Got a few minutes? Use them to recharge
Published: Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 11:14 p.m.
We like to imagine it in long, glorious stretches — hours upon hours to read a book, watch a movie, play golf, even do a load of laundry from start to finish.
Well … Snap! Wake up!
You know it never works that way.
"As a parent of young kids, you get these little pockets of time," says Cynthia Copeland, a mother of three, stepmother of three, and author of "Fun on the Run! 324 Instant Family Activities" (Workman Publishing, $8.95).
"Two minutes here, three minutes there. … Figuring out how to use that time wisely is the ultimate in organization."
Fact is, there's plenty you can do while you're sitting in the carpool lane, letting the meat sauce simmer or waiting for soccer practice to end.
Copeland says you've got two options: "You can do something refreshing — a quick nap, some yoga, read a junky magazine. Or, you can decide to accomplish something. Either way is great."
We've pulled together 50 five-minute activities for some common free-time settings.
Read them, do them, or just let them inspire you to make the most of your spare moments.
Perform a "five-minute room rescue," a la FlyLady.net: Clear a path through your worst room.
Do it for a month, and you'll have that room under control.
(But you know, even the path is an improvement.)
Straighten one bookshelf.
Grab a cookbook you haven't opened in awhile (or ever).
Flip through it, pick one recipe and pledge to make it.
Go to your computer.
Create a new playlist.
Slide 15 songs into the playlist.
Burn it to a CD.
Sort the recycling.
Change out the photos in some of your picture frames.
Brown some ground beef or chop some onions.
Bag it, freeze it, and that's one less step the next time you cook.
Condition your wood cutting board with some mineral oil and course salt.
Play with the dog.
Touch base with your child's teacher.
Ask if there's anything specific he should be working on.
Read the bulletin board to see what events are coming up.
Admire the artwork in the hallways.
See if you can pick out your child's work without looking at names.
Make a lunch-account payment.
Check the PTO or booster club board for volunteer opportunities.
Sign up to help with one.
Strike up a conversation with a parent you haven't met.
Take a brisk walk around the playground or gym.
Go through the lost-and-found bin.
(There's that mitten!)
Grab this month's lunch menu from the office.
Pick your favorite entree and plan to have lunch with your child that day.
Offer to make some copies.
In the car
Hit the radio scan button and stop on a new station.
Give it five minutes before switching.
Clear the seats and floorboards of cups, tissues, action figures and Cheerios.
Found some gum wrappers?
Start a chain, then give it to your child to continue.
(For a quick tutorial, go to www.funology.com/boredombusters/bb014.htm.)
Refold your maps.
Start a gas mileage log.
If you have one, update it.
Clean out your purse.
Look at your key chain.
What's that key for, anyway?
Get rid of it.
Organize the glove compartment.
Organize the trunk.
Recline your seat and take a power nap.
Write a card or letter to an old friend.
Do some stretches.
Call your spouse, call a sitter, set a date and make dinner reservations.
Organize your coupons; throw away the expired ones.
File your nails.
Make a grocery list and/or plan the week's menus.
Cast the docu-drama of your life.
Who would play you? Your spouse? Your mother?
Think of a new tradition or ritual your family could start
It could be annual (going out for ice cream on the last day of school), monthly (every third Friday is family movie night), or weekly (a 20-minute walk together each Saturday).
Write out your to-do list for tomorrow, this week or this month.
(Include that new ritual.)
Write a poem.
Read a magazine.
Read the paper.
(Hey, you're already here!)
Try one of the puzzles (Sudoku, Jumble, Cryptoquip).
It's good for your brain.
Make a list of 25 (or 50, or 100) things you want to do in your lifetime.
Try these tongue twisters:
Mrs. Smith's Fish Sauce Shop.
Black bug's blood.
Play "what if": What if you won $10 million?
What if you could travel anywhere?
What if you could have one super power — which one would you pick?
Put your feet up, close your eyes and breathe deeply.
These spare moments don't last long.
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