Every evening as we put our daughter to sleep, in between getting her ready for bed and taking her to her room, my husband goes down to our office for a few minutes. For the longest time, this annoyed me to no end. “What’s the point in leaving for five minutes?” I would say to myself. “It’s just unnecessary back and forth.”
And then I did the math. Those five minutes that I was so dismissive of add up. I mean really add up: five minutes every day for 365 days equates to 1825 minutes or 30.42 hours or 1.27 days. A whole extra day and then some.
When I did the math, I was stunned. I mean what more could I do with an extra 1.27 days each year? How many more books could I read in 30.42 hours? How many more trips to the gym could I fit in? How many more blog posts could I write? How many more walks could I go on?…
We often dismiss – and squander – small increments of time because we think they are insignificant. We ignore the power of compounding. There are so many things about which we say “Oh, it’ll just take five minutes” and then we plunge in. But even if it does just take five minutes, are those five minutes being used in the best way possible?
I often get clients and students resist my suggestions to delegate small things because they say it only takes them five minutes to do and it’s just easier to do it themselves (sound familiar?). But using the math above, you can see how lots of little “five minutes here” and “five minutes there” can eat away DAYS of your year.
So what are you spending “only five minutes” on that you could or should delegate to someone else? What could you START to spend five minutes on each day to move you closer to one of your goals? Five minutes is never just five minutes (even when it is five minutes), because that “five minutes” mentality keeps so many of us stuck doing things that we should NOT be doing, or keeps us from starting things we should.
We all underestimate the power of five minutes. I still find myself doing so. But we need to pay attention to all the minutes, and – to paraphrase a famous saying – Watch the minutes so that the years can take care of themselves.