It’s only five minutes. That’s what we say to ourselves when we’re running late for an appointment or meeting. Five minutes really isn’t that much time in the grand scheme of things, right? Wrong. Five minutes is a lot of time. Here’s why.
Let’s say you work an eight hour day. Subtract a 45 minute lunch, you’re now down to a 7 hour 15 minute day. Now take five minutes off every hour. You’ve now lost another 35 minutes. Now 35 minutes over the period of a day, doesn’t seem like much, but that 35 minutes equals 8% of your working day.
Now, think about the number of times you picked up your mobile to make a quick check of facebook, or twitter, or LinkedIn, or to check your texts. I bet each time you do that it takes about 5 minutes. And, I’d bet that you do this more than once an hour. No wonder we struggle with white-collar productivity.
Thirty-seven percent of HR professionals in the York College of Professionalism study note an increase in the lack of focus among new university graduates, and 79% attribute this lack of focus to technology interruptions.
Now let’s consider the “leave before you leave” phenomenon. Every week in class, I see my students packing up five to ten minutes before the end of class. They’ve checked out before we’ve finished. Again, checking out before you’re done adds up. That five or ten minutes adds up to another 35 minutes a week. Imagine that you’ve actually paid attention to the discussion – what did you learn that you might have missed?
Now let’s consider the average work week. Using 5 minutes an hour to check your tech, and packing up mentally before the end of the day, you’ve lost 3.5 hours per week. Doesn’t that sound like time you would like back? Wouldn’t it be nice to use that time effectively getting out of the office earlier? It’s not “only 5 minutes”. It might be the most important 5 minutes of your day.
McCart, K. (2013). What’s in five minutes? Transformative Dialogues: Teaching and Learning ejournal, Volume 6, Issue 3, is freely accessible at: http://kwantlen.ca/TD/Current_Issue