Five Tasks You Can Complete in Under Five Minutes

Putting Tasks Off Wastes Time

I often feel overwhelmed by all the tasks I have to cram into a day. The house needs cleaning, the bills cry out from the desktop, and the refrigerator sits forlorn and empty. Make a meal? Ain’t got time for that! If you’re a caregiver, completing chores seems even more difficult.


I have the type of personality that gets easily distracted, but I started school before kids got diagnosed with ADHD. I can sit and read for hours, or quietly stalk birds with my camera waiting for the perfect shot. But buckle down and clean the house? Nope.

The Five-Minute Friday community has taught me that one can accomplish an awful lot in a mere five minutes. I now use my timer for more than just the Thursday night ritual of writing and hitting publish. Many simple household chores take five minutes or less to complete.

My Top Five Five-Minute Tasks

1. Empty (or load) the dishwasher (that’s right, on the advice of our dishwasher manual, we don’t rinse our dishes first).
2. Load the washing machine and fold a load from the dryer.
3. Sort the mail and pay the bills.
4. Scrub the shower, sinks and toilets in one bathroom (hey, not with a toothbrush!).
5. Iron an outfit.

I have learned to set my timer and focus for longer periods, too, knowing that I can reward myself by quitting the onerous task when the timer goes off. If I don’t dawdle over the tasks I dislike, I have more time to accomplish the things I really love.

What about you? Do you put off tasks because you think they’ll take too long rather than deciding on how long you’ll take to do the task?

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

Please note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Anita, I love this. Concise, compassionate, and useful. Truly, you are the Number One Caregiver Resource!

    #1 at FMF this week.

    • Aw, thank you, Andrew! Sometimes I get a little long-winded. Five Minute Fridays keep me on task ;).

  • Good advice. I do tend to put off tasks I don’t enjoy and it only makes it take longer, but you can accomplish a lot in 5 minutes if you are intentional about it. I might have to try your idea of setting a timer.

    • It’s amazing how motivating it can be!

  • JeanneTakenaka

    Great post, Anita. I admit, I do put certain tasks off because I’m afraid they’ll take too long. I’m also with you on using a timer. The timer is my FRIEND. I use it to time myself for purging (I’m going through every room in my home…and I love it!). I use it for my boys, and I’m going to begin using it for the more unpleasant tasks. 🙂

    • House purging is sooo difficult (yet so rewarding). It’s probably time I did a little of that again, too (once I clean out the inch of red dust in all the window tracks…).

  • Susan

    I love that timer idea!

    • 🙂 If it works for Five-Minute Friday, it should work for emptying the dishwasher!

  • I like that timer idea, too. It might also help me not spend too much time at once on the computer. 🙂 I’m learning, too, that a lot can be accomplished in a short time if we just get started. Blessings to you, Anita!

  • Katha VD

    What a great idea to use the timer for household chores!

  • I use the timer too. And I let myself move on to something else when I hear that blessed “ding” because I know that I’ve done my best in that time and will do so again. I can move on or – gasp – take a break because I was faithful to doing the icky stuff. 🙂 Visiting from FMF#23.

  • Tara Ulrich

    Those are all things that I often do when I know I have five minutes. We really can get a lot done in five minutes. I’m over in the 37 spot this week.

  • Amber Taube

    So true. I often feel overwhelmed by the tasks at hand but if I gave them 5 minutes instead of fretting over them, they’d be done! No dishwasher here so I am trying to wash the dishes as they get put in the sink!

  • great post anita:) i’m with you. i think i was at least ADD if not ADHD. my brain was running all the time. had a horrible time focusing. didn’t have any trouble learning to read so that fooled some people. i’m told one sign of ADD in girls can be talking too much. that was me for sure:) it was always a comment on every report card. who knew?

    i love your guide to 5 minute jobs. that has helped me a lot! i have loved learning about doing jobs, especially the ones i hate, in blocks like that. enjoy your day:) i’m in slot 80.