Take quantity time


It is not what you do, it is how much you do it.

One of the worst expressions I know is ‘quality time’. It implies that when you have little time, you should do more with it. The classic example is the hard-working parent who has very limited time to spend with the children. So, when the busy parent with a guilty conscience decides to do something with the children, like spending Saturday afternoon together, it is with the ambition to make it the best Saturday afternoon ever, stuff it with great things and make sure it is true ‘quality time’, not wasted, low-quality time. What is wrong with this?

First, a relationship is based on ongoing interaction with ups and downs and regular communication. You cannot simply make it up with ambitious events.

Second, by betting on ‘quality time’, you are under great pressure to deliver. What if the quality time turns out to be disappointing?

In a company, doing a conference, trip or off-site event with your team can be a good thing, but it cannot replace the daily relationship. With kids, as a father, I know that hanging out on the sofa watching TV – a typical low-quality thing to do by many standards – is a perfectly relaxed way to spend time together. With colleagues at work, as with children, what counts is the amount of time you spend together and that you get to know each other, not the exact quality of that time. The best off-site conference we ever had in my management team was a trip to the north of Sweden to ski, and no work agenda. Just spending time together. Quantity time rules.