Every day five-minute free slots come our way. It’s up to us to make good use of it or waste it in useless pursuits, says REENA SINGH

It takes about five minutes to make a phone call to a pal to pass on a juicy tidbit about a common acquaintance. Or you can use the same five minutes to key it all in on a tantalising SMS or WhatsApp message.

Or you can put those five minutes to good use and attach an old photo for an old friend to savour on What’sApp. You could even use that precious time ― all 300 seconds of it ― to listen to a funny, heartbreaking, instructional or raunchy Youtube video, depending on your mood. It’s your life and the truth is that you can use those five minutes of your time for just about anything ― a quick game of Scramble or Sudoku, even.

Some people might prefer taking a power nap or surfing aimlessly. Or reading something out of a news site or glancing at the headlines in a newspaper or an epaper. Alternatively, you could read up a meaningful quote and think about the possibilities of what the cryptic message implies.

Reena Singh

Deciding on what you want to read in whatever time you have at hand is completely your choice. Reading can provide you entertainment for a few minutes, a sense of vicarious pleasure out of reading some juicy gossip about a celebrity; or you can choose to do something more impressive with it. You can use the time to develop yourself by reading a self-help book or gain knowledge by reading a book on the scriptures or the autobiography of someone you have looked up to.

I remember a colleague in my old office who once shared that each person in his family of four takes up a topic for each week and spends five to ten minutes of their time daily reading up on it on the internet. By the end of the week, they share their little nuggets of information and knowledge they have gained over the week with each other.

Another person I know would pull out a pictorial encyclopaedia every month from the collection of old books in his house and then leaf through it for five or ten minutes at a time, whenever he found himself free, just resting in his room on his favourite sofa. Try it, I say. It might be loads better than aimlessly surfing on the phone or iPad or being on social media.

One could go on and on what we could do with just a couple of five-minute breaks in our busy, busy routines.

Perhaps, we can use that time to thank a friend, wish an old uncle or aunt good morning for a cheerful start to their day, or dig out an unused item in our wardrobe to give away to someone who needs it.

Want to think about it? In five minutes, perhaps? 

Reena Singh has more than 37 years’ experience in senior editorial positions in The Times of India (TOI) and Genpact. She was Deputy Editor with TOI’s spiritual newspaper, The Speaking Tree, where she spent nine years.

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