How many five minutes can you find?

Posted 21 February 2018 12:00 AM by Gabriel Karawani, Co-founder and Director @ ClearPeople

I'm finding myself thinking a lot about 5 minute blocks. I see these blocks of time all around me - my day is made up of them.

Often they annoy me because I could have done more in those 5 minutes. I am mainly aware of this during my working day. Outside of work I don’t mind so much. I quite enjoy having an extra 5 minutes where I'm not expected to do anything - to watch the kids play a mindless PS4 game, or convincing my wife that it is OK to chill for 5 minutes.

So back to work, why does it frustrate me so much? It drives me nuts because each time I spend 5 minutes doing something that "I really shouldn't be doing" I could have been using those same 5 minutes doing a better job, delivering better quality, getting back to the client quicker or just going home in good time.

Currently, the top "5 minutes wasted" that annoy me include:

  • Having to figure out where to save stuff so my colleagues and I can work together. Are we working together in the SharePoint Document Management area? In the social workspace (Yammer)? In the Microsoft Teams collaboration area? Or did someone set up a Planner for this thing?
  • I get to a meeting on time - but we spend (more than) 5 minutes getting set up. And then we discover that we still have to get someone dialled-in who has an issue with their headset. How often does that happen around the world every day?
  • Spending time figuring out where to find our latest "blah template" (because we all know that the official one in the Knowledge area is obviously out of date).
  • Spending time figuring out whether the document I found is the correct one.
  • Writing a cover letter from scratch when I am sure there is something similar I could re-use.

I have more - but these are the ones I have nominated today. Do these resonate with you? Perhaps you have your own list of annoyances that waste you five minutes every day. Feel free to share your own list with me.

Saving Five Minutes

Because, luckily for me, I can do something about it. All this time I am spending getting annoyed is being channelled in a constructive way and goes straight into ClearPeople's research-and-development-propeller-head-thinktank-bunker.

Our team (picture them in the bunker with no natural light) are working with myself and our clients to find practical ways to employ new technology to derive business benefits. In particular, the focus is on incremental improvements to save moments of time here and there. And this is a very gratifying piece of work, if I can say so myself.

As an aside, we are also fortunate that our clients are similar to us in many ways. So they identify with the problems and understand the benefits we are looking to achieve. Like us, our clients work with loads of information via a connected device. They are typically "knowledge workers" such as Lawyers, Engineers, Accountants, Finance professionals, Sales Consultants or Specialist Consultants. Like us, they get frustrated about losing five minutes here and another five minutes there. 

Having set the scene, I look forward to sharing more on this topic and about how we are Finding Five Minutes to save in your working day.

And remember - while we might be using all sorts of cool AI, automation and bot tech, it is not all about shiny new toys. It is really about creating smarter digital workspaces that make it easier for you to do your work, that are user-friendly and a pleasure to look at.

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