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Time Management Spotlight:
The Critical Five Minutes
by Nechama Berg & Chaya Levine

Managing your time will free up more time for writing Here's a simple, yet important technique.

The "critical five minutes" is an important concept in time management. It is the time it takes to do a task that will jump-start positive results or prevent negative ones. For example, putting the finishing touches on a casserole before placing it into the oven so that dinner will be ready on time is a critical five minute action because if you get interrupted just then, the cooking will be delayed. This may set off a chain reaction of late dinner, pre-meal snacking, late bedtimes and consequentially making it harder to wake the family up in the morning. So although finishing up a casserole is no big deal it can become one if not done in time. Hence, those five minutes can be termed the "critical five minutes".

Another example would be to take the time to store away a project which has many pieces (i.e. arts and crafts pieces, sewing patterns) before the children come home. If you don't do it then, it may take a lot longer to put those projects pieces away, if they don't get lost for good. So those five minutes you spend putting the project away without youngsters underfoot are another "critical five minutes" in your day.

These are examples of taking five minutes to avoid negative consequences. Important positive results can also be achieved with the proper use of just five minutes-the excellent idea, the pivotal decision, the simple solution, and the vital telephone call. So perhaps take five minutes right now to identify those actions which are your "critical five minutes" and enjoy the results of your effective time management focus.

Nechama Berg & Chaya Levine are the authors of It's About Time: The Guide to Successful Jewish Homemaking distributed by Mesorah Publications.


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