We are all looking for more hours in the day, but maybe we just need to learn the hours we do have a little more effectively by filling up those unexpected gaps of time with simple 15 minute tasks, instead of scrolling instagram.

You know those times, when you end up with an extra 15 or 20 minute gap in your day?

The one where your kids unexpectedly sleep in, or everyone is cooperative (for once) so you get everything done a little earlier than expected, or even the time you are waiting to get called back at the doctor’s office.

Now let me ask you a question. How are you using that time?

I’m willing to bed that most of you are scrolling facebook, instagram, or your other social media platform of choice just trying to pass the time.

…and as cool as that is, I want to let you in on a little productivity secret that will help you get so much more done in a day…especially when it comes to meal prep.

Use this list of tasks to use up the 15 minute gaps in your day to make your evenings less stressful.

Why you should use the unexpected 15 minute gaps in your day to get more done and be more productive

Using the 15 minute gaps in your day more effectively can literally put hours back into your day and help you feel like you got so much more done, and when you use it for meal prep, your dinner will come together so quickly and easily.

15 minutes really adds up, and I’m willing to bet there are a bunch of items on your list that you could check off 100% in just 15 minutes if you are prepared to get them done whenever the free time happens to come.

How to effectively use gaps in your day with 15 minute tasks

The key to actually using up the 15 minute gaps in your day is to plan for them.

Because a dream without a plan is just a wish, and if you dream about more peaceful dinners and more productive days, you’ve gotta make a plan.

I suggest writing out a list of tasks you can start and stop easily, and that you can likely complete in 15 minutes or less.

Your task can be anything, but don’t choose anything that absolutely has to get done that day…think instead about the little things that you never feel like you have time to get done. Because if you pick a task that’s too important and then life doesn’t give you any “gaps”.

But if life DOES give you gaps, and you’re able to get a bunch of behind the scenes stuff done…you’re going to feel like a rockstar!

25 meal prep tasks you can do in 15 minutes or less.

Because we’re always talking about de-stressing our dinners around here, of course I’m going to suggest using your gaps for meal prep. There are a few other suggestions in there too…mostly about taking care of yourself so you don’t get burned out and can rock your dinner times…but I hope this list gets you thinking and working.

One more thing (before our list)

It’s one thing to have a list, but another to USE that list. Which is why I’ve included a FREE phone wallpaper of my list.

Whether you create your own list or use mine, I suggest making your list of 15 minute tasks the wallpaper on you phone. That way, when you pull your phone out to browse social media you are instantly reminded of quick and easy tasks you could be doing instead.

25 meal prep tasks you can do in 15 minutes

  1. Read to or play with your kids– Fill that attention bucket for your kids and see if they actually let you make dinner in peace
  2. Listen to a podcast, watch a youtube video, or read an article on cooking or kitchen organization-Learning is the key to making a change so using your breaks to learn something new will make your goals seem so much more realistic
  3. Organize your spice rack or drawer
  4. Throw away expired condiments in your fridge-Because an organized kitchen is a happy kitchen!
  5. Submit your grocery order for the week-Yup, in today’s day and age with grocery pickup you can literally do your grocery shopping in 15 minutes.
  6. Take a fridge, freezer, or pantry inventory-Knowing what you have on hand makes meal planning so much faster
  7. Write down your family’s favorite dinners-This is another time-saving trick, don’t reinvent the wheel, your family will love you for keeping their favorites on rotation
  8. Wipe down cupboard doors
  9. Clean stovetop or microwave
  10. Meal Prep snacks for the week (cut fruits and veggies, fill baby food pouches, make trail mix)
  11. Meal prep chicken in slow cooker for the week (try this recipe)
  12. Organize your recipes
  13. Browse pinterest for new recipes you’d like to try
  14. Meditate or take a 15-minute power nap (Sometimes a break is important, but try putting that phone away for an actual break instead of just a social media one)
  15. Plan an upcoming event or party Sometimes I just need something fun to do…if I keep my fun projects on my list, then when I’m perusing pinterest it’s with a purpose in mind instead of mindless scrolling.
  16. Schedule your upcoming week
  17. Make a list of leftovers your family can use up and leave it on the fridge
  18. Make a list of available snacks for your kids and put it on the fridge
  19. Pre-cook your grains for dinner that night
  20. Chop your veggies for dinner that night
  21. Measure out ingredients or make any sauces for dinner that night
  22. Organize a cupboard or drawer in the kitchen
  23. Load or unload your dishwasher
  24. Call a friend or family member just to chat-Remember, making time for you will make your whole life run smoother.
  25. Make a dinner time emergency list (things you can make in your sleep with very little effort)

Download your own list and make it your phone wallpaper for easy access

Want more ideas? Check out this list of 101 15 minute tasks in all categories.

Amanda

Amanda is a dietitian turned mom and food blogger. Her goal is to change lives one family at a time by providing easy, from scratch, family friendly recipes that the whole family will enjoy!

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#18 15 minute tasks you can do to simplify your meal prep
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