Did you know that life expectancy in Ancient Egypt was 25 years for males and 37 years for females?
That is scary, right? It’s almost impossible not to compare our age against those numbers.
Fortunately, life expectancy has increased, in developed countries, to 76 for males and 82 for females.
Let me ask you: what was the first thought that came to your mind when you read the first paragraph? With almost all certainty, I would say you realized how scarce time is.
Furthermore, it’s not only scarce, you can’t take it back.
Let me put it in this perspective: you can get back your health, money, or even a personal relationship. But you can’t get your time back.
In other words, you are not living again this day.
That being said, stay with me to discover how much hours a day we really have.
Crunching the numbers of hours in a day
The day has 24 hours. 7 of them are for sleeping (on average), and 8 of them are for working. That leaves us 9 hours.
If we take into consideration commuting to work, cooking, washing the dishes, showering, and other daily activities, we have 6 hours left (hypothesizing that all those activities take 3 hours).
HERE IS THE PLOT: If you added 1 more hour to any activity (sleeping, working, or commuting to work), you would have just 5 hours left.
That’s because the day has 24 hours, no more. It seems pretty obvious, but we tend to overlook it.
If you want to work on personal projects (learning a language, exercising, painting, etc.), improve your relationship with your child or simply meditate, where would you take that time from? Exactly, from those 6 hours.
The thing is not being obsessed about how you spend your time. The thing is being aware that your time counts. Because if you add time to one activity, you subtract time from another one.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t work overtime. What I’m saying is that you have to weight on a scale the time that you add on one side and the time you subtract from the other one.
Being aware of that, you should also consider that other people’s time also counts.
Asking your accountant friend to help you filling some documents for a loan in exchange of a cup of coffee sounds reasonable.
However, your friend would have to put aside some activities (maybe worth more than a cup of coffee) to help you.
Be aware of that! Not only with your acquaintances, but also with your employees.
Your time has value, and it goes beyond monetary value
With time you can create things for your future self or others.
Being that: Creating a small business or doing volunteering, which goes beyond a monetary reward.
Also, spending quality time with your family have no monetary value. No amount of money will give you back your dog’s final smile.
We all have to make sacrifices to get a reward.
We have to spend years in the university to land a good job (theoretically).
We have to spend hundreds or thousands of hours to be able to communicate in another language.
And all of this is great as long as it has a positive return on investment of your time. Because if you were to study for years something that you wouldn’t use, why bothering? That’s time you’re not getting back.
Time is relative
We all were young once, and we thought that time wasn’t scarce. We thought we had plenty time to achieve our goals. So, wasting time playing video-games was as normal as going to school.
As we grow up, we change our mindset and we start being more calculated about how we spend our time. How’s that?
One year is so much for a young 20-year-old person because one year is 1/20th of his or her life.
One year is not that much for a 60-year-old person because that year is only 1/60th of his or her life.
So, as we grow old, we start seeing how time passes faster and faster.
Therefore, we tend to stop wasting time on things that don’t have a positive return on investment.
A good use of time will set us free. Even more than a good use of money. Taking some time to learn meaningful skills (for instance: how to invest) is the path towards reaching financial freedom.
- Spending time in one activity subtracts time in another activity because the day only has 24 hours.
- Your time has value, as well as other people’s time.
- Investing your time today make sense as long as it has a positive return on investment.