If you’re like many freelancers (me included), there’s just not enough time in the day. This is especially true if you’re seeking to maintain a healthy work/life balance.
It’s easy to think that you need a lot of time to make a difference in your freelancing business, but that’s not always the case. A few minutes a day, over time, can really add up and may even make a real long-term difference.
In this post, I’ve listed some tasks that each take approximately five minutes (give or take a little) to complete. While these tasks may seem simple (and of necessity, they are), they can still make a difference in your freelancing business.
Five-minute Tasks for Freelancers
Do you have a few extra minutes? Don’t waste that time! Even a little bit of time can be used productively. Here are over fifteen five-minute tasks for freelancers:
- Open and read an email. Is that email inbox overflowing? Maybe you don’t have time to read every single email that you got today, but if you have five minutes you can open and read one. Who knows? That could be the email that contains a client offer.
- Listen to a voicemail. Like our email inboxes, sometimes our voicemail inboxes are overflowing. The thought of listening to all those calls can be overwhelming. Guess what? You can tackle those voice mails one at a time. Most voice mails take less than five minutes to listen to.
- Send a thank-you note. In our thankless culture saying “thank-you” is outside of the norm. If you do it, you’ll stand out as being different (in a good way). Your note doesn’t have to be long–just a few lines with those all important words (“thank-you”) will do.
- Add a automatic signature to your emails. Be sure to include your name, business name, a brief description of your business, and your phone number.
- Download a software update. Okay, granted some software updates take longer than five minutes, but many do not. If you have a quick update you’ve been putting off, why not use five minutes and get it over with?
- Stretch. Get out of your chair. Stand up. And do a few stretches for five minutes. The exercise will do you good. You may even feel more productive afterwards.
- Put something away. Does your office get cluttered? Mine too, especially when I’m busy because I don’t have time to properly organize it. Guess what? We can attack clutter one piece at a time. It takes less than five minutes to put a single thing in its proper place (or throw it away).
- Read a blog post. Most blog posts can be read, or at least scanned, in less than five minutes. So, the next time you find yourself with a few extra minutes browse to your favorite blog and read a post. Who knows? You may even learn something helpful. :)
- Leave a comment. If you’ve taken the time to read a blog post, it will just take a few more minutes to leave the blogger a comment. Your comment will be appreciated and may be the start of a relationship with that blogger.
- Update your profile image online. When was the last time you updated your social media profile image? Were you still in high school at the time? You’ve grown since then and your image should reflect that. Take a few minutes to replace that old Facebook or Twitter profile image with a more recent snapshot.
- Retweet, Like or Google+. One of the reasons social media is popular is because there are many ways to participate. While some people can get caught up in social media, most social platforms offer quick voting options. It literally takes seconds to register a vote. For Twitter, use the retweet button. For Facebook, it’s the like symbol. For Google+ there’s a plus one button.
- Pay a bill. Do you have a stack of unpaid bills that you keep forgetting to deal with? Dealing with the whole stack might seem overwhelming, so how about tackling them one at a time. It takes about five minutes to open an envelope, write a check, and put a stamp on the return envelope.
- Invoice a customer. You’ll need some money to pay those bills, so how about sending out an invoice for that project you completed last week? Or, if you have a client who is over two weeks late in paying you, you may want to resend the invoice as part of your collections effort.
- Hug someone. Unfortunately, sometimes we freelancers can get so wrapped up in our work that we forget about those who are closest to us. Keeping those relationships strong is a good way to maintain a healthy work/life balance. Take five minutes every day to hug someone you love, whether it be your partner, your child, or even your pet.
- Look out the window. For years I worked in a cubicle with no window to the outside. In the winter, I would get the feeling of there being no daylight because I would arrive at work before the sun was up and leave after it went down. It was eerie and I didn’t like it. As humans we need our environmental references for good mental health. So, every now and then during the workday take five minutes and walk to a window and look out.
- Turn off an unused light or appliance. Look around you. Is something using power when it should be turned off? If you work at home, make sure to turn out the lights when you leave a room and unplug an appliance when you are finished using it.
There you have it. Over fifteen ways you can put an extra five minutes to good use.
Tasks done in five minutes really can accumulate and make a difference in our freelancing business and in our lives. What quick, helpful tasks do you do?
Image by julianlimjl