We all have a list of things we want to accomplish – when we get around to it.
Talking about the things we’d do once we get “around to it” was a common phrase in the 9-5, working-for-the-weekend crowd of the mid 20th century. Now, it’s crept into entrepreneurship. As demands on our time increase, that little list keeps growing of things we’d love to do, but just don’t seem to have the time for at the moment.
The pun of getting “around to it” grew in such popularity that an enterprising woodworker introduced a circular piece of wood at the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing, NY, called a Round Tuit. It sold as a novelty product based on the joke that someone could give you a round tuit and suddenly you’d have “gotten around to it.” Later editions of the product included a short story about how people could finally do the things they’ve always wanted because now they’ve gotten a round tuit.
Coronavirus is your round tuit. The pressure and push of something like coronavirus woke up the world. Not only did it remind us of the fragility of life, but it also shut down the economy and eliminated the vast majority of ways we waste time as a species. It would be foolish to let this opportunity pass.
What aren’t you starting?
Everyone has a to do list. Or a dream list. Or a “just for fun” list. If you don’t have one written down, chances are you have one in your mind – just waiting for a prompt to spill out. On some level, it was easier to write down the plans but never act on them, upset that you don’t have the outcome but comfortable in your excuse that you just didn’t have the time.
Now, all of a sudden, you have a hard reset. People around the world are suffering – you and your loved ones may be as well. But in most cases of suffering, you truly are too busy to act and survival is all you can afford to do. In fact, we haven’t seen this level of economic strife and shut down in peacetime in over a century.
Coronavirus is unique in the sense that it is shutting down world economies but the vast majority of humanity is still healthy and capable of work. That means things can happen, especially in a world with our technology. And when traditional ways of business don’t work anymore, creativity and dreams are what will carry us forward.
It’s true that as entrepreneurs you have a lot on your plate:
- Keeping operations afloat.
- Building a recovery dashboard for the future.
- Doing your best for employees, contractors, and vendors.
- Reckoning with the business’ mortality.
But you also have time, a precious resource that should never be wasted.
Redirect anxiety into motivation
A global crisis is sure to cause anxiety, worry, concern, and a whole host of negative emotions. That’s normal – and if you’re feeling that way, you are not alone. But also know that this energy can be harnessed and used to drive ahead on those to-do lists.
On a fundamental level, anxiety is just bundled energy with no place to go. Your lists – to-do, dreams, fun, etc. – should become the place that your energy goes. Now is the time to funnel all the energy you have into your dreams and your future. It can feel scary to plan for it, particularly given the uncertainty around coronavirus and economic recovery, but if you don’t make the plans now you likely never will.
You also wouldn’t be alone on a historical level – many amazing creations, inventions, and innovations came out of crises and pandemic. However, it was not the pandemic itself that awakened brilliance. Bill Gates started Microsoft in a recession, but he had been building computers for years prior. Isaac Newton invented calculus during the plague, but he’d created an enormous body of work prior to the plague that informed his ultimate theory.
Crises, recessions, plagues, and pandemics are not the spark that lights the fire. They are simply the time of reflection and action that fans pre-existing flames. That said, even dreams that haven’t started yet can benefit from the reset that this pandemic brought.
As you build your recovery dashboard and begin to set your business up for disaster recovery, not just disaster survival, realize that this is also a time for you to take action for the future. Think about the things you’ve been putting off or the dreams you have written down but not chased. These could be about your business, your family, or your personal desires. And then start taking action. Funnel your energy wholeheartedly into planning and execution. Allow yourself to open up and dream. You may realize a lot about yourself, solve problems you thought insurmountable, and achieve heights you never imagined. All because you got a round tuit.