What is your most valuable resource?

I felt like writing a thought piece today.

Which is more valuable: money or time?

The two are very closely related to each other, but clearly not equal. Many people spend the majority of their lives focused on improving their financial situation (school, career advancement, financial intelligence, etc). However, as I’ve come to realize, very few spend any time on … time.  Would you rather have more or less money to do the things you love?  Easy – more. Would you rather have have more or less time to do then things you love?  Everyone should say ‘more’ but I don’t think many actively consider this. We’re all too often focused on the more money part and will give up extra time to meet those goals.

How often have you heard someone say “I just don’t have the time” or “I wish there were 25 hours in a day” or “I’m too busy”.  This cycle repeats and these people never seem to have enough time. Have you ever met a workaholic? This is someone who thinks that the solution to any problem is to just keep working until its finished.  That is not good. I’d argue it’s better to find an efficient way to find the same solution in less time (whether that way is innovation, fixing inefficiencies or seeking help).  If you can complete the same objective in 2 hours or 6 hours, the difference is simply waste.

So why does this happen?  Because people do not place enough value on their time. They value money because it’s easy to measure, and used to improve your lifestyle, but the value of the time it takes to do this is meaningless to them.

Do you have a budget?  I do. I keep track of how much money comes into my life, and how much money flows out. My income, expenses, savings, etc. It’s an important tool I use to manage my money so I always know how much I have and most importantly, how to plan for the future.  If I need to save for a big expense, I can forecast how long it will take me to save enough.

Do you have a time budget?  Hmmm …

Here’s my perspective: money is a variable resource. There is a ton of it out there and it’s yours for the taking.  Want more money? Examples: get a better job, work 2 jobs, build a business, invest more intelligently, etc.  However, time is a fixed resource. Every day you get only 24 hours of it.  That’s it and there is no way to get more. Want more time? Impossible.  Unlike money, you will always consume every second, every minute, every hour of the time that life gives you and you don’t have a choice.  Unlike money, you cannot save up time and use it later.

Budgeting your time is more than just scheduling your day, or placing reminders in a calendar. It is actively placing intrinsic value on the amount of time that goes by in your life.  Have you ever thought “that was a waste of time” or “I wish I had those 2 hours of my life back”. I think the most successful people are masters of managing their time effectively and make good decisions on how to use it.  In fact, many leverage the time of others to improve their own situation (e.g. business owners).

So …

What is your most valuable resource?

It’s time, so make the most of it.

Budgeting time like it’s a resource is certainly not my own unique discovery. Far from it. In fact, if you’re interested in reading some great books about this subject, see 168 hours by Laura Vanderkam and How to Live on Twenty-Four Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett.

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About

Proud Canadian who loves running, craft beer, World travel, culture and music of all shapes & styles. I live in Toronto and love this city for how diverse and unique it is. As a Solution Architect with IBM Canada's Interactive Experience (iX&M) practice, I have the privilege of leading teams of amazingly talented people to build creative and award-winning mobile applications & solutions. I love to build things and transform chaos into awesome.

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One comment on “What is your most valuable resource?
  1. Great post Adam. A coup of thoughts one the topic. No real answers, but some additional food for thought.

    Money can buy time. A friend of mine told me this and I thought it was just a rationalization for not spending more time with their kids. However, the more I thought about it, the more it is true. I think of taking my daughter to Cedar Point. With an additional 200 bucks we bought fast passes and rode as much as we wanted. No need to go back to the park as we planned the next day. Instead we took a trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Also true when I was getting my house ready for sale. Many things I could have done myself, but there was no time. So, I hired a crew! Costly. But I saved time and got my house on the market at the right time.

    I also think of time as a tank of water. Do nothing with it and it evaporates and can no longer be used. If you only drink it then it will only last a fixed amount of time and is gone. But you can use it in many ways — drink, bath, clean and most importantly feed plants you want to grow. So, you can use some and invest some in the future. And you can splash some in your face. A nice balanced strategy is good.

    Thank for writing the post!

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