up the phone and set a date to get together with one of those folks. Who cares if it goes onto the calendar during a week that’s a ways away. Take a few minutes and get it set up.

11. Do something nice for yourself

Eat a healthy snack. Stretch. Book a massage or some other treat. Yep, you deserve it!

12. Be grateful

We all have days that are tough to bear. But we also have so much to be thankful for, if we stop to think about it. Remind yourself of a few of them and reflect about how fortunate you are, as a result.

I love technology, social media and my iPad and iPhone. And I shudder to think of having to give up Twitter, email and Bluetooth in my car.

Despite that, I am happy to occasionally “multi-task” by just humming while folding clothes. Let me know what you think.

Featured image courtesy of Thomas Hawk licensed via Creative Commons.

Becky Gaylord


Becky worked as a reporter for more than 15 years in Washington, D.C.; Sydney, Australia; and Cleveland, Ohio for major publications including the New York Times, Salon.com, Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, and was Associate Editor of the Plain Dealer's Editorial Page before she launched the consulting practice, Gaylord LLC. The company helps clients improve their external relations and communication and increase their influence and impact. Becky blogs about that (a few other things) at Framing What Works.

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