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Don’t forget to schedule doing nothing: The importance of spending money to free up time

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Could how we’re spending our money dictate our happiness? We know purpose and fulfillment leads to happiness, but it’s spending money which buys us time for doing nothing and freedom to create it!

What HR doesn’t want you to know

Promoting this research won’t make me popular with HR managers across the world.

In a very recent experiment published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, participants found greater happiness if they used £30 ($40) to save time – such as by paying for chores to be done – rather than spending money on material items.

Psychologists say stress over lack of time causes lower wellbeing and contributes to anxiety and insomnia.

All blindingly obvious? We all know someone doing our laundry, babysitting, mowing the lawn, building the Ikea cabinet or renewing a driver’s licence is one less chore we can do without – that which can otherwise consume a day which should be scheduled for rest.

What’s crucial to focus on in this debate is the fact that the job market does not cater to freeing up time on two fronts.

Firstly, salaries are capped according to pay scales. Not what that individual is well and truly worth.  Secondly, jobs, in the main, require you to be doing them full time. 

Yes, we’ve seen employers relax on days when you can work from home, or duvet days, but by and large, Monday to Friday we’re expected to do our job in set hours.

France and Sweden have been leaders in curtailing hours, but that’s still not going far enough. There is still no radical change to this age-old maxim of the job market. 

The result? Your time will always be capped and regulated. This is at odds with freeing up time for fulfilment.

Living the concierge life: lessons from Uber, Deliveroo & Ocado

Rising incomes in many countries has led to a new phenomenon. From Germany to the US, people report “time famine”, where they get stressed over the daily demands on their time.

Apps, tech and platforms such Uber, Deliveroo, Ocado, PushDoctor to Alexa, to name but a few have made life easier, more time-efficient and at a reasonably affordable cost.

Entrepreneurs developing these platforms will continue to do well as there’s no extent to the amount of time-saving solutions we need in our lives. 

These might be the poor man’s concierge solution to time-saving, however, there’s a side to this revolution of convenience no one is talking about: Time for doing nothing!

Why we need to schedule doing nothing

Ask the world’s greatest minds, thinkers, entrepreneurs, and dare I say spiritualists, and they all talk about doing nothing as part of their personal wellbeing.

Doing nothing, as in not necessarily switching off while doing a chore, but actually going with the flow, frolicking around the house, garden, or going for an unplanned walk with no agenda (and no phone, might I add).

The benefit from this doing nothing process is the space it gives us to just be. Many who factor this into their daily lives see its value and importance in returning to their obligations with renewed vigour and enthusiasm.

Rethinking employment as we know it

There are some great paying jobs out there, but they don’t address freeing up time. With the ever-increase in online businesses many have second or part time jobs, and are widening their pool of income to give them choices. This realisation is what excites me the most.

My industry, network marketing, is one which was built around giving time back to the individual. Of course, it requires hard graft to begin with, whereby you build up a distribution network, but the result is the golden egg of enterprise: earning residual and passive income. 

Having left a corporate job at a senior executive level, I earned well but had no free time. This null and voided the seemingly generous corporate salary. I see so many trapped corporate individuals looking for a change. There are options if they look.

My income rose ten times to what it was when I made a success of network marketing. The result was not flashy toys, but peace of mind and freedom which is the biggest gift any entrepreneur can give to themselves. 

Warren Buffet’s modest living is a prime example of a man who has chosen to live simply and chooses to spend his time exactly how he pleases.

My message is simple. It’s time we stopped thinking about a job for life, but rather get into the mindset of multiple streams of income and honouring the route which allows us to free up time for life. Here are a few steps to achieving this:

(1) Identify whether your industry has room for you to self-start, so you can keep your skills, network and leverage of what you’ve achieved.

(2) If not, find an industry or opportunity which allows you to earn income without giving up your day job (hence making your income vulnerable). Mine was network marketing.  Find one that will eventually allow you to transition smoothly to minimise the impact to your life.

(3) Make freeing up time a prerequisite of this experience. Either to pursue a passion or doing nothing, both are valid. Let this be the motivation behind the shift.

(4) Talk to individuals who have made this shift to find out the experience, feelings, anxieties and stories of triumph. It’s not about following their path but it’s about knowing it’s possible if you take the first step.

Cliff Walker is an internationally renowned trainer, speaker and author on all aspects of best practice around network marketing

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