As a father of three who hasn’t been alone in his own home since early March, I can tell you that a) five-minute breaks are few and far between and b) they feel like pure bliss when I’m able to capitalize on them.
In that spirit, here are some useful, fun, and sanity-saving apps that you can enjoy whenever you get a few minutes to yourself.
A quick shot of yoga? It’s possible with 5 Minute Yoga (Android, iOS), an app focused on improving your flexibility and strength in accessible micro-sessions. Most of the poses here are designed for beginners, making it easy to use the app first thing in the morning, for breaks throughout the day, and for one last session before bed, if you like.
The app is free to download but to get anything meaningful out of it, you’ll want to consider the fully unlocked version, which starts at $10 depending on your platform.
Jump-start your brain
Whether you need to kick things into gear before you dig into some real work or you’ve hit the post-lunch slowdown, this tiny crossword app (Android, iOS) can help get your brain cells moving. Available in various difficulty levels, the app—called “5-Minute Crossword Puzzles” on Android and “Little Crossword Puzzles” on iOS—is a perfect time sink when you’re waiting for your next meeting to start or brewing a cup of coffee.
There are a handful of puzzles available for free, but you’ll need to buy coin packs starting at a buck in order to unlock additional ones.
Jot down your thoughts
Remember that journal you said you were going to start? The one you never actually started? Well, now’s your chance. Assuming you can commit to five minutes a day, take Five Minute Journal (Android, iOS) for a spin. It serves up daily quotes and writing prompts, and lets you upload photos should inspiration hit. There are also weekly challenges to keep you engaged. If you’ve been putting off journaling, this has to be the easiest way to get started.
Entries are private, and you can back up and export them. The app costs $5 out the door.
Take a power nap
I’ve officially become that dad that falls asleep on the couch for a few minutes—head back, mouth wide open—and wakes up somehow feeling refreshed. And if I need to make sure I don’t conk out for too long, I’ll use an online timer like this one at OnlineClock.net, which features quick links for popular time segments, a few different visual modes (I love the rain timer with the sound turned on), and a bevy of possible alarm sounds for when it’s time to wake up.
The site is free but ad-supported.
Chill out with a short story
If ever a reading app were purpose-built for short breaks, it’s Shortly (Android, iOS), a free app chock full of one-, three-, and five-minute short stories. After a quick reading test once you launch the app, simply pick the length of time you want to spend reading, and Shortly will serve you up a time-personalized story from the Writing Prompts subreddit. You can save favorites for rereading later, and if you’re feeling especially adventurous, you can write your own short stories right inside the app, with built-in writing prompts meant to get your creative juices flowing.