Use 10 Minutes Well

Man must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind him to the fact that each moment of his life is a miracle and a mystery.
- H.G. Wells

Contemporary philosopher William Irwin was asked what he thought the secret of effective leadership was. His answer was, "Learn to use 10 minutes intelligently. It will pay you huge dividends."

Often what separates a great leader from a lousy manager is just that: the ability to use 10 minutes well.

The Irwin quote is one that we have on our office wall, reminding us that it really helps to have short, motivating quotations posted in plain view. It is a way to wake yourself up to your potential. Especially when you only have 10 minutes before your next appointment. Will you use it well? Or will you kill time?

Our recent visit to a very successful leader's office was enhanced by our noticing these words posted on the wall behind his desk -- also a great guideline for using 10 minutes well:

The Most Important Words in the English Language
5 most important words: I am proud of you!
4 most important words: What is your opinion?
3 most important words: If you please.
2 most important words: Thank you.
1 most important words: You.

Here's another quotation put up there on the office wall. This one's from Charles Buxton, the famous lawyer and 1800s member of Parliament: "You will never 'find' time for anything, if you want time you must make it."

And sometimes that powerful leadership item we have not found time to do can be made to fit into the next 10 minute window.

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