Let’s face it: from time to time, every legal professional feels overwhelmed. Work piles up and the to-do list keeps getting longer. Then, once the workday ends, family obligations take over. Even though we’re constantly rushing about, it can sometimes feel like we aren’t actually accomplishing anything.
In times like these, it is important to be able to feel like you are, in fact, getting things done. It is also critically important to take the time to take care of yourself, so you have the will and ability to keep on going.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 things you can get done in five minutes or less. Some of them are work-related – little things you can check off that to-do list in the moments before you leave the office. Others are things that are simply meant to treat yourself and lift your spirits or refresh your body.
Have five minutes? This list is for you.
#1 The five-minute workout
We all know the truth. When things get busy, our workouts are usually the first thing we abandon. They take too long, require an entire change of clothes, and can leave us feeling hungry and exhausted. Yet, workouts don’t always have to be that way.
Setting aside five minutes to move your body can have both physical and mental benefits. Even if you just stretch or lift small weights in your office for five minutes, you’re sure to feel less burned out and more motivated to get on with your day.
#2 File a document
Often, filing deadlines loom over us for weeks. The entire team works seemingly around the clock to do the research, craft the argument, write the brief, cite-check the references, and compile a perfect document for presentation to the court.
Then comes the editing, formatting, and double-checking of rules.
The good news is, once that document is ready to file, that last, crucial step can be accomplished in a matter of minutes. You’ll probably even have time to review top articles from our Support Center about the eFiling process while you’re at it.
#3 Get rid of the clutter in your inbox
Do you ever wonder how you got on so many email lists? Subscription emails pour in every day, clogging our inbox with information we don’t want or need.
One great productivity exercise you can do in five minutes is to unsubscribe from those emails. Just think, by spending a few minutes unsubscribing today, you’ll save yourself countless minutes dealing with those emails in the future.
#4 Sit up straight
One of the bad habits we all get into when we’re stuck at our desks is adopting poor posture. Over time, these unhealthy positions can start to stick – even when we’re not working. That’s why some experts suggest getting up and checking yourself out in the mirror.
If you notice you’re slouching or your head is starting to permanently tilt to one side, you’d do yourself a big favor by simply focusing on assuming the correct posture for five minutes a day. Over time, you might just lose some of those poor posture habits for good.
#5 The five-minute journal
That’s right, they’re saying that five minutes of writing in a journal with specific questions and prompts can make you feel happier. How? Studies have shown that expressing gratitude can have significant health benefits, and that writing down goals increases the likelihood that you will achieve them. This idea can also be found in app form now.
#6 Serve those papers
The complaint has been filed and now you’re faced with the daunting task of serving the defendants. The problem is, they are spread across 13 different states and you can’t even comprehend how long it is going to take to find competent process servers in each jurisdiction.
Not to worry! Let us handle it. One Legal has a nationwide network of process servers at the ready. Just visit our process serving page for a quick overview and let us do the footwork for you!
#7 Give a compliment
One of the best ways to boost morale in the workplace is to give meaningful compliments to co-workers. Just think how great you feel when someone compliments you. The compliment doesn’t have to be elaborate. Something as simple is “good job with that deposition prep” can make someone’s day. It can take less than five seconds and it might even make you feel better at the same time.
#8 Take a break
According to a famous productivity principle called the Pomodoro Technique, afive-minutee break following every 25 minutes of working is a great way to stay on task. When a deadline is approaching, it can be hard to walk away from your desk at all. Nonetheless, those short five-minute breaks will increase your mental clarity and help keep you focused throughout the day.
For unbeatable ease, there is even a Google Chrome plugin with a timer that tells you when it’s time for your five-minute break.
Not surprisingly, some of the busiest legal professionals are those who have not learned to say the word “no.” They also tend to be the most stressed out. If this sounds familiar, it is time to learn the subtle art of delegation.
Think about it, if you take five minutes to assign one of your tasks to someone else, you may have just saved yourself hours and hours of work. Meanwhile, your co-worker is gaining valuable experience and you might have the chance to take a whole 10 minutes away from your desk tomorrow!
#10 Five-minute yoga
Sometimes sitting up straight isn’t enough, and you need to spend some time stretching and easing your body. Yoga is one great way to do that, and One Legal’s Lili Daniel has even written an entire post full of movements for that five-minute break.
There are inevitable tasks and projects that are bound to take longer than five minutes. But before you get discouraged or feel overwhelmed, consider the many tasks and to-dos and healthful things you can do in a matter of moments.