The Myth of “It Will Only Take 15 Minutes” and Why This is a Dangerous Mindset

Over my nearly 20 years as a consultant working with financial advisors, I have literally heard this expression at least 100+ times. “I’ll take care of it. It will only take 15 minutes”. What’s wrong with that you ask? Plenty!

Let me lay out a few things to consider:

1. Complexity of Tasks – Many tasks that you believe will “only take just 15 minutes” do, in fact, take much more time. You can do them quickly, maybe, because of repetition but does that make them a good use of your time?

2. Are you spending enough time on this 15-minute task? If you are actually doing something in 15 minutes, it is being done as well as it could by someone who can spend more time going to the root of the issue and coming up with a permanent solution? Are you recreating the wheel each time or worse, just sticking a band-aid on the problem?

3. Underestimation of Time Investment – While the task may, in fact, only take 15 minutes, you are most likely not considering the time it takes to switch from what you were doing, get focused on the 15-minute task, complete it and then the time it takes to refocus on what you were doing before.

4. What is the real urgency of this task? Can it wait until later? Can it be added to a team meeting to discuss and assign later? Don’t let someone else’s need to check something off of their list drive your time management.

Want to talk more about this? Give me a call. My calls are very low key. No pressure or hard sales. And 99% of advisors who spend the hour with me end up walking away with some actionable takeaways they can use right away.

Thanks for listening, Ginny.