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Would you please report to security?

Just as I was about to sit down at my gate at the airport this week, I heard my name over the intercom.

"Would Mitch Matthews please return to the ticket counter." 

That's not something you ever want to hear... especially when you're minutes away from needing to jump on a flight.Security

So I threw my bag over my shoulder and hoofed it back down to the United counter. 

The whole time I was wondering to myself... "What could it be?"

When I arrived, I knew the problem in an instant. 

My Dutch Boy Paint can was sitting on the counter with airport security hovering over it. 

Yup.  That's right.  I had a paint can in my luggage. 


It's a prop for a talk that I give on the power of asking the right questions and innovation.  (By the way... have you seen how cool their paint can is?)

The reason they'd called me back down was that there was "paint residue" in the can. 

There wasn't much but it was enough to be considered hazardous material. 

I made an argument that I'd taken the can on 8 flights prior to this and it had not been seen as dangerous before. 

But that didn't hold any water with the security agent.  In fact, I think it made him more determined.  (Hindsight's always 20/20!)

In the end, they destroyed the paint can and I was almost late for my flight. 

PLUS... I'm told that I'll be receiving a letter from the FAA in the next few weeks explaining the new regulations on what can and can't be taken on a plane.  How about that?!?

Now you may be asking why I brought this up when I'm supposed to be talking about work-life balance?

Well, the reason is... I have to admit that deep down I knew that something like this could happen.

I'd thought about cleaning out the can numerous times.  But I never got around to it. 

I just never thought I had enough time to do it. 

Can you relate? 

But, at the least convenient time... it became a problem. 

The 5 minutes that it would have taken to clean out the can turned into 30 + minutes of stress, a dance with airport security... and a letter from the FAA!

My question to you is "What's your paint can?" 

No, I don't think your doing dorky things like hauling paint cans on airplanes. 

But I'd bet that you have something around you... in your business... at your desk... at home... that's your "5 minute task." 

Something you've been avoiding?

Something that you haven't wanted to take the time to do?

My guess is that it's also something that... like my paint can... could blow up on you if you don't take the time to address it.  (Figuratively speaking... of course.)

What is it for you?

What could you take 5 minutes to do today... that might save you hours of stress later?

How would it feel to have it done? 

What would getting it done save you from?

Join in the conversation and let us know.  Then... get 'er done!

Photo credit: ellesmele


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So are you now in the "No-Fly" list with all of the other terrorists?!?

Sorry to hear of the inconvenience. But as always, you turn it into a perfect learning lesson. Now I need to go do some follow-up calls I'd been putting off...

Great post, Mitch.

Keep Cooking!

I plead the 5th. :) There are too many paint cans to mention without incriminating myself!

At the moment I don't think I have a 5 minute task that needs attention but I can certainly relate to this point!

Thanks for the mention as well!

You guys are great! Thanks for checking in!

Derek... happy to give you the shout out. Keep up the great work!

Wendy... I'm with you. Don't post the list... but... give me a thrill. Let me know when you've taken one of those 5 minute tasks off the ol' list! I'd love to hear abou it!

And Andrew... thanks for the feedback and the amen. You rock brother!

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