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10 Productive Activities You Can Do Within 30 Minutes

For many of us, it feels like we don’t have enough time in a day. We wake up, we go to work, we go home, then we go to sleep.

However, while we’re complaining that we are too busy to do anything productive, we also spend a lot of time watching a K-Drama episode or binge on YouTube. Worse, we mindlessly scroll through social media for 15 minutes at a time throughout the day.

But if we’re just honest with ourselves, most of us know that we can spare at least 30 minutes of our day for something more productive and will pay dividends in the future.

Here are 10 productive activities which we can insert in 30-minute of our free time.

1. Reading

How many times have we been in a situation when we read a Facebook post and dive deep into the comment section while stalking a commenter’s profile? I know many of us are guilty of it.

However, most of the time, what we read on Facebook or Twitter is mostly gossip, trivial, or superficial stories that can make us angry, amused, or judgy. A better alternative should be reading a book – any book, as long as it is informative.

When it comes to reading, an undistracted 30-minutes can give you enough time to read a chapter or two of a book, depending on your reading speed and book format.

It does not even need to be 30 straight minutes of reading, especially if you’re just starting to pick up the habit. You can incrementally build up your reading habit from 10 minutes a day until you can read for 30-minutes or more.

2. Journaling

Journaling is one of my ways of releasing stress. This blog, RatRaceRunning.com, initially started because I wanted to transfer my ideas and frustrations in paper or electronic form.

I know Journaling may sound like a “diary,” but I can assure you that it is more than just that. It offers therapeutic benefits, which many of us need.

It can clear our minds of the things that are running in our heads and trap them in paper. Well.. at least that is what I usually do.

3. Meditating

Meditation can have different applications or interpretations but almost always offer a way to reduce stress.

It may be as simple as staying still in a quiet place and contemplating many things, or it can also be a silent prayer and a way to commune with God in silence.

In a world that can no longer keep calm and quiet, may we find a few minutes of our day to be still.

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Joshua 1:8 (NIV)

4. Exercising

Believe it or not, but exercising does not require a lot of time. Yes, it can be exhausting, but it is not always time-consuming. There are even exercise routines that are as short as two minutes.

I usually do the 7-minute workout routine, and if I am not feeling so tired, I can do two sets of it. It may not cause my body to achieve a perfect shape, but it can help my overall fitness level and maintain my weight.

Thirty minutes of walking or biking are also great alternatives for those who think they don’t have enough time to exercise.

One of my previous managers loves walking meetings. We would talk about our meeting agenda while walking at a relaxed pace, away from our cubicles or shared spaces. It is hitting two birds with one stone.

5. Studying

When I was still in my old IT job, I needed to continuously take Microsoft Certifications as part of my credentials. However, I don’t have enough time, or so I thought.

Then I stumbled upon a book called “Learn Windows Powershell in a Month of Lunches.” This book was genius because it takes away my alibi that I don’t have time since I still eat lunch.

Like how that book prepared me for my certification exam, our lunchtime study hour can also be applied to study different fields. YouTube, for example, is one of the good places to learn many topics for free. The only problem is how not to be distracted by the funny videos that it may recommend.

Besides videos, you can also research the Internet almost any subject you want to learn. Personally, I often read blogs and articles on Medium to find ways on how I can improve my writing.

6. Doing Household Chores

Thirty minutes can be a lot, especially when it comes to household chores.

Since many people are now working from home, it is almost impossible to separate personal and professional life.

To decrease stress, doing ‘mindless’ chores like washing the dishes, cooking lunch, or folding the laundry can surprisingly be relaxing.

7. Listening To A Podcast

Listening to podcasts has become one of my favorite pasttimes since the pandemic began.

With Spotify, Stitcher, Google, or Apple Podcasts, there are a wide array of choices. There are educational, humorous, relaxing, or inspirational podcasts that you can choose from.

Listening to a podcast can also be done while doing your household chores or exercising.

8. Sorting Emails

Oh, emails… The one thing that has been taking away so much precious time. We usually don’t even notice it, but going through emails can take a lot of time for corporate employees.

Blocking your calendar for less than 30 minutes a day can be more productive than reading or replying as they go.

It is crucial to learn that not every email is a high priority, even if they tag it as such ;).

9. Catch up with a family member or a friend.

With a more connected world than ever, it is ironic that many of us feel more disconnected.

So with at least thirty minutes, we can talk with a family member or a friend and discuss what they’re up to.

It can be as simple as saying “Hi!” or learning about their whatabouts. Connecting with others can even make someone’s day.

10. Taking a Nap

Funny as it sounds, but taking a nap can be one of the most productive things you can do with your 30 minutes. It can refresh your body and brain, make you more attentive, and have a sharper memory.

Don’t think of napping as loafing or laziness. Instead, think of it as a way to reset your body to do more challenging tasks.

Final Thought

Thirty minutes may be short for a movie, or just right for an ML game or to complete a show episode — or it can be a great way to build productive habits.

It may feel like we just don’t have enough time to insert any of the ten activities listed, but trust me. There are so many gaps in our day that we fill with mindless scrolling on social media.

We need to slowly take good care of our time because it is the only resource that we cannot take back once it’s gone.

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