You can lose money, but you can make it back.
You can lose a job, but you can find another one.
Your reputation can be squashed, but you can reinvent yourself.
Time, on the other hand, is something you can never get back. Once it’s past. It’s gone.
Time is your most valuable commodity.
A CEO of fortune five hundred could be making seven figures, but if he works 70 hours a week he has no time to enjoy the fruit of his labors, at some point he must ask himself why work so hard if I can’t enjoy it?
It’s a question he’s probably never thought about, and probably would scoff at. It’s a question that most of us, including myself, don’t ask enough – is this the best use of my time?
We have things in life that we enjoy and give value, yet we rarely do. We have things in life we don’t like doing and give little value, yet we do regularly. There are somethings that fall in the middle.
The question you should ask yourself is – how do I maximize my time so I spend more time doing the things that I enjoy and less time doing the things I don’t?
This seems obvious, but I doubt it’s something you have thought about lately. I know I haven’t thought about this till recently. Most of us are living our lives based off momentum. We rarely stop to think if this is really the direction we want our lives to go in.
But first you need to become aware of how you spend your time.
Grab a sheet of paper, and make three columns. The first column, activities. The second column, time. The third column, rating.
In the activities column make a list of the activities that make up your life (job, hanging out with friends, watching netflix etc.) Leave out little details like brushing teeth.
In the time column think about how many hours you spend every week doing that activity. If one of the activities is something you don’t do often like going to a concert, just write once a month for x amount of hours etc.
In the ratings column rate how enjoyable the experience is from 1-10. 1 being awful with little value and 10 being enjoyable with tremendous value.
Activities Time Rating
Work/Commute 50 hrs/week 4
Visiting Family 5 hrs, once a month 7
Socializing/Friends 3 hrs/week 8
Writing 4 hrs/week 9
Watching Sports 20 hrs/week 5
When you have filled out each column you will want to look for mismatches. In the example above there are a few. Work/commute time takes up the majority of this person’s life but gives them little enjoyment and value, whereas this person gets tremendous enjoyment and value out of writing but spends little time doing it.
The key is to find solutions where you can reduce the hours of low rated activities and replace them with high rated activities. Our fictional person may do this by changing jobs or asking their boss if they can work from home. If they can’t get any leeway with the job situation maybe they can cut out another low rated activity like watching sports. The new time freed up from watching sports could then be dedicated to a higher rated activity like writing or spending time with friends. I think you get the idea.
I did this exercise today and found it helpful. If you feel like your squandering your time with things that give you little value I suggest you do the same.