Beliefs about time and how we spend it
“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen all at once.” — Albert Einstein.
We have all heard that time is our most valuable asset. But despite this, many of us don’t treat our time as if it has actual value.
Time is like money—if you overspend in certain areas, you will have to sacrifice in others. However, unlike money, time is finite. Where you can always create more money, you cannot ever create more time.
Guard your time in the same way you guard your money. Don’t spend it on things and people that don’t matter to you or detract from you in some way, and maximize it in areas you need to. Leverage it in areas that you can, and don’t forget to leave a little for yourself.
One way that we as entrepreneurs are not stewards of our time is when we allow the priorities of others to control us. It’s natural for things to bleed into one another. But emails, constant text messages, phone calls, and interruptions are the main pirates of our time, and we allow them to be. Often so much so that we justify it!
We think that time is adjacent to us. That it ultimately owns us. When we claim time as ours, time will begin to release its claim on you.
Perhaps you feel you can’t say “no” to your mother-in-law right now, or your needy friend needs you again. Maybe someone is late for a meeting with you, so you just sit and wait for them. But once we learn to understand time and the unique ways that we personally use and spend it, you’ll learn how to work with it to your advantage and ultimately get more done.
And just like money, the first step in controlling time is respecting it.
One example that affects all of us is calendaring and scheduling. Just because you see an opening in your calendar on a certain day does not mean that time is actually available. Another example is not keeping perspective and maintaining boundaries. Just because a project is important does not mean it deserves a disproportionate amount of time compared to your other priorities.
“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” — Henry Thoreau
Many of us do not have the flexibility to let go of the things that waste our time in lieu of spending time in the areas that matter more. If you have a negative colleague you have to work with or a bad project that you can’t get out of, it’s not likely you can immediately remove these things from your life without creating harmful consequences.
That being said, if you are miserable in a job or a circumstance you cannot change, you can examine how much life you are exchanging for it. How much joy, love, or simple daily happiness is seeping away from you because of this thing or person? Because even if you can’t work on your time, you are in charge of how it affects you and how you decide to let it make you feel in your life.
For further reading, you might be interested in this post: Want to Get More Done? Saying the Hardest No.
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