Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Five Will Get You Ten

Ever heard the phrase "Five will get you ten?" Loosely, it means that you firmly believe something or that you are willing to bet on something - "Five will get you ten that it rains today since we have a picnic planned."

But I think it should mean something else. In fact, I think it should be stated as "Five will save you ten." As in, taking five minutes now will save you ten minutes later. You know - that whole stitch in time saves nine theory.

How many tasks that would take five minutes or less do you routinely put off? You walk past the dishwasher and think "I'll unload that later." Or you set a bill aside rather than just log into your bank account and schedule it for payment.

In the end, those things end up taking more time than they would have originally just because you put them off. Dishes pile up in the sink because the dishwasher is full of clean dishes to put away. That bill gets piled under other papers on your desk and you have to spend a few extra minutes looking for it a week later.

The other problem with those five minute projects is that they clutter your brain because you want to remember to do them yet they aren't important enough to put on your written list of things to do.

I challenge you to try to take care of those five minute or less projects immediately when you think of them. Empty that dishwasher right away, pay that bill that came in the mail today, fold that stack of towels laying on the dining room table, pick up all the shoes laying around the house and put them away. As you walk past something that needs to be done, ask yourself if it will take five minutes or less and if the answer is yes, then just do it.

Excuse me while I go fix the handle on my popcorn maker. It's been broken for over two years and I can't even tell you how much time I've spent moving that little piece around and trying to keep track of it.