Taming the ‘Got-A-Minute’ Meetings for an Effective Workday

by | Sep 6, 2023 | Productivity

Stopping for any distraction during the day hinders our ability to be truly productive. Below we discuss how to eliminate "Got a minute" meetings.

Our 5-Hour Work Day Journey

Let’s go on a ‘journey’ as we confront the formidable challenge presented by Chet Holmes, the esteemed author of The Ultimate Sales Machine, who introduced a concept called the ‘Got-A-Minutes’ meetings. In our relentless pursuit of optimal energy and time management within our ‘5-Hour Work Day Model,’ we experienced a significant breakthrough when we decided to eliminate these meetings. Yet, as with any habit we’ve successfully overcome, it tends to resurface the moment we believe we have conquered it.

“And the best part of eliminating ‘ Got-A- Minutes’? I went from reacting to the business 70 to 80 hours per week to proactively running and more effectively managing and growing the business in only nine hours per week ” –
Chet Holmes

Excerpt From: Chet Holmes, Jay Conrad Levinson & Amanda Holmes. “The Ultimate Sales Machine.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-ultimate-sales-machine/id401047765

The ‘Got-A-Minutes’ meetings not only undermine Dr. Stephen Covey’s Habit #3, ‘Put First Things First,’ but they also represent a grave violation of its principles. Imposing a ‘Got-A-Minute’ interruption on someone else or falling prey to such interruptions ourselves propels us straight into Covey’s penalty box—the dreaded Quadrant III or even worse Quadrat IV, characterized by Urgent/Non-Important tasks.

By recognizing the detrimental impact of these meetings, we acknowledge the importance of prioritizing our time and efforts toward Quadrant II activities—those that are Important but not necessarily Urgent.

Image with Quote "Do first things first, and second things not at all."

The Financial Implications of Time

 “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage pleasantly, smilingly, and unapologetically to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside.’ -Stephen Covey

If we take the time to analyze the cost of frequent interruptions in the workplace, it becomes evident that it has a significant impact on the American economy, potentially amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars. Office interruptions have been reported to cost our economy approximately 650 billion dollars, as indicated by a study.

To illustrate the financial implications, let’s consider a worker with a salary or compensation of $100,000 per year. The typical “Got-A-Minute” scenario rarely takes just a minute; it often extends to 15 minutes or more. Furthermore, after being interrupted, it takes additional time to refocus and get back on task, easily amounting to 30 minutes. This constant disruption can be likened to a “needle off the record,” derailing productivity. On an average workday, such interruptions can occur multiple times—let’s conservatively estimate twice a day. This equates to an hour of lost productivity. Considering an average hourly wage of $50 for a worker earning $100,000 annually (more if you follow a 5-hour workday), we can calculate the daily cost to be approximately $100.

Now, let’s extrapolate this cost over a year. Assuming 260 workdays in a year, the annual cost of interruptions for a single worker would be $26,000. When we consider a company with a size similar to ours, the collective cost reaches $500,000 per year or more.

These figures demonstrate the substantial financial burden imposed by frequent interruptions in the workplace. By minimizing such interruptions and fostering an environment that encourages focused work, companies can potentially save significant amounts of money and enhance overall productivity.

Eliminate the “Got A Minute” phenomenon!

It is crucial to continuously sharpen the tool to combat the “Got A Minute” interruptions, as they can easily devolve into “Anti 7 Bad Habits,” particularly being reactive rather than proactive.


Nine Effective Strategies to Manage “Got A Minute”

“First things first, and second things not at all.” – Peter Druker

Here are nine effective strategies to eradicate the “Got A Minute” culture and help your company increase productivity and profitability:

  1. Embrace the power of saying NO. Respond with a firm and decisive NO to halt the “Got A Minute” requests in their tracks.
  2. Determine your bigger YES. When you have a clear understanding of your priorities and goals, it becomes easier to reject tasks or demands that do not align with your objectives.
  3. Utilize physical barriers. If you have a door, shut it to minimize interruptions. If not, consider investing in “Noise Canceling” Headphones, which can help create a focused work environment. Remember, the value they bring outweighs their cost.
  4. Embrace the delete button. If a request or message is not aligned with your priorities, delete it. Trust that if your involvement is genuinely required, it will come back to you.
  5. Take proactive measures. Send an email to your team stating that you are putting an end to the “Got A Minute” interruptions. While you may face initial challenges, this communication will set the expectation for a more efficient workflow.
  6. Calculate the impact. Assess the time and financial cost associated with “Got A Minute” interruptions both for yourself and your company. By quantifying the negative effects, you strengthen your resolve to eliminate them.
  7. Foster a culture that rejects “Got A Minutes.” Make it clear within your organization that these interruptions are detrimental to productivity.
  8. Consider creating a “Got A Minute” jar or a similar visual reminder to discourage the habit.
  9. Repeat Step 1: NO.

By implementing these strategies, you can effectively eradicate the “Got A Minute” culture within your company, enabling your team to focus on essential tasks, achieve better results, and ultimately drive success.

Cal Newport’s book “Deep Work” provides valuable insights into the importance of focused and uninterrupted work, which aligns perfectly with your 5-Hour Work Day philosophy. Deep work is a concept that refers to the ability to concentrate without distraction on cognitively demanding tasks, and it is indeed becoming increasingly rare in our modern, distraction-filled world.

Newport’s “Deep Work Hypothesis” highlights that as deep work becomes scarcer, its value increases. Those who cultivate and prioritize deep work in their professional lives will have a competitive advantage and thrive in today’s economy.


Wrapping It Up

“Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not.”
― Cal Newport

By embracing deep work and rejecting “Got-A-Minutes” and other distractions, you can enhance your value not only to your company but also to your family, friends, and the world at large. Deep work allows you to accomplish high-quality work in less time, leading to increased productivity, better outcomes, and a greater sense of fulfillment.

By consciously choosing to focus on deep work and saying no to distractions, you can maximize your potential and make a significant impact.  So, continue to embrace the principles of deep work, say no to “Got-A-Minutes,” and create an environment that fosters focus and productivity. By doing so, you’ll position yourself for success and make a positive difference in various aspects of your life.

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