It’s Not Worth My Time….or is It?

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Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.Benjamin Franklin, ‘Poor Richard’s Almanack,’ June 1746

How do you view your time?

Your time, much like your money, is a valuable asset.    You can spend, save, invest or waste it, just as you can money.  However, the difference lies in the fact that we are all given 24 hours a day, regardless of our wealth.   You can make more money,  you can not make more time.  Time is a finite resource.  So if you use more of it on one activity it decreases the time that you have for another.  Often this is referred to as opportunity cost:  the benefit that you could have received, but gave up, to take another course of action.  Stated differently, it represents an alternative given up when a decision is made.  Therefore, this cost is most relevant for two mutually exclusive events.  For example, in investing it is the difference in return between a chosen investment and one that is passed up.

How you choose to invest your time dictates whether you will have a life filled with success or a life filled with stress.  How are you investing your time?  Do you periodically examine the way you are spending your time?  Is it in alignment with your values, goals and priorities?

The reality is that you cannot manage time.  You can only manage yourself.  Work-life balance is not a math equation.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach.  What it really comes down to is organizing your time in concert with your priorities. The key is in knowing what they are.

It’s time to think strategically about the portfolio of our lives, investing only in our top priorities and making sure we diversify our time among them.   Warren Buffet stated this very eloquently,  “The rich invest in time, the poor invest in money.”

If you are trying improve your management of your time portfolio, it’s best to do the following:

  • Develop a system of time investing that is congruent with your values, goals and priorities.
  • Clarify action-based priorities, set realistic expectations and solidify simple habits and routines.  Remember that great habits are often difficult to develop but easy to live with.  Poor habits are often easy to develop but hard to live with.
  • Affirm that you have a right to choose how you invest your time.
  • Recover quickly after a setback, such as getting sick, a natural disaster, etc.  Instead of beating yourself up over a loss of time, respond with agility and grace to that unexpected schedule change.
  • Practice intentional routines that make your use of time match your personal definition of success along the path of least resistance.

Live life well by investing your time and enjoying the journey!