This is my shortest blog title ever. I just can’t think of a subtitle that will cover all the stuff that runs in my mind when I read, hear, or think of this single word. For the past few years, I’ve been trying to catch up with my life on things that I always wanted to do, acquire, and achieve. More than ever, I felt that 24 hours is pretty short to do all the things that I want on top of responsibilities and proper rest. Somehow it felt unfair that I see some people have a luxury of time in their hands. As for the other people I know who has the exact opposite thing (i.e. perpetual haters of free-time), it left me wondering why they are always preoccupied? Observations and thoughts such as these led me to several realizations on how I view time.

Time is a non-renewable resource

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This is one of the biggest frustration that I have. This is where a lot of my ideals revolve.  I’m always embarrassed when I make people wait, especially when I’m late since I’m implicitly consuming their time which I cannot return by any means. That’s why I try my best to arrive earlier than the agreed time. Then I’ll just try to think of something to ponder on or maybe read something while waiting, so as not to compromise my own time.

I also weigh the pros and cons of prioritizing between saving time and saving money. Sometimes, if something can be done faster with an acceptable amount of extra cost, then I’d grab the chance. After all, it will give me the advantage of accomplishing more things or just simply giving more time for myself on whatever purpose I have (extroverts have ‘me-time’ too, contrary to popular belief). Besides, I can earn that money back if it’s not that expensive. If it is, then it’s a different story, because my stinginess will kick in. Hmm, but come to think of it, time is still saved in that choice because it will take a considerable amount of time for me to earn something that big given that I’m not rich (for now, who doesn’t want to be financially free?).

In 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey mentioned that the most genuine form of love is trust. Well, I recognize its importance, but I think time has a greater bearing given that it is a non-renewable resource. When you give your time to someone, you’re basically giving or risking something that you can’t get back. In worst case, you don’t get anything in return, but you gamble anyway because it is necessary to invest time to create such bond (at least if you’re aiming for something serious). Not to get cheesy here, my general perspective is that whatever or whoever you’re allotting your time to, is the most important thing or person for you at that particular moment.

There are better ways to spend your early years in life

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Tim Ferris’ book, The 4-Hour Work Week, discusses how you can earn more and live a seemingly luxurious life with the least amount of work as possible (not exactly 4 hours though, but definitely lower than your standard 8-hour job). The book made me realize that the irony of money, energy, and time is not totally inevitable. It teaches you to use mini-retirements instead of one big permanent one that you claim when you’ve gone old. You distribute these in between time frames of your work life. It makes sense since some of the things that you want to do can only be done at your prime, and it only comes in a specific period of your life. Sure, you can physically train yourself to age gracefully, but  even that has its limitations. I’m not the adventurous type who goes to “YOLO” activities every now and then, but at the very least, there a lot more things that you can try while you are young. Remember, responsibilities stack up as you grow older and that consumes time too. The aim is to lessen your work time by making your schedule more flexible through various approaches like remote access and outsourcing as well as availing products and offers, which were mistaken as expensive. You just have to look at the right places.

Other than physical capabilities, risks in financial investments also change through time. Starting early in availing life insurance will give you genuine savings (its value doesn’t degrade since it follows the inflation rate) at an earlier time. It’s also a better time to start investing on stocks or a small business while you’re young since supposedly, you have fewer financial responsibilities. However, take note that other than an early start, it’s also required that you study their underlying systems beforehand, or else you’re bound to lose. Yes, you are there to take greater risks for greater rewards, but it pays to study to increase your chances of succeeding.

What you will have and what you will become is determined on how you spend your time

Regardless of your circumstance, you always have the choice on how to spend your life. All those previous actions stack up and made you who you are now. This is one important thing to keep in mind whenever you lose your motivation to pursue a difficult goal or when you feel like wasting your life for all the difficulties that you experience. It is normal to get depressed at times; you’re human after all, and such feeling also proves that you’re alive, but don’t dwell too much in the past that you’ve sealed your future. We tend to rationalize things and find an excuse to get stuck to where you are now. Perseverance is a key component. Learn from these three Filipinos on how they overcome their challenges. After reading it, tell me if you still have a valid excuse :).

“But it’s too late for me. I’m already past my peak. I can’t make a paradigm shift now.”

It is never too late, and you’re just further wasting your time with such mindset. These people proved that old age is not a hindrance at all. They have shifted their careers past their 30’s or older. Invest on yourself in every way you can. Be conscious of how you spend your time. Are you taking the steps to further advance to your goal? Are you seeking continuous improvement? Such questions will make a clearer path and build a better you. As mentioned in Oliver Emberton’s post, Life is a Game, every single thing you do affects your state and your skills. Choosing the right tasks at the right time is most of the game. However, remember that while working on things that you want to attain, never forget to hit the brakes from time to time. Part of investing on yourself is to maintain a good physical condition which can only be achieved through a healthy lifestyle. Get enough rest to get the recharge that you need for the following day. Failure to do so is like signing for an early retirement in a bad way.

I still have plenty of stuff left on my mind, but I think these three are the most significant ones when it comes to my take on time. After all, I actually spent a significant amount of time writing this post. Other than speaking my mind, I wrote this with the hopes that I could motivate other people to make better use of their time, improve themselves in the process, and in the end achieve their goals. Do you have other insights about time that you wish to share? Let me know in the comments below. May you achieve the quality of life that you deserve. (~^_^)~