“Got A Minute” is Never a Minute!

“Got a minute?”

Hearing those words sends shivers down my spine.  Hearing those three words automatically equates to 30 minutes in my head.  “Got a Minute” never takes a minute.  Heck, it usually takes someone 3 minutes to describe what it is they want to talk about.  Got a Minute is NEVER a minute.

So let’s look at an average work day where there are 480 minutes in it (8 hrs X 60 minutes, though I’m assuming most people work more than 8 hours a day, but humor me here…):

  • Scheduled Meetings: 180 minutes (3 hrs.)
  • Ad-Hoc Meetings: 60 minutes (1 hr.)
  • Going to the Bathroom: 30 minutes (.5 hr.)
  • Doing “Day Job/Real Work”: 120 minutes (2 hrs.)
  • Idle Chit Chat/Water Cooler: 45 minutes (.75 hrs.)
  • Having a Quick Snack: 15 minutes (.25 hrs. – not including lunch in this calculation so you’d better eat something, otherwise you could get HANGRY!)

What does that leave us?  Thirty minutes!  Just enough time to handle a “Got a Minute” request!

But what if you get two, or three, or more of these in a day?  What if one of them turns into something bigger that requires more time?  What suffers at the hand of a “Got a Minute” request?

Now granted, sometimes the request to talk quick is legitimate.  There is an issue that needs your attention so someone feels comfortable coming to you.  Don’t ever stifle that communication.  But what needs to be coached is delivery.  If someone comes to you with a “Got a Minute” and can’t describe or goes round and round on the issue, or describes a problem without a potential solution, then they need to be coached on how to do that more efficiently.  Be in.  Be quick.  Be gone.

Next time you hear “Got a Minute,” actually time how long it takes.  Then see how it impacted your day.  Sometimes these are legit requests, other times they are not!


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