Time is money. Often, we see that phrase and think, “If I’m wasting time, then I’m losing money”. But I offer you an alternative thought: “Time IS money”. It’s the currency we exchange for the things that we deem most important.
To take this one step further, money is simply an outward sign of our energy output. Meaning, we exchange our energy in some way for money. Whether we have a job that is physical, mental, or both, we are exchanging part of our energy to make that money.
So if time is the currency that we that we exchange, and money represents the energy that we exchange…then how important really is that new car, new phone, or new pair of shoes?
We all make our own choices about what is important in our lives. What is important to me may be nothing to someone else. For example, to some, it’s more important to travel than to have a large house. So, they buy a smaller house, with a smaller price tag, and a smaller exchange of energy, and spend more of their time traveling.
Some would rather have the bigger house, so they spend less time traveling and more money and energy on getting their house.
Some want both.
None of these are wrong, or bad, it’s just a matter of what you are willing to spend your time and money on. What are you willing to literally exchange your energy for?
Because ultimately, time IS money, and if we aren’t spending our time and energy doing what we really want to do…why is that?
There are a few reoccurring themes when it comes to why people aren’t spending their time the way they really want to:
We put off doing things we think are important because we always think we’ll have more time to do them later.
But time isn’t guaranteed. That’s not a fact that we should stress over, or worry about, but one that we should be aware of. If we keep putting off our happiness, putting off spending time with people, putting off living our dreams for later, later may never come. We may find ourselves years older, still sitting in the same place, talking about doing the same things, but never actually doing them. Instead, why not take steps to do those things that bring out our happiness now?
The other reason for our procrastination may be that we don’t view our wants and needs as high on the totem pole as other peoples.
If we’re always putting the needs and wants of others before our own, our wants and needs end up staying on a shelf longer and longer. This is why a lot of people don’t even have any idea of what they want, of what they need to make their life happier. If they were handed the opportunity to do anything, they wouldn’t know what to do because they haven’t thought about themselves in so long.
I’m not suggesting that we should become completely self-centered and never help others. Quite the contrary. Part of the fun of figuring out what makes you happy, of what your life’s purpose is, and of what your dream life would be, is figuring out how to be of service to others in the process of living that life. But we have to learn how to pay attention to our inner guidance system to know what steps to take to get us there in the first place. If we don’t give ourselves time away from doing and being for everyone else, we will have a much harder time hearing this inner guidance.
Sometimes we procrastinate, or completely avoid doing something altogether, because of fear.
We fear rejection, ridicule, humiliation, failure, and all of the other things that we’ve labeled as horrible. We fear it so much that we refuse to even try.
We understand that time and energy are precious and we don’t want to waste it if we don’t know 100% that things are going to work out well for us. We don’t want to put any effort into making our dreams come true if they aren’t guaranteed to do so.
The problem with this is, we sell ourselves short if we live this way.
Yes, it’s uncomfortable if you try really hard to make something work and it doesn’t. It’s hard if you spend all of your time to create something and no one even notices it. But it’s just as uncomfortable wishing that life could be different, wanting to do more with your life, and living with regrets if you don’t ever even try. So, if there’s even a chance that it will work out (and there’s ALWAYS a chance that it will) then why not take that chance? If something happens and it doesn’t work out, learn from the process, make changes, and try again.
2) Not being able to say no.
Much like putting others needs ahead of our own, when we won’t say no to anyone, we run ourselves into the ground trying to get everything done. We try to be everything to everyone and in doing so we overfill our to-do list with things that a) we don’t even want to do, and b) we don’t have time to do.
When you’re trying to gauge whether to say yes or no, ask yourself this question: “Am I willing to give my energy to this person or event? Am I willing to exchange precious time to do this?”
If we can look at it this way, it changes how we prioritize things. It changes what we do and how we do what we do.
3) Thinking we have to achieve someone else’s dream.
There are times when, thoughtfully, we see that someone else couldn’t achieve their goals in life (for various reasons), so we pick up their baton and achieve it for them. For instance, if your parents couldn’t go to college and become a doctor or lawyer for whatever reason, then you go to college and become those things to fulfill their dreams. Or if your sister or best friend couldn’t have children, you have children because she tried so hard and it would be awful of you not to, even though you aren’t even sure if you want kids. (I know this sounds far-fetched, but I’ve heard similar stories before.)
If these things are what you want for your life, awesome! It’s amazing that you can achieve those dreams and do so in honor of someone. But if not, then you are forcing yourself to live someone else’s life, and losing your authentic self in the process. Even if this is done out of love, adoration, respect, or memory, if it’s not authentically you, then you aren’t ever going to be 100% happy. Why settle for less than 100%?
4) We think that this is what we’re supposed to do, and we don’t question it.
Another good example of living someone else’s dream is people who fight and scrape to move up in companies that they don’t care about, and don’t really want to work for, because they feel like that’s what they’re supposed to do. In this case, we’re living someone else’s dream and we don’t even know the person. We’re doing what society tells us we “should”. @thebraveway on Instagram asked the question in one of her posts, “Do you always feel like you have to be the boss, even when you don’t want to be? Do you feel shame in ‘just’ being an employee, even though that’s where you’re happy?”
A lot of us are conditioned to think that we are supposed to move up, make more money, get more stuff, and live bigger and bigger, whether we want to or not. We never even really think about whether we want to or not because this is how life works, this is what we’re supposed to want.
If you work for a company and you’re offered a promotion to a higher position, you take it because that’s what you’re supposed to do.
But is it what YOU want? Does that position fall in line with what you want your life to look like? If it doesn’t…you can say no. Even if it’s an amazing opportunity, if it’s not right for you, you can say no.
5) To prove something to someone else.
Much like living someone else’s dream, sometimes we get stuck trying to prove something to someone else. It can be someone in your family, a friend, or even an old boss. As an example: Your parents said you would never amount to anything so you’ve set out to prove them wrong by achieving their definition of success – lots of money, big house, expensive cars, clothes, and food. But what you would really like to do is have a smaller house and travel the world.
Similarly, some people try to “Keep up with the Jones’”. They see what other people are doing, what other people have, and they try to get bigger, better things. If their neighbor has a 42” TV, they have to have a 50”; if their sister has a small SUV, they have to get a large one, or a more expensive one; if their co-worker goes on a weekend beach vacation, they have to go on a bigger, better, more expensive, week-long beach vacation. You get the point. They always have to one up someone else.
But all this gets you is a life full of stuff. The person that you’re trying to prove yourself to generally doesn’t even notice what you’ve accomplished, and if they do notice they either don’t care, or they are suddenly your best friend. Do you really want friends that you’ve had to work so hard to prove yourself to?
Again, if these things are what YOU want, then go for it. If not, then take steps to live in a way that is more authentically you.
6) One of the biggest reasons that I think people don’t spend more time doing what they enjoy, instead of putting it off until later, is because they have never been told that it’s ok to do so.
I’m here to tell you….it’s ok to live your life doing the things that bring out your happiness. It’s ok to be different than the rest of your family and friends and not have a high paying corporate job. It’s ok to have a high paying corporate job.
Whatever you want to spend your time doing, whatever is authentically you, and however you choose to serve other people with your unique skills and talents, is ok.
Once you begin to recognize these hang ups, these limiting beliefs within yourself, you can start to release them and start using your time in the way that YOU want to use it.
Before you do something, or buy something, ask yourself if it’s worth exchanging one of your most precious commodities for it? Is it worth the time that you will have to pay?
Are you spending time with people who make your life better and brighter, or with people who bring you down and stress you out? Is it worth the time that you exchange, and can’t get back, to spend with those who consistently stress you out?
One of the most profound movies I’ve ever seen was the movie “In Time” with Justin Timberlake. The movie itself was good, but the concept of literally using time as a currency is more accurate than most people think.
What are you exchanging your time for? If you knew you only had a certain amount of time left, how would you spend it? Who would you spend time with? Where would you go? What experiences would you have?
Do those things now. Don’t wait. If it’s truly important to you, you’ll make the time, you’ll make the money, and you’ll do it.
I’m not saying be completely irresponsible and blow all of your money on hats, or run up a ton of debt. Balance is always key. But I know people who never seem to have the time to do what they want to do, but yet, they always have time to do other things. I’ll say it again, if you really, truly want to do something, you’ll make the time. If you’re not making the time to do the things you say you want to do, then you need to reevaluate if you really want to do them in the first place.
Time is money, spend it wisely.