how to use five minutesOften you find yourself with five minutes (or so) between meetings or perhaps while waiting for someone to call you “right back,” or even in the carpool line. It doesn’t seem like it’s enough time to get anything significant done and if you start something you’ll just get interrupted and lose focus so why even start, right? When that happens the default choice is usually to get on your phone and check email or the web and fritter away those few minutes until it’s time for the next thing.

Let’s do some calculations using conservative estimates. Say that you get one of those five-minute snippets of time once every two waking hours. If you’re awake 16 hours a day that add up to eight snippets every day. That means you have 56 snippets every week or 2,912 every year.

2,912 multiplied by 5 minutes is 14,560 minutes or 242.66 hours or a little over ten days.

Ten days?! That’s a nice vacation!

Wasting five minutes doesn’t seem like a big deal but wasting ten days is unequivocally a really bad idea.

Instead of wasting all those snippets, use them. Have some ideas in your head, or make a list of things that you can do in under five minutes. If you use those five minutes wisely you can make bits of progress on larger projects (cleaning out your email inbox) or reduce your stress (meditate) or stay in touch with colleagues (dash off a handwritten note).

Remember that snippets can be used in many ways.  Use them to get tiny work tasks done or even just spend them slowing down and re-energizing yourself. That’s a brilliant way to use a snippet.

At the end of the day you’ll have used those 40 minutes wisely and feel tremendous about how productive you’ve been.

What can you do with 5 minutes?

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