What to do with 5 minutes as a dad

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What to do with 5 minutes as a dad

What to do with 5 minutes as a dad
What to do with 5 minutes as a dad
Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

5 minutes. That doesn’t seem like a lot of time. But as a parent, you probably know that sometimes this is all the time you have to do something.

Or maybe you are a procrastinator? I am. I am a huge procrastinator. I will put things off until the last minute and then rush to complete whatever it is I needed to do. I did it in school. I do it at work. I do it with my kids.

So how do we solve this? What do 5 minutes have to do with procrastination?

There is a cognitive behavioral therapy technique called the 5-minute rule. You set a goal for whatever you have been procrastinating about but only do it for 5 minutes. 

But how am I supposed to get anything done in 5 minutes?

That’s the point. You might not get it done in 5 minutes. But at least you get started and typically your mind will not let you stop the task once you started. Because starting is half the battle.

I actually tried this technique. And it works. I had been putting off sweeping the floors in several areas of my house. And I finally decided enough was enough. I set a timer for 5 minutes, started sweeping, the timer went off, I wasn’t finished, and I kept going. It took me about 7 minutes total to finish. But it got done. And now I feel a little better about how the floors look. 

After my small success of sweeping, I started to think of other things I could do with 5 minutes of my time. Here is a list of other things you can start in 5 minutes as a dad and beat procrastination down.

Folding laundry for 5 minutes

How often do you let your laundry pile up? Depending on the size of your family you might be able to knock out one basket of laundry and fold it up so they can be put away.

Unload the dishwasher

What to do with five minutes as a dad
Unload the dishwasher
What to do with five minutes as a dad
Unload the dishwasher

Around here if my son doesn’t empty the dishwasher as part of his chores we just play get the dishes out of the dishwasher as we need them. Go ahead and just empty it. Probably won’t even take 5 minutes.

Pots and pans

It just has to soak. That is what we tell ourselves and then that pot sits for days because we don’t need it. Just wash them and dry them off and put them away. 

Go through your junk mail

What to do with five minutes as a dad
Go through junk mail
Go through junk mail
Photo by Rhodi Lopez on Unsplash

This one is my pet peeve. And I have been trying to get better with it. Instead of letting junk mail pile up and go through it all at once. Spend 5 minutes (probably less) every other day and throw away what needs to be thrown away or shred what needs to be shred. And if it is important then file it away or if it is a bill take care of it. Speaking of bills…

Pay bills

Got some bills sitting around that you are putting off because they aren’t due for another 30 days? Just pay them now. This one can cost you because if you procrastinate too long you will get hit with late fees.

Make an appointment

Been putting off scheduling a doctor checkup? Or maybe you haven’t been to the eye doctor in a while? Just make the appointment. There are lots of doctors that will even let you schedule appointments online so it won’t even require a phone call.

Pick up some toys

If your kids are older they should be picking up their own toys. But sometimes toddlers just don’t get it. No matter how many times you tell them or show them how to pick up they don’t do it. So if there are some toys laying around take the 5 minutes and pick up some toys.

Read and respond to emails

If you work a lot with emails or if you put off personal emails 5 minutes of reading and responding to emails a few times a day can help you stay out on top of your email inbox. I try to keep a near-zero inbox but quite often the business of the week gets to me and I need a good few minutes to clean up my inbox.

Straighten up your tackle box

After a long day of fishing, I tend to just throw things in the tackle box and don’t go back and make sure things are neat and tidy. Taking 5 minutes to straighten it up and make sure things are in the right place can help make a vast improvement in your next fishing experience.

Throw out old food

Even with a big family, we have leftovers. The problem is that not too many people in my house enjoy eating leftovers. About once a week I have to take the dive and start throwing out leftovers that have been in the fridge a little too long.


Maybe you don’t have time to do a full workout with a house full of kids. But if you have 5 minutes you can do some quick exercises to burn some calories and start leading a better and healthier you. 

Make a grocery list

You know the prime time I make a grocery list? Right before I go grocery shopping as I am trying to head out the door. Stop procrastinating and jot down those things you know you will need. That will keep you from overbuying or forgetting things you actually need.

Start a journal

What to do with five minutes as a dad
start a journal
Start a journal
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Whether it is on old-fashioned paper or an electronic journal write an entry about something that happened to you and/or your kids. How many times did your kids do something that was cool or you wished you remember but you can’t? Starting a journal could preserve some of those memories.

Start planning a trip

Nothing like waiting until the last minute to plan your vacation. Well if you do then you may end up not getting the hotel you want. Or missing out on some early bird vacation deals. Go ahead and start planning that trip so you can save money.

Straighten up a tool box

This might not apply to all dads out there. But for me, my toolboxes are a mess. If I would just take 5 minutes and straighten it up a little bit the next time I go to find that 10mm I might be able to find it.

Check on your kid’s grades

Most schools now have online portals where you can go and see up-to-date grades for your kids. By having this view and checking it every so often you won’t be surprised to find out at the end of a quarter or semester that your kid is struggling. If your child’s school does not provide a portal just send an email to their teacher and see how your student is doing.

Read a book (or two) to your kids

What to do with five minutes as a dad
Read a book
What to do with five minutes as a dad
Read a book

Even when they are little your kids absorb the words and stories you read to them. My kids are always bringing me their favorite books to read over and over so it seems like taking a few minutes to read them a book has a huge impact.

Read a book for yourself

Sometimes as adults we get so busy we forget to take time for ourselves. Now can you read an entire book in 5 minutes? No. But you can at least start one and maybe use that momentum to actually finish a book.

Clean out a section of your garage

In 5 minutes you probably can’t clean your whole garage. But just pick a section to get started. Maybe find a shelf to organize, or get a box out and go through it and get rid of stuff.

Vacuum under the car seats

Have you ever went to move a car seat from one vehicle to the next and immediately regretted it? It is like there is a food and garbage magnet under those car seats. Take a few minutes and vacuum and clean under those car seats so you don’t get that nasty surprise.

Prep a meal

If you find you and your family constantly eating out because mealtime takes too long then maybe try prepping a meal. You don’t have to prepare the whole thing but just get something together that makes cooking a lot easier and removes that temptation of eating out.

Clean your desk

I try to keep my desk somewhat clean. But it seems like every month I find it cluttered and packed with things that need to be put up or gotten rid of. And if it can be thrown away. Throw it away.

Check your bank balance

I try to check my balance daily. Not because I worry about if I have enough money. But because in the past I have had notifications that my account was compromised. By checking daily I make sure that if that ever happens again I can be on top of it right away.

Check your tire pressure (and show your kids how to do it)

Some newer cars can do this automatically. But if you have an older vehicle get out the tire gauge and check your tire pressure. Nothing like ruining a tire because it is too low on air. And pass this knowledge onto your kids so they know how to do this.

Check your oil (and show your kids how to do it)

Again newer cars can do this for you from a dashboard. But I still wouldn’t trust that 100% of the time. Check your oil levels to make sure you are not doing damage to your cars. And again teach your kids how to do this. I made the mistake of not showing my son how to do this and he ruined a dipstick try to force it back in.

Teach your kids how to tie their shoes

If you have little ones start working on teaching them how to tie their shoes. It will probably take more than one or two sessions. But just work with them 5 minutes at a time and they will have it before you know it.

Review a fire escape plan with your kids

I hope and pray that anyone reading this will never have to experience a house fire. But the reality is that it happens. Being prepared to deal with that fire and how to get out of the house could save a life. Take a few minutes to sit down and review with your kids how they would escape the house. Give them a few scenarios and make sure they understand that if there is a fire they can get creative in getting out of the house.

Spending just a few minutes to get rid of that procrastination can be a life-changing event. But the thing is you have to keep it up. Maybe just try it for 30 days and see how much you get accomplished. If it doesn’t make a huge difference in your life then maybe there are other issues keeping you from getting things done.

Have any other ideas for things dads can do in 5 minutes? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.


  1. 5 minutes of focused attention with your kids doing any of these things or spending that time on yourself, is more worthwhile than an hour pretending to be present whilst checking the football scores. Hurrah. Although, I don’t like checking my bank balance and will leave that surprise for another day.

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