A Lesson Learned About the 5 Minute Meeting

September got away from me. Did it get away from you, too? Between celebrating my daughter’s birthday, the start of school, the start of sports, the start of music lessons, work, and just the rebooting of life in general (hallelujah)… it’s the suddenly the end of September, and I haven’t checked off everything from my monthly checklist.

Which included writing more than one blog post this month.

But that didn’t happen. And that’s ok. Because life.

And because September was like a 5 minute meeting.

Have you ever had one of those? I’ve had lots of them. They are never actually 5 minutes.

Here’s a rundown of my most recent one.

My husband, Todd, serves as the pastor at our church. I am a trusty volunteer. 🙂 I was at the church one Wednesday morning to drop something off when he asked if I had time to talk about one of the studies we’re launching this fall. He said, and I quote, “It will only take 5 minutes.”

I didn’t really have 5 minutes. I actually have a job besides volunteering at the church. A paying job that I needed to get back to doing.

Besides, I knew better. I knew what we needed to work on and how long it would likely take. It would be more like a 50 minute meeting.

And it was.

The funny part was that during this meeting, our church was doing a flu shot drive, so there were several volunteers there helping. They heard all this talk of a 5 minute meeting. They rolled their eyes. They know Todd well too.

Every 10 minutes or so, someone would pop in and say something like:
“Oh, I thought you’d be finished already.” …and…
“Oh, you’re still meeting?” …and…
“I thought this was only going to last 5 minutes.”

All in good fun. But it proves a point – and it’s not that Todd couldn’t have a 5 minute meeting if his life depended on it.

The point is that that’s just life. People take longer than 5 minutes.

There’s a lesson there.

I’m a very scheduled person. I make lists. I check them off. I color code my calendar. A random 5 minute meeting has no place.

But it needs to have a place.

Incidentally, said husband from the former illustration has a strategy to address the “5” minute moments. He divides his day up into thirds and only schedules it 2/3 full. This leaves 1/3 for the unexpected interruptions. He always has a project list of important-but-non-urgent activities to work through if there’s not an interruption. But if there is, he’s got the bandwidth to give them “5” minutes.

Here’s the lesson I needed: those 5 minute moments are people. It’s not a task that knocks on your door that says “Hey, can you give me 5 minutes?” It’s a person.

My life is build around two principles: love God and love your neighbor. If my neighbor shows up needing “a cup of sugar” I want to be ready to invite them in and share a cup of coffee too.

And if it blows up my calendar… well… there’s always tomorrow… and it will be a good chance to start using Todd’s 2/3 model.

Published by Amanda Bussey

Sister in Christ • Wife • Mom • Daughter • Friend

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