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Got 20 minutes? Ten things you can do right now and feel great

Last updated on: October 09, 2013 14:09 IST

Got 20 minutes? 10 things you can do right now and feel great

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It’s amazing what you can achieve in that little time. Read on, be amazed and put it to practice. It isn’t that difficult.

Not having the time is perhaps the easiest (and the most popular) excuse for everything you don’t do -- a workout, a meal, a telephone call… the list is endless. But if you really think about it, you don’t need an awful lot of time to get any or all of these things done. As a matter of fact, an awful lot can be achieved in no more than 20 minutes. Take a break from work and get one of these things done. Chances are you’ll return to work a more efficient person.

1. Shut down your machine and take a walk

Sitting is the smoking of our generation. Inactivity is one of the greatest curses of our times. So there’s probably no greater favour you can do yourself than to get off that office chair and go for a walk. The weather is turning chilly and the Indian summer and muggy monsoon is behind us. Make the most of it and step out for a brisk 15- to 20-minute walk.

If your office has a gym, try out this scientific seven-minute workout that appeared in the AmericanCollege of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal earlier this year.

It features 12 exercises and uses nothing more than your body weight, a wall and a chair requires some amount of effort to get through the seven minutes. Don’t write it off; try it out!


Photographs: Ckaroli/Creative Commons

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2. Say hello to someone you've never spoken to before

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Unless you work out of your house or an exceptionally small office, there are good chances there is someone working with you that you’ve never spoken to before… or at least haven’t spoken to in a long time.

Make the most of your 20 minutes and reach out to that person, just as you would have back in your school playground.

In times when mobile phone and computer screens are taking up more of our attention, do this little thing to renew your human connection. Who knows you may make a new friend!


Photographs: Transloid/Creative Commons
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3. Take a lunch break

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For many of us, our desk becomes our lunch table. Having lunch means it eating mindlessly while you surf Facebook or watch some silly video.

Make an exception during your lunch break by actually taking one. Step away from your computer screen and have your meal in peace. Join your colleagues for some lunchtime banter and return to your desk a more cheerful person.


Photographs: Development Gateway/Creative Commons
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4. Don't smoke during a smoke break

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Sure, it isn’t always easy giving up smoking. But let today be the day when you say to yourself that you won’t smoke during your smoke break.

Distract yourself with a cup of coffee or chai or, if you’re feeling particularly keen on living healthy, some green tea!


Photographs: Chelsea Marie Hicks/Creative Commons
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5. De-clutter your desk

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You’d be surprised how easy it is for things to pile up on your desk.

Take out some time, organise those piles of papers, throw away e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g you don’t need and you’d find yourself working purposefully towards your goal.

The thumb rule for discarding anything is if you’ve not used it for six months, you probably don’t need it anyway.


Photographs: Doug Belshaw/Creative Commons
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6. Call up your partner

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The hectic activities of the day can draw you away from your partner.

Being disconnected for over 12 hours every day and then returning to take charge of household chores is bound to affect your relationship. Take some time to know what s/he is doing and tell her/him about your day.

Not only will it help you rekindle the love that is lost in the everyday humdrum of ones existence but you’d also find yourself feeling lighter after having spoken (or perhaps) vented out.


Photographs: Cory Dalus/Creative Commons
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7. Catch a nap

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Not a lot of offices will take it very kindly if you’re caught napping at work, literally. But power naps are known to increase one’s efficiency.

Just resting your head on your desk for 15 minutes or so or going away to a corner where you can catch 40 winks can work wonders. Before doing so though, ensure you have your boss’ permission.

If you’re working in a particularly formal environment, take the initiative to institutionalise the practice. 

Whatever you do, don’t ever, ever, be caught napping if you’re new in your job. No one will be very happy about it, least of all you.


Photographs: slworking2/Creative Commons
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8. Catch up on the news of the day

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Unless you’re a journalist, it’s quite unlikely you’d be checking news websites every few minutes. Make the most of your 20 minutes to catch up on what’s been happening around the world.

Lots of things happen while we are busy looking at our computer screens: dictators fall; governments change; there is an uprising somewhere and nations are born.

Take some time out to know what is happening outside of your office. Apart from making you aware of your surroundings, it might just be the topic of conversation at your boss’ dinner party.


Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
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9. Do whatever it is you've been putting away

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Procrastination is the bane of our generation.

Blame it on the fact that we let our parents do most of the things we hate -- be it filing taxes, paying bills or calling up the AC maintenance person -- but all you really need are 20 minutes to get these things in order.


Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
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10. Perform an act of kindness

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Get off Twitter and stop slamming the government. Ask what you are doing to make things better for the country.

It doesn’t take an awful lot to perform an act of kindness. There are hundreds of charities that could do with your financial assistance -- be it Baba Amte’s Anandwan that works for leprosy patients or Joe Madiath’s Gram Vikas foundation that provides water and sanitation to rural communities.

If you aren’t feeling particularly charitable, simply register yourself at Khushroo Poacha's Indianblooddonors.com and commit to donating blood when needed.


Photographs: Symphony of love/Creative Commons
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