Time is money, that’s one of the oldest English sentences I learned. I guess I wasn’t even in school, and I remember I knew the meaning of this. And keep in mind that English is not my primary language, I was born and raised Indian. Years after, I still surprise myself thinking in these terms. There is a common understanding that your time is one of your most precious assets, so you should take good care of it. Interestingly enough, this happens mostly in Western cultures, Eastern cultures seems to have a more relaxed attitude towards time.
But even more interesting is the fact that, despite the ubiquity of this saying, almost everybody tries to avoid its message. Don’t get me wrong, people are still putting a high value on time, making it a very precious asset, but almost nobody really treats time the same way they treats their money. People are eager for free time, they are making a lot of effort to gain some extra time, but once they get it, they are wasting it instantly, in a way they will never do to their money. In this post I’ll try to share a few simple and easy ideas for really keeping your time safely in your wallet, the same way you do with your finances.
Keep it clean
If you are a person moderately rich, I bet your wallet looks like a pharmacy. It’s clean and ordered and you know in less than a second where to find the ten dollar bill, as well as the Mastercard you use for shopping only. And even if you are not a moderately rich person, but you have a positive attitude towards money, I bet your wallet is clean and ordered. I know mine is. And I know I have quite a positive attitude towards money.
So why don’t we do the same with our time? For me, that translates in a very clean and ordered working routine. If time will be sliced into ten, twenty and fifty dollars bills, I would know instantly how much do I have left, and where I find the needed bill every time I need it. Slicing my time in ordered pieces, the same way I did with bills and cards in my wallet helped me a lot. And is such a simple yet powerful analogy: keep your time as your wallet.
Spend only what you have
That, my friend, is very healthy advice. Even if you will apply this only to money, it will make you happy at some point in your life. I tried to keep myself away from credit, partly because I know I have a rather risky attitude (by the way, after 10 years of entrepreneurship and successful business, I still like to embrace risks), and partly because I just didn’t feel well about it. That saved me several times in difficult situations, most of them business related, like a tight cashflow or a bad market. If I would have credit in those situations, my life would have been much more difficult.
But when you translate this habit into time management, well, you will discover some interesting stuff. Spending only the time you have means to do what you have to, when you have to. Working late hours, for instance, will be a violation of this percept. Because you will be spending the time you simply don’t have for work. Even if it seems it’s for work, it isn’t, it’s your personal time. And by using this time for working, you are making a credit. You take by credit from your free time and pour it into work time. Yeap, you know that already: sooner or later you’ll have to pay that credit. With interest, of course.