It's About Time

Do You Know What Your True Wealth Is? It’s About Time!

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

“Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing.”

Miles Davis

Yes, the title is meant to have a double meaning…It’s all about time. And, it’s about time!

No matter how much money energy you’ve amassed, or even lost, over the years, there’s one energy that is renewed every day for all of us at one second after 12 am. It’s the energy of time. That is,  1440 minutes are deposited into your time bank account at that exact moment each morning. The question for all of us is: how will we spend this energy before our heads hit the pillow later that night?

There’s the same amount of energy in everyone’s time bank account. It’s the same for the Pope, for wealthy people, teachers, family members, famous people, infamous people, and entrepreneurs. It’s equal, no matter who we are. As one of my clients put it:

Alicia:  It’s the great leveler, isn’t it? I mean, no one is richer or poorer with time, regardless of what we do or who we are!

Regarding time, I’ve noticed an increasing trend in the 30+ years I’ve been coaching people all over the world. Not having enough of this energy to do what we’d really love to do. Or what we should be doing. I call it time scarcity.

Let me show you what I mean.  Around 30 years ago, when I’d ask people why they hadn’t achieved important goals, they would usually say it was because they didn’t have enough money to do it. That’s what we all know as money scarcity. Then, after a pause, they’d own up to the fact that they also didn’t have the time.  

Today when I ask someone why they haven’t fulfilled a particular dream, like planting a beautiful garden, writing the book they’ve always wanted, or increasing their client list, the answer is usually more like: “I don’t have the time. I’m too busy trying to catch up with everything I have to do daily.” Then, after consideration, they’ll add: “I also don’t have the money right now to do it.”

There’s one way to handle time scarcity. First, become aware of how time can work for you! For example, did you know that doing something for 10 minutes each day equals 60 hours at the end of one year? It’s true! Check it out! We think we need to budget large amounts of time to get something done. While that may be true for some things, like painting your dining room (if you’re doing it yourself) many goals can be accomplished by budgeting at most 10-15 minutes daily. When it’s something you love to do, that short, sweet period can make all the difference in the world to you.

Roger discovered how to budget time, and it transformed his life. A middle-school principal in an inner-city school district., he came home too exhausted to play with either of his two children. He also had something he loved to do but hadn’t done for years: drawing and painting. “Dog tired” as he put it, all he wanted to do after an early dinner was lie on the couch and watch the evening news.

At our first coaching session, he was convinced that he didn’t even have 10 or 15 minutes each day to devote to his art. Then I asked: 

Me: what time do you get home, Roger?

Roger: It’s around 5:00 every day.

Me: So, you’re saying that you have no time, from around 5:15-5:30, to draw? Is that really true?

Roger: Well, if you put it that way, I guess I do.

Me: Here’s the deal: spend 15 minutes, from 5:15-5:30 every day, drawing or painting. For the next 10 days. Then tell me what you discover.

I saw him 10 days later and he brought a drawing with him. It was beautiful! A lone tree on a plain of grass. But here’s something even better. This is what he said:

Roger:  The first four days went well. I’d put a drawing table in the garage and had started this piece. On day five, my 10 year old son, James, came into the garage while I was working. He asks if he could draw with me! Just like that! Now, every day from 5:15-5:30 in the afternoon, seven days a week, we draw or paint together! And here’s the best thing of all: when I’m having a hard day at the school, when students are having a rough time and the teachers want me to transfer someone into another class–when things get difficult with kids crying in my office–all I have to do is think about drawing with my son James, between 5:15 and 5:30, and the world gets a lot brighter!

How to handle your experience of time scarcity, one small step at a “time.”  Here’s what you can experiment with! I guarantee you that if you do what I suggest for 30 days, your entire experience of time will shift.

Make three 10-minute categories:

  • What you would love to do, or learn to do, like playing the piano, writing poetry, or gardening
  • What you’re willing to do, like meditating, reading a book on philosophy, learning a new language
  • What you have to do, such as prospecting for clients, sending invoices, balancing the funds you say you have and what the bank says you have.

Do something from each category, each and every day, for 30 days. What begins to happen to your “time scarcity?” People who’ve done this almost always report that they “begin” to have time to do whatever is most important to them. What happens to you?

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”

Michael Atshuler

Wishing you all my best,