TODAY | December 04, 2010
>>> for products that claim you can master a new skill in just five minutes a day. we know the pitches, but is it really possible?
>> we've asked willie geist to find out with what we're calling "give me five with willie."
>> get the animation and everything. i like that.
>> you're big-time.
>> well, there are a lot of promises out there for short cuts, self-improvement whether it's in the form of learning a new language or getting rock ard abs. i set out to test those promises and let's just say the results were mixed. life moves fast. so who has time in an overbooked world to learn anything new? well, you do. there's a growing list of books and websites that promise to teach new skills in just five minutes a day. even people who spent their lives avoiding the kitchens can whip up a loaf of bread in five minutes. according to the authors of this book, i, too can make artisan bread, whatever that is, in five minutes a day. i don't think they know who they're dealing with here. a disaster already. you attack the dough. not in the book, just my method. this is the work of a great artisan. five minutes is also all it takes to learn the basics of a new language. as you can see, there's no guarantee of fluency. [ speaking foreign language ] -- willie geist . what's your name? i just had a conversation with myself in chinese.
>> get down and try this.
>> reporter: and for those who want to turn that belly into a six-pack, youtube features five, six, seven, and two-minute videos. i recommend the two-minute version. voila! on a site called ehow.com, there's dog obedience training.
>> i recommend that you train your dog five minutes in the morning and five minutes at night.
>> reporter: fish tank maintenance.
>> whatever the fish will eat in five minutes.
>> reporter: and lessons on cooking perfectly crisp, flat bacon.
>> lift each slice of bake and and place it onto my paper towel.
>> reporter: perhaps while maintaining your fish tank . but is five minutes really worth your time?
>> i'm really overwhelmed with my schedule.
>> i would like to learn how to sew.
>> learn how to understand ladies, you know.
>> there's so many things that they need to get done that they do need to do it in a shorter period of time. and that's part of this multitasking, which has become the new normal.
>> reporter: how many times have you heard an adult say they wish they'd learned to play the piano as a kid? there's hope now. a website, pianoiseasy.com. we're going to start here with jingle bells . well in five minutes, you can become a regular chopin. a very young chopin. five minutes a day may not sound like a lot. but over the course of a year it adds up to more than a full day. a day where you could have learned to play the piano, bake a loaf of bread, or even to learn chinese . maybe your lack of free time is giving you the blues. according to one study, as little as five minutes of time in an outdoor space can improve mental health . who knew the path to a lifetime of health and happiness was just a five-minute stroll? nature. so if you think you have no time for anything, stop and take five. so clearly five minutes is not enough to learn chinese . i didn't get the rock-hard abs.
>> you didn't show us --
>> i'm going to tighten up here.
>> i've got some abs you can borrow.
>> but it's a good way to start.
>> all right.
>> the piece was only 3:40. if you had more time, actually. willie, thanks. we're back in a moment. but first,