Your Time Is Valuable. During Coronavirus, It Matters Even More.
It may not feel like it, but now is the time to plan for great things.
I used to know what time was for. I could divide it into clean blocks: family time, work time, personal time. Now it’s a messy jumble, where I struggle to focus on any one thing. And for other people, whose jobs are on hold or whose companies have no clear path forward, time might feel like time is in sudden abundance—a bounty of unused hours.
No matter the circumstance, I hope you’ll consider this:
Our time matters more now than it ever has.
Do not waste it.
I often think back to a moment just before the world turned upside down. I was at dinner with a bunch of entrepreneurs, and got to chatting with Meghan Asha, the CEO of a company that hosts trade shows called FounderMade. At the time, she wasn’t sure if she’d have to cancel her events. (She later did.) But she told me that, if she did cancel, she’d treat it as an opportunity. She has many ideas for FounderMade—ideas that she could never fully focus on, because her events are so time-consuming. If the events went on pause, she reasoned, she’d be able to expand her focus. She could diversify her company, creating multiple new opportunities, and come out of this pandemic stronger and more robust. (Hear her on my podcast discussing this further.)
In the weeks that followed, as we all retreated into our homes, I kept hearing a version of this from entrepreneurs. If their business was impacted, they started refining their vision and solving new problems. If their work disappeared, they had a long list of new projects to tackle.
Then I started hearing stories from companies that survived the 2008 recession. They had a similar mindset. Some shifted their focus, figuring out how to serve a narrower customer base with absolute perfection. Others created new solutions for cash-strapped clients. Yet others were finally forced to face reality—to acknowledge that their struggling concept wasn’t working, and that they’d need a radical change in order to survive. These are things we should be doing anyway! But sometimes, we need a crisis in order to make the hard, necessary, future-defining decisions.
I find all of this incredibly inspiring. It may feel like the world is shut down, but it’s not: It is teeming with life and opportunity.
And I’ll be honest: This has made me reevaluate my own actions, and the work we do at Entrepreneur. In the time of B.C. (that’s Before Coronavirus), we all juggled a million different projects. Now I’m asking myself these questions:
- How can each hour I spend create the most impact?
- Which projects just aren’t worth the time anymore?
- What will set me and Entrepreneur up for the future—where people will remember what we did today, and be even more engaged with us tomorrow?
These are hard but necessary questions, and I encourage you to ask them of yourself. Some beloved ideas will have to be abandoned—and, sure, I’ve been sad about some of that, but then I’ve seen the impact of time well spent. I’ve seen a hunger for information, and an enormous response when we’re able to step up to the moment. I’m seeing a reorientation and a new set of expectations. I’m seeing people who need new things, and the enormous benefits of serving them. You’ll see it too.
Someday, this will all be over. The coronavirus will be defeated, and we will create a new normal. And when we do, people will remember everything that happened during these months. They’ll know who treated them well, and who was there for them, and who understood them, and who is with them going forward.
That is what we should be spending our time on. That is what matters most.
There is no wasted time today. Not a second. Spend it on your foundation—your family, your team, your relationships, your ideas and execution, and on the work you can do today and the even greater things you can reveal tomorrow.
Be safe, be well, and be in touch.
Jason Feifer is the editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine, and author of the forthcoming book Build For Tomorrow about how people can become more adaptable in their careers and life. He is also the host of two podcasts: Build For Tomorrow (yes, same name as the book), which is a show that debunks people's fears of change; and Problem Solvers, about entrepreneurs solving unexpected problems in their business. He writes a newsletter about how to find opportunity in change.