The Most Meaningful Things You Can Do If You Have 2, 5, 15, 30 or 60 Minutes

A plan for those spontaneous pockets of time

Mike Sturm
Published in
5 min readFeb 17, 2020


Photo: ConvertKit/Unsplash

We tend to think about “productive time” in long, uninterrupted stretches, which is why we never seem to have much of it. But the key to good time management isn’t finding more time to work on the things that matter — rather, it’s about effectively using the chunks of time that already exist in your days.

The trick is to make yourself see time differently. For instance, the five minutes it takes to stand in line at the grocery store might not seem like a lot of time to you, so you might as well scroll through social media (or if you’re like me, go down a Wikipedia wormhole). But try this: Set a timer for five minutes and just stare at it, watching the seconds tick away. You’ll quickly see that it’s a substantial amount of time that you can fill with meaningful action.

The important thing is to make a plan for these chunks of time, so whenever you’re presented with them, you can get moving. Here are some great things you can do with two, five, 15, 30, or 60 minutes.

If you have two minutes, you can …

Read/answer/sort non-critical emails

In two minutes, you can sort or reply to a handful of emails or Slack messages that require only a quick response. (Perhaps this is the time to practice emailing like a CEO?)

Record ideas that have popped up throughout the day

For those familiar with David Allen’s Getting Things Done system, this would be like a mini mind-sweep. Get the stuff that’s been weighing on you out of your head and closer to being handled.

Send a funny or uplifting text

The strongest relationships are often built through tiny, consistent acts. Let a friend, colleague, or family member know you’re thinking about them by sending a hilarious meme or wishing them luck on their job interview.

Reach out to someone in the professional world who you’d like to get to know better



Mike Sturm
Writer for

Creator: — A simpler personal productivity system. Writing about productivity, self-improvement, business, and life.