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Gotta Minute?1 of 8
When you don't even have time to eat lunch, call your mother back or pay your cable bill, the idea of adding anything new to your to-do list may seem downright masochistic. (And not in a 50 Shades of Grey way.) But it turns out that there's a lot you can accomplish—and feel good about doing—in about a minute.
Boost Brainpower2 of 8
No need to finish the New York Times crossword to keep your mind fit. To give your synapses a workout, experts recommend "neurobics," a term coined by Lawrence Katz and Manning Rubin, authors of Keep Your Brain Alive. Neurobics are mental exercises that engage the sensory and motor pathways in your brain. They can be as simple as rearranging a few items in your workspace. Chances are you'll still reach for your stapler on the left or the pens in your drawer. "That moment when you catch yourself and redirect your actions reflects your brain's increased alertness," write Katz and Rubin.
Keep a Journal3 of 8
Sure, keeping a journal is supposed to reduce stress, but when you feel guilty for not getting around to writing in said journal, it sort of defeats the purpose. Luckily you don't have to scrawl for pages to reap the feel-good effects. According to a study in the British Journal of Health Psychology, writing about something significant for just two minutes a day can provide similar benefits.
Read a Story4 of 8
Haven't finished a book since Hunger Games? In about ten seconds, you can get your literary fix with Ernest Hemingway's six-word story: For sale: baby shoes, never worn. And for a party trick, memorize the mini fiction. (What? You still have 30 seconds.)
Fall in Love5 of 8
Think you don't have time for romance? Pshaw! Research has shown that it takes as little as 90 seconds for sparks to fly. Sure the feeling may be elusive, but when it happens, it happens fast.
Up Your Sex Appeal6 of 8
Slip into something red for an instant bit of allure—and plenty of attention. A study from the University of Rochester identified the "red dress effect," whereby men are more attracted to women in the crimson color.
Get Organized7 of 8
Short of calling a cleaning service, the fastest way to fix a mess is to first write down the problem areas in your home or office. While it won't make the clutter disappear, it will allow you to focus. According to a study in The Journal of Neuroscience, piles of unopened mail, unfolded clothes, unorganized files all vie for our attention, cutting our focus in half. So take a moment to jot down your distractions, then tackle them one at a time.
Do Anything8 of 8
The secret to accomplishing your goals—whether it's learning to play the oboe or landing your dream job—is not as simple as thinking positively. (In fact, one study from New York University found that fantasizing about your future can actually have a negative effect.) Instead of thinking happy thoughts, think practical ones. Just 30 seconds of focused reflection on how you can learn to play the oboe is far more effective than daydreaming about what life will be like once you learn to play it.