Pay yourself first. Diversify. And focus on long term growth. We have all heard of these three basic fundamentals and strategies when it comes to taking our hard earned money and making it work for us! Yeahh…how is that working out anyways? I’m not a banker or financial advisor and I do not have any sort of expertise on stock indexes, predicting interest rates, or why crude oil always seems to be the reason why our pockets get lighter and lighter. But despite this lack of credentials, I am here to pitch you on a different type of investment! It won’t cost you a dime, BUT the return on your investment could be rather impressive! Sounds like a scam, right?
Nope…this is not a scam. This isn’t even about money at all, I won’t be asking you for your credit card number at the end of this post. All that I am asking from you is to read this post, and think about how you spend your time. Yes, I will agree to a certain extent that time is money, and money is time. But I think that time is actually much more valuable than money and how you use it can ‘buy’ you so much more. There are 3 widely known strategies from the world of finance and money, paying yourself first, diversifying, and focusing on long-term growth. But can these 3 strategies also be used as it relates to our valuable time? I think so. And the concept is quite simple…use your time to Invest In Yourself!
1. Pay Yourself First
We all have those moments where we wonder where has all the time gone. We look up at the clock or calendar and shake our heads in disbelief. But what have we really accomplished during these lost hours? How have we spent our valuable time? Are too many mindless hours being used to watch episode after episode of some show on Netflix, scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, or maybe reading useless blog posts on the internet (umm, NO not THIS ONE!)? Are we just too busy with our everyday day-to-day tasks and just happen to run out of time? What if we “budgeted” (to borrow another classic term from the world of money) our time accordingly so we made sure we got the most IMPORTANT stuff done too?
Money is replaceable. Time is not.
Now I don’t mean scheduling your day or week and making endless ‘to-do’ lists to organize and meet our series of commitments and responsibilities. What I mean, is setting the time aside for doing the things that are hard. The things that we put off and procrastinate on because there really is no actual “deadline”. Maybe its finally reading that book you’ve been meaning to get to, or exercising, or learning something new. We might have to pick up our kids at a certain time, or have a work project due by the end of the week. And we are all held accountable by someone to get this stuff done. But who is holding us accountable for the things we put off because there seemingly is not enough time to get around to it?
Budget some time, and do it first thing in the day, and finally do whatever it is that you have been putting off. Do something you know is important but never get around to doing because of all the other stuff that gets in the way. If it’s important to you, then pay yourself first with your time, and do it!
Ok, so now that you have freed up some time by budgeting for what’s important to you, how do you pick what’s important? Well…Diversify. The human brain is about 1400 cubic centimetres in volume, but its amount of information, knowledge and ability to learn is endless. Ask yourself what is important to you? What are the things that you always wondered or were curious about?
We are in no way limited to what our job title is, or whatever subject you specialized in at school. There is no reason you cannot extend yourself outside of your world and learn something completely new. When it comes to learning and whatever interests you, there are no barriers. With YouTube, Coursera, Udemy, or the multitude of other free and affordable resources available to us, there is no reason why lifelong learning, and diversifying that learning with whatever interests us, shouldn’t be done. So please take a second and finish the following sentence…
I have always wanted to learn how to ________.
Do you want to learn a new hobby? How to play a musical instrument? Fly a plane? Or how to write computer code or maybe some other skills?
So what’s stopping you? Is it because you have no time? Well, go back and see step 1 above. Trust me, setting aside 15 minutes a day is plenty to start. You just need to start somewhere. Begin at the beginning!
Is it important to you? Just imagine how amazingly satisfying it would be to set a goal to learn something completely new, something important to you, and actually doing it! And once you learn that new thing (or maybe you learn that this thing wasn’t really for you after all – which is ok too) then rinse and repeat with something else. What else do you want to know more about? Keep going. Keep learning. Keep diversyfying your brain.
3. Long-Term Growth
The power of compound interest as it relates to money is a rather well known and accepted concept. So, does this concept apply with time too? If you are paying yourself first, and budgeting the time to continually improve yourself by diversifying your knowledge and skills, then what will this do to you as a person over time? Well to be honest, I can’t really speak from experience as I am (hopefully) much less than halfway through my time here on earth. But I can only imagine. Looking back on life, what would it be like to have no regrets on how you lived because you didn’t leave anything out? What if you made a commitment to yourself and actually took the time for doing all the important things you always wanted to do?
Just like with investing money, by doing the small and incremental things today, you are laying a foundation for something great in the future. So spending 15, 30, or 60 minutes a day in learning something new may seem fairly insignificant at first. But, what if you did this a few days a week, or maybe everyday, for the next month? Year? For the next 10 years? Essentially what you are doing with these small incremental steps is you are making a commitment to raising your own personal standards to be a better person tomorrow. You are making a commitment to yourself to not being complacent with where you are today, and wanting, and knowing that you can always be a better version of who you were yesterday. You can always learn, always expand your mind, and always grow. And striving for long-term growth in this way, will absolutely compound on itself, and it has no option but to grow exponentially and lead to amazing things!
The best investment you can make is in yourself – Warren Buffet
Invest In Yourself! The return on your investment could potentially be more than you could ever have imagined. It doesn’t have to cost you anything but your time. So how can we afford NOT to?
Thanks for reading.