Financial planners and writers often discuss the “time value of money.” The idea is to think about what the money you are using on some purchase would be worth in the future if you put it in an investment. It is simply the idea of looking long-term at what an impulsive purchase is costing you, and it is a wise exercise when thinking of making a purchase. If you spent $1000 less on a car and put that money in your retirement account, what would it be in 20 or 30 years? That’s the idea.
But do we ever think about the time value of our time? While that may be an awkward phrase, I think it needs to be on our minds regularly.
We often have a long list of to-do’s. In fact, my list for today already has 8 items that I’ve checked off, and I’m writing this at 11AM. There are a few more to go before I’ll feel like today was what it needed to be.
But that’s the mindset I’m writing about. Are some of the things I’ve done today important? Of course. For example, spending some time in study for my Sunday morning Bible class, I think you’ll agree, is time well spent. Reading my Bible for my own personal growth is something that I literally need to do each day.
Other things crop up, though, from time-to-time and rob us of those very important things. They may seem important in the moments, but will they matter in the long run? That’s the question we must answer. We all must do “mundane” or “regular” things each day (brushing teeth, making meals, etc.). We understand those things, and they are part of our lives. But there are other things that literally rob our time. What are they? Here are a few of them:
- That TV show that you just “can’t miss”
- A video game that you just have to beat
- Surfing the web for no real purpose
- Texting someone just because you can’t think of anything better to do
- Sitting on Facebook just hoping a friend will jump on so we can chat
You see the thread here, don’t you? These are things that, in themselves, are not wrong and might even bring a level of pleasure to us. There is nothing wrong with watching TV or playing a game. I love the internet (hello, I run a blog!). Texting…well, it’s not my favorite thing, but it is a way to communicate. I have started spending a lot (and I mean a LOT) less time on Facebook, though I still find it a valuable tool.
However, are spending so much time doing these types of things that it is robbing us of something more important?
So, what is most important to you? What will be important 5 years from now? 10? 30?
In case you needed the answer, it is time spent (1) with God, (2) with your spouse, (3) with your children, and (4) with your close friends and relatives. Everything else can move down the priority list. Even your job. Even your hobbies. Even…anything else.
Let’s all remember the time value of time, and redeem the time that we have been given!
Tomorrow, my plan is to post some tips for enjoying these things while not letting them overwhelm our time. I’d like your tips, too, so make sure you leave a comment!