This isn’t an article about time management. If you want that, go to Amazon.com and buy one of the 20,985 books on the subject. This is an article about investing your time. Management implies control, focus, and organization. This is a prereq and a practice you develop from experience and….time. Don’t manage time and you’ll rush around like a drunken monkey from one task to another.
Investment implies the process of putting something into holding in order to grow it forafuture increased return. Applied to money it means taking a dollar today and growing it into ten in the future. Applied to a piece of nouveau art it means buying a $1,000 piece today with the intent to sell it at Sotheby’s in 30 years for a million. Applied to time, it means you devoting energy to a particular undertaking now with the expectation of a worthwhile result at some point in the future.
Check-in with where your focusing and investing your time. You have 168 hours per week with which to invest, what are you doing with them? Work or study is a given…we’re all investing time here anticipating money at payday or a career upon graduation. So let’s look at some true investment opportunities:
Sleep. Do you get 8 hours a night on average and if not, why? This is the über investment in YOU. Yep, you’ll need to burn the candle late from time to time, but if you’re doing it constantly you’re not a doing anyone any favors, including yourself. In fact, you’re making yourself less able to make rational decisions and likely shortening your life.
Physical Practice. This is the penultimate investment opportunity and includes healthy eating and PT. Daily investments in both will yield major dividends in both the short and long term with your health, which next to time, is the most important asset you have.
Family. I know of no instance where someone at retirement or on their deathbed lamented about how they wished they’d done more reports, sent one more email, or put in more hours at the office. They all seem to come back to family. If you’re not seriously thinking about those most important to you, what are you doing?
Hobbies. Are you uni-dimensional? Work/study is the only thing you’ve got going? If so, besides being boring you’re not “sharpening your saw” as Stephen Covey relays to us in “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Hobbies allow you to mentally dis-engage from work, study, or your other major time-suck and allows you to mentally decompress and give the synapses a break. Bottomline: get one.
For certain those of us with professional careers or in school are busy people. Don’t confuse “busy” with making smart time investments. Constantly moving from task-to-task, meeting-to-meeting and call-to-call doesn’t equal time investment — that equals time management. I see lot’s of busy people all the time that the best time managers in the world that are yielding nothing from their time. It all comes down to investing your time in those elements that are important to you and then guarding those investments like the gold reserves.
By the way, you’ll find exactly ZERO books about time investment at Amazon….maybe I need to invest some time writing one.