By Michael Holland

Every day, there they are, these 3-minute slices of time. Some days there might be four of them, the next there could be seven.

These tiny slices of time come about when walking down a hallway, waiting for a video meeting to start, during a break in a long meeting, while getting a cup of coffee, while waiting outside your boss’s office for your one-on-one meeting.

The whole day’s success could hinge on investing those 3-minute segments during the day.

Good leaders – and those great ones as well – are more effective because they have habits that leverage those 3-minute slices.

But it seems that many leaders often waste the 3-minute slices here and there rather than than investing them.

Here are some ways to Invest the Three.

Think About Each Employee

Invest the Three in thinking of each employee one at a time.

Pull their picture into your brain and think about them: what they are doing, how you value them, one thing they do that makes you happy or productive. Then move on to the next employee.

Next Action to Take

Invest the Three with the single next action.  List out the single next action you should be taking on the projects or work that is all around you.

You might use your version of your to do list or maybe a project plan. The key is letting your brain refocus on the single next actions.

What Just Happened, What Did I Learn

Invest the Three in thinking back over the last two hours – or 24 hours – and processing what happened, what was working, what did I learn.

You want to inventory those bright spots – identifiable anomalies that reveal glimmers that something is working very well – that could be repeated, or communicated or part of your next coaching up moment for your employees.

Breathe, Just Breathe

Invest the Three in creating personal space while slowing down the rhythm of your pace and brain.

Maybe a quick power nap works for you. Or a perhaps it’s mindful meditation. For me it’s prayer: I take the time to create peace and to be thankful.

It’s important to understand that the act of recognizing that there are 3-minute slices available is tremendously helpful.  Then you have the opportunity to decide how best you want to invest in those slices.

You can continue to check email or the latest updates on social media on your phone during those slices.

Or you could decide to lead well and invest those slices to being better at leading.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • How many 3-minute slices might you have in a day? During the next day, inventory how many you have. Simply keep track.
  • Grab a peer leader and discuss the suggestions for Investing the Three.  What are some additional ways the to Invest the Three?