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Idle fives

I’m not the best example of someone who relaxes enough, but I’ve put in a concerted effort in the last couple of years to set aside real time to do nothing (or only what I feel like doing). So before you glare at me for assuming you should work 24/7 (minus sleep), please know that every night before bed in the last month, I’ve been doodling on my iPad and watching an episode or two of Breaking Bad. I’m not above chillin’, and I think it’s essential the healthy human experience.

That said…

I hate wasted “idle fives.”

I’m talking about those five minutes between when you put your toast in the toaster and when it pops up. Or the five minutes it takes to bring your tea kettle to boil and your tea to steep. Or the five minutes your car takes to warm up on a really cold day (sorry, warm weather dwellers, you don’t get those idle fives). You’re already stuck in a specific place, doing a specific thing that will take a specific amount of time.

And most people I know whip out their phone and idly browse.

STOP. IT. For the love of all that is holy and good, idle fives are gifts from the gods and you are an ungrateful sack for dismissing them with the endless feed scroll.

You know how it always feels like there’s just so much to do and you can never get it all done because where would I find the time?

THE TIME IS THERE. In the idle fives.

You don’t need twenty minutes to sweet the kitchen if, instead of perusing Twitter, you grab the broom and sweep while you wait for your tea. You don’t have to carve out time to tidy your car if you just turn around and collect all of the trash while the engine warms up. You don’t have to set aside time to be social and contact everyone you need to contact if you sprinkle it throughout your day.

Don’t believe me? Fine. Here are more than twenty things you can do in one idle five that will keep your house and/or office space and/or life from being constantly chaotic:

  • Wipe down a table or counter.
  • Sweep a small area of floor space.
  • Wipe down the toilet.
  • Polish up your mirror.
  • Collect trash and misplaced items in a small space.
  • Put some dishes away.
  • Remove objects that don’t belong from a counter or other convenience surface.
  • Organize items inside a cabinet or on a desk.
  • Dust a rarely-cleaned surface like a shelf.
  • Put away a few articles of clothing.
  • Make a to-do list.
  • Make a grocery list.
  • Order that thing you’ve been putting off ordering.
  • Put a piece of art up on the wall.
  • Take the garbage or recycling out.
  • Wipe down the kitchen sink.
  • Schedule that appointment you’ve avoided scheduling.
  • Organize some files on your computer.
  • Log your recent purchases in your budget.
  • Reach out to a friend or family member.
  • Write down a few things you’re grateful for.

Stop wasting your idle fives. They’ll give you idle hours back in the day.

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Published inPersonal thoughts