It seems like every day I talk to people that say I don’t have enough time. This always makes me smile, because time is a fixed resource, that is what it is, and everyone gets the same amount. If someone could invent a way for people to create time just like you can print money they would be the richest guy in the world. Why do most people ask the wrong question? They are mostly talking about not having enough time to do the things they want to do. The big question we should be asking is: do we spend enough time on the things that create happiness in our lives? If the answer is no then why is that?
When I was young and in my 20’s, time was the only resource I had to trade to get money to live on. I had fewer obligations, so working hard didn’t have a negative impact on my life, it was also fun and exciting. As I got older and had a family I found that things change and what you value also often changes. The problem most people face is that they are forced to trade all of their time for money to buy the things in life they want, and to lead the lifestyle they want to live. This leads to a feeling of being trapped in a company or profession that they can’t afford to leave. In order to get the time to lead a more balanced life it requires many changes in both how you acquire money, the spending habits you have, and driving alignment in your life.
The different areas of your life are like different bank accounts. If you invest time in them, they begin to flourish, if you don’t they start to dwindle. If you really take the time to think about how you are living your life and where you are investing you precious time resources it creates a telling picture. Be purposeful about how you spend your time and happiness will follow.
How much time are you spending building your different life accounts?
Money. We all need enough money to live and the pursuit of money is very important however once your investment income exceeds expenses your life can be transformed. The challenge we all face is that if you sacrifice all the other areas of your life to get to this place then will the most important things in life still be around, if you play the money game a different way it is possible to have both.
Health. You can only withdraw from the health bank account for so long before it take its toll and without good health everything becomes harder. Without focus on what you eat and what you do it becomes very easy to get in to the mind set of there is always tomorrow, and tomorrow never comes.
Family. There are times in our life that we are given gifts that no amount of money could ever replace. Time spent with children participating in there joys and triumphs and helping them through their trials and tribulations can be some of the most fulfilling experiences you will ever experience in life. The can never be replaced and creating a strong bond will be one of the most impactful things you can ever do to another person’s life.
All too many times I see friends and colleagues sacrifice their family, for that important business meeting or that work assignment they just have to get done. When children are between 6 and 12 you have a very precious moment in time that can never be replaced, shaping their destiny requires time, effort and being present in their lives. If you put of participating until a later date that time is gone and bond you could create never be replaced.
Friends. Relationships are very important to happiness especially the relationship with your spouse, it’s far too easy to get caught, up in the list of activities you need to get accomplished and forget about the relationships around you. Being purposeful about how and who you spend time with can be one of the most powerful forces in your life. We are the sum of the 5 people we spent the most time with, so take a good look at those people, it tells you a lot about your life and where you are heading. I have seen many times when people change companies or roles, they have a void in their life because they thought people who were their colleagues were their friends. Whilst that can be the case once you cease to be present in someone’s life things change. This is especially true in spousal relationships, lack of time and effort can drive a wedge that can be hard to correct.
Spiritual. In the agnostic society we live in it is easy to forget about the spiritual side of life whether you meditate do yoga or go to church allocating some time to this gives you a better perspective to handle the pressures of everyday life. Some of the most successful people in the world are careful to preserve this part of their lives even though their lives are incredibly scheduled and busy. Activities like meditation have also been shown to make the mind more flexible and creative that also helps you become more efficient at what you do.
Meaning. This is probably the hardest of all the areas of life to figure out. When I was younger I sought out jobs where I thought I could make a difference, usually for the corporate entity I was working for, however somewhere along the path of life I realized that true meaning and fulfillment in life for me was in helping others, some people call it giving back. Helping others outside of yourself can bring a joy and fulfillment in a way no other activities can, and can often cascade and bestow benefits to other areas of your life.
Focus on only one or 2 areas leaves your life out of balance, if you are purposeful about how you spend and allocate your time, it is amazing the transformation that can take place in your life. Playing the money game a different way however is one of the most important keys to getting balance. If you can get out of the world of trading time for money it gives you a lot of options in life.
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