Knowing how to manage time is essential for your personal effectiveness. While there are many approaches to time management, here I’d like to focus on just one key mindset that I believe you should have: an investor’s mindset.
Many people invest in financial instruments. I do, and most likely you do too. It’s common to think like an investor when it comes to money. But that’s not the case with time. I believe, however, that the principle of investing is equally applicable to time.
Time is like money. You can invest it and reap rewards in the future. You can also spend it carelessly and go “broke.” What makes the difference is the way you use your time. It can make or break your life.
The fact is that your time is a limited resource that’s even more limited than money. You can increase your savings so that you have more money to invest. But no matter what you do, you can only have 24 hours a day. So it’s important that you use your time wisely.
The Benefits of Thinking Like an Investor
Thinking like an investor helps you use your time wisely. Here are several benefits of having an investor’s mindset about your time:
- You will be careful not to waste your time
A good investor always tries to cut wasteful expenses and avoid losing money. One of Warren Buffett’s investing rules, for instance, is “don’t lose money.” Applied to time, it means “don’t waste your time.”
- You will want to maximize your return
When you think like an investor, you will want to maximize your return. With time, it means that you will want to get the most out of your time. You will do things that will give you the best results.
- You will be willing to wait
If you invest $1000 today, you wouldn’t expect to earn a profit today. You know that it takes time for the investment to grow. Similarly, when you invest your time, you know that it will take time to get results. You will be willing to wait and not hurried.
- The results could be exponential
Thanks to compounding interest, a small money investment today could yield exponential return years from now. Similarly, you might invest your time on something that seems small today. But if you keep at it, the return could be huge years from now.
Ways to Invest Your Time
Now that we have seen the benefits, how should we invest our time? Here are some ideas.
1. Find your strengths and causes
This, in my opinion, is the starting point. Just like different investors have different financial instruments that match their profiles, so do different people have different ways to invest their time. What is right for others isn’t necessarily right for you. It all goes back to your strengths and causes. What are your personal strengths? What are the causes that matter to you? Investing your time in the intersection between your strengths and causes will give you the best results.
2. Read good books
Reading good books can widen your perspective and help you see the world in a new way. In turn, this widened perspective can help you use your time better. It has happened to me many times, which is why I consider reading books essential for my personal growth.
3. Build other people’s lives
Building other people’s lives can multiply your impact. If you transfer your values to some people, and they in turn transfer them to others, imagine how the overall impact would be. To build other people’s lives, you can do mentoring, writing, or other ways that fit you.
4. Think and reflect
Being busy could get you lost in the details of life. You might no longer be able to see the big picture. That’s why it’s essential to have time to think and reflect. It could be in the form of prayer, meditation, weekly review, or whatever it is that works for you. The goal here is to get clarity about the overall direction of your life.
5. Build time assets
A good way to invest your time is to build time assets. Time assets are things on which you spend time today so that you can save time in the future. Some of the ways to build time assets are outsourcing, making checklists, and creating a productivity system.
With all these in mind, here is a question you should ask yourself daily:
How should I invest my time today?
Give a thoughtful answer to the question and apply it. You will reap the rewards.