Return on Investment (TIME)

I will be the first to admit sometimes I don’t use my time wisely. I tend to get frustrated at life circumstances and knocked off kilter. Some roadblocks and life make me just pump the breaks, and want to just go play with my kids and enjoy life, play around on the net, or just plum sleep it off. Going through trials are exhausting; mentally, physically & spiritually. In any case, I was doing some research this weekend on ROI (return on investment), and I came across an interesting article by a guy named John Wesley. It spoke about how the goal of an ROI is to maximize the return on the money you invest, however we have not been taught to view ourselves as a primary investment rather than money. It went on to talk about how we have to start looking at everything we do as an investment of time (e.g. watching a bad TV show is a poor return of time). My bro-in-law and I talk all the time about how time is more valuable than money. You always have an opportunity to make money, but once time is gone, it is gone. Often times I look at my kids and their growth, and I feel a rush of anxiety. I feel as if I am running out of the luxury of time and have this sense of urgency that I wish I possessed in my younger years..

The author of this article stated that the key is to invest our time so that we can be productive in more than one area. He calls this multiple positives and states, “The key to finding multiple positives is finding areas where different positive actions intersect.” An example of this would be playing basketball (fun + exercise), or maybe studying a field that would help you in the workplace as well as with freelancing (web design, writing, etc.). Of course the opposite of these multiple positives is what he calls multiple negatives. An example would be going out to a club. As much as people like to kick it, when we are honest it is not productive, drinks are costly, and the effects (hangover, sex, whatever) will affect the next day. The problem with that is we began to develop a “pattern of poor investment” where we continue to do negative things out of habit. I talked once before about habits being formed or broken in 3 weeks. Many of us have habits from years ago (I know I do).

The article also spoke about the principles of compound interest. Basically when you invest money, you earn interest, and then you start to earn interest on the money you earned from interest. Over many years this continues to compound, thus leading to substantial returns. Now when you apply this to time, you can see where many of us lost ground. Many of us worked hard, but at some point or another gave up due to various life circumstances. In turn, it limited our ability to be in a position to be successful and reap the benefits of our investment in time. I often wonder if I were a better steward with my time, and were diligent and handling things despite of circumstances which seemed to distract me, where would I be right now? Or better yet, if I managed the time that I have right now, what could I do to change my current environment?

Let’s even take one step out the door of finances. One of the most important ways to show someone you love them is how you spend your time. What if I worked on spending time with and developing my relationship with God more when I was younger? What if I allocated my heart towards His will versus mine…despite all I went through? I know many times I fell into the “that’s not fair” tantrum…feeling that I deserved to have more favor from God than I was receiving. In retrospect He was protecting me the entire time in ways I can’t even describe. Nobody has the ideal circumstance in life and we all go through things where we feel we won’t be able to make it, but believe me God is real and has our best interest at heart…even when sometimes we can not understand it whatsoever. In the midst of our storms, we have to gather ourselves up, be encouraged, and continue to press forward. Trust me from experience, don’t allow your circumstances (or any one/thing) rob you of time as it is such a valuable commodity.

Just food for thought.

Many people think their time isn’t valuable when they aren’t working, so they throw it away on activities that have a poor return on investment and don’t build for the future. The truth is, no one else is going to consider your time valuable until you do. If you want to acquire the wealth that will provide the freedom to live your ideal lifestyle, start thinking of every decision as an investment. Nothing is insignificant. One mental model that can help you make better decisions is imagining that your life is a corporation and you’re the only employee. If you were the CEO of John Doe Incorporated, and were obliged to maximize profit on behalf of investors, what would you make yourself do? You’ll find that this sort of analysis simplifies many decisions and increases return on investment. ~ John Wesley



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