Three Minutes to Save Your Life

One of our clients heads a trauma center. In a conversation about the friction points for her organization’s productivity, she said, “We need to get people to slow down.”

Hmmmm. I thought. Isn’t this what we used to call an “emergency” room? Even here, the place organized around emergencies, people move too fast?


Productivity isn’t about doing the thing that shows up when it shows up. It’s about doing the thing at the optimum time. And, amid the flood of things, it’s doing the optimum thing at the optimum time.

As I learned, even after cardiac arrest, there’s three minutes before brain damage. The responders have two minutes to consider and prepare before taking action. Should we be surprised that considered action is more effective than immediate action?

There’s an expectation in some circles of immediate response to emails, text, phones. It’s developed because, for many, if they don’t respond immediately, the request will submerge and disappear in the incoming.

To be productive rather than busy, you practice discerning your highest purposes, learn to separate the wheat from the chaff of all the incoming; and align your time, attention, and energy to engage the optimum thing at the optimum time.

Step away from the devices for three minutes. Use the minutes to contemplate your best use for this precious existence we call the rest of the day. It might save your life.

Kairos for Business FAQ Terms Privacy