Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time. – Jim Rohn
We often take the time we have throughout our life for granted. Many people don’t do much with their free time that adds any value to their life. What you do in your free time has a direct impact in how your future can turn out. I know this from experience. The importance of this scarce resource is what I want to share with you today.
About two weeks ago, I was on my way back from Harrisonburg Virginia with the Vice President of the company I work for. He’s 72 years old by the way and performs his daily work routine as if he was in his 50’s. He’s truly something, I admire him. We were talking about time, and I was telling him that time is one thing we never get back. Therefore what we do with our time is extremely important to how our future shapes up, our health, and overall happiness. Time is one thing you do not just want to throw away. I explained to him that we are all restricted by the same amount of hours in the day. Once those 24 hours are done, it’s done for each and every one of us. Then, the clock starts back again.
You see, the other important thing to remember is that none of us really know how much more time we have going forward. It can be a day, months, years or hopefully a few decades. It can even be a few hours. The point is we don’t know. We only know how much time has passed, but not how much we have left. So why not make the best of it.
What should you be doing with your time?
I think the best way to help you is by sharing some of the things I do on my free time. Read the following part carefully. Maybe even read it a couple of times. Apply to your life what you believe – in your heart – will help you. Let me start by sharing with you what my weekdays typically look like.
I start my morning at around 7:00 am. After shaving, showering and brushing my teeth, I take a minute or two to give thanks. I thank God for a new day of life for our family, for our health, and for all the essential things we are so lucky to have, such as our home, peace, love, cars, money, food, work etc. Please don’t dismiss this “gratitude” ritual as something unimportant. I can honestly tell you that it immediately shifts my attitude and spirit into positive energy, regardless of the mood I woke up in. Even if you don’t believe in God, you can just be thankful for life, for your family, for your friends, for work, and for all the things you do have, even if its not what you want.
After grabbing my cup of Joe, I usually take my daughter to school. It’s only a 5 to 7-minute ride, but I use it to ask her how she feels, what’s she looking forward to, and if she’s having any issues at school I can help her with. By the way, she wakes me up every morning 🙂
As soon as I drop her off, I start listening to an Audiobook – whichever I happen to be listening to for that week. I have a long commute into work, so I make good progress. If I only listen during my driving, I can easily finish one Audiobook per week. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve learned or picked up something useful that I was able to implement immediately at work, just by listening to an Audiobook.
Once I get to work, the next 8 hours or so are just that – work. Not much excitement there. I don’t really take lunch at any specific time, but I try to go out a few days a week, pick up something to eat, and eat it in the car so I can keep listening to my books.
When I leave work, I usually spend the first 10 or 15 minutes of my commute thinking about my day and some of the things I worked on. If there’s something worth documenting for the next day, I just put on my headphones, open up the Voice Memo app on my iPhone, and start recording my notes (I try to keep them short). The next morning I only listen to it if I’ve forgotten, but for the most part I don’t have to. I’ve come to realize that by simply recording or writing down a note or an idea, your mind tends to reinforce it in your mental hard drive. The rest of the way back home, I keep listening to my book.
Once I get home, I’ll have dinner with my wife. Our kids sometimes join us if they haven’t eaten yet, sense I get home past their dinner time. After spending an hour or so eating and talking to my wife about her day, I check out and go to my bedroom to work on whatever it is that I’m working on. This is usually a combination of the following: an article that I’m writing, updating my website, reading a book (always different than my Audiobook), practicing a new technique, preparing a presentation for work, exercising, asking my kids about their day or teaching them about money.
My weekends are a bit more relaxed – deliberately. I wake up around 9:00 am Saturday mornings and immediately head to the kitchen to see what I can make for breakfast, for the whole family. If I need to go buy something, I do. Then I come back, and as I’m preparing coffee, I start to wake everyone up! They don’t always like that, but I make sure we all have breakfast together at the table.
The rest of my Saturday is dedicated my wife, kids and occasionally other family. We try to balance this out every week. Sometimes we go to the mall, others to a restaurant, movie theater, go karts (depending on weather), shopping, or visiting other family, gatherings, etc. Try to find a good balance, mix it up, but make sure the “goal” is clear. For me that “goal” is to spend time and dedicate the entire day to my family.
My Sundays are much slower. I don’t really have a set time to wake up, it varies. I again make breakfast for the family. Then I usually go out with my wife to get things she needs for the house such as groceries, or clean around the house, take out trash and recycle, or other miscellaneous things that need to get done. All this must be done before 3 or 4pm. That’s around the time I like to really hit the brakes and watch a good documentary, or a good movie if my wife is with me.
Right around 7 or 7:30pm I go to my room and I pull out my weekly goals list, where I usually have 5 to 6 items. I make sure I got everything accomplished, and if not, then I make sure to add those items to the following week. If there’s something I can do that same Sunday evening, I get to that as well. If I have any time left, I catch up on investment specific news (not the other garbage) and determine if I need to make any adjustments to our portfolios. Recently I also started meditating, or pondering about my week if you will. And I use this last part of my Sunday to do so.
The next day, on Monday, it starts all over again.
This provides a good combination of activities (at least) for me; physical, mental, and spiritual. I should also mention that I put a lot of emphasis on mixing up the kinds of activities we have on weekends with the family. I always tell my kids that sometimes “improvising” leads to awesome experiences.
I really hope you are able to apply some of the things I mentioned here to your own life (but only if you believe they can help). The point is to try and do something useful with your time. Something that benefits and fulfills you emotionally, mentally and physically. Honestly, the most important thing to remember is that you are in charge of your life and only you can create the blueprint.
Doing something productive with our time is not an easy task. I think most people either don’t fully understand its benefits or they simply don’t apply it. Try not to be one of those people. Remember that it’s never too late to start making changes to how you spend your time and create a better future for yourself. It wasn’t that long ago that I was wasting entire weekends watching episode after episode, season after season of different shows on Netflix. Don’t let this be you. Watch a few, that’s fine. We all need some entertainment at one point or another. But try and dedicate time to those things in your life that bring value, happiness, improvement, and personal growth.
One last habit I want to share
Lastly, let me share one more habit with you that I’ve come to adopt and enjoy very much. On my iPhone’s calendar, I created a daily reminder at 9:30pm, which is around the time I usually go to bed. The reminder simply says “Most important question of the day”. The purpose is to remind me to take 5 to 10 minutes every night to recap my day and ask myself “did I do everything possible today, that will bring me a better tomorrow? Better health, more success at home or at work, or better relationships?” if the answer is “yes”, then I go to bed with a big smile and get good rest. However, if the answer happens to be “no”, then I take 5 to 10 minutes to write down some of the things I could have done to make my day better and tell myself to try harder the following day. Then I go to bed with a big smile and get good rest.
Remember the Vice President I mentioned in the beginning of this article? This is what he said to me after pondering about the habit I just shared with you, “you’re absolutely right Mr. Rod. I’ve never thought of time in that way. Even after my 72 years of life. Now I think I’m going to start visiting my grandson more often, because all I really do most days after work is watch TV.”
Remember, we don’t know how much time we left ahead of us.