Each day, we dedicate ourselves to accomplishing tasks that will hopefully improve our overall wellbeing. Among other things, many of our thoughts and efforts are geared toward our finances. We all want to realize the American dream and avoid financial hardships and burdens. These pursuits come easier for some than they do for others. Some are born into or inherit wealth, while others struggle financially their whole life. Though financial circumstances vary from one person to another, there are certain financial principles that apply to all. Despite the amount, every individual decides what portion of their income they choose to spend and what portion they choose to invest. Spending and investing are two very different things. As such, your goals and actions around each are likely very different as well. Spending money usually entails the act of entertaining or meeting an immediate want or need. On the other hand, investing money usually involves the act of setting funds away or purchasing an item with the intent of obtaining an increased benefit at some point in the future.
The way we each choose to either spend or invest our money will undoubtedly impact our overall wellbeing. And, interestingly, much of the same is true about the aspect of time. Like money, we all decide what we do with our time. However, unlike money, no individual has more time than anybody else. Each has a finite amount of time in any given day, week, month or year. With that in mind, a case can be made that the use of our time is perhaps more critical than that of money. It’s very common to hear about how someone spends his or her time. It’s much less common, however, to hear about the ways someone invests his or her time. So what’s the difference between the two? Again, like money, the distinction is found in determining whether the benefit of the act is experienced immediately or at some point in the future.
You can spend time by engaging in activities that are primarily meant for entertainment. Watching television, attending a sporting event, or playing video games are all examples of this. Although these activities aren’t necessarily bad or wasteful in all cases, the benefit you receive from them is generally immediate and short-lived. And, once you spend your time, you can’t get it back. Additionally, finding ways to invest your time is different and typically a bit more difficult. Investing your time largely involves devoting it to activities whose benefit won’t be seen or experienced until later. Attending school, going to the gym regularly, or developing new skills are all examples of investing your time. These activities will generally produce long-lasting, future benefits.
Many believe that you are your own greatest asset. Unfortunately, in today’s world, the constant demands of life, along with meeting the expectations of those you associate with, can make the task of wisely investing your time very challenging. We’re all faced with a variety of priorities that seem to pull us in all different directions. However, there is great personal value in investing your time. In fact, wise investments of your time can lead to higher productivity and increased chances of meeting the goals you set for yourself in the ways you choose to spend your time. Focus on investing your time in your own personal development. Make efforts to learn new or further develop skills that will keep you on the cutting edge of innovation. Read books that can potentially broaden your knowledge and familiarity around specific topics. Participate in networking events that will allow you to meet new people and foster new relationships. As you invest you time in these things, you will experience fuller satisfaction in life, both personally and professionally.
Furthermore, simply investing time for you can be extremely rewarding. Take a step back and finally book that much needed vacation. Time away from the grind of daily life gives your brain the opportunity to recharge, helps you maintain a positive balance, and reduces stress. Don’t forget to take care of yourself physically as well. Invest the time it takes to live a healthy lifestyle. Exercise as regularly as possible and maintain good eating habits. Set aside time to rekindle some of your favorite hobbies. Perhaps most importantly, spend more time with your friends and family.
As you invest your time, as is true with money, remember that diversification is key. Invest in a wide variety of ways and areas. Some investments will benefit you only subtly, while others will result in huge rewards.