You've probably heard the saying, "time equals money" which is a very short-sighted and problematic way of looking at time. If the moments that make up your life are only valuable when they’re bringing in cash, how do you equate the value of time spent with family and friends which is most likely not making you money? Surely time spent with people you enjoy is worth investing in, even if there is no financial gain.
And what if your perception of time is different than the neurotypical? Hours can be lost mysteriously or held hostage when waiting for scheduled meetings and appointments. If time equals money, then this can be seen as an inexcusable deficit.
I've shifted my thinking about time in the last few years. Time doesn't equal money, but it does equal your life. Life isn’t something you can make more of—it is inherently limited. We get to choose where we spend our time/life to an extent. Unfortunately, we still must use a portion of our life for work, and if you struggle with lost time, then that is outside the realm of choice. Most often, however, we passively allow the choice about where our time (a.k.a. life) goes, to be made for us.
How often do you consider, before you make plans with someone or commit to going to a party, whether or not that activity is something that fulfills your needs or invigorates you? Do you hang out with someone out of obligation and feel drained afterward? If so, you are giving away one of your most precious resources—your life—for free and with no return coming back to you.
For every aspect of your life, you should ask yourself, “Does this action or activity feel worth it to devote a portion of my life to?”
Now, this isn’t to say that if something is difficult or uncomfortable to do that you shouldn’t do it. Learning and growing as an individual will always be hard, but the reward is usually worth it. If you’re faced with doing something challenging and you’re resistant to it because of emotional roadblocks, imagine your future self having conquered that challenge. Would the investment of your life have been worth it then? If the answer is yes, then go and power through that difficult thing!
Choosing where to spend your life isn’t limited to physical actions, they can be mental actions too. If you are living in your head worrying about what others are thinking about you, is that worth dedicating your life toward? What are you getting in return by obsessing on those thoughts?
It takes practice, but continuing to ask yourself what you’re getting out of where you spend your life, can help retrain your brain. Eventually, you’ll naturally recognize the negative thought or draining action as stealing from you, then you can redirect that energy into something that is worth that finite resource that is your life.
How do you view your time and how it's used? Leave a comment and let’s start a conversation.
If you need some extra help working on projects that matter most to you, here are some free classes that can steer you in the right direction.