10-Minute Task List – Clear the Clutter, Free Your Mind

Clusters of Minutes

I started thinking about how I use the cluster of minutes in each day. 10 minutes to spare here, 5 minutes there and I often squander those minutes away. I am not one to need my house squeaky clean or perfect. But I like it organized and not step on Cheerios on the floor. I have 3 children: the oldest 8, the youngest just under a year. We like to enjoy our time as a family. I teach my kids to work hard and they enjoy helping me do chores. But I do not want to spend every waking moment cleaning, scrubbing, or sorting. I would create a 10-minute task list.

Spare Moments

As I was thinking about the spare moments of time, I decided to come up with a list of things I could do in just 10 minutes or less. These are items that would help lessen the overwhelm of life and help keep me more organized. It was all in the name of being more productive.

I find that when I sit down to work on a project, my mind is suddenly overcome with all the things that I’ve neglected. All sorts of distractions creep their way into my conscience demanding attention at that time despite the fact that they were nowhere 10 minutes earlier when my mind was not trying to focus. Thoughts of the cluttered bathroom counter, the clean dishes in the dishwasher, loads of laundry yet to be started.

Making a 10-Minute Task List

It sure would be nice to have a list of things on hand so I knew where my weak spots were. I needed a list of things that often get neglected or overlooked but can be done quickly. So what I could do is 10 minutes before I started a project, I would choose two or three things from this list, do them, and put my mind at ease. And maybe my house would be kept a little tidier as an added bonus.

1/6/18 Update:

I have had a huge response using this idea and would love to feature individuals who have started using this method. Use #InMy10Minutes and tell me what you have done in your 10 minutes and tag me on Instagram or Twitter @ChocMusings

The Intent

The intent is to create a reference for those chores that plague my mind and distract me from my project so I could take care of them before I sit down. So I made a quick list on my cell phone. Google Keep (keep.google.com) is my go-to resource for keeping notes – I add to it from my phone or computer. I brainstormed for about 7 minutes and compiled a list of all the things I could think of that distract me when I have a chunk of time set aside for something else.

Have 10 minutes? Make a bullet journal collection with a list of household jobs that take 10 minutes or less then see what you can accomplish. 10-Minute Task List

Keep Vs. The Journal

You might ask: ‘Why not use Keep instead of creating a bullet journal spread?’ I would respond that I have found that I will remember things better if I physically write them down. I use Keep to jot down quick notes in succession, but largely they remain forgotten unless I do something more with the notes I take.

Bullet Journaling gives me a place to keep everything together and if I make my notes pretty, I am more liable to refer back to them. It’s the way I’ve learned that I work. So this is also why I don’t rapid log in my bullet journal. I want a more finished product. Keep is a rapid log system for keeping notes that may or may not develop into something in my life. In a way, it is like an electric brain dump.

Magic Happens When you Write it Down

I’ve heard numerous times throughout my life that the brain connections are more powerful when you write something down. Not only are you thinking about it, but the physical transfer of electric brain pulses controlling your fingers to form letters, spell words, complete sentences creates an even stronger memory as there are now multiple senses involved. I could go on and on about my passion for writing, but that isn’t the point of this post. So here are a couple articles I found related to why I like to write things down. (I find this stuff fascinating!)

Other research highlights the hand’s unique relationship with the brain when it comes to composing thoughts and ideas. Virginia Berninger, a professor at the University of Washington, reported her study of children in grades two, four and six that revealed they wrote more words, faster, and expressed more ideas when writing essays by hand versus with a keyboard.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/memory-medic/201303/why-writing-hand-could-make-you-smarter

The act of writing is a complex cognitive process relying on intricate perceptual-sensorimotor combinations. As a highly sophisticated and comprehensive way of externalizing our thoughts, giving shape to past memories as well as future plans and dreams, sharing our stories and communicating our emotions and affections, writing always involves the skillful handling of some mechanical/technical device, and necessarily results in a visuographic representation – some kind of (more or less) readable text, in the form of a string of letters or symbols.

https://www.intechopen.com/books/advances-in-haptics/digitizing-literacy-reflections-on-the-haptics-of-writing

Magic in My Own Life

So after I created this list of items to do in 10 minutes, I went on with daily life. Then something magic happened. It was just as the kids were going to bed. they were slowly getting into their pajamas, brushing their teeth, filling water cups, trying to prolong the process as long as possible.

I found myself with about 10 minutes as the bedtime routine dragged on. Instead of harping on my kids, I used the time to tidy the kitchen, put dishes away, fold towels from the dryer, start a new load of laundry. In the meantime, the kids straightened the living room while emptied the garbage, de-junked some surfaces, straightened my desk. I competed against the mini-timer in my head.

After goodnight kisses and the kids tucked in, I looked around and approved. I never referred to the 10-minute list I made but I didn’t need to. Instinctively I knew what was on that to list. Immediately my brain realized that I had 10 minutes and set an internal timer. Once that imaginary timer dinged – the sense of accomplishment blossomed. The best part is it didn’t take an hour or two! All it required was a mere 10 minutes.

What Happened After

A wonderful thing happened later that night as I sat at my desk wanting to work on a project. My mind was clear! Undone tasks did not hang guiltily over my head. Thanks to those dedicated 10 minutes, I found a mindful peace and added focus to the task at hand.

I’ll review it and add to the list every once in a while to keep it fresh in my mind and let the magic keep happening.

Remember to plan your life so you live beautifully.

~Tricia

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9 thoughts on “10-Minute Task List – Clear the Clutter, Free Your Mind”

  1. I absolutely love this. I think a list of small items is crucial to getting things done — especially with two small children!

    I’m the same way that I need to write things down or it goes into the abyss of millions of other saved items on my phone!
    Patti recently posted…Planning As A Rye: 2018 SetupMy Profile

    1. I have a goal of starting fresh for the new year in my phone and my Instagram ideas collection! I’ll probably migrate it to the end of January and make it be a monthly thing.

  2. I absolutely love this. I think a list of small items is crucial to getting things done — especially with two small children!

    I’m the same way that I need to write things down or it goes into the abyss of millions of other saved items on my phone!

  3. I love this article and I think it’s so helpful. I know I’ll have things to do but I get so overwhelmed that I waste so much time thinking about it. Blocking those things out to 10 minutes or less really helps to separate and organize your tasks. Once you get in the flow you’re unstoppable. Do you recommend doing the list the night before or at the beginning of your day as things come up?

    1. Hi Victoria, thank you for your response! I tend to do them when I am distracted. I sit down at my desk and have wasted 20 minutes doing nothing because all I can think about are those dirty dishes in the sink. So I take 10 minutes, do the dishes and if I have time left over, I tidy up my desk, sweep the floor, start the laundry, etc. Each task seems to grow in importance in my mind as it needs to get done. So I choose the ones that are most important and I do them especially when I am distracted by something else. Or I will tell myself before starting a project “take 10 minutes and do this and that and this” and then I am better able to focus on my project.
      Love your insights!
      Tricia recently posted…Why Use a Future Log – Even If It’s Late.My Profile

  4. Such a simple, great tactic! I have definitely noticed that even when I only spend ten minutes on a task I don’t feel bad checking it off of my to-do list for that day, and getting a small amount done each day is better than letting the overwhelming task in its entirety go unfinished. I can see how it helps with having a clear head at the end of the day, for sure!

    1. Hi Rachel! Thanks for your comments. This is exactly how I feel. The whole task seems impossible for the amount of time needed dedicated to it, but it’s like eating an elephant. One bite at a time. The other day I looked at my kid’s overflowing art supplies and knew I didn’t have enough time to go through them all. But I went through the crayons and got rid of the ones without paper and that were broken. They don’t use those anyway. So next I think I will make ‘grab baggies’ and sort them into groups of crayons in baggies so they can just grab and color and have all the colors they want in that bag.
      Tricia recently posted…Why Use a Future Log – Even If It’s Late.My Profile

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