As a physicist, I know a thing or two about time. I have spent countless amounts of it pondering its meaning, its measurement, and our relationship with it. I have lectured on how the gravitational pull of a black hole affects it and how it slows down if you are moving at close to the speed of light. So when I say that time is our most valuable asset, I mean it.
These days, although I may not be working to uncover secrets of the universe, I am still very much working on the importance of time. My focus now is on getting more leverage on my time so that I am spending more it of doing the things that are most important to me, both personally and professionally.
Personally, that meant doing things like moving to Lake Tahoe and away from the soul crushing traffic jams of Silicon Valley. When my oldest was a baby, there were way too many nights that my husband didn’t make it home from work before bedtime. Even my 5-mile commute could sometimes take an hour. Now, the time we used to spend in rush hour traffic is spent enjoying the trails and beaches of Tahoe with our daughters. We are both home to do things like work on homework with our oldest, actually cook a nice meal, and play with our toddler.
Professionally, its easy to never have enough time, particularly when it comes to running our coworking space. As a coworking space owner & manager, I have a bazillion different things that need to be done each day, and it is impossible to do a bazillion things well. There’s coffee to make, desks to be rented, tours to give, building maintenance to schedule, bathrooms to clean, dishes to put away, forks to buy (again), interns to manage, coffee to make (again), social media posts to write, events to plan, calendars to manage, expenses to track, community to build, and on and on.
I know I am not alone in my juggling act. It is one of the most common topics I see brought up by other coworking colleagues. It is all too easy to get bogged down in the tasks that keep us busy each day. The trap of being busy is a dangerous one. While it may feel like working hard, its not necessarily working well. Time at work should be focused on what is most important to make my business better, more profitable, and more resilient.
What is important for my business? Members, members, members.
Rather than spending hours buried in spreadsheets and databases, it is more important for me to be spending face-to-face time with my members. I love talking with them, learning what they like and need, and helping them so they can get the best leverage on their own time by working from my coworking space. The more time I have to spend actually with my customers, the better. Those interactions are what help inform decisions on space allocation in the building, on the events we host (or don’t), on additional product lines we offer, and what amenities we invest in.
In order to have enough time for the human part of the business, the busy parts need to be handled in a much more efficient and automated way. However, no matter how much time I personally spend with members, there is still only so much I can learn about their needs from the space or remember from the interactions I have with them.
This is why building Jellyswitch has been so important to me. What is needed is a balance between complete automation and manual management for coworking. Things like conference room calendars, billing, and building access don’t need the same human touch as space design, tours, or events, and can be operationalized. At the same time, it’s important not to lose the information and insight that can be gleaned from all of the little human interactions that happen day to day. Managing and tracking everything in one place rather than across multiple systems or not at all, I am able to see the full picture. And with that view, I can make the most of my most valuable asset for the benefit of my customers & my business. My time.