Our most valuable resource – No, it’s not chocolate or beer

What can you never get back once you have spent it?  Time.

I consider myself about half way through life, so I now see time as a more valuable resource than money.  These two are heavily linked, for a lot of people, since they spend a significant amount of life trading their time for money.

For a long time, I just swam along with everyone else in our consumer culture.  I bought too much, too frequently, only using a fraction of it.  Since I fit in with everyone else, I felt fine.  Then 3 years ago I woke up, and now my financial world is in a lot better order.  There are still things to do, but for the most part I have set it up as a system that just runs on auto-pilot.  My HSA, and 401k come straight out of the paycheck, and we don’t like to spend until we have justified it, and then researched it.  

Now I realize how many years I wasted, trading my time for money that I quickly spent.  I also see how time is actually my most valuable resource.  For me, as a father to 5 kids, this get’s even more important.  It will not be too far in the future that my kids will leave our house.  Since at that time, they will be older, their leaving will be a good thing.  While on one hand I never want them to leave, on the other had, I am not sure I want a 30 year old hanging out in my basement.  But, it will be a sad thing.  I am going to miss them terribly.  So, I want to make sure I spend time with them before they leave.

While my finances have been tamed, my usage of time has not.  Not even close.  I am horrible at being efficient and getting things done.  At home, I am medium, at work I am terrible.  So, I am targeting this ‘rule’ <link to rules of life> next, this is where I am the most deficient, so this is where I will focus for this week.  This week is an experiment with time.

To try to be more efficient, I need to know what my goals are, otherwise how do I determine if I have been effectively working on them?  So …. What are my goals at work?  Overall goal – make my job very controlled and efficient, so that someday I can lobby for working remotely.  I have a side of my job where I have to help end users, if I allow myself to get fully consumed by this, I am not making progress toward my goals.  If I screw around, I am not working toward my goals.  If I work on my goals, but at the end of the day I have not made significant forward progress, I am not working toward my goals.  These are all issues that I have struggled with.  

The best way I can think of right now to measure this is Pomodoros.  Focus hard on one task for 25 minutes, and then take a 5 minute break.  

Lunch is almost done, it’s time to start right now, I cannot wait to feel like starting, this morning was a rough one for me.  I will keep updating this post on how I do.

Yes, chocolate and beer are great resources, but you can always replenish those, but once time is gone, it’s gone, use it wisely.  How do you define using your time wisely?

*Update – I am finishing this up on my next lunch.  Yesterday afternoon was a C (vs. the morning, before I wrote this, that was an E), and now this morning has been a B.

4 thoughts on “Our most valuable resource – No, it’s not chocolate or beer

  1. Joe

    Time really flies. I used to think money is more important than time, but now I realize it’s the other way around. These days, I’m trying to spend quality time with the family and not work too hard. Nice to have that option. 🙂
    I have problem with being efficient too. It’s just so easy to screw around and don’t get much done.

    1. Joe: It’s interesting how the passing of time is what teaches you that time is actually more important than money. Now, the trick with our kids: give them a foundation where they learn how to play the game right and maximize both time and money ….. that’s a big task!

  2. This is a great reminder. We talk a lot about finances, but getting your finances in line is the easy part. I spent maybe a year learning everything I could on finances and setting up my saving and investing strategy. I have spent at least the last 2 years on trying to manage my time better and at least the last 8 years trying to learn all I could about happiness.

    1. Matt:

      I wonder if the differences in time you have spent reflects the difficulty of each subject? My gut tells me that the numbers match with reality, although in these season of my life, I think I need more like 4 years for the time management.

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