Mindful Money
Jan 13, 20216 min read

Taking the time to invest in you.

Anthony McGrath headshot

by Anthony McGrath

We currently find ourselves living in uncertain and, somewhat, troubling times. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it the new social phenomenon of self-isolation and social distancing and in turn, things we took for granted including meeting friends for a drink after work, going to the cinema, getting our hair cut or even a spot of retail therapy have become difficult or impossible to achieve.

Now, there is no denying that these are anxious times, but even in the darkest of hours comes another day and new opportunities. I believe it was the Zimbabwean-born Philosopher, Matshona Dhliwayo, who said; “If seeds despaired in their darkest hours, they would never rise to enjoy their brightest days”.

Whilst we do need to take stock of our reality, it is important to remember the positives. This is the perfect time to take a pause, reflect on our lives, embrace what we have and look to at our longer term goals. It’s an opportune moment to refocus and invest in you, you 2.0, the best you there can be!

Okay, you can’t go out as much as you’d like to, but think about the money you are saving by not buying that daily coffee on the way in to work. Why not take some time to review your everyday spending habits and see where you can cut back. Those coffees add up, consider where you could reinvest that money by setting yourself a monthly budget.

We all will have heard the saying, ‘time is money’ and you may find that with working from home, you have some additional time on your hands.

Time is money.

Look at how you’re spending your time. Are there pockets of time which you’re not utilising to your best ability? How about swapping that time you’d normally spend/wasted commuting and battling your way through the London Underground, to reading up on a new skill that you know will get you that promotion in six months time.

See what genuinely makes you happy, satisfied and you might actually have fun investing in those elements in your life. ​

Get inspired!

Who inspires you? What was their inspiration? What was their kick start? Do some research on your heroes, your icons, that’s what the internet is there for. There are a number of great, and free, learning resources out there, from Coursera’s free online courses everything from Paediatric nutrition to Fashion Marketing or if you fancy taking this time to re-train or learn a new skill, consider The Open University, ​​these are so easy to access. Go on, set yourself a goal, whether that be that promotion you are after, or simply hone your presentation skills, now is the time.

Ted Talks are a really great resource to find niche topics covered by great leaders. Spend time watching your favourite people in the industry and how they got to where they are today and look at switching up your day to day routine and incorporating some of their ‘life hacks’ to accelerate your own progress in your work life.

Get fit!

Ok so we can’t go to the gym at the moment, or even walk to and from the bus stop in line with our daily commute, but don’t let this stop you. Be a little more left-field in your thinking during these days, have a look at home workouts online. Try a sport you’ve always wanted to, you can find tutorials on all sorts of activities on YouTube, learn yoga, spin or how to skip, I mean, you can even join the millions of kids, including my own, at 9am three times a week for a virtual workout with Joe Wicks.

Casey Neistat has a theory that you can replace sleep with exercise. And it gives much more energy and power to your day if you sacrifice 1 hour of sleep and swap it for 1 hour of exercise. Use time to experiment new ways of fuelling your body that you can take into daily life when we return to a new normal.

Upskill!

I have to be honest I am always a little glass half empty when it comes to things like this, which is the absolute polar opposite to my long-suffering better half, Mrs Mc. For example, she registered to be an NHS volunteer, taught herself how to make a tasty soda bread, and literally the best, homemade Hummus, much to my glee. So, I’ve taken the bull by the horns, so to speak, and thought, what could I do or learn that I have not done before?

Because of my work, it’s rare I get home on time to put the kids to bed, so during lockdown that’s exactly what I have been doing and hope to carry on doing so after we come out on the other side. On night one at that key moment when my daughter passed me her hairbrush and looked at me, she mouthed silently, “should I get Mummy?” I did think, yeah, but no, I thought, I can do this and for the first few nights, her hair wasn’t the best plait I’d seen but night after night they have improved to the point that I am proud.

But remember, up-skilling doesn’t have to be purely on a personal basis, you can earn yourself a tidy sum by setting up a side hustle, if you have a skill, utilise it! Don’t bury your talents, let them shine and if in the process that earns you a nice little sideline, from baking to up-cycling furniture it’s a win win situation. My son has an innate ability of picking things up straight away, that is apart from riding his bike, which both of us have struggled with. Once again I’ve persevered and look at the below. OK, I know baby steps, but all these light things bring happiness and satisfaction to your day.

Stay positive.

So, in trying to find a positive in, really quite a lot of bleakness, set yourself a goal. Fine! You might not be able to go clubbing, see you friends, and you aren’t commuting to work, but this does mean you are spending less than you would normally and this opens other opportunities. It’s time to invest in you.