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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

9 10-Minute Activities That'll Make You Better at Your Job (and Impress Your Boss in the Process)

When you think of what you can do in 10 minutes, you probably think of taking a shower or checking your email—nothing too crazy.

But, what you may not realize is that this is actually plenty of time to do something far more productive and valuable, like get ahead in your career.

Wait, but how? We asked nine successful entrepreneurs from YEC to share the best ways you can advance your knowledge and skillset in just 10 minutes of free time. Because why not take advantage of every second you have?

1. Research and Pick a New Podcast to Listen To

I love listening to podcasts as I’m driving or walking. I’ve learned so much from hearing different career stories, and it entertains me during my down time.

Allie Siarto, Allie Siarto & Co. Photography

2. Learn From Experts

Identify an expert in your field and spend 10 minutes a day analyzing his posts on social media, his blog, or videos of him speaking. Pay attention to how he words things and how he appeals to audiences. Make time in your schedule for 10 minutes a day to do this, and in a year’s time, you’ll have spent over 60 hours learning from the masters.

Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

3. Learn Anything Outside of Your Job

It’s often the most unexpected things that contribute the most to our careers. If you’re living in an information vacuum and only learning things directly relevant to your job, those bolts of lightning won’t strike. That’s why I spend my free minutes during the workday unwinding and learning something completely new, whether it’s through a short video or an interesting article.

Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital

4. Skim Industry Publications

Stay on top of your industry by using 10 minutes to skim through a relevant magazine or website. Not only does this keep you up-to-date with your profession, but it may spark ideas for new projects or initiatives at your company.

Chuck Cohn, Varsity Tutors

5. Reach Out to Someone in Your Network

We all think we’re too busy to keep up with the vast majority of our connections, yet we know that there is undisputed value in maintaining those relationships. In 10 minutes, you can quickly text or email someone whom you haven’t spoken to in a while and let her know you’re thinking about her. It goes a long way.

Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40

6. Watch a TED Talk

With each TED Talk you watch, even if it’s only for 10 minutes, you get to learn something fascinating about a new subject from experts in that field. Plus, you see firsthand how you too can turn any subject into a compelling narrative.

Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

7. Take a Risk

Sometimes, the only way to push forward is by taking a leap of faith. For example, write that email you’ve been hesitating to make to that potential employer. There are times when the only way to overcome stagnancy is to face rejection or accept an offer from someone who’s willing to bet on you. Take the risk, and reap the rewards (or fail and try again).

Blair Thomas, First American Merchant

8. Take a Walk

When I have 10 free minutes, I take a walk around the office or outside. I try not to think of anything in particular, but to observe what’s happening around me. It refreshes you, and you may notice things that you normally wouldn’t while actively engaged in a task. It’s when I’m doing ‘nothing’ that solutions to problems occur to me.

Vik Patel, Future Hosting

9. Subscribe to a Publication

Sign up for a daily email from a publication related to your field. They usually contain a word or story of the day that teaches you something new and informs you of the different aspects of your industry. Reading these emails generally takes no more than 10 minutes and gives you a powerful bit of knowledge for the day!

Manick Bhan, Rukkus

Photo of woman on phone courtesy of Sam Edwards/Getty Images.