17 Productive Things to Do in an Hour

What can you do in an hour?

As it turns out, a lot!

I mean, you can sit around and watch a show on Netflix you’ve seen 100 times, or you can check one of these productive things to do in an hour off your list.

When you’re planning your day, do it hour by hour if you’re really struggling because you’d be surprised how much you can accomplish when you make use of that 60 minutes of time – whether it’s an hour before you have to pick the kids up from school or an hour before you go to bed, it can really turn things around for your physical and mental health.

Man doing productive thing on the internet

Best tools for Productivity

Don’t want to waste time reading? Check out my favorite resources here:

this is the best daily planner for productivity and actually getting stuff done
– if you prefer virtual planning, use ClickUp
– struggle with procrastination? This book will change your life

1. Listen to a Podcast

Whether you want to learn new business strategies, how to build a niche site, or baking tips for all the ways you’re ruining your sourdough, listening to a podcast is an awesome use of an hour and one of the most productive things to do in one hour if you’re driving or can’t actually focus on something else.

They’re great for plane rides, long road trips, or that daily train commute.

There are so many different platforms nowadays where you can listen to podcasts, but I prefer Spotify as I find it the easiest to use and keep track of what I’ve listened to.

2. Organize Your E-Mail

Yes, you can organize your e-mail in an hour!

Unless you’re someone who has 7,000 unread messages.

But if you’re a normal organizer when it comes to your e-mail, you can speed through any unread ones and spend extra time unsubscribing from newsletters and other things that you no longer want.

Organizing your e-mail (click here to see how I would organize my life in one week) will not only help you keep on top of what you need to do, but it’s going to help you make sure that you are keeping up on your mental health too.

A cluttered inbox means a cluttered mind, but with just one hour, you can be like, sorry people, this inbox is empty and so are my list of worries.

3. Bake Meals for the Week

bowl of fruit and coffee cup

If you’re prepared in advance (check out the tips below for meal planning), you can totally make some meals for the week in an hour.

Maybe you’re meal prepping lunches with a bunch of sandwiches, maybe you’re making a big pot of pasta that will last for dinners for a few days, or maybe you’re making some overnight oats for the next mornings.

However you want to do it, spend an hour each week trying to make ahead as many meals as possible.

This type of batch cooking helps productivity because you don’t have to keep making decisions about food through the week, and there’s only one clean up!

4. Organize a Small Space

I’m not suggesting you should organize your entire house in an hour because it’s not possible, but choose a couple of messy kitchen drawers or the office bookshelves or a small room or pantry and organize it in one hour.

The time limit will help you move quickly and not dwell on the decisions of where to put things or what to get rid of, and you’ll feel so much better for it.

5. Clean Your Room


Cleaning your room is a great way to spend an hour to get it refreshed and looking great.

The aim of the game isn’t so much organizing, but getting things off the floor, putting things where they go, dusting, vacuuming, and making it feel clean and sparkling.

6. Exercise

One of the most productive things you can do with an hour is to get your body moving.

Not only is it going to keep your body in top-top shape, but it can help you think more clearly and get out those physical anxieties and worries you feel.

Endorphins are a heck of a thing, and you can embrace them with just one hour.

In fact, exercise for just half an hour and then stretch for 15 minutes and use the other to shower or get changed.

Boom, right back to business and you’ve done a great thing for yourself.

7. Meal Plan

It takes less than an hour to meal plan for the next week.

Unlike batch cooking, this is just the planning portion.

Plan what you’re going to eat for dinner each night next week so you make sure you have your full grocery list ready.

Make sure you plan what you’re having for lunch so when you go to batch cook, you’ve got it all written down.

Writing a meal plan is one of the best things you can do for your health, your wallet (it saves money planning in advance as opposed to eating out on a whim every night), and your productivity.

8. Focusmate

If you need to accomplish a task in an hour, but find it hard to self-motivate, then Focusmate has your back.

My husband uses and loves what this service can help with, as it matches you with someone else in the world who is also working hard on something.

You spend a few minutes chatting about what you’re trying to do, then you both work on your own things while keeping your microphones and cameras on, and then at the end of the hour, you talk about what you got done.

For some people, this is the extra push they need to stay productive. It’ s one of my most recommended tools for getting things done!

9. Plan Your Week

A well-planned week is far more productive than one where you fly by the seat of your pants.

Sit down with your planner (this is my favorite) and map out what your week looks like.

Don’t just plan out what you want to get done, but what has to get done?

Doctor’s appointments, shopping trips, social events that you’ve said “yes” to – get them all down.

This way, you know where your week is headed and can make more productive choices along the way.

10. Plan Your Day

Whether or not you have a weekly plan, things change day to day and you’ll always want to plan your specific day ahead as well.

It won’t take an hour – or shouldn’t, so you can combine this with another task in your productive hour, but make sure to spend some time at the beginning of the day as part of your productive morning routine planning your day and what you want to accomplish and when.

A lot of times, I find that I don’t get it all done, but I always get more done when I plan my day than when I just let myself work as and when I want.

Because mostly, I don’t want to – I just want to sit on the couch and watch Friends.

11. Read a Book


Put down the screens and spend an hour reading a book – seriously, it will be one of the most productive hours ever spent, even if you’re reading a fiction book for pleasure.

We get so used to reading short form articles and social media posts, but it’s not doing great things to our brain cells!

Keep yourself engaged and actively reading actual novels and non-fiction books (with real chapters!) and you’ll learn, get a break from the social media, and enjoy yourself at the same time.

12. Do Something You Say You Don’t Have Time To Do

What should you do when you only have one hour?

Pick something that you always say you don’t have time to do, and do it!

Whether it’s your taxes that are annoying you, playing a game with your child who always wants to play a board game when you’re “too busy” or something else, just limiting ourselves to an hour can force us to accomplish things that we always say we don’t have time for.

You have an hour now, use it!

13. Write a Chapter of a Book

Got that great novel you’re working on?

Spend an hour writing a chapter on it, or spend an hour working on your screenwriting or something else related to your writing goals.

You can start writing a blog post, you could write a journal entry, or you could write a poem.

Just put pen to paper or hands to keyboard and get those words out there.

14. Learn a Language

An hour is long enough to immerse yourself in learning a language, whether it’s DuoLingo, watching Youtube videos, or taking an actual class.

Of course you want to practice for more than just an hour, but an hour of solid instruction and practicing is going to help you make strides in your language skills and you’d be surprised how much you can pick up in just one hour.

15. Learn an Instrument

Learning an instrument is a great way to be productive in an hour as it will help with your overall mental agility as well as your quality of life.

By doing something that brings you joy or learning a new skill that always seemed out of reach, you’re showing yourself how you can make something from nothing and learn new songs when you could barely play a note.

This could be a specific hour-long lesson that you take with a teacher, or an hour of practice, but make some music and fill your life with more than just spreadsheets and deadlines!

16. Fix Household Item

There are so many niggling things around our house that we always say we’ll do, but then we “never get around to it.”

With your productive hour, it’s time to fix that leak, mend that roof tile, and dust under the stairs once and for all (well, until you need to fix it again, I guess).

This is a great way to be productive if you’re feeling that you don’t want to do something that involves staring at a screen or don’t want to do something that requires too much mental energy.

Work with your hands and make the environment around you more positive.

17. Make a Budget

Okay, it’s not the most fun thing in the world, but you wanted to know what to do in an hour that’s productive, and one of those things is: make a budget.

Or at least, work on your budget.

Whether you use YNAB or another budgeting software or just your own spreadsheet, getting on top of your finances and figuring out where your money is going is one of the first steps to financial freedom and to not feeling like everything you do is based around money and not having enough of it.

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