Time is money, or so the saying goes. I haven’t always understood what that meant, but then I reached my 30’s, started a family, and it suddenly became crystal clear. I started asking this type of question: Would I rather utilize my skills to make $X/hour and pay someone else to aerate, verticut, seed, and fertilize my lawn or would I rather spend 5 hours doing my own lawncare? Are my choices and actions getting me closer to my goals and accomplishing what I value most? Will I care to have done these things when I look back from my deathbed?
Kudos if you have found a way to increase the number of hours in a day but, for those of us who haven’t, we must find ways to better maximize the time we have been given. And the argument could be made that everyone is procrastinating on something in their life. There’s a funny and popular TED Talk by Tim Urban on this subject that gives a good description of this truth. He suggests creating a life calendar where you visually see every week of an average life, which helps you see that it really isn’t as much time as we think – especially, when you consider that many of us have used up a good portion of that time.
We live in a busy world with distractions all around us. If we don’t take moments to pause and reflect on occasion, to reassess our goals and recalibrate our actions, we can find ourselves focusing, not on the things that we value most or will give us the greatest sense of accomplishment, but on little things that feel urgent at the moment. As I’ve matured, I have come to realize that time is worth money to me. I would guess most people at some point in their life come to that same realization. Think about it, have you ever heard someone on their deathbed regretting the extra time they spent in the office to get a promotion? Unfortunately, it often takes tragic events for us to get real perspective on what’s important. And that’s a shame. This is why I love Tim’s idea for a life calendar. It can provide that perspective before a tragedy occurs.
If that wasn’t reason enough to develop your own life calendar, time itself provides a second one. In his TED Talk, he goes on to say that developing a life calendar can provide the necessary motivation to stop procrastinating about the things that are most important to you. According to Tim, the things we most often procrastinate on are things without hard deadlines. We often convince ourselves that there’s plenty of time and that “someday” we’ll get to them. And before long, we realize we never will. That’s why this life calendar can be so helpful. By helping us focus on the big picture, we are often able to see early on if we’re behind schedule. And if so, this realization can cause the panic monster inside of us to take effect and push us into action.
I’m not going to pretend that I have this all figured out. Just like everyone else, I find myself feeling like I’m behind the eight ball on occasion. But I do know this for sure: if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.
(Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Advice is intended to be general in nature.)