Finding time to develop your ideas

Ever since 7billionideas began, people have been intrigued about how we developed our business and I know this is the same when talking to the CEO of The Arcadia Preparatory School, Navin Valrani, and his team. After sharing our story with them, they have always reflected on their own big business ideas and have cited time as one of the biggest reasons as to why they don’t progress their ideas. Is time the biggest blocker to entrepreneurship? Or is it our biggest excuse?

Why do people feel they never have time? One reason is that life gets in the way. Work, family responsibilities, friends and other commitments; life always presents us with an extensive list of activities that need to be done. Time minus work, minus family responsibilities, minus friends, minus other commitments equal reduced amount of time in our day. To do things properly you also need to find time to rest. Life is one reason we feel like we never have time.

Another huge reason is marketing. If you stop and think for a second, the majority of businesses out there are producing a product or a service that saves either you, your family or your company time. They make things easier. They speed things up. Meals in a packet, known as ‘Ready Meals’, were invented for those who don’t have time to cook. Starbucks makes us our coffee because we don’t have time to make a flask. Email is a must-have on your phone because we don’t have time to do it all at work. You could argue that I am exaggerating slightly, but marketing does add to the impression that we need certain products to help each of us claw back some time. This constant advertising drive, adds to people’s perception that time is swallowed up with all our daily chores.

A combination of life and clever marketing has developed this myth, but how do some people seem more productive than others? How do some people get the time to develop their ideas? Do they have an 8th day in their week? No. It is how people choose to spend their time and it is also people’s misunderstanding of how much time is actually needed in order to develop an idea and what can be done in that time.

You don’t have to go far on the web to find so many statistics around how people spend their time. One article I came across, suggested the average American spent 35 hours working each week and 35 hours pursuing social activities. It equated to 5.1 hours a day split between reading, socialising, playing sports, playing computer games, relaxing and watching TV, with the average person spending 2 and a half hours in front of the box. An even more staggering statistic is the length of time people now spend on Facebook – 15.3 hours a month, equating to over half an hour a day.

There are over half a million minutes in a year. If the above figures are correct, over 10,000 of these are being spent on Facebook. Anyone who claims they don’t have time to progress their ideas is oblivious of the time they are wasting. We all have time. It is just how you choose to spend your time. If you could claw back 1% of your time (15 minutes a day) and re-direct it towards developing your ideas, you will be impressed at the progress you can make.

The second misconception I referred to earlier is about what you need to do with your extra time. I think people think starting a business is all about finding a quiet space and drawing up a complicated business plan, which then begins to sound like hard work. Most entrepreneurs do not spend all their time doing this. Developing an idea can come in many different formats. It includes thinking about your idea. Researching your idea. Talking about your idea.  Great developers then keep all their notes, plans, and sketches in one place. As the idea begins to mature, then their attention goes to answering two questions: Will this work and provide a return? How can I take it forward from here?

Only when you start taking your ideas seriously and finding the time, will you ever be able to progress your ideas. You do not need hours a week, but only minutes a day to make significant progress. It is never too late to start. We all live once. Don’t regret having not tried to find the time to work on your dreams and ideas. Start finding time today, to nudge your ideas forward. Keep an eye out for the termly ‘parent workshops’ at The Arcadia Preparatory School, where you will have the opportunity to meet with me to discuss your ideas and get some hints and tips on how to get started!

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