The power and value of time – in life and business
CEO Rob Bryant takes time to contemplate one of the most under-valued – and most valuable – commodities in our lives.
Having led Mobas for the past 20 years, I’ve learnt a lot about time and how valuable it can be, from a personal perspective but also from a business leadership and management perspective.
I’m always amazed at how very few people genuinely value the time they have on this planet and how they’re prepared to use it and lose it willingly and without even realising the gift they have in time and how valuable it is both to themselves and those around them.
“Lost time is never found again.”
How true this statement is and how well it relates to our personal and work life. You simply can’t keep an hour from today for tomorrow – of course we all recognise that, but we do still tend to delay or postpone an action when we likely know exactly what to do or what should be done. As an example, how many times have we over-thought booking a holiday or picking up the phone to speak to a customer? Benjamin Franklin would argue that time is a scarce resource which, if wasted, can never be relived. Therefore, the power of being able to understand where to spend your precious time is critical and never more important than right now, this very second, especially given the pace of the world around us.
How do we ensure that time is maximised and has both a positive influence on the family / work life balance?
1. Own the day ahead.
Be the master of your day. Make sure you know what you must and want to achieve and do your very best to do so. Of course, you may not achieve everything so have the mindset to say “That’s ok…” – after all, we’re all human. But be in charge: I always set myself two big-hitting things to achieve per day. Minimal effort, maximum impact, and a great sense of achievement. If you deliver your two big hits per day, you can then focus on spending your time on other things, wisely!
2. Don’t be a human figure of eight.
We all know that one person who runs around all day, busy, busy, busy. The question is, busy doing exactly what? Make sure that if you’re busy, you fully understand exactly what you’re trying to achieve and focus on delivering it. Have a purpose.
Otherwise, you’ll find yourself running round in figure of eights and not being able to get off the ‘busy’ ride. It’s critical to assess the hours in your day and see if there’s a lot of wasted time. Remember it’s incredibly valuable and most importantly your time, so don’t waste it being a busy fool.
3. Enjoy saying no.
Being human, we’re programmed to make other people feel happy, wanted and that we’re helping them wherever we can. That’s where we typically fall into the trap of saying ‘yes’ to everything and ‘no’ to not very much at all. The failure here is that in our desire to make people see our value by saying ‘yes’ to everything, what we’re doing is diminishing our value by delivering not very much at all. By overloading ourselves we simply don’t make much gain, in fact, we start to be seen negatively for the following example reasons:
- Not achieving our daily output
- Not delivering on projects
- Not managing our time efficiently
- Not billing enough
- Not spending enough time with family
- Starting early and finishing late
- Dropping the ball
- Not looking after ourselves
- Running at breakneck speed and literally at breaking point
- Not engaged with the important things in personal and work life
- Finding the valuable self-processing time
So, what I’ve engaged with is the art of essentialism, the ability to say NO to requests that I believe won’t bring value to whatever the focus is at that point, be it personal or work life activity, and to focus my attention, as referenced above in point 1, to 2-3 big-hitting impacts per day. This way, I make more impact and am recognised for doing so! So, the person who always delivers as opposed to the person who always over-promises and under-delivers. BIG difference.
So, embrace the ability to say NO. Remember, it’s your time: spend it how you want as you’ll never get that time back again. Do it and I promise your perceived value in the eyes of your audiences will increase dramatically.
Focus and evaluate what’s truly important each day.
4. Value the small things.
Making the most of your day and achieving success should be a pleasure. Looking at who you are, what you’ve become, what you’ve achieved and who you have around you is important, so make sure you do this. It helps you appreciate what you’ve been spending your time doing and why it’s worth all the effort.
I speak a lot about delivering 2-3 big-hitting things per day, which I stand by, but we all have moments of quiet time in our days. It’s important to utilise these moments, by either using them as thinking time or doing the small jobs that make a big difference, e.g. clean your inbox up, catch up on filing, finish the podcast, etc.
This is the simplest advice, but in most cases the hardest one for individuals to complete as part of their day. Through my 20 years here at Mobas, I’ve learnt the important of being able to breathe and take time out of my day to process. I typically do this at the start and end of the day, both when I’m walking. Being able to breathe and prepare for the day or process the day that has been is vital and such a revelation once you adopt this mindset. Otherwise, we start the day with no clear point of focus, and we end the day full of cluttered thinking. Ultimately, if you prepare and declutter you maximise the full potential of the day, yes all 24 hours of it, either awake or asleep.
The biggest learning for me is that the value you put on your time is as important for personal and work life. It’s also important to remind ourselves, that not everyone values your time in the same way that you do, but what is critical is that as soon as you start valuing your time in the right way, so do others around you. In doing so it will have a positive impact on you, your family, friends, colleagues, partners, customers, and your business – your overall life.
“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”
The time you’ve spent reading this insight you won’t get back, so I both thank you for your time and also hope it’s been useful. Please now do something with how you value your time, otherwise it could be time wasted, not to be relived again.