A lot of people have a little extra time on their hands right now. That looks different for everyone, and depending on your circumstances, it may not be a good thing. If you're an entrepreneur sitting at home waiting for the opportunity to reopen your business, there's a good chance that you're working hard on a plan to do just that.
Or, if you're like millions of other people working remotely, you're probably also balancing what feels like an overwhelming set of priorities. For example, at our home, with four children, and a wife who is a nurse, things can get a little crazy even though I've been working remotely for years.
I have no idea what it would be like to be someone like Bill Gates, who leads a foundation at the forefront of the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, funding testing and vaccine candidates. You might imagine he has a lot going on.
Yet, in a recent blog post, Gates talked about something he makes time for on a regular basis, and it's actually a fantastic lesson for every entrepreneur. We'll get to that in a minute, but first, I want to reinforce that how you spend your time right now is directly related to how you'll be able to respond to the opportunities in your future.
The temptation right now is to hunker down and try to weather the storm, whatever that looks like for you. While that reaction is natural, entrepreneurs should be intentional about how they are using their time to prepare themselves instead of simply reacting to their current circumstances.
Back to the lesson. At the end of that blog post, in which he shared his annual list of books you should read this summer, Gates also talked about how he and fellow billionaire Warren Buffet still get together to play bridge. Sort of.
"We don't get together in person now that we're sheltering in place, but we still play online," says Gates of Buffett. "I got worried a couple months ago when their service briefly went down, but it was back up in no time. I was surprised at how relieved I was to see it running again."
Look, I'm not suggesting that we should all take up bridge, but in a way, he has a point. The card game requires strategy and exercises your brain, something I think we can all agree is good for us. I wrote last year about how Gates said the thing he was most afraid of was that he didn't want his brain to "stop working." It's no wonder he takes the time to stay sharp then.
Even if bridge isn't your thing, there are plenty of ways to both unwind and sharpen your mind while you're stuck at home besides binging on Tiger King on Netflix (everything in moderation, after all). Gates's blog post also includes his list of five books for summer reading, including Bob Iger's The Ride of a Lifetime, which my Inc.com colleague Jeff Haden wrote about this week.
Maybe it's time to learn an instrument or study a foreign language. You might be surprised at the number of creative ways people are learning all sorts of new things these days from apps to online classes.
I get it--we're all very busy. Still, I'd argue that, despite the fact that we're all struggling our way through a pandemic, you have an opportunity to put yourself and your business in a better position based on the decisions you make to take care of yourself and your mind right now. The good news is, it can be as simple as playing cards.