Search by Keyword Here

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Five Minutes

My Grandfather used to say: "The difference between doing something and doing it right is usually less than 5 minutes."

I was an 11 year old boy doing preventive maintenance on my grandfather’s lawn mowers when he humbly offered this priceless tidbit of wisdom. Of course, at the time, he was providing a mere warning since I was rushing through the job, focused more on joining my cousins fishing before it was too dark, than truly preventing a mechanical issue. I understood, but then again, it’s an easy sell when you are talking about work, everyone knows there is never time to do things right, but always time to do them over…or is it?

Seems such a simple concept, and like much of what my grandfather said, it applied to more than just the scenario that warranted the original comment. Clearly, it relates to the daily tasks that we have to complete accurately or spend more time making corrections, but I find it also applies to many opportunities of life for which you only have a limited amount of time to secure or maybe just one shot to get it right.

For example, take the time I was rushing out the door late, for golf with some friends and my daughter wanted to me hear the new song she learned on the piano. This time, it's called fatherhood and the difference between merely doing it and doing it right, in this case - the length of a little girl’s song. You see, it was a moment of time to me, but to have me as an audience of one for her personal serenade…a priceless event to her. So think about the “some things” in your life?

At times they may be as simple as securing the cap on the bleach or double checking the car doors to be sure they are locked. Maybe it's deeper, like taking a moment to listen before you respond or asking a question, before you accuse, to make communication more productive. Other times is it as complex as the time to discuss the dangers of drugs, alcohol abuse, unprotected sex or the importance of choosing the right friends to someone you care about. Imagine the pain you can avoid, theirs and yours, if you take the moment to address it when you see the signs, versus after you hear about “the incident.”

In the business world ROI stands for the Return on Investment, which boils down to value and when it comes to time, we all have a limited supply. Life moves fast and if we don’t take it moment by moment, we can miss the joy of it because we are caught up in the challenges created by our carelessness. Moreover, it takes only a selfless moment to make a difference in someone else’s life. Want to test that theory? Send an e-mail or a text to someone, anyone or everyone in your phone list, right now, that simply says: “I was thinking about you and just wanted you to know that.” It may only take you literally 5 minutes, but the impact to the receiver may be immeasurable. The goal is to realize that the ROI of our irreplaceable time is greater when invested for quality, not quantity…even if it is done a mere 5 minutes at a time. Be Blessed.