Throughout my lifetime, I have always been a stickler for protecting and utilizing the most valuable asset that is given to all of us, in the exact same proportions each and every day. That asset is our PRECIOUS TIME. I believe I feel this way because my mother, who was already 40 years old when I was born, always reminded me how quickly life will pass you by. She always told me to use my time wisely, because once a minute or hour passes, it is gone forever. She would say "even if you are the richest and most powerful person in the world, you cannot regain the time that has passed."
Without her realizing it, her simple explanation regarding the value of time, repeated often to me, had a tremendous impact on how I have viewed this precious asset throughout my life. My value for time management helped me to do better in school, in business and in my personal and family life. It helped me to become a better planner, goal setter and achiever of most of the objectives I set out to accomplish during my lifetime. All because of her, I viewed my time as my most valuable asset, which I have continually tried to guard and invest wisely.
Why is time so precious? The answer is simply because it is SCARCE. If you were guaranteed to live forever, it wouldn’t matter what you did with your time because you would never run out of it. But that is not how human life is designed. Our allotment of time on this Earth is extremely scarce, and because of that, our time is extremely valuable.
Ben Franklin’s quote “Time is Money” is very true. Let’s say that you start your day with $100 in your pocket along with your scarce supply of time (of which you don’t know the exact amount). You decide to drive to the grocery store to do some food shopping. An hour later, you return home with $85 worth of groceries. What did the trip cost you? If you said $85, you are only partially correct. The trip did cost you $85 in money, but it also cost you 1 hour of your time. When you returned home, you came back with less money ($15) and one less hour of your time SPENT shopping. What is an hour of your time worth to you? Only those who view their time as scarce can determine its true value in monetary terms. If your employer pays you $50 an hour for your time, that trip may have just cost you $135 instead of $85. Since time and money are both scarce they are both used as payment for your trip to the store.
With gasoline prices at $4.00 a gallon today, we now value fuel for our vehicles more than we did when gasoline was $2.00 a gallon. We are more conscience not to waste gasoline because it is more expensive and thus more valuable. But gasoline is dirt cheap in comparison to our time. Yet we tend to squander our time on meaningless activities as if it has little or no value. Think like Ben Franklin and value time like money and you will never waste it recklessly.
You can go an entire day without spending any money, but the same cannot be said about time. Your time is CONSTANTLY being spent. The main question that you must ask yourself is, “How am I spending my time?” Or better yet “How am I investing my time?” You are in total control of where your precious time is allocated. Therefore, it is up to you to analyze, prioritize and invest this precious asset wisely.
Do you have a portfolio of monetary investments? With today’s technologies you can keep track of your investments in real-time. At any second, you can find out what’s making or losing money for you. Since “Time is Money,” don’t you think that you should also have a portfolio of your investments of time? Are you spending time on things of low value or investing time on items of high value?
Do you invest time to achieve your dreams and goals, or spend it like a pocket full of worthless change? Do you take control of your own time or let someone else steal it or squander it for you? Do you share this precious asset by planning activities with your loved ones or do you waste it arguing over trivial unplanned indifferences? Make it a top priority every single day to allocate your precious asset wisely.
Convincing others around me of this theory has been both challenging and frustrating, but I have never given up. I have held lots of leadership positions during my career and lifetime, practicing what I preached to those I led. Unfortunately, my batting average is low in converting people to truly value their time as their most priceless possession. However, I keep approaching home plate and keep swinging hard to do so. I get my share of base hits and an occasional home run. As a true believer, I keep trying!
By sharing my thoughts in this week’s lesson, I hope that you may be inspired to seriously evaluate your time and invest it wisely.