Sean Lee, CEO of China Mobile Hong Kong, has observed something precious about how we use time. “Many say time is money. A lot of us know how to manage money, but a few know how to take care of time,” he says.
“Time is so much like money. If you earn it hard but leave it untouched, it will never be yours.”
As a prominent business figure, Lee is a great timekeeper. But how can our time not be ours, and more interestingly, how can we “earn” time?
The advance of technology has taught Lee a lesson in managing his own schedule. When his company planned to commercialise 5G in 2020, he understood that he was part of a fortunate group as technology has been a huge help in using time. While he is working, speedy mobile networks facilitate his productivity, and when his family was half a world away overseas, he could FaceTime them within seconds.
But what is crucial in taking good care of our valuable time is how we see life. Lee doesn’t believe in an idea such as a work-life balance.
“Looking for ‘work’ is like finding someone we love. Instead of finding someone whom we can live with, we should find someone whom we can’t live without. Work should be so enjoyable that it is part of life,” he says.
Lee soon learned the two-dimensional model of time management. “It’s about considering the importance and urgency of the thing you are about to do,” he says. “When time is limited, you will do the most important and the most urgent thing first. Then it’s the more important but less urgent ones, then the more urgent yet less important ones. It’s about setting priorities.”
One day he realised that time, like money, can be earned. “A lot of the people make money from money, and that’s also what you can do with time: make time from time. You’ll need to live a good, healthy life so that you can add value to your time,” he says. “Someone else may live to 80, but you can live up to 100.”
When it comes to making time for his business, Lee hopes the brand can keep on growing, serving society and transforming the community into a better place.