You Should Be Managing Your Time Like Money
Most of us don’t have a time problem; we have a discipline problem.
When I was working my 9-5 I could blame things that didn’t get done for my passions on my job. Working a full 8-hours and then coming home and working more, while also living and making dinner, cleaning, doing laundry, relaxing, was too much. Now that I’m in between jobs and have endless time to do whatever I want I’m both ashamed and empowered at the revelation that time is not my barrier; I am.
Most of us don't have a time problem; we have a discipline problem.
Holding yourself accountable is never easy, but after I got over the guilt I felt for doing less with more I put my thoughts into action. The first baby step was working out first thing in the morning instead of around 5 or 6. After this morning’s workout I had a sauna revelation:
If I thought about time the same way I thought about money, then I’d be more conscience of the way I was spending it and thus spend it better.
Think about it like this: Let’s say you have a bill that you know is due in one week. You wouldn’t empty out all the money in your account, throw it in the trash and then the night before scramble to do some odd jobs so that you can pay the bill. That’s procrastination in the mindset of money.
You should think of time the way you think about money because it helps take into account how tangible and valuable your time actually is. Time is an asset that can’t be regenerated. Everyday when you wake up, you’re given 24 hours to invest and if you don’t use it by the end of the day it doesn’t roll over.
You don’t have to be rich, debt-free or even budget savvy to adopt this mindset. In fact, here are 4 building blocks to help you adopt this new mentality.
Know How You're Spending
If we were talking finance this would be called a budget. Second only to money, time is one of those things that we don’t actually take into account of how we’re spending it down to the penny (or second). I’m not suggesting you become obsessive, but I’ve started keeping track of what I do each day and realizing that I could swap out what I’m actually doing for something more productive.
The best way to do this is by keeping a schedule. Find a scheduling system that works for you so that it becomes an addition to your life and not a burden. When we start using our time more productively we should see the fruits of that harvest, not more barrenness.
Look for New Opportunities To Invest
Just like you can always expand your portfolio and streams of income, you could always find better ways to spend your time. I mean this in two ways 1) in the literal sense. You could fold clothes during your weekly #TGIT sessions or listen to that podcast while you wash dishes instead of while mindlessly surfing the internet.
2) There are new hobbies and habits that you can add into your schedule that would be a better investment into yourself. Try meditating for a few minutes each morning vs. checking your email. Take on a new habit or hobby that feeds your soul instead of the ones you’re doing now that amount to nothing in the long run.
Splurge Now and Then
Just like being on a super strict budget all the time can lead to feelings of discontentment, being on a super strict schedule 24/7 isn’t helpful. Every now and then it’s okay to treat yourself. Sleep in. Binge watch Netflix. You’ll find that since you spend the majority of your time handling your business, those moments when you want to just be a zombie won’t elicit the same guilt they do when there’s a to-do list looming over your head.
Just like different types of savings accounts are in place for what the future brings, small tweaks in managing time can help you plan for unexpected pop-ups in your day to day. It’s the small stuff that you’ve heard over and over again that really makes a difference: pack your lunch the night before, meal plan, get to the airport two hours early, put your keys in the same place everyday. Little changes like that make your schedule smooth sailing in the long run. A smooth schedule means productivity to the max.
Changing your mindset around time can be just the key to a shorter to do list. Every new habit has to start with a new thought pattern, first. Think about that the next time you’re tempted to waste away on a lazy Sunday.