Put short bursts of time to good use

If I had a surveillance camera in my kitchen, there would be a lot of footage of me at the microwave. I warm up the same cup of coffee several times. And since I often drink a couple of cups a day, that’s a lot of reheating.

But I put those 30-second bursts to good use. Thirty seconds doesn’t sound like much time, but I’ve learned that I can get quite a bit done while my coffee is heating up. Maybe I’ll empty the drainboard. Or I’ll move something from the counter back where it belongs. I might take the recycling to the garage, or simply close the cabinet doors. My coffee-reheating habit keeps my kitchen nice and neat!

Grabbing a few seconds here and there to take care of little things is a great strategy. It’s not hard—it can’t be, when you only have seconds—so it doesn’t feel like work. The tasks you accomplish may be small, but the cumulative effect is large.

This habit really helps me keep clutter at bay. And as a bonus, when it’s time for a bigger job, I can do it faster and more easily, because I’ve already taken care of those small tasks. For instance, my nighttime kitchen cleanup goes quickly because I’m not dealing with a whole day’s worth of messes.

I have several of these slivers of unused time scattered throughout my day, and do my best to make them productive. While I wait for my computer to boot up, I look around for things to straighten out or put away. Our water takes forever to heat up, so while I’m waiting to wash my face, I wipe down a counter or put out a fresh hand towel. If I’m waiting for a family member to put on a jacket or tie a shoe, I’ll take a look around our entry, to see if there’s something I can put away before we head out the door.

I love how this easy practice makes such a big difference in my house. It’s a much better way to spend my time than watching a mug spin around in the microwave, don’t you think?

Where are your tiny pockets of time? How do you use them?

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Nancy Vorsanger loves how her organized home makes her family’s life easier. She opened her own organizing business to help other families get—and stay—organized, with practical, no-fuss strategies tailored to their own needs and lifestyles. Nancy also loves coffee, word games, blogs, her husband, and her children—not in that order. She lives in central New Jersey.

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