Time is finite. Yet for some people, like Jack Dorsey who runs 2 multi billion companies, it almost feels like they are breaking the 168 hour limit that’s set for everyone. He fully takes advantage of the seconds and minutes he’s given. It’s the biggest kind of waste when you don’t take full advantage of the time you have. Making the most of time that you are given is important to reaching financial independence.
Whether it’s taking on a second job to make a little extra money, picking up a book that teaches you how to influence others, or maximizing your relaxation time to recharge, time is something that you can’t afford to waste. Allocating your time to the highest utility generating areas with the same amount of effort puts you up for success. The key is to not necessarily focus on the ones that give extra utility, but the ones that give you the highest joy.
Highest Utility Generating Area
What do I mean by allocating your time that gives the largest joy? For example, sitting in the couch and watching TV might give you 5 points worth of utility but laying in bed and meditating could give you 10 points of utility. There isn’t an extra amount of effort that goes into laying in bed as opposed to sitting down on the couch, but it cleans the clutter that’s in your mind and allows you to live a healthier life.
The answer to maximizing your utility while keeping your effort level the same isn’t common. It’s up to you to figure out what’s worth the most to you and spend your time accordingly. In terms of personal finance, a second job that you might take on could pay less per hour than your current job. Therefore, you must choose whether the extra benefit of the second paycheck is worth the extra effort and whether the extra cash gives you the most benefit.
For me, I would take on one more job but that would take time away from my blog and social life. That doesn’t maximize what I want, so I’m refraining from taking the plunge. I might change my mind but as of right now, that is where I stand. By making the most of time, you will be able to have more hours in the day to allocate to other stuff that you want to do. We are all given 168 hours in the week. What’s different is how we spend our time.
A Common Regret
A common regret that I hear often coming out of the week is that they should have been more productive during the weekends. They regret that they didn’t make the most of time. What they mean by productive is that they should have done something that betters their lives. That is the thing. Do NOT focus on looking to be more productive.
Focus on looking to do things that you want to do. I used to think that I should be doing something meaningful and used my time to pursue projects that weren’t giving me joy. This actually decreased my productivity.
I felt bad when I wouldn’t spend any time reading books or developing personally. So this spiraled into more productivity lost because I focused my energy on feeling bad. Then that feeling snowballed. Then I realized that I was only looking for the marginal benefit of productivity, not the highest benefit.
I didn’t look for books on financial markets, something I’m passionate about, but for books on science and history. I looked to join organizations that didn’t interest me but wanted to be in a leadership role anyway to boost my resume. Targeting my interests and thinking things through before making a decision to spend my time onto an activity is what I should have done.
3 Tips to Make the Most of Time
#1. Figure Out Your Passion
It takes a little bit of time to sit down and figure out what you enjoy most doing. I love learning new things and look for topics that I want to learn more about that will give me an edge. That’s why I read personal finance blogs daily plus I’m doing a little bit of extra reading throughout the week. It took me 4 years to figure out that’s what gives me the highest value. Better late than never right?
#2. Pursue that Passion
I’m a big fan of following the money when it comes to finding a job for your income. I recommend pursuing a job that pays the bills because it’s just for 40 hours out of the week. You have the other 128 hours to do everything and anything else that you want to pursue. I see it as someone giving you financial security for only committing 24% of your time while you are free to pursue your passion for the other 76%. Sleep counts as passion!
I am passionate about learning human psychology and this blog, so I spend close to 20 – 30 hours a week reading about psychology and working on this blog. I don’t see it as work because it’s something I want to do and I never seem to count the hours while doing these projects.
#3. Make it a Habit
Even if it’s your passion, it’s hard to suddenly get used to the new schedule that you’ve set. Adding in an extra thing on the daily or weekly to-do list disrupts your rhythm. The key is to do it in small steps. You add in the extra activity once in the week. Then twice in the second week. So on, and so on. After time is put into the equation, you will be able to get used to it. This is exactly the same if you want to save more. You save $20 one week. Then $30 the next week. So on, and so on.
Making the most of time allows you to have a better life, financially or personally. Maximizing your time will lead to you having more time to spend than you had before. If you are more efficient with your time, you are almost breaking the 168 hour limit in a given week that’s set for everyone. Time is a finite resource. Once the second passes, you can never get it back. Since that’s the case, why not try to maximize it in the moment? You won’t have any regrets by doing so.
Taking time to figure out how you want to spend that time is just as important as implementing steps to make it a habit. With small improvements every week, it’s sure to add up to be a big improvement by the end of the month!
Readers, what are you doing to make the most of time? Do you feel like you are spending time well? Let me know in the comments below!
My goal is to enable your success in personal finance so that you can realize the American dream. The first step is starting today!
Read more about me here.