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It’s time to ‘Take a Minute’

It’s time to ‘Take a Minute’

How often do you pause and just consciously take a breath?

You know, stop rushing and slow down for even just a moment?

‘Take a Minute’

With the frenetic pace of modern-day life often it feels too difficult to ease up on the pace and take a minute for yourself, let alone use that time to consider what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

When we’re forced to take a minute, however, time slows down. Think about any moment where you’ve had to stand in silence for just 60 seconds. In that period each second feels like an eternity as your mind is allowed to calm and your thoughts flow freely with whatever drifts in and out of consciousness.

Recognising those moments where you have done it before, now consider what you would do if you could consciously slow down time? That is, what if you could deliberately ‘take a minute’ and use that 60 seconds to help you focus on the impact you want to have in the moments that follow? How much more effective would you be? And would that impact not be worth a mere 60 seconds of investment?

Put it into action

Here are some example moments when you should try to ‘take a minute’:

When things feel chaotic – in these moments’ life feels like it’s spinning out of control and no matter what you do, the situation doesn’t seem to get any better. For a client I recently worked with, this is exactly what they were experiencing. They worked across 3 different departments and felt like their day was just one long stream of chaos. They knew they had too much going on, but they didn’t feel like they had the capacity to stop and create change. Butterflying between tasks they also knew they weren’t being as effective as they could have been.

“It’s a matter of time before one of these plates I’m spinning comes crashing to the floor,” they explained, admitting that they were on the brink of collapse.

Developing a practice of them consciously ‘taking a minute’ before they stepped into each meeting helped them gather their thoughts and make a mental plan for how they were going to be more effective in that next moment. Starting slowly, by consciously taking a minute at pivotal moments during their day they started to prioritise the most urgent projects, push back on pointless activities and ultimately carve out the right amount of time to ensure they were making the best use of their limited time and energy.

“Being so busy, I was always running late,” they explained. “Adding just one more minute before I step into a meeting has made a huge difference to how I focus and to my mental health.”

So, if you’re feel like you’re living in the eye of a storm, why not be mindful of when you start to feel chaotic, stop and take a minute.

When you are rushing decisions – you don’t feel like you have time to process the information available to make the decision you need to make. The pressure is on, and people expect you to decide, and so you feel compelled to rush. Another recent client constantly found themselves under pressure to decide on what course of action to take before they were ready.

“I feel like I’m just on autopilot,” they explained. “Even when I feel like I have a great idea where I know that I need to do some more research, I just snap my fingers and make a decision.”

Whilst pace is often important, the speed of decision making should not be at the expense of making a quality decision. Learning to pause, take a deep breath and spend just 60 seconds on considering the decision more carefully, this client learned to switch off auto-pilot and improve the quality of their decisions without compromising the pace.

“People have noticed that I’m now more considered with my decisions,” my client said. “It’s truly amazing what a difference just 60 seconds can make.”

You’ve hit breaking point – your frustration is boiling over and you need time to cool off. A perfect example, which I’m sure everyone has experienced, is that moment someone sends you an utterly infuriating email. You immediately type a heated reply expressing exactly what you really feel. It’s at this point, before you press send, is the time to take a minute.

Have a think… What are you going to gain from this reply? Will you look like the bigger person if you respond differently? By all means write the rash reply to get it off your chest, but maybe after a minute you will feel a little more rational and amend your response.

Chatting to a previous coaching client it was validating to hear how he still has the minute timer I gave him on his desk. He happily admits that managing his emotional side was his personal barrier to reaching his full potential. So, implementing a simple process like the minute timer could have a dramatic affect.

Time to ‘take a minute’

Through all the work I’ve done with leaders I know that we can all be a minute late with little consequence. Knowing this, perhaps we can all build in a mindful practice of ‘Taking a Minute’ in the moments that matter to help us be the best version of ourselves as often as we can.

If you would like some further support, contact to set up a free call.