I know I’m not the only one who is in a busy season at the moment. 

With classes starting up for the new academic term, and campuses getting full again, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with final preparations and tasks.

Lately, I’ve really been enjoying some small pleasures that are easy to fit into a busy schedule. 

Here are some recommendations if you need something similar:

Reading essay collections. I’ve been reading John Green’s The Anthropocene Reviewed, but can also recommend essays by Nick Hornby on reading (The Polysyllabic Spree is a favorite) or any of the essay collections by David Foster Wallace (Both Flesh and Not is on my reading list this month). Essay collections are super easy to dip in and out of, but are also very satisfying.

Listening to music. Last Friday night, after a very long week, my partner and I listened to a Taylor Swift album (in part, to fulfill my list of annual goals). That listening session reminded me that most songs are just a few minutes long and end up being such an easy thing to fit into a quick break in between meetings or tasks.

Making a list. I got stuck in a very long meeting at one point last week and since I didn’t have to pay complete attention for the entire thing, I spent a few minutes making a list of my most important upcoming tasks. It helped me to get organized and to feel a little less overwhelmed.

Painting my nails. This past weekend, in between a couple of zoom calls with clients, I spent about 15 minutes painting my nails (a good top coat can really help with quick drying). It was a nice thing to do in the margins, but this is also a great activity for when you are listening to a podcast or audio book as well.

Browsing for books. It doesn’t take me longer than a few minutes to check out the most recent acquisitions of my local library and put any books of interest on hold for future pick up. I love looking at the latest books that have come out and, because they are often very popular, it means any I put on hold will be a nice surprise for the weeks and months to come when it cycles around to being available for me to read.

Taking a walk. Even when I only have a few minutes to spare, a quick walk around my building (I can do it in about 6–7 minutes!) lets me get some fresh air, sunshine, and some quick movement. I especially love this on days when I feel chained to my desk for meeting after meeting.

What kinds of quick hits are you building into your schedule these days?