[Assignment : Expand Your Time by Giving It Away]
1. The Science
I’m sure you’ve heard the research on the power of generosity, but in case you haven’t, it’s a pretty powerful paradox: when you give selflessly, you get major psychological benefits in return.
For example, studies show that people who give money to those in need tend to feel more financially abundant in their life, even if they objectively don’t have so much in their bank account. Even people who start out with a scarcity-based mindset around finances (e.g., “There’s not enough so I have to hoard everything for myself,” etc.) - end up feeling way more abundant (e.g., “Actually, I have a lot in my life and I don’t have to obsess about money,” etc.) after they give a little bit of what they have away to someone who needs it more.
Amazingly, the same effects hold for mindsets around time scarcity. That’s right, if you’re the kind of person who’s always feeling crunched for time and stressed out about deadlines, one of the paradoxical things you can do to expand your time is to give it away selflessly.
Here’s how it works. After many years of being hard on yourself for always needing to do things faster, better, and more efficiently, a subconscious program develops that basically says “There’s never enough time for anything, so I need to spend all of my time on myself.” This creates a negative feedback loop with everything you do in your life - work, relationships, family - where you’re always running around in emergency mode. This makes you less effective at your work and, you guessed it, make you miss important deadlines across all aspects of life - creating more time scarcity. Yikes.
What we need to do is break that cycle as soon as possible, and brace yourself, because if you’re in the cycle you’re not going to like how we’re going to do this. The more resistant people find this idea, the more they tend to need it, so keep a close eye out for subconscious pushback.
We’re going to break the time scarcity cycle by giving our time away to someone who needs it more than we do.
2. Getting Started - What Inspires You?
We know your business inspires you, but what else? If you could inspire or uplift someone or some group in your life, who would they be? How would you uplift them? Here are some fantastic suggestions from our Good Startups Community:
I’m inspired by...
“A clean, healthy planet for everyone to enjoy.”
“Helping those who can’t easily help themselves.”
“Giving someone knowledge and opportunities that they would usually never have access to.”
“Making sure economically disadvantaged communities have healthy foods to eat.”
“Safe and healthy communities nationwide.”
Now it’s your turn. List three passion ideas that complete the phrase “I’m inspired by…”
I’m inspired by…
I’m inspired by…
I’m inspired by...
3. Make it Actionable
Now, let’s take your favorite idea from above and make it something that you can really do to expand your time through generosity. In this step, think of three opportunities for you to express your inspiration through action. Here are some examples, based on the inspiration ideas above:
“I’m inspired by a clean, healthy planet for everyone to enjoy. Go for a walk in a nature reserve/park with a trash bag and clean up the trail while also enjoying the beauty of nature.”
“I’m inspired by helping those who can’t easily help themselves. Assisting at my local shelter to help those who don’t even have a place to sleep at night.”
“I’m inspired by giving someone knowledge and opportunities that they would usually never have access to. Tutor or mentor a high school student or intern from a disadvantaged background.”
“I’m inspired by making sure economically disadvantaged communities have healthy foods to eat. Help a food bank package fresh food for people who can’t afford healthy food on their own.”
“I’m inspired by safe and healthy communities nationwide. Giving workshops to marginalized community members so that they can build thriving local businesses.”
4. Schedule it, Right Now
You have your inspiration concept and actionable idea, and now it’s time to expand your time through time generosity. In this final part, grab your digital calendar or write a note to your personal assistant to allot at least two hours per month dedicated to this growth opportunity. If you can do more than two hours, your time expands exponentially by that much.
Congratulations, you just took a small chunk of time to expand your time by giving away your time. Yes, you can count this exercise as part of your two hours per month :)