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What can you accomplish in 15 minutes? Quite a bit! I shared some productivity tips with writer Lisa Rabasca Roepe for her recent Fast Company article, “Got 15 Spare Minutes? Here’s How to Make It Count.”

Maura Thomas has been featured in Fast CompanyThis article focuses on how to use those stray pockets of time that might pop up in your day when, say, a meeting wraps up early or you’re waiting in line for your coffee.

Write a Motivating To-Do List

Your ability to be productive when you have only a few minutes hinges on the way you write your to-do list, I explain in the Fast Company article.

If your list is full of vague, imposing-sounding entries — like “develop budget” — that makes it hard to dive in and take immediate actions when you have a few spare minutes. Instead, write your tasks with specific language that tells you exactly what you need to do. An example: “Enter totals into spreadsheet.”

However, instead of the categories that the Fast Company article recommends for you list, I would point you toward the categories I spell out in my book, “Personal Productivity Secrets.” Those categories include Next Actions (a single-step action you can do in one sitting) and Waiting For (items that are your responsibility, but that are out of your hands right now).

Be Productive By Pausing

One of my favorite productivity tips is that sometimes the most productive thing you can do is nothing.

I point out in the Fast Company article that instead of diving into your to-do-list, it’s also productive to practice mindfulness, do a guided meditation, do some deep breathing, or even just close your eyes for a few minutes. Little breaks like this keep your mind energized. And they can lead to those “aha!” moments of creative insight.

I also love some advice that Marie Levey-Pabst, founder of Create Balance, shared in the article. She recommends using spare moments to reflect on what makes you grateful. This would be a sure-fire mood booster!