THE MIRACLE OF THE 5-MINUTE FAVOR
“I would regularly see people who had a lot of money or power or were very successful, and they would take time to do these favors that really didn’t benefit them. And I thought it was amazing.”
And thus was born his genius idea: the five-minute favor. He’s been performing one every day since.
How It Works
The idea is so simple, but it’s so powerful: just take five minutes out of your day to do something for someone else at work. We do little selfless favors for family and friends all the time, but moving this little bit of thoughfulness to the office is something new. It’s a great way to do employee recognition and appreciation.
While the five-minute favor can, of course, make you feel good, its benefits go beyond that, and it can become an important element in your career development. “It makes you more bonded and attached to the people you’re interacting with,” says Rifkin explains. In essence, you’re building a professional support structure based on a very human, and deeply felt, foundation of kindness. That’s the sort of base building that can make a huge difference to a career.
When you think about it, you’re giving your recipients the most valuable commodity there is in the work environment: your time. It’s quite the gift. It’s something Rifkin feels the more professsional people around you will understand and be grateful for.
And, of course, even though you don’t keep score — you’re not doing it to establish some sort of quid pro quo, after all — coworkers may eventually want to reciprocate and do nice things for you.
Even if they don’t, it’s still a winning strategy in ways beyond career building, since studies show that giving can lead to longevity and happiness. A five-minute favor can also help you clear your mind when you get stuck, helping you return to it relaxed, refreshed, and ready after a few minutes thinking about someone else.
What Kind of Five-Minute Favor Can You Do?
Well, a couple come to mind immediately. You might tell someone who doesn’t get told often enough what a good job they’re doing — a little employee recognition is always welcome.
Making introductions is one of Rifkin’s own favorite five-minute favors. “I’ll find somebody who would really benefit from knowing someone else, and I’ll connect them,” he says. It’s a way to do something good for two people at once. Sorry, three; I forgot about you.
Why not give the five-minute favor a try at your workplace? A little selfless kindness can go a long way.