Do you spend or invest?

In such a demanding marketplace businesses and charities must have a focus on value for money. There is a need to be able to evidence value and worth. You have to be able to show the impact you’re making and that your outcomes are worthwhile.

What if we have to translate this mentality to our private lives? What you do in your free time, is it beneficial?  If you have savings you might be aware of where to put them in order to get the best interest rate. Do you know what activities yield the greatest return on investment for you? Our free time is so precious, yet it is easily squandered on faff that does not benefit us in any way!

There is a lot of evidence to suggest reading your child a bedtime story is one of the best things you can do for them. Not only does it create routine, it builds a bond between parent and child, as well as kickstarts a lifelong love of love of reading. Bedtime stories help nurture a child’s imagination, they can help de-stress and serve as a tool for dealing with everyday situations. Reading can improve speech, language, spelling ability, logical thinking and memory. Those few minutes at the end of the day can yield a massive return.

Yet all too often we can rely on screens to keep our children occupied. The average child has 3.6 hours in front of a screen each day. What’s the return on investment? Looking at the screen for too long can have negative consequences including behavioural problems, sleep problems, inactivity leading to obesity. Research suggests that children should have no more than two hours screen time of day.

What activities do you do that are beneficial for your wellbeing? You might exercise regularly, do five minutes of prayer on mindfulness each morning before reaching for your phone, you may enjoy gardening, cooking or reading. It could be that your weekly soak in the bath give you a much-needed opportunity to be still and be calm.

Would you change what you choose to do with your time if you knew the value of it? It would be wonderful if we could develop a traffic light warning system for things we do in our free time, just as the supermarkets have done with food packaging. Activities that are bad for your wellbeing would come with a red warning, activities that nurture your soul come with a green warning. Over the course of the day how many red warnings would you accumulate versus green warnings?

If you can aim to do just one thing each day that’s good for you emotionally, cumulatively this would be significant over your lifetime. Just like the bedtime story making an immense difference over the lifetime of the child. Now go do something green!

Nicola Strudley