Recently we looked at this list of 15 things put together by John Rampton which may be holding you back from financial freedom. The list is :
- Living Above Your Means
- Lack Of Determination
- Neglecting your Health
- Purchasing a Home
- Relying on One Source Of Income
- Wasting Valuable Time
- Not Acting on Your Ideas
- Not Reading
- Fear and Negativity
- Not Setting Goals
- Avoiding Routine
- Not Collecting Assets
- Spending Time with Toxic People
- Failing to Follow to Allocate your finances (70/30 rule)
- Not Having A Mentor
Today we are going to look at the sixth - wasting valuable time
All of our time is valuable, far more valuable than money. Look at your bank statement, and you know exactly how much money you have left. Work with a good financial planner, and you will know how much you can spend now, and in the future. Not so with time - that one thing which we do not know how long will last. Indeed, many financial plans are scuppered because people have over optimistic views of their time horizons, although sometimes, there is too much money and not enough time. That may sound a little strange, but what is the point of being able to spend as liberally as you like, yet cannot shuffle from one side of your kitchen to the other?
Bringing it back to what we can have an immediate influence over, is our daily time allocation - what we do with what we have.
Roughly speaking, it seems to make sense to allocating your time in line with where your priorities lie. So how do we do that?
We figure our the most important things that we should be doing, be it exercise, education, personal development, spending time with family, charity work, earning money, watching TV, playing games online - what ever it happens to be. In our Serenity Life-planning work, we examine these priorities with our clients, considering their true goals and ambitions, not just the stuff they need to do to get through the day. Once we know where the key aims and priorities lie, usually, there are obstacles which have stopped these things from happening - TIME is a key one of these obstacles - 'I don't have the time' is a very common obstacle indeed. Arguably, this could be rephrased 'I don't always allocate my time properly'.
Overcoming obstacles needs some attention, some exploration, and by analysing the truth behind the statement - the whole truth, not just some assumptions or unfounded beliefs, then we have a chance of moving beyond those obstacles.
So once we align our time with our priorities, not only does life become more properly aligned, but we also start to be more aware of things which are a drain on our time and divert us from what we really value.
To move forward on this point - this exercise takes 2 weeks to start off:
1. Take a sheet of paper and split it into the hours of the day - even better, split into 15 minute segments. Its easy to do on a spreadsheet, but if you can't be bothered, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you one which lasts a week (5 days on one side and the weekend on the back)
2. Throughout the day, mark off what you have been doing (you don't need to do it every 15 minutes as you go through the day, but take the time regularly to fill it out - otherwise you will just forget. Segment into sleep, work, exercise, travel, personal (me) time, family time, online, Facebook, TV and so on.
3. At the end of each day, total up each segment and calculate the rough percentage (roughly speaking 15 minutes = 1% - its a little more than that, but it is close enough)
4. Repeat daily for a week, then total up.
5. Now the time for reflection - think about your priorities, what you value most, and make up an allocation for your 'ideal day' schedule.
6. Compare the two schedules - where you spent your time and where you would like to spend your time.
7. Complete the activity for another week, then review if anything has changed - be it your attitude, where you do spend your time, what you feel you can reduce to do the things you want to, or even a huge alignment of priorities
8. Let me know how it worked out for you.
63% of 'wealthy' people spend less than an hour watching TV - where you spend your time each day compared with where your priorities are is a very interesting (and revealing) exercise - and certainly focusses the mind.