Tick tock, tick tock: 20 ways to use 20 minutes

So you’re stuck at the never-ending soccer practice or hanging at the rink waiting for the game to start or wondering if the softball coach is ever going to stop talking. Don’t let those precious minutes go to waste! Got 20 minutes to kill? Here are 20 things you could cross off your to-do list.

  1. Update the contacts in your phone
    Grab your team roster, new school buddies’ numbers and start updating your phone with the new information. In 20 minutes, you’ll be up to date!
  2. Clip and file coupons

    2. With three ice bills, I save money any way I can. Coupons save me 20-25%.

    Save the inserts from the Sunday circulars and use this time to clip and file, weed out the expired coupons and figure out which ones you should use on your next grocery trip. For people who say it isn’t worth it, I say 25% off my three-teenagers-grocery bill is well worth it. That’s typical for me, with little effort.

  3. Read one chapter of a book
    You’d be surprised how many books you can read if you take advantage of 20 minutes here and there to get some reading in. The key is to always have a book handy. And once you get started, you might be up for a challenge.
  4. Clean out your wallet
    Old receipts, unused discount cards, scraps of paper and last year’s proof of insurance are all clogging up your wallet. Clean it out and in 20 minutes, your wallet won’t be 6 inches thick.
  5. Make a menu plan for the week
    I find domestic skills generally challenging so I enlist the Internet for help. Meal Planning Magic is a good resource for planning meals, or my favorite recipe source, AllRecipes.com.
  6. Take a brisk walk or squeeze in a quick cardio
    Even 20 minutes of exercise has long-lasting health benefits. Dr. Oz has a quick 20 minute cardio workout, or just throw out your athletic shoes and go for a walk.
  7. Sew on a button
    Or tack up a hem or any of those domestic skills I’m not good at but I do anyway. And truly, if I can do it, so can you. Here’s a good web tutorial to help.
  8. Wipe down the inside of your car
    Keep a container of those pop up interior wipes in your car and wipe off the footprint on the dash (am I the only one that has those?), dog drool off the window and sticky fingerprints from the door handles.
  9.  Go through that pile of papers
    We have a spot in the kitchen where everything gets dumped. No one wants to own it so it becomes my job to go through it. Bring it along and use that wait time to sort through it. Organized Home has some helpful tips but I usually go with three piles: action, file, dump.
  10. Sort through catalogs and mark items to purchase or compare shop
    Got a big pile of catalogs? Let’s go shopping! Go through and mark items for birthday presents and other gifts, order on the 1-800 number and you’ll have your holiday shopping done right from the parking lot.
  11. Make a list of things you need to do
    I know, right? But writing it down makes it easier to track and there’s something so satisfying about crossing that stuff off. Mashable.com shares some great apps for list making.
  12. Call your mom

    12. Call her, she misses you.

    No, really. She misses you and just wants to know how you are doing.

  13. Update your calendar
    Make sure the teacher conferences are on the calendar, don’t forget the latest practice schedule, business meetings, etc. In 20 minutes, you are current on it all.
  14. Write a thank you note
    Writing a thank you note is a lost art and it’s one thing that makes you feel as good as you did when you received the gift or the kindness. So thank someone for a birthday present, a favor, an interview or for just being awesome. Need help composing your message? Here it is.
  15. Catch up on business or trade publications
    In the magic mom bag I keep a stash of sticky-noted business journals that my boss thoughtfully leaves for me to read. Or I’ll grab a good business mag like Wired or Fast Company to see what all the cool kids are doing.
  16. Write out a grocery list
    A good list will save time and money at the grocery store. Real Simple has tips on creating a master shopping list or take the easy way out and download this list.
  17. Pay some bills
    Checkbook and bills

    17. Paying bills the old-fashioned way.

    Grab the checkbook and your stack of bills as you head out the door and take care of all that unpleasantness.

  18. If you’ve got Internet access, clean out your email
    Inbox Zero is a pipe dream for me but I know people that have actually done it. Fist pumps and high fives for them. I’d be happy to get rid of all those unnecessary “reply all” messages.
  19. Write a blog post
    With simple blogging sites like Posterous and Tumblr, you can have a blog post up in 20 minutes. Now, for a literary masterpiece like this one, it’s going to take a little longer but it doesn’t have to. You’ve got 20 minutes, so post it.
  20. Meditate, pray or do nothing at all
    Sometimes just chilling out for 20 minutes is a better use of your time than anything else. Relax, breathe and enjoy the benefits of meditation. My grandma took 20 minutes a day to say the rosary. Whatever calms you, do it for 20 minutes and your whole outlook will change.
Do you have any tips on how to use those extra minutes hanging around waiting for the spawn? Share your tips.

3 Comments on “Tick tock, tick tock: 20 ways to use 20 minutes”

  1. Diana Hampo says:

    I love this. Twenty minutes is forever if you don’t have a plan. I like cleaning out my glovecompartment and looking for lost shoes in the car too.

  2. Beau says:

    These are great ideas!

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