If time is money, then how many of us are bankrupt?

Time is money.

It’s been repeated so many times that it has become a truism. Yet how many of us live our lives by it?

After all, time is truly the most democratic entity in the world. Everyone has just 24 hours a day, no matter your education, background, nationality, or wealth.

Do you feel time starved, that there aren’t just enough hours in the day to do the things that you truly wish to?

Actually, time is not money: it is much more valuable than that. Every day, I feel time ticking away. Once lost, it can never be regained.

Therefore we should treat time with even more care than we do with money.

We might chide our friends for being a spendthrift or extravagant spending. Yet the amount of time people waste every day is even more criminal. How many of us spend hours every day doing things we have no interest in?

My personal definition of productive time is “time spent on activities which either bring us closer to our articulated goals, or recharge us for the next lap”.

There is nothing wrong with watching TV 12 hours a day, as long as that is truly what you wish to do, and not because you don’t know what else to do. It is also important is to take time to rest and rejuvenate, but I’ll save that topic for a future post.

To paraphrase Stephen Covey (author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People), we need to know three things:

1. What to do
2. How to do
3. Want to do (Why)

1. What to do

First, we need to understand what is it that we wish to do. Many of us get trapped trying to figure out our life purpose. I feel this is asking the wrong question.

The question of “What is our life purpose?” assumes that there is one single, unchanging life goal. All we need to do is to discover it, and instantly all our life problems would be solved.

This is analogous to our endless search for our Mr. or Miss Right. Somewhere out there, there is our perfect soulmate. And once we meet him or her, we would instantly know it.

I think this is nonsense.

Just like potential mates, we have many life purposes, and not just one. With this realisation, it releases one from the stress and worry of choosing the “wrong” purpose. I accept that my life goals are fluid and can change with time.

So instead of looking 20 years ahead, I find it easier to just concentrate on the present day tasks. Once I take care of the day, the weeks, months, and years will take care of themselves.

(You can read more about finding your life purpose here)

2. How to do

After understanding what we need to do, the next step is finding out how to do it.

For example, I know that I should improve communication with my partner but lack the skills to do so. I could then read up on the Internet, get the book, or attend a course on effective communication.

3. Want to do (Why)

I could know what I need to do, how to do it, but not want to do it. Many times, we need to do things which we don’t find pleasant in order to accomplish the bigger goal. For example, I need more customers but don’t enjoy making cold calls.

But this is a necessity when I was just starting my business. Keeping the end goal in mind helped me to get through that phase. Now I have a constant stream of queries, and cold calls are a thing of the past.


So, how is your time account looking? Do you have ample time for the important things and people in your life?

Are you time bankrupt?

About Hun Boon

A little bit of this, a little bit of that.
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