“Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.”Alan Lakein
How you chose to spend your time during lockdown depends on whether you were in flight or flight mode. Some spent their time enjoying the time off, while the majority was in panic mode. Not knowing what would happen next, or if they would even have a job the next day.
No one could have been prepared for the effects that lockdown would have on us all financially, and psychologically. It is incredibly difficult to focus on anything if uncertainty is so dominant. Yet this is the perfect time to get your priorities in order and self-reflect. If you used your time wisely during lockdown you would be thinking about where you are versus where you really want to be. You might even start thinking, ‘what have I been doing with my life the past 10 years’?
When faced with adversity, the easiest thing to do is to give up and disintegrate. You let the circumstances surrounding you take complete control. The hardest thing to do is to take a minute and sit down with your thoughts and start developing a plan.
Giving up versus spending your time productively
2020 is an emotional rollercoaster year. We were forced to make some tough decisions and anticipate our next move. Always preparing for the worst. If you’re an advocate of ‘mind over matter’, you would be looking for opportunities. Or spend your time during lockdown taking the time to do self-improvement.
Making changes, especially under extreme circumstances may sound terrifying. But this is the biggest reality check you’ll ever have, to thrust you out of a comfort zone, that has kept you in your own lockdown. This is the biggest push to figure out what you really want in life, and start pursuing it! There are no more excuses about having no time and giving up is absolutely not an option.
So how do you begin to spend your time productively during lockdown?
If you’ve been spending your time during lockdown focusing on the negative, it is never too late to make a plan. After all, you do not want to find yourself in the position of being unprepared again, right?
The most significant change you could ever make is to develop your skills, find your niche, and start your own business. That sounds a bit extreme, doesn’t it? Well, the truth is, it’s not.
When people think of starting a business, the first thing that comes to mind is the traditional big bricks and mortar businesses we’re all familiar with. It sounds too difficult and looks too unattainable. And all sorts of negative, potential blocking thoughts arise……..
- Where do I begin?
- I have no experience in business
- Where will I get the capital from?
- What type of business will I even start?
- I have no support
Etc. etc. etc. etc…………….
Once again, it’s all mind over matter. Instead of thinking big picture, simplify it. What is it that you love to do?
Love to bake? Start selling baked goods out of your kitchen.
Love to fix motor vehicles? Start an auto repair shop out of your backyard.
Don’t have the skills to back it up? The hit the books, attend a course, do what you need to do to achieve your goals. When you do what you’re passionate about, you will never work a day in your life. Because you’re doing what you love to do, AND getting paid for it.
1. Tap into your imagination
To make any significant changes in your life, you must have a solid reason as to why you’re pursuing it. If not, I can guarantee you, you will quit before you even began. It’s time to start daydreaming, and don’t we all love that! Start by thinking about the following:
- What do I want a perfect day in my life to look like?
- How am I feeling going about my perfect day?
- Now, what should I change to get that perfect day?
- What is keeping me from pursuing my passion, my dreams, and goals?
- How do I overcome that?
- What do I need to do to get to where I want to be?
Be specific about that day.
Start from waking up in the morning, what will you have for breakfast? Will you even have time for breakfast? Will you have a workout after breakfast? Will you spend some time with your family or friends? What will you be doing to bring an income? Are you going into the office or staying home on the couch generating an income with your laptop?
Are you in control of your time, or are your circumstances controlling you? How do you feel at the end of the day? Are you stressed? Do you feel like accomplished something? Are you going to bed happy? Are you excited to take on the next day? Doing exactly what you want to do, the way you want to do it, and in your own time?
Write these thoughts down. Go over them as many times as you want to get a clearer picture of where you want to be. When the picture becomes clearer, revisit your perfect day, to remind yourself of why you’re pursuing this new goal or dream.
2. Find your passion
Let’s face it, how many people do you know that are doing a job they are passionate about? They can’t wait to go to work in the morning. And rave about their achievements all day long. Few to none, I’m sure.
Why is it so hard for us to face up to what we’re dissatisfied with? The culprit is a lack of direction and overthinking. As soon as you find direction, motivation starts to slowly creep in. Finding your passion is not as easy as it sounds, as we become jaded with the mundaneness of everyday life. But it is not impossible.
So to find some direction, start with finding your passion. No If you don’t know what your passion is, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I love to talk about?
- What Are my favorite things to do?
- What makes me happy when I do it?
- What am I really good at?
- What have I always wanted to do but never got around to doing it?
- Do your own SWOT analysis to see what you do best, and what you could improve on.
3. Develop your niche
Now that you’ve discovered what you’re good at, it is time to suss out your competition. Perhaps there’s something that they’re not providing that you can. Or perhaps there’s a gap in the market for something that you can deliver.
Take our previous examples of the cookie shop and auto repair shop. Perhaps customers want their cookies to be personalized for birthday parties or events. You can take advantage of this by taking orders in advance, making sure that there is always a flow of income. Perhaps customers don’t have the time to deliver their cars to an auto repair shop. You may want to provide the service of collecting their cars dropping them off after the provided service at a small extra cost.
There are endless possibilities to get into the market and provide a service that people want or better yet…NEED!
If you’re not sure how to suss out your competition, there is a tool that businesses use to identify and outperform their competitors. It’s called the Porter’s Five Forces Analysis. It’s not as hard as it sounds! I frequently use this in all areas of my life. It does not only apply to businesses. Give it a try.
To develop your niche’, ask yourself the following questions:
- What am I really good at? (make a list)
- From the above list, what do I enjoy doing the most?
- From that list, what products or services can I provide that people want or need?
- What will people be willing to pay big money for?
These questions will prevent you from starting a business that will not thrive. Remember you’re doing what you love, but your business cannot survive without customers. Make sure you know what they want. This thought pattern drives good decision making from the beginning and throughout.
4. Find people with similar mindsets
Embarking on an ambitious journey requires a certain amount of support. Automatically we always turn to the ones that we THINK are our best support structures in these circumstances. We always turn to our friends and family first. Although they are our support structures in life, they may not be the most suitable in this case.
When you’re seeking support from someone who cannot see what you’re seeing, feel what you’re feeling, or see the picture as you can, it can be frustrating to make them understand. They may downplay a situation or even try to talk you out of it altogether.
Turning to those who know, will be the best strategy for long term growth and sustainability. They have either been where you are or are embarking on the same journey as you. They may provide the insights, advice, or tools you need. And when it comes to motivation, who better to turn to, than someone who has experienced what you are right now?
There are so many places you can find these peer groups, but for starters you can turn to the ones listed below:
- Facebook groups
5. Develop your skills
You may be good at something, but in today’s tech driven world, whatever you do will require a certain amount of technology. Developing your technological skills will abundantly increase your chances of succeeding in whatever endeavor you choose.
The must-have skills that are transferrable to pretty much any workplace (whether it’s your own business or not) are:
- Start a website
Having a website is probably one of the most important tools to get yourself or your business in front of as many eyes as possible. If you think starting a website requires a web designer or major technical skills, think again! I’ve started a website with zero technical knowledge or skills.
- Learn how to write
If you’re passionate about something you tend to talk about it with the same passion that you feel. So why not write about it? A business website almost always has a blog, to talk about what they do, and how well they do it.
If you’re not keen on starting a business, how good will you look to potential employers having a whole website about YOU as your own brand, instead of a CV like everyone else? Writing a blog also opens up other options in terms of skills, research, and technical management. Making you alot more attractive to potential employers or boosting your business’s potential.
- Get comfortable with social media
Having a website is one thing. But one of the tools that drive people to your site is social media. This is where the ‘eyes’ are. It is where people ‘hang out’, and it is where you will find your prospects.
Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn provide free learning material on how you can use these tools to your advantage. Spend your time in lockdown browsing through this learning material. Chances are you already know more than others in this arena!
So how did you spend your time during lockdown? Disintegrating under the pressure, wiling away your time, or spending your time productively through self-reflection and self-development?
No matter how you chose to spend your time during lockdown, it is never too late to begin making a transformation.