How do you spend your time? What do you do in your spare time? How do you have time for that?
Most of us have heard at least one of those questions or others of similar nature. And we all have different answers to those questions.
What’s interesting is that the answers from the most successful people all have a common theme. Even though the specifics defer, the message is similar. The vice versa is also true.
So what is the underlying difference? How differently does Warren Buffet value his time compared to the homeless man begging for change on the sidewalk?
Let’s look at the 3 most important factors that dictate our valuation of time.
The activities that we spend most of our time in shows not only how much we value our time, but also what things we value most in our lives.
Sometimes it’s easy to set into a routine and not even think about the various activities that we spend our time on. When in autopilot mode, paying attention to the details is typically the last thing on our minds.
Simply by observing what we do each and every day and the significance of those activities will tell us just how much value we place on our time.
Maybe we’ve been watching more TV than we’d like, but unless we pay close attention to it, we may never notice that it’s very low in significance but high in time consumption.
Or we could be barely spending any time fixing up the house. It’s something that’s important to us yet we haven’t dedicated much time to it. Unless we make the conscious effort to evaluate what we do on a regular basis and the time involved with those activities, our valuation of time can easily suffer.
The famous proverb “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are” is ever so true.
It’s no secret that we are all reflections of the people we associate with the most. How often have we noticed that we pick up the habits of those around us? Whether good or bad, we’re influenced by our associates much more than we know.
And along with their typical habits, their habitual usage of time also affects how we view time.
If we’re consistently around people that places little value on their time by wasting it with mundane TV watching and other useless activities, we’re bound to do the same with ours.
There may be people in our lives that we love dearly, some may even be family, that falls into the category of being a time waster.
I am by no means saying these people are considered “bad” people. They could have the very best of intentions for us.
But they just may be bad “for” us.
Another important aspect of this is that we’re actually spending time when you associate with these people.
Not only are we picking up on their time usage habits, we have to spend time with them in order to be influenced by them.
There’s a lot of impact on our valuable time here.
So pay close attention to those that you associate with, making sure that we’re not wasting our time being exposed to even more time wasting habits.
This is one factor that is often overlooked as an influence on our valuation of time. The notion that we cannot control our environment so therefore it shouldn’t be considered can lead to unnecessary exposure to harmful influences.
When it comes to how we view time, our environment plays a huge role.
First, our environment is not completely out of our control. We can choose to set up our room, our furniture, and other things in the environment that belongs to us in a certain way.
Second, even in environments that are not within our control, we often have the choice to stay or leave.
So we can control our environment in a way by either manually changing it, or getting away from it altogether.
Much like our association, our environmental exposure greatly impacts our valuation of time, but to a much bigger extent.
As long as we choose to stay on the specific environment, it is constantly there. Even when our friends leave (association), or when we stop doing a certain task (activity), the environment is still there.
For example, if we’re consistently in a messy and disorganized room with everything out of reach and poor lighting, we'll be showing a lack of appreciation for our time in the case when we need to find something in that room.
But let’s say we rearranged our office so that we have all we need to get our work done, everything’s in the right places, and the setup is ideal, then we’re showing a healthy valuation of our time.
There’s a principle called the “For That” principle coined by a well-known entrepreneur.
Whenever we catch ourselves or someone else saying “I just don’t have the time”, add “for that” at the end of it.
This simple but powerful principle shows us what type of value we or the other person places on time.
We all have the same 24 hours in our day and the same 7 days in our week. No matter if we’re healthy, comfortable, wealthy, with lots of friends, or if we’re ill, broke, and in bad relationships, time stays the same for everyone.
Just like the successful show that they place tremendous value on their time by observing these 3 aspects of their lives closely, those that aren’t happy, aren’t getting what they want out of life, and generally feeling miserable also have a common theme to their valuation of time.
It’s generally the lack of observance to the 3 factors we just mentioned along with the attitude that there’s so much time in the world they can always out something off to tomorrow.
This attitude itself is devastating enough to destroy any productive and result seeking individuals’ progress. When combined with the lack of attention to the 3 aforementioned factors, it’s no wonder most people in the world just let time slip by them.
Don’t be like most people. Pay close attention to your activities, association, and environment, and work hard to make any necessary adjustments to maximize your valuation of time.