Truly taking time with others

taking time with others in Edinburgh
Panorama of Edinburgh to the North, December 25th, 2019

In the English language, we have the phrase “spending time”, which infers that taking time is a “cost” that we “spend”. In business and leadership, I hear so often that people say they “can’t afford the time” for various things.

When we think of time as a scarce currency, as our language often seems to, it has implications for how we behave.

At this time of year all too often we feel we have to over-schedule ourselves with social events, as we only have so much time “off” before the work of the new year starts. What if, instead, we under-schedule ourselves, we truly take this time for ourselves also to take time to be with others?

Yesterday I started Christmas morning with a wonderfully relaxed cup of coffee, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toast with two family members before the ten or so people came for Christmas dinner later on. The winter sun was beaming down on us from outside as we had all the time in the world to take time with each other. It was wonderful.

The elder of the three of us has always gently declined the opportunity of the world of text messaging, smartphones etc, instead preferring to sometimes use the telephone, but mostly to talk face to face. They are often my host when I visit my home town of Edinburgh, and I so look forward to our conversations, always ensuring I give myself the luxury of time and space for us to talk about anything at all that comes to mind.

On this day after the intensity of Christmas Day festivities, I encourage you to under-schedule yourself sometimes, to truly take time for others.

For those in leadership positions, perhaps make a conscious effort, particularly when on trips visiting other locations and offices for your business, to actively under-schedule yourself, to allow time for relaxed and even random conversation in the office, with clients, with team members. Your time IS precious, not only to you but also to those you share it with.

Take time, with others.

Also published on Medium.