Many of us would never think of throwing away our hard earned money. We work hard for it and if we lose even a few dollars; it hurts us. But our time is different. We will throw it away, give it away, and kill it any time we get a chance. We do these things because we don’t value our time, and we don’t think of it as working for us like we do money.
Author John Erskine said he learned the most valuable lesson of his life when he was 14 years old. His piano teacher asked him how much he practiced. He replied that he usually sat at the instrument for an hour or more at a time.
“Don’t do that,” warned the teacher. “When you grow up, time won’t come to you in long stretches like that. Practice in minutes wherever you can find them—5 or 10 before school, a few after lunch. Sandwich them in between chores. Spread the practice throughout the day, and music will become a part of your life.”
Erskine stated later that by following this advice, he was able to live a fulfilled life as a creative writer, in addition to his regular duties as an instructor. He wrote nearly all of Helen of Troy, his most famous work, on streetcars while commuting between his home and the university.
We Have To Think About Our Time Differently
Time actually is money. Our work for pay society has lost this view. We believe money is earned by showing up and doing a task every day. For many people, this will always be true, but it doesn’t mean we have to stop growing.
Artisans and creators know they create money over time by building a product other people want. Many people want to be successful, but most don’t want to take the time required to build something successful. We want it dumped in our laps and when it’s not…we waste more time.
Time is a gift, and when we waste it, we are missing out on an opportunity. The more time we waste, the more missed opportunities we pile up. We can always get our money back. We can never get our time back.
Ways To Stop Wasting Time
If we take John Erskine’s example, we can do several things:
- Carry a book with us that helps our personal growth
- Get an app that gives us book summaries like Blinkist or StoryShots
- Spend time in the car listening to audio lessons instead of the radio
- Learn a new skill with SkillShare or Udemy
- Turn off your phone
- If you can’t turn it off…Silence your phone. I use an app called Forest to help me focus and stay off my phone.
- Planned Neglect. What can you say no to that is keeping you from reaching you full potential?
Turning our spare time into growth time can change the course of our lives. When asked how he learned new languages, a barber replied, “I study between haircuts.” Study between whatever you do. Don’t just veg out, use your time wisely and you will reap the returns.
What can you give up to grow? Saying no to things in our live that take away from our growth is called planned neglect.