Leaders are always telling me how busy they are. Heck, it isn’t just leaders, it seems to be everyone. We all have too much to do and too little time.

Today, I am not going to ask you to set aside hours of time. I am asking you to find five minutes. That’s it.

We all have five minutes show up in our day. We have five minutes between meetings or phone calls. We all have five minutes standing in a line or waiting for our lunch. Sometimes we know we will have that five minutes. Sometimes it just shows up.

Most of us don’t choose to intentionally use those five minutes. We check our email or idly surf the web or our phones. We tweet or do a Facebook update. Or we sit and wait. So those five minutes pass, and we are no closer to our goals than we were before. Those five minutes are gone. At the end of the day we wonder where the day went.

Our days are made up of all those five minute choices.

Use your five minutes wisely

Everyone of us is different, with different goals, values and priorities. Given that, there is no way I can offer you a definitive list of ways to use your five minutes. However, as a leader I know there are many important things we don’t do often enough. So let me give you a starter list of suggestions to use your five minutes wisely.

  • Do some coaching. Give some positive feedback. Make a call, send an email or meet with someone face to face.
  • Refocus your efforts. Review your goals and decide if they are still important.
  • Learn something. Read an uplifting or educational book or blog post.
  • Make progress on a goal. Make a phone call or send an email to further a project (not just a reply to what is in the inbox, but something that will proactively move you towards a goal).
  • Capitalize on your experiences. Reflect on your day so far. Ask yourself what you have learned and what you need to adjust.

Those suggestions might not immediately have come to your mind, but they are all critical for leaders to do.

Make your own list

Everything on that short list is about important things, not urgent things. When we are rushing, we need to make sure we are doing the important stuff, even if it is in five-minute bursts. Even on our busiest days we can make that progress when we choose to.

What important tasks are you ignoring or pushing to the back burner? Decide now how you will use those extra five minutes you have throughout your day. Be intentional about your choices and use your time wisely.

How do you spend the first minutes of your work day? Check out this quick video to learn how you could be using that time in a more productive way. 

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