Useful Things

20 Useful Things You Can Accomplish In 15 Minutes

Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.
~Anonymous

Life is made up of nothing more than a series of moments. If you can find some way to pull 15 extra minutes out of a hat, you’d better at least use them wisely. Where will you find these moments, and when you find them, how will you use them?

Just 15 extra minutes a day will convert into a powerful 91 hours a year. That’s a massive chunk of time that you can use to acquire new skills and get things done. The benefit is seen when we create a daily habit and commit those 15 minutes to something worthwhile. You can wake up 15 minutes earlier, steal 15 minutes from lunch, after work, or right before bed — the choice is yours.

Once you’ve figured out which sleeve those 15 minutes are hiding under, you’re ready to pick your target. You can mix-and-match from the list below, or choose a specific item to focus on over weeks, months, or even a year. The key is your commitment to cultivate a habit, from which your life will improve.

20 Useful Things You Can Accomplish In 15 Minutes

1. Stretch. If you stretch for 15 minutes every day you will become very flexible. It will be easier for you to move around, exercise, and it will facilitate the flow of blood throughout your body. This extra flow will improve your overall health and improve your mental focus.

2. Read. Pick a time when you can read, without interruptions, for a solid 15 minutes each day. You’ll find that you’re able to get through certain books in a week or two, and you’re increasing your knowledge and mental capacity with minimal effort. You may discover a new passion, or master a subject over the course of a year through this small time commitment.

3. Run. Do a series of short sprints with intervals between running and resting. This is the best way to build up speed and increase your body’s capacity to utilize oxygen. At the same time you will be powering up your body with higher energy levels throughout the rest of your day.

4. Calisthenics. This form of exercising involves sit-ups, push-ups, trunk twists, squats, chin-ups, etc., which basically means using your own body weight as resistance. It’s very effective to build muscle tone and get your exercise on, and it hardly requires any equipment (other than perhaps a chin-up bar).

5. Sleep. I just told you to find 15 minutes, and now I’m recommending that you sleep them away? This one is more useful during the middle of the day. If you have a set schedule, and you can conveniently fit a 15 minute nap, you can catch a second wind that will leave you feeling energized for the second half of your day.

6. Cook. This might not be enough time to make an extensive meal, but it is sufficient enough to put something together. Make yourself a sandwich, or get some leftovers together, so that you don’t have to eat out for lunch. You’ll save a lot of money using this method.

7. Write. Depending on your writing skill, you may be able to take a nice chunk out of writing a 50,000 word novel (it’s less than you think), over the span of a couple of years, if you use your 15 minutes a day wisely. If it takes you longer, so be it, but eventually you will have the finished product in your hand. This won’t happen unless you sit down and write.

8. Talk (aka Listen). You can use your newly found time to build solid relationships with several people, or an even closer one with one special person. You can both look forward to these 15 minutes, whether in person or over the phone, and share your goals, dreams, and accomplishments with each other. If 15 minutes is too little time for you to talk then just listen to them for 15 minutes and they’ll love you for it.

9. Draw. While 15 minutes a day, over the course of a year, may not be enough time to build a professional collection, it’s still mighty useful. You can use these 15 minutes to create several nice drawings, but more importantly it will sharpen your skill and give you a creative outlet.

10. Blog. I’ll admit that it takes me longer than 15 minutes to write a blog post, but you can take the short and sweet approach yourself. In 15 minutes you can craft and publish some witty commentary or useful information about a breaking topic that your readers would truly appreciate.

11. Journal. One of the best gifts you can give yourself is the ability to reflect upon your life. You can do this by keeping a journal of the biggest highlights within your life. Taking just 15 minutes a day to write down how you feel, what you learned, and what you want out of life will help you track where you’ve been and where you want to go.

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12. Visit nature. Bask in the beauty and serenity that nature has selflessly provided us with. Go to a forest, park, or simply sit under a tree, and do nothing, read a book, or chat with a friend. While out walking I saw a kid sitting under a tree with his laptop; while not the most effective use of nature, it still beats doing the required homework inside the house on a beautiful day.

13. Meditate. The research is in, and there’s no doubt that stress is a killer. I’ve learned extensively in my Masters program about the physiological damage that stress causes within us. Meditation is one of the very best ways to relieve stress, and it has many other benefits as well. Do yourself a favor and try this on.

14. Organize. In 15 minute bursts there is a lot you can do to organize your life. You can clean a table top, the desktop on your computer, your bookshelf, organize your clothes, vacuum your house, bathroom, kitchen, etc. Just know that your 15 minutes are dedicated to some form of cleaning, and you’ll notice that your environment and eventually your mind will be that much more clutter free.

15. Plan. Spend 15 minutes planning out your day, or week. By spending time planning every single day you’ll end up saving hours by remembering the right supplies, making special arrangements, and cutting out unnecessary steps. Planning makes a difference.

16. Network. Whether it’s for your job, or some kind of recreational endeavor, you can use your 15 minutes to network and make friends. You can do this by using twitter, or creating a template e-mail and searching out new people to contact with it. Even if you contact 5 people a day, that’s 1825 potential contacts over the year. That’s just the point, it adds up.

17. Research. With Google at your fingertips you can find out some very useful information about your health, hobby, career, or some way to improve your life. You can even buy access into scientific journals and do some significant medical research in your spare time.

18. Play catch. You won’t find too many activities easier than tossing the ball around between two people. It’s great exercise, it’s relaxing yet invigorating, and a great opportunity to talk and bond.

19. Eat slowly. Do not treat eating as one of life’s little inconveniences. Instead, eat slowly and enjoy each bite as if it were your last, and if it were, know that you got the most out of it by using an extra 15 minutes to extract pleasure from each morsel of food.

20. Self-improvement. Take 15 minutes a day to read some articles by your favorite writers who compress massive amounts of information into practical, easy to read, and very informative articles.

 

This article is contributed by Alex Shalman, a freelance writer with degrees in Psychology (BA) and Biomedical Science (MS). Alex writes passionately and extensively about Personal Development at AlexShalman.com while making his way through further studies. Goal #1 is to operate with the greatest good of all in mind and bring value into your life.

Images by Apesara and Bob Jagendorf.

  • http://alexshalman.com Alex Shalman

    Thank you for getting this article up Peter and John.

    • Gregarious Gayle

      I’m pretty old to be a sophomore in college, I mean I’m on Medicare! I feel guilty if I’m not studying in my spare minutes just to keep up with the younger students who have only two decades under their belt verses my six decades of world view and experience. My first chance to go to college and the best and first gift I have ever given myself. Your article of 20 things to do with 15 minutes was refreshing to my mind, body and soul. Studying, yes, and a pleasure also, but there are still those 15 minute segments that can refresh better than selecting that option on the computer! Thank you for the refreshing reminder, life is good. Gayle

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  • http://www.uppermoney.com Paul | UpperMoney.com

    Nice article. As for #20, I can’t think of anybody who does that… :)

    • http://alexshalman.com Alex Shalman

      You’re right Paul, that’s a tough one!

    • http://www.pickthebrain.com Peter

      Ha ha! Yes, there was actually an extra line there I deleted that mentioned a certain site or two. No prizes for guessing what sites they were :)

  • http://financialphilosopher.typepad.com/thefinancialphilosopher/ The Financial Philosopher

    I am not a fan of lists, primarily because they are often marketing ploys that steal attention and distract readers from following their own path.

    I will say, however, that your list does more for self-awareness than others I have seen.

    With that said, I would like to suggest a new #1 for your list:

    1. Do nothing.

    “…non-being is the greatest joy.” ~ Lau-tzu

    “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” ~ Blaise Pascal

  • http://www.zencollegelife.com Ibrahim

    What an excellent article. You have inspired me. Maybe I’ll actually do something today.

    Cheers!

  • http://www.CindySense.com CindySense

    Great article. We can accomplish MUCH when we break it down into bite size chunks. That’s the whole purpose of making 15 minute a day habits.

  • http://yasser.hastalent.net Yasser

    Simple but nice. Very easy things that we forget to do when we have more than 15mins free.

  • http://sirjorge.com/blogx sir jorge

    it’s so true, great article!

  • http://www.AttractionMindMap.com Evelyn Lim | Attraction Mind Map

    It’s nice to know how much personal development we can packed in 15 minutes, rather than wasting the time away.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Evelyn

  • http://winningeveryone.com Daniel Richard | WE

    Alex, here’s one more for the list!

    We can use 15 minutes to think of questions to ask people and gain valuable insights, get inspirational stories, and gain confidence as there are people all around who had went through the same situations that you might probably be facing today.

    Here’s one that I’ve came up with yesterday. The image took me nearly an hour to design, though the question came up in less than 15 minutes. Do love the readers feedback too. :)

    http://winningeveryone.com/question-wall/name-a-defining-moment-in-your-life-and-how-much-did-you-have-in-your-pocket-at-that-time/

    Thinking helps stimulate the brain, and helps in increasing one’s confidence to speak by starting to ask around. That too is worthwhile in 15 minutes.

  • http://www.dweezeljazzart.com/blog/ DweezelJazz

    Sometimes it’s tempting to wait until we have a larger block of time to tackle a thing, and then it never gets done. Using the short periods we almost always have is definitely a way to go for accomplishing many activities. Thank you for the nice article.

  • http://www.etavitom.com etavitom

    Great post. 15 minutes is the perfect amount of time for a walk for me.

  • http://limorefe.com/ Trevor

    One more I’d add: “Think”. Just sit back, eyes shut, and think about where you are in life and where you’d like to be. It’s easy to get so caught up in planning, organising and simply doing “stuff” that we lose sight of the the bigger picture.

  • http://www.ThePharaohsCode.com Tohami, “The Success Pharaoh”

    Hi Alex,

    Interesting article. I like your “chunks” approach.

    Small accomplishments x time = Big accomplishments.

    If you write for 15 minutes a day (avg. 3 pages), you’ll finish a book of 300 pages in less than four months!

    To Your Everlasting Success,
    Tohami, “The Success Pharaoh”

  • http://shanelyang.com/ Shanel Yang

    I don’t do this often enough, but it always makes me happy and it only takes a minute or two (plus it’s free): Watch a YouTube video of a favorite childhood cartoon. Yesterday, I watched an Inspector Mumbly cartoon for the first time since I was a kid and suddenly realized it was probably based on Columbo! I was delighted with the similarities and smiling the whole time while I watched it. I guess this activity would qualify under a new category for your list. Perhaps “play?” Or, “reminisce?”

  • http://Google Linda

    Excellent article. A great way to start a new habit or end an old one. The do nothing comment was especially noticeable for me, ever tried that, it’s not easy but with today’s lifestyles that would be so rewarding.

  • Bones

    What an excellent article!

    Putting 15 minutes per day into hours per year really helps put it into perspective.

    I will definitely be putting aside 15 minutes per day from now on!

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  • Anonymous

    I was going to thumbs up, until you listed Blogging as a ‘worthy thing to do.’

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  • noinnaWeitsReentywag

    xuykvpgskqpjbmzqwell, hi admin adn people nice forum indeed. how’s life? hope it’s introduce branch ;)

  • Edu V

    Great article!

  • simplebutrock23

    nice advice, thank you for having a good time in reading your article,.:-)

  • happy

    thanks.for the article.i have learnt the value of 15 minutes

  • http://www.mypromdresses.co.uk/ prom gowns

    in 15 minutes we can do a lot of things!

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  • Great Article

    Bookmarked :)
    Lovely.

  • http://cognitivearena.wordpress.com/ Jothe

    useful article.. nice ideas to make 15 min precious.. thank you!!!

  • krishna chaitanya

    very very useful to me to plan up my day

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  • Simeon Mladenov

    Very nice advice, thanks for posting this info nicely done!

  • Yesh Ashwini

    Its really good ……………all things can be good ………..its very useful even i have sujested my friends to go to this site

  • http://www.facebook.com/spe91 Stephen Elliott

    very good, very informative but there is only one problem…. i still have ten minutes left

  • http://www.facebook.com/spe91 Stephen Elliott

    very good, very informative but there is only one problem…. i still have ten minutes left

  • UR fucking ass hole

    I asked i hve 15min. online wht do i do…. not this

  • Cgy67

    We did all in 6 minutes not including cooking! Woo

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  • Jack Cheese

    This is a great! I don’t know anyone who would do 20… But, might as well make the idea numbers even and on the dot!

  • Jack Cheese

    This is a great! I don’t know anyone who would do 20… But, might as well make the idea numbers even and on the dot!

  • Jack Cheese

    I have a funny name… :)

  • Jack Cheese

    I have a funny name… :)

  • Jack Cheese

    :)

  • Jack Cheese

    :)

  • Deannecisneros

    These are some really grea examples for accomplishing.

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  • Alejandra2113

    ii Donnt Liikee Anny Of Theesee Imma Teenaageerr! ;D Buut Thxx Thoughh^.^

  • Alejandra2113

    ii Donnt Liikee Anny Of Theesee Imma Teenaageerr! ;D Buut Thxx Thoughh^.^

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  • Adadsada

    I love this i think it is excellent and ususally i dont bother to write comments but this has got a lot of good ideas.

  • Adadsada

    I love this i think it is excellent and ususally i dont bother to write comments but this has got a lot of good ideas.

  • Ddsmile333

    Awesome advise!   :)

  • Swag

    swag

  • Jade Catterall

    rubbish

  • Kaurpana

    This is a brilliant article. In fact, I’ve copied it onto my phone as a reminder to look at. Absolutely brilliant :)

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  • Bolek

    The best thing: pray.

    • common sense

      the best thing for you may be to pray, leave god in church brah

    • SaifuddinMerchant

      Helping hands are better than praying lips !!

    • Chronovector

      I agree

  • Ccdddd

    Fourtjgtrgii

  • http://twitter.com/selfgrowth4ever Vishaun Kistan

    Nice advices.I have learnt the value of 15 minutes. Thanks a lot for sharing this.

  • malcolm

    good step to follow i will follow all the step and live a rich and gr8,happy life,tc,byee

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  • Emily Taylor

    Unload or load the dishwasher.
    I always avoid it thinking I don’t have time… but in reality I can do it while I’m waiting for the kids getting ready to head out for errands. If I’d just do it right away, it wouldn’t sit, haunting my ToDo list.

  • Molly

    I’m going to eat my dinner slowly now!

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  • Rshrhfjrvfktb 3909

    You really should pray

  • Glitteryxwolf

    Hello umm have 15 min jog or walk or run

  • http://www.simplecapacity.com Nikola Gjakovski

    Wow … I haven’t visited Pick The Brain in a while and I stumbled it …. Great post! I guess #20 is done for today!

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