Invest Your Time Wisely, Your Future Self Will Thank You

By on July 10, 2018

The key to time is not spending it frivolously, but to invest it for your future self so you feel accomplished at the end of the day — your future self will thank you. Instead of exhausting or wasting your valuable time, spend it with the expectation of some sense of satisfaction back by obtaining an income or profit.

Many people spend far more than they invest. Most of us waste inordinate amounts of time engaged in frivolous activities that have little or nothing to do with the support of our life goals or investing in our future. Too often we spend our time satisfying someone elses demands or checking off those urgent tasks rather than invest in activities which are really important – family, finances, etc..

We all have two selves, a present self (focused on our immediate survival or instant gratification) and a future self (who wants a relaxing and comfortable retirement). Many of the investment goals we set are about improving things for our future selves. The problem is, our present selves are disconnected from the individuals they will be in the future, and are only all too keen to find distractions.

Buried by our present needs and desires, many of us do not value time as we do food, heating or gasoline. We turn off lights, so we don’t waste electricity and we even discourage wasting paper; yet we continue to treat our time, the precious moments of our lives that can never be relived, as if we had an unlimited supply.

Unfortunately, time is like money; if you invest it wisely you can expect returns and if you spend it frivolously, it’s gone. Time reflects what you think of yourself and how focused you are in achieving personal goals, so organize your time and align the activities of each day with rewards that will benefit you personally and professionally in the future.

Where Does All the Time Go?

To sit down and make a family budget, many people have to track where they spend their money before they can decide where to make cuts on frivolities. To better organize and invest your time, you need to know what is stealing your time from you.

In most cases, poor time investment is the result of mismanagement or poor choices. To identify what is stealing your time, ask yourself these questions:

  • What regularly distracts me from getting important things done – surfing the internet, social media or fantasy football? Reading or TV? We all have things which distract us; try to be honest about identifying your time-stealers.
  • Which of those distractions are really just bad habits? Staying to watch that morning show and getting to the office late or taking too long of a lunch may be eating away precious minutes; each day those add up to hours which could be better spent.
  • Are you procrastinating or letting others dictate and invade your calendar? We are all guilty of syphoning off valuable time in the hopes of completing a task later, but that time is now gone. Don’t put off ‘til tomorrow what you can get done right now. And while you’re at it, take note of any regular “time-thieves”, such as your co-workers, who distract you from completing essential activities.
  • Do you have any unrealistic expectations about how you can spend your time? Can you really complete that home remodel in 30 days? Can you really expect to return that phone call in 4 hours…when you really should allow 24 hours for the return call? Did you think helping your child with math problems would take an hour and not 2? You may be underestimating your time. Be realistic with the time it takes to complete tasks or achieve goals.

What to Invest Your Time On

Time can be your friend and time can be your enemy. What you do with your time will determine what returns and results you get. If you want big returns, you must actively and intentionally invest your time in worthwhile activities and events. If you want different results in your life; then do something different.

It’s quality over quantity – no one cares if you spent 10 hours or 10 minutes preparing for a meeting, but they care how you spent that time in order to produce a quality presentation. Here are a nine quality ways you could be putting your time to better use:

  1. Sleep: Sleeping is as essential as food and water for a quality life. You need a good mattress, good pillows and 8 hours of time for a good night sleep. Research shows that even one night of sleep deprivation can lead to increased anxiety and chronic pain for your future self. If you are looking for excellent returns on your investment of time, start by investing in your sleep.
  2. Health: Along with sleep, exercise and healthy lifestyle choices are often put on the back burner when you are busy. Schedule time to maintain your body and health, after all, it impacts your ability to function in other areas of your life (and it directly impacts the existence of a ‘future you’).
  3. Planning: Set aside time each day, week or year for planning. Mapping out how you will spend your time each week (and planning for the year ahead) can save you time and effort. A few minutes now, can literally save hours later.
  4. Self-Development: Investing in you is always a good use of your time Education is the key to opportunity, and it comes in so many forms. Learn more about finances so that you can take control of your future. Challenge yourself to learn a new skill that furthers your career or quality of life. Get better at those new skills by investing your time in practicing. Self-improvement doesn’t happen overnight; you must choose to invest your time in bettering your future self.
  5. Building Your Financial Safety Net: This is an essential activity in which many of us forget to invest more time, however the long-term payback on time spent ensuring your future financial security is exponential. Learn to budget and keep debt at bay. Enroll in money saving insurance plans. Invest so you can grow and save money for emergencies, retirement or a child’s college tuition. Make time for financial planning so you can reach your personal or financial goals on a weekly, monthly or annual basis.
  6. Family and Relationships: Relationships with our friends, family and loved ones is all about the time that you invest towards building and maintaining these connections. Think of the relationships in your life which you value (for personal or professional reasons), set priorities and goals (perhaps you want to spend more time with your children or need to put more time in with the company boss so they remember you), and check-in to see that you’re giving the people around you the time they deserve.
  7. A Career: We work to earn money so we can eat and live, but nobody is going to hire your for a new job or give you that promotion until you have invested the time to earn those opportunities. If you have to work, why not choose employment that will bring the greatest income and satisfaction to you and your family. Put yourself on the career path of your dreams. Start a home business and work your way towards a store-front. Or become a business investor and entrepreneur. Decide how you spend your time earning money.
  8. Hobbies: If you think you do not have time for a hobby, think again. Everyone needs something, outside of work, to bring them peace of mind and joy. You will feel renewed and refreshed by having something to look forward to spending your time on, because hobbies are like therapy. Take up meditation, golf, knitting – whatever makes you happy.
  9. Volunteer or Mentor: There are many worthy causes which need more than money, they need time – time donated by volunteers to help with fundraising money, staffing events and sending letters. There are also others – children, elderly, students – who need someone to offer them guidance, someone to help them do daily tasks they struggle with or simply someone to just smile and listen. Give your time to an organization or someone who needs your help to achieve their goals. Though some might consider this giving time away, it is almost guaranteed to earn returns in gratefulness and self-satisfaction.

How To Invest Your Time

It’s not worth knowing only about what to invest in, but how to actually take the steps necessary to organize, prioritize and invest your time with purpose. Here are a few pointers for organizing your time before you spend it:

  • Do what’s most important first. Every task has a priority. Prioritize daily, weekly, monthly, etc. and do what is most important first.
  • Do what’s hardest next. Some say that this should be first – but that easy phone call to your financial advisor may be more important that the hard conversation you need to have with your teenage child. Knock out the important tasks first, then tackle the hardest to eliminate procrastination. Each day can end with a real sense of accomplishment if you can tick off one big task a day.
  • Delegate whenever possible. You are only one person and there are only 24 hours in a day – you can’t do it all. Delegate tasks that eat up your time to other people. This could mean asking the kids to do the dishes so you have time to pay bills or turning your paperwork over to your financial planner to organize your finances in 20 minutes (to your 2 hours).

Time is a Good Investment

Time, like money, is a commodity you can frivolously spend or you can invest it in things that improve your life. Take some time to reflect on how you spend your time and what investments you can offer your future self today.

Take the next step - Let's talk!

Remember to speak with your financial, legal or tax professional for more information about the topics which interest you. Here are a few ways for you to share your ideas, learn more and interact with FinancialSafetyNet members, authors and expert advisors.
Have a question, but don't want to share it with everyone? Contact a financial advisor.
Want to contribute to the conversation publicly? Submit a comment.

Submit A Comment

About Harold Goldman

I am the founder of FinancialSafetyNet.org, and a Retirement Planning and Long-Term Care specialist. I am also the President of Emes Insurance Services, Inc., a Murrieta based insurance agency designed to help people with Retirement Planning and funding for College. I believe in educating my clients to become financially competent in an effort to develop plans for guaranteed income, protection against loss and tax-advantaged growth. To contact me Call (844)-376-2265

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.