Investing minutes - Q2Q IT

While technology is ideal for helping our daily lives run smoothly, there is often nothing better than grabbing a notepad, handful of stationery and finding a quiet corner in which to reflect on what you spend your time working on each month.

And, for boss of Q2Q IT, Lorna Stellakis, it helps to view working minutes as a currency – divvying up each hour as you would a monthly allowance – and ensuring it’s used wisely. However you choose to splash the proverbial ‘cash’ though, it’s important to highlight the difference between spending vs. investing when it comes to time. Here, she explains why.

Put simply, the notion of spending time on a task implies simply ‘getting it done’, whereas seeing your days invested in a project conjures up feelings of futureproofing or a quality output.

And it’s understandably worth approaching each task with the mindset of the latter.

Self-discipline strategist Rory Vaden summed the approach to ‘spending vs investing’ perfectly during a TED Talk, where he challenged us to ask ourselves, ‘What can I do today that will make the future better?’ He refers to people adopting this approach as ‘multipliers’ – meaning that time invested into doing something properly now will pay dividends in the future.

The real-life account

Put into practice, at Q2Q we use this question in our weekly internal customer review meetings – where the team discuss any recurring customer issues and look for patterns and clues to help unearth any underlying problems. From there, we decide on internal actions which might address the root cause of the difficulties.

In the world of IT support, fixing problems for customers is a huge part of what we do – but it’s how we do things differently that really counts.

We actively look to prevent problems – adding value to the customer proposition as well as saving us time in the long-run. We look to identify a permanent fix, as opposed to the sticking plaster approach which won’t prevent the issue from reappearing.

The team is always so busy, that even when we’re making small talk on the phone – before and after getting to the crux of the dilemma – it could be seen as detracting from time which could be spent fixing the problem.

However, five minutes of chit-chat is actually investing time into the customer relationship and getting to know our clients. Something which pays us back several times over as the connection develops and trust is built.

How does it work away from the office?

I frequently translate this principle into my personal life too. For example, I gave up horse riding over a year ago following a scary incident that caused me to lose my confidence. Being very busy with family and running Q2Q, I delayed getting back into the saddle as I felt it was a frivolous use of my time – especially if I was going to spend the whole time worrying about a similar incident happening again.

However, I was really missing the horses – and the exercise – so I decided to approach it from a different perspective. I now view it as investing the time doing something that takes me out of my comfort zone and giving my brain a much-needed break from thinking about a million other things.

As such, the couple of hours a week I spend on the horse have massively benefited my confidence and given me the courage to try things I perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise done. Not only that, but it’s a good CTRL+ALT+DEL for the mind, as it’s really hard to think about anything else when you’re communicating with such an intelligent beast. I therefore view it as investing my time for a greater purpose.

So, during your next team meeting, consider if you’re going to be spending time discussing issues, or investing time in brainstorming how to solve, improve, or better still, eradicate the procrastination. Are you using words that suggest you’re heading for a solution, or simply thrashing out a problem and acknowledging that it exists?

Can you rethink how you spend some of your day, and view the time as an investment? What would you do differently if you approached it from this alternative lens? While our bread and butter is IT support, if you’d like to chat about the unique approach we take to tech services at Q2Q, or simply invest some time in making connections with a SME owner, give us a shout!

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