Interesting things about the packaging industry, retailing dynamics, consumer trends and NOA’s insight.

Gift of a day

Mar 14, 2018 | Coaching and Mentoring

How do you spend your time?

The recent snowy weather – Beast from the East meets Storm Emma – overturned the plans of many of us in the UK and across much of Europe, including those of NOA’s MD Neil Osment, whose skiing trip was postponed for nearly two days when his flight was cancelled. Here Neil talks about how his coaching techniques helped him view his personal experience, less as an inconvenience and more as
the ‘gift of a day’.

Imagine this scenario. You’re packed, ready for holiday, about to travel to the airport, the excitement is building and you get a text from the airline – plane cancelled due to bad weather.

What’s your reaction? Probably, one of disgruntlement at having your plans changed; you’re now at a loose end, kicking your heels until you can get on that plane the following day – possibly even feeling a little bored?

This is exactly what happened to me and I admit this is how I felt at first – annoyed, disappointed, discombobulated.

But, with my coaching hat on – one that I also wear at NOA, at our market research and business development consultancy – I decided not to mope but to look upon it positively, as a ‘gift of a day’ and use it to do something very positive with. So after a great workout at the gym, tackling an important business project, taking a bracing walk up Folly Hill in the freshly fallen snows and then catching up with some old friends for dinner (all planned and decided on that morning), I felt it had been a great ‘gift of a day’.

Making the most of your time

If you find yourself in a similar position with unexpected time on your hands – as we all do from time to time – here are some coaching suggestions for how you might approach things:

  • See it as an opportunity, a clean sheet of paper.
  • Be aware of what you might revert to when given some extra time like this (as Aristotle said, “nature abhors a vacuum” after all) and do something different.
  • Ask yourself, what can I do with this hour/day/week now that it has been given as a gift?

Leading on from these thoughts, how do you use your time in general? Do you ‘waste’ time or do you make the most of it? Do you ever:

  • Take an analytical look at how you spend each five minutes/half hour/hour of your day?
  • Ask yourself, ‘what would I change?’
  • Challenge yourself about what you could, or even should, give up?

The question I pose is, how do you use your time? Are you in control or do your behaviours control you?

Social media and the big time suck

It’s too tempting. When we find ourselves with a little time on our hands, many of us fill it with social media. Indeed, if we’re honest, we often fill time we don’t have spare with social media!

This isn’t me wanting to have a bash at social media; I believe it has some very good points and millions of people contribute to its content daily (on dozens of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat, etc.).

We can find out some fantastic stuff with social media – from what happened to a great friend who emigrated, to how to bake the perfect lemon drizzle cake. In fact our researchers here at NOA make great use of social media as an important part of our desktop research into market trends and subsequent market analysis.

The likes of WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and so on are a brilliant means of communicating and staying in touch. The downside is that, in marketing terms, social media is ‘sticky’. We can pop into Twitter or SnapChat for a “quick five minutes” and can find we don’t surface for the next five hours!

So here is my question: before social media came along, how did you spend your time when you were given the gift of a day (or half-a- day, or a few spare minutes)? And in this new era of social media, can you still get that gift of a day?

Creating new habits

To avoid a social media black hole and to make the most of our time, we need to break one habit and create a new one. Here is where coaching support can help:

  • Before you try to give up an old habit you need a positive alternative to fill the void. Assess how you are using your time now with help from our NOA ‘Time Evaluator and Assessor’ (TEA).
  • Having set the desired new habit, go about adopting it – this is not as simple as it sounds, however practice makes perfect. Stick with it, because it takes at least three weeks to form a new habit.
  • Distract yourself by checking what you are doing right at that precise minute, and then take yourself into a new environment – we call this ‘breaking state’, where you consciously note your current circumstances (a bit like noticing you have been given the ‘gift of a day’!) and then proactively do something new – so that you focus on the benefits your new habit will bring.

We’ve talked here about effective use of time. Time management is so important in running an efficient business, and just one area in which I help our clients. For more information about coaching support, which can be face-to- face or online, or any other NOA services, including our packaging industry research, please get in touch with me, Neil Osment.