There is a fundamental part of linear existence that you’re granted a limited supply of: time. It is your most valuable asset and the amount you’ve been given slips away with every passing day, so it’s important to use it with planning and direction.
From the day you became conscious, the countdown has begun. No one knows how much time they’ll have in their life, but the only assurance is that it’s finite.
As you grow, it becomes increasingly apparent that there’s less time to spare than when you’re a carefree youth. People around you begin to get sick, die, and you’re faced with the preciousness of each tick of the clock. Between work, love, experience, family, and all of your other responsibilities, time spent on one pursuit inevitably steals time away from another one.
Is Time’s Importance Always the Same?
It’s puzzling, but time can have a value that is amorphous. As a child, you see time as extremely slow. Summers seem to last forever, the school day will never end, and even 30 minute car rides seem like an eternity. As an adult in working life, though, years blow past you like leaves in the wind.
Time seems to get more valuable as you get older, but that also could be because your awareness is growing. Time and place resonate more when you stop and think about them. The busier you are, the faster the days go by.
How to Trade Your Money for More Time
To deal with so many competing obligations and an endless string of repeating chores, I tend to offload as much of it as I can to third parties
I’ve been a bit more lax about lawn care and have decided to let some patches grow freely to save the bees and create a more diverse ecosystem, but also to save me time.
I pay contractors or electricians or painters or automotive companies to service parts, change bulbs, paint rooms, put up decorations, or fix my mailbox. I Instacart from time to time when my Sunday is full of activities.
All of these little expenses are worth every penny to put some time back in my pocket.
With enough passive income, you can become less dependent on working a 40+ hour week in your career. Money that is made while you sleep and go about your day can subsidize your lifestyle and grant you more time so that you’re working 20-30 hours a week instead of 40.
This frees up time to travel, spend time with your family, volunteer, relax, or do things that leave a positive and lasting impact beyond just a paid day job.
Some Examples of Passive Income:
- Writing an ebook or creating a course that you sell
- Renting out a room in your home, a guest room, or an income property
- Renting out a parking space at your home
- Sponsored blog posts or social media posts
- Creating a blog or YouTube channel that you monetize through advertising/sponsorships
The above are just some random ideas, but there are many more if you take the time to do some quick online research and find ways to use your existing skills, assets, or possessions to make a side hustle in unconventional or creative ways.
What Are Some Practical Tips to Get Time Back in Your Day?
Once it’s gone, it’s gone, so making an active effort every day to maximize your productivity and enjoyment of your down time is vital. Here are a few tips:
- Draft Out Your Day: At night, take some time to write out the tasks you want to complete the following day. Of course, unforeseen things will arise, but knowing the absolute minimum you intend to accomplish every day gives you a realistic expectation of how much of yourself you have to spread around to different activities. It is extremely rewarding to be able to cross things off your to-do list.
- Weed Out Distractions: I turn my phone off or hide it in a different room during the day to ensure my focus is entirely on what I’m trying to accomplish. I do the same when I’m spending quality time with a person or group of people. I will give myself a lunch break and certain times during the day where I can catch up on what I missed, but having that distraction limited has a profound effect on what I get done in a day.
- Figure Out What Eats up Your Time: If you log the start and end time of anything you’re working on, you can start to see patterns emerge. You’ll be able to better understand what takes the most time. If the juice is not worth the squeeze, limit the time you spend on anything non-essential.
- Leave When You Plan To: Whether it’s a night out or a meeting at work, try your best to stick to the time you’ve allotted for these events. If you’re having a good time and want to stay later at a party, do it, but be the owner of your own calendar.
Value What Makes You Feel Good
As I’ve said ad infinitum, make time for things that make you feel good and cut off things that don’t.
Read a book that moves you instead of forcing yourself to binge watch a TV show to keep up with the gossip. Don’t respond to text messages or calls from people who don’t make you feel good to interact with. Set up boundaries around your time. Make the most of your time. You don’t owe a second of your most valuable asset to anyone except yourself and who you choose to care about.
Don’t help others build themselves up, build their dreams, or attain happiness by ignoring your own. Time is fleeting, time is fluid, and time is precious. Whether it’s relaxing on the couch or writing the next great novel, whatever makes you happy is an effective use of your time. Time enjoyed is not time wasted.