As we wave a weary goodbye to lockdown and welcome back some of our old freedoms, like going to work(!), the question many will be asking is “How did you spend your time during lockdown?”
It got me thinking about the question. “How do you spend your time anyway?” In general? Considering we only have a finite amount of time, how do you spend it? They say time is money! We have all heard that statement. For me it conjures up images of 80’s power suits and Wall Street, but the truth is that time is more than money. Time is something we all have, but not all of us use it as well as we could. Crisis often reveals where we have been spending time and it’s something that we may need to change. How we choose to spend time communicates to others about what we value. A leader’s schedule, for example, is a reflection of how they lead and sends powerful messages to the staff.
As you grow older, you realise that the happiest people spend their time on the right things. Money can buy you time, but ultimately time has to be spent and invested in a manner that leaves everyone in a better place.
For many entrepreneurs this doesn’t happen often enough. The only ‘me time’ we experience is the short period spent laying on your bed, staring at the ceiling before passing out. ‘Me time’ is something you have to invest in though. If you are giving out all the time and not putting anything in, you are headed for a crash.
What fuels you? Whatever it is you need to do more of that. Whether it’s a walk in the country, gym, playing sport, watching movies, reading books or even playing video games, escaping into it regularly is so important.
For those in a relationship or married this is important. If you don’t invest in ‘we time’, you’ll create two individual lives headed in different directions. It took me long enough to find my wife Clare so I haven’t got time to go looking again, ever!
Investing in each other is important. Lately, trips to Costco on our own served as a weekly ‘date’. We do a lot of talking while driving and that’s why I like it because we talk things out. A weekend away would be great but with three youngish kids and the recent challenges of lockdown that hasn’t been an option.
Spontaneous time, where you just go on adventure. That’s what I love more than anything. Clare and I used to do this all the time, take off, embracing the moment and seeking an adventure. Life gets busy, and we often book up all our time on things, but having that luxury to just go and do something is a freedom we are all going to be able to enjoy more in the months to come (hooray!!!) Boredom is a problem, and being bored (as my Mum used to put it) is for boring people. We can do better and we should do better.
Years ago, I remember we got a last minute deal to Brussels, it was so much fun. We had first class tickets on the Eurostar and we embraced a weekend of luxury. It wasn’t on the radar and completely unplanned but I’ll never forget it.
The biggest transition we made as a family was to move out of the city. I love the city but we began to think that there was more to life. Clare had always held out hope that we would move out and as more and more demands were being placed on our family, moving out into the sticks was an easy decision to make. Living in a rural location meant that we grew closer as a family and we had less responsibilities. We began to enjoy a new environment. When lockdown hit we really appreciated living in amazing surroundings and enjoying peace instead of chaos. Today, if anyone asked me to move back into the city, the answer would be a clear no. Out here, family time is literally a coat and some boots away.
‘You and me time’
Taking your children out for a ‘one on one’ is a great way of investing in them. Give them your full attention. My children love it. Obviously, they compete, but getting time with them alone is good. I love to create space for my children to express themselves. The being ‘seen and not heard’ thing does not really help my children. It’s poor stewardship in my opinion. You need to invest in them as people. They need to know that Mum and Dad care for them and that they can talk to you without fearing reaction or recrimination. Close families talk.
We have chosen to invest our time in our children and we have never regretted the decision we made back in April 2019 to homeschool them. Apart from not being so bothered about lockdown, our children have benefited from being number one on our list in a variety of ways. We’ve all enjoyed the flexibility and the freedom, and being the number one influencers in our children’s lives is a privilege. We’ll never have this opportunity again to shape our children’s lives in such a positive way.
When you start to build a business making and saving money is everything. However, as the business grows and becomes profitable, it’s time that you value most. I came to realise that sacrificing some profit is worth it if it buys you more time. One of the tools we have adopted recently at Cre8ion is Asana, an online project management app which has helped us by cutting back on the need for meeting time. I couldn’t recommend it more highly, as it is a vast improvement on others we have tried in the past.
Exploring digital methods of buying back time (especially for busy entrepreneurs managing staff) is something I love to advocate. It’s the reason behind the existence of our sister company, Di9ital, born to increase the efficiency of teams by building bespoke web and mobile apps. If you have a time saving idea, Di9ital can bring it to life and automate any long processes which might be time stealers.
So, if coming out of lockdown means making more of your time, why not let Cre8ion make your brand marketing strategy work harder for you? It’s time to unlock the clock!