Can you smell the roses?

Day in the life of corporate vs startupHow many of us can remember the New Year or what we did in December?

We are well into 2019 and have launched straight into the roller-coaster of another year. Whether we are employed by a large organisation or self-employed, it seems everybody complains of the same thing; taxi drivers share anecdotes of people rushing in and out of their cabs with no time to eat or think, but nobody appears to be doing much about it.

This has to be the year to slow ourselves down and build some time into the schedule to think; not to stop or do less necessarily, but to focus on what delivers most impact and brings in the results to achieve more.

I had a few decent ideas in 2018, how to help one of my clients, how to better position a team of people for their future, how to add value at home, but these ideas came on train and plane journeys. Journeys with quiet time where I couldn’t be interrupted.

There is no irony that my post on social spaces which received the most feedback was one where technology should be put down for a moment to savour what life has to offer. Can we learn from this: should we introduce ‘make a connection Monday,’ ‘talk to a human Tuesday’ or ‘work on a solution Wednesday?’

Whatever it is, and with spring in sight, we need to slow down to create time to ponder, to think a little more long-term and to stop and smell the roses.

The daily treadmill – getting back our time

Many people are commenting on the future of email this week, predicting it’s slowdown and demise. Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook fame, declared that “we don’t think a modern messaging system is going to be email.”

Technology has increased the pace of everything. We are never offline and once we get on that treadmill, we cannot stand still. If we stop for a moment, we invariably go backwards. But whilst it needs to slow down and we need time to think and reflect, I do agree with him. Email is growing largely due to the sheer volume of new users in Asia, but for the younger demographic, email doesn’t cut it. Our kids want something faster and easier than e-mail and amongst teenagers email usage is down 59%. How often do you see kids wandering with heads down clicking away on Blackberry Messenger?

As most people know, I am a big supporter of giving youngsters a chance. At a recent event in Brussels at the EU, a minister said if every small business employed one person we would have no unemployment problem. Easier said than done of course, but I took on a few apprentices/interns at CompTIA and it made a difference. What’s more, I unearthed a couple of real diamonds with great futures ahead of them, just buy committing to giving somebody a chance. We should all do it – it is very rewarding.

A bigger issue I have, however, is these kids and their career choices. We are too easily led by the glitz and the glory of TV fame, and it is unrealistic. 25 years ago, the three primary career choices were Teacher, Banker and Doctor; today, they are Sports Star, Pop Star and Actor. This is the X-Factor generation and there will be a lot of disappointed young people out there.

Now I love technology and continue to take an interest in its evolution. More notably, since I resigned from my current role at CompTIA (my favourite place of work to date), I have had a couple of weeks to do things for myself and email has reduced to a trickle. What a joy! How I have used my time has opened my eyes to how we should work, think and be creative ordinarily. We should not have to stop work to get access to this quality time but factor it into our daily routines – I for one will be doing this at Pearson when I join.