The Trouble With Just A Minute

Everyone’s always asking for just a minute of our time. It seems like no big deal. After all, it’s just a minute of your time.

The truth is: When you give someone a minute of your time, it’s more than just a minute.

Metallic Clock

Image by Ivan Salas

But that doesn’t sound right, you say. You’re only giving a minute.

Not true. When you give a minute of your time, you’re destroying momentum that has to be made up.

Think back to a time you’ve taken a road trip.

You’re driving along when you or one of your kids have to use the bathroom. Knowing what will happen if you don’t stop to use the restroom, you decide to take the next exit and find a restroom. It should only take a minute to relieve yourself.

You find that perfect spot and use the bathroom. Now you’re back on the road. It only took a minute of your time. Or so it seemed.

As you head back onto the highway you look at the GPS. It now says you’ll be at your destination a half hour later than when you first pulled off.

What happened?

By taking that short break you lost all of your forward momentum. To get to your destination, you had to slow down, switch gears, and go in a slightly different direction.

All of this cost you valuable time.

The same thing happens when you take “just a minute” to do something unrelated to your current task. It may be:

  • Checking Facebook
  • Checking your email
  • Sending out a text message

None of those takes a long time to do but they kill your momentum.

You become distracted just long enough that your concentration is broken. As a recent study shows, it can take upwards of 25 minutes to recover.

Imagine how many times this happens in a day. You’re possibly losing hours a day.

This is wasted time!

This is why we must be careful when we decide to give “just a minute” to a task outside of our current objective. We’ll run into the roadblock of lost time and productivity.

Instead of giving our attention to the “just a minute” request, we need to learn to say “Sorry, I can’t do that right now. Let me finish my current task and I’ll schedule a time to fulfill your request.”

As you learn to do this, you’ll begin to recover lost and valuable time. Freeing yourself up to give your full concentration to the tasks at hand.

Question: What could you do with an extra 25 minutes a day? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.