Instead of Budgeting Money, Budget Time

Money doesn’t run the world — time does.

Think of the richest people you know. The list probably includes Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates. You can probably think of a billion things they have that you don’t. Time isn’t one of them.

They’re mortal, just like the rest of us. All the money in the world won’t change that.

Successful people don’t have more time, they’re just better at using it. The average person is bad at budgeting time because they can’t see it. There’s no clock that counts down the seconds until their death. So, they gamble years away on things they regret — dying before they’re satisfied.

Wasting time is like splurging on Black Friday. Even though you know you can’t afford that $100 hoodie, you spend it anyway. With time, however, you can’t get a refund.

There’s no interest rate on time

You shouldn’t hoard time. Don’t put off things you want to do, people you want to interact with, and places you want to go. Too many people work their lives away at a job they hate, hoping for a happy retirement. Yet, for the majority, retirement is an improbable goal.

Trying to “save up” time is like stashing money under your mattress. Day by day, it decreases in value.

Your time also deteriorates because of the restrictions that come with aging. Health problems plague the elderly, limiting what experiences and activities they can enjoy.

Accept that time never stops. You can’t take back the years of unproductivity, bad decisions, and regrets. You can only fill up the time left with memories, experiences, and people.

Everyone has a different idea of productivity. For some, it may be working long hours towards a goal they genuinely believe in. Others value time with family above everything else.

It’s really up to you to decide where your time is best spent.

Still, you can’t live your life only thinking about happiness. You have to think practically, acknowledging that you must have the means to live a life like that. You have to decide where your time is best spent. That means picking things to tackle, instead of doing everything.

To decide if I want to pursue something, I ask myself this: Am I 100% committed to this project?

If it’s something that I’m willing to give 100% to, I do it. However, anything that I’m apprehensive about is rejected. This applies big and small. It could be a new job opportunity, or an invitation to play video games.

I’m not saying you have to give 100% to playing video games. But, I want to be 100% sure that I want to spend my time that way. If I know there’s something better I want to do, why should I spend my time playing games and watching TV?

Time doesn’t grow on trees

Actually, time doesn’t grow anywhere. You never know when your last day will be, so don’t spend another day being indifferent. When you’re born, you’re given a certain amount of time — and it never stops deducting.

Find your priorities. You can’t expect to play video games for 5 hours, get all your work done, and still have time to pursue your passions. Something has to give.

Think about time as your income — divide the 24 hours up into work, play, and sleep.

I follow the 50/30/20 rule. Commonly used for budgeting money, it allocates 50% of your money on necessities, 30% on savings, and 20% on things you want. The same rule can be applied to time.

  • 50% of my day will go to the things I need to do. Sleep, eating, and exercise all go here.
  • 30% goes to my long term goals. This includes my education, writing, and business ventures.
  • 20% is spent on recreational activities. It’s composed of spending time with family, playing video games, and binge-watching Netflix.

Obviously, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. I don’t spend exactly 12 hours on necessities, 7.2 hours on work, and 4.8 hours on relaxation. I tinker with the exact amounts, but it is a great approximation for a balanced life.

With a budgeted schedule, I ensure that I don’t burn out from overworking or start procrastinating. However, it also means I have to choose where to spend my time. I can’t take on every project that’s thrown at me.

We often get too embroiled in things that don’t matter. Think about what you’ll remember on your deathbed. You won’t remember the presentation you bombed. You won’t care that the girl at the park rejected you. You need to move on.

We also plan too far ahead. I’ve spent much of my life thinking about the future. As a kid, I dreamt of who I wanted to be as an adult, the impact on society that I wanted to have. Now, I dream of the businesses I want to build and the problems I want to solve.

I never stopped to look around.

I didn’t take the time to appreciate where I am, who I’m surrounded by, and how I’m feeling.

What’s the point of being conscious of time?

As previously established, time doesn’t stop for anyone or anything. It’s like we’re all on a conveyor belt, waiting to be dumped off at our death.

The only thing that sets us apart is our experiences.

If you spend your life scared, you won’t have anything to look back on. But if you spend your life reckless, you won’t have a future to look towards. Instead, you must accept the past, remember the present, and think for the future.

High school student figuring out life | The Startup, Entrepreneurs Handbook, Data Driven Investor |

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