Whenever I have time on my hands, I often find myself thinking about time. Take a look at your calendar over the past week. What kinds of things did you invest your time in? How do those investments relate to your goals? And what about next week?
From our answers we can deduce some some vital things:
- What we value
- What we don’t value
- What we think is valuable to us but don’t actually invest time in
- What we actually spend time on but don’t consider as necessary and/or valuable.
Through analysing and reflecting on our answers, we can verify how we’re progressing towards our goals. It closes the feedback loop we need so that we can adjust our course. More fundamentally, it helps us figure out what’s truly important to us. How we spend our time tells us a lot about ourselves.
Party of Five
Some years ago, I stumbled across a completely novel way of thinking about how we spend our time. The interesting question isn’t just What, but Who. With whom do you spend your time? More specifically, who are the five people you spend the most time with? The more specific a question, the harder it makes me think.
I first came across the idea in “The One Minute Entrepreneur” by Ken Blanchard, Don Hutson with Ethan Willis. In the business novel, he remarks how we become the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with.
Thinking of time in terms of who we spend it with opens up a whole new perspective. His remark also helped me realise why parents so often worry about the kind of crowd their child hangs out with.
Learning from others to learn about yourself
One way to get value from your party of 5 is by looking outwards and asking yourself: What are the attributes I like about an individual and what can I do to learn how to do more of what they do?
Another way to get value from your party of 5 is to look inwards by asking yourself: What do I think about someone and what does what I think about them tell me about myself? How can I use those insights to help me improve?
Time to Think
One of Ken’s “insights” is that we’ll essentially be the same, year after year, except for the people we meet and the books we read. To that list, I would also add the choices we make and the things that we do. For me, one of Ken’s most enduring insights is this: “The legacy you leave is the legacy you live”.
What do you do when you have time on your hands? Who are the people that make up your Party of Five?