We are always looking for more time. We want to be more productive, to get more done, perhaps to work fewer hours, but always to increase the impact of what we do. Yet when you watch people work, you see very few people who can squeeze the most out of the time they have.

The biggest time offense is the wasted slice. Like the leftover slice of pizza in a pie that gets thrown out rather than eaten, the wasted time slice is the spare 5 or 10 minutes that get frittered away in email, social media, or office gossip rather than maximized.

You might say, really, what can you accomplish in 5 minutes? What possible productive thing could you do with that tiny fraction of time?

In 5 minutes, you can conduct a 3 minute brainstorm (as described in Marketing Red Belt). This is where you get a topic and a stack of index cards (virtual or physical) and in 3 minutes – timed on your smart phone – you force yourself to generate as many ideas as possible. Don’t judge them, just crank them out. Set a goal of at least 5 the first time you start – and then up your goal to 6, then 7, until you can crank out a dozen ideas or more in 3 minutes.

In 5 minutes, you can skim through your blog feeds and tag 5, 10, 20, maybe even 30 articles to read for later. Do that once a day, and then spend the remaining time slices throughout the day reading one article at a time. If you read quickly, you could rapidly speed up your learning throughout the work day.

In 5 minutes, you can reach out to 5 or more contacts on social media: customers, colleagues, friends, allies, and just say hello. Your network is only as strong as the connections between nodes, so use that time to build bridges. We’ll discuss a way to take this to the next level in this week’s Premium Content in the newsletter.

In 5 minutes, you can write a five bullet point outline for a blog post, perhaps even two or three if you just go with only bullet points and nothing else. Instead of struggling to write content, give yourself the problem of abundance, of too many blog post ideas to choose from.

In 5 minutes, record 5 minutes of audio or video content. The more you use the tools on your smartphone or mobile device to create content, the more proficient you will become at it. You can post-produce the content at a later time, but get in the habit of creating it and banking it.

In 5 minutes, you can watch a short 5 minute lesson in iTunesU, Khan Academy, or any number of short podcasts. Subscribe to great feeds in your podcast/media player, and have them queued up. You can also listen to just portions of longer shows, one segment at a time.

Master any one of these 5 minute power tips and watch your productivity soar.


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