35 Things to Do with a 5 Minute Break

35 Things to Do with a 5 Minute Break

On the days I'm working at my desk, I frequently use the Pomodoro technique to keep me on-track and efficient. If you aren't familiar with the technique, the idea is to use a timer (via the app, or a kitchen timer) to track certain amounts of time for work followed by a certain amount of time for a break in which no work related activities are allowed. After several short breaks, you get a long break. Traditionally, it's set up to work 20 minutes with a 5 minute break, but some people will do 30 minutes of work and 10 minute breaks or even 90 minute work sessions followed by 30 minute breaks. It all depends on the task you're trying to complete and what you think will work best for you. 

For me, I usually stick to the 20 minutes on, 5 minutes off schedule, so I find myself with a lot of 5 minute windows throughout my day. When I first started using this technique, I didn't even know what to do with the 5 minutes. As someone who is constantly "on" and considers scrolling emails and Instagram as down time activities, I'd almost forgotten what it was like to do something non-work related. Five minutes felt like an eternal void to fill. But with a little time and practice, I've now managed to come up with a list of things that make me wish I had more than five minutes in a break. 

Whether you use the technique or not, many of us have small blocks of time throughout the day, so I thought I'd share my ideas of things you can do in 5 minutes, because mindlessly scrolling through our phones in our free time is a habit we could all do without....

  1. Call a friend or parent
  2. Walk around the block
  3. Load the dishwasher
  4. Empty the dishwasher
  5. Wash dishes
  6. Put away dishes
  7. Sweep the kitchen floor
  8. Organize your spices
  9. Clean out the fridge or freezer
  10. Shred old papers
  11. Water your plants
  12. Find a recipe for dinner
  13. Pull out the non-perishable ingredients for dinner
  14. Pay a bill (or bills)
  15. Read a chapter of a book
  16. Make the bed
  17. Change the sheets
  18. Fold some laundry
  19. Take out the trash
  20. Dust a room (or, if you have a piece of furniture with a lot of knick knacks, just do that one piece)
  21. Organize a folder in your inbox or on your desktop
  22. Pray or meditate
  23. Draw or color (Ya know, in your adult coloring books!)
  24. Have a dance party
  25. Do a yoga stretch or two
  26. Lift weights
  27. Do a few desk exercises
  28. Practice phrases in a language you're trying to learn
  29. Clean out your purse
  30. Make a cup of tea, hot chocolate or coffee
  31. Have a snack
  32. Work on a crossword puzzle
  33. Work on a craft project (knitting, calligraphy, etc)
  34. Order flowers as a surprise for a loved one
  35. Write a letter or postcard to a loved one (Don't forget to mail it!)


I'd love to know- what do you do with a 5 minute break? Is there anything that I left off of this list?