Giving the Gift of Time


By Phil Harwood

I was recently on a regular weekly Zoom call with a client and the person leading the call wrapped up earlier than normal. As she did so, she smiled and said, “I’m giving you the gift of time.” I love this because the “gift of time” has been on my mind throughout the pandemic year of 2020, and I’m thinking about how to more strategically give this gift in 2021. My thoughts may be helpful as you prepare your goals for next year.

We have been given the gift of time in 2020. Many of the things we normally do have been canceled or restricted, leaving us with something that most of us never have enough of - extra time. What are we doing with our extra time and how can we pay this gift forward?

There has always been a recognition that time is a unique and valuable resource. In fact, it’s been called “the great equalizer” since it’s the one resource that we all have the exact same amount of. And, yet, we have not always viewed time as the precious gift it truly is. 

Prior to the pandemic, over half of my work days involved travel. Like many of you, I love traveling and have traveled all over North America speaking at conferences, facilitating peer group meetings, leading company retreats, and more. However, travel involves unavoidable lost time and if time is truly the most precious resource of all, losing a significant amount of time due to business travel is hard to justify if other options are available. 

The pandemic proved that much of what we thought needed to be done in person actually may be done remotely. Many of you have also experienced a new freedom from going into the office every day, sitting in conference rooms, or sitting in traffic in order to meet someone in person when a short Zoom call is more than sufficient. There really is a new normal taking shape with respect to conducting business in-person versus remotely.

Of course, we all want to get back to in-person meetings, conferences, dining, sports, concerts, etc. We long for dinner parties, holiday gatherings, and visits to see our elderly family members. These things will eventually come back and, when they do, we will be more appreciative of those opportunities. This is where we need to be strategic in our planning.  

For 2021, I’m developing a strategic plan for using my time effectively and for how to give people the gift of time by being more efficient in my business processes. I’m planning for much more work to be done remotely, many fewer business trips, and more on-demand service delivery. I’m creating a list of events, activities, and interactions for 2021 so that my time is directed with intention and not wasted. 

How about you? What are you going to do in 2021 to capitalize on the gift of time and/or to pay this gift forward? 

Now go forth. 

Tags: Time Management , Pandemic , Remote , Meeting ,