One of the realities of our current economic climate is that we are now forced to do more with fewer resources at our disposal. While our income loses value every month, our expenses grow almost exponentially. Layoffs and job work-hour cuts are reducing the size of the workforce, yet employees are being asked to produce more in less time.
As we continue to grapple with the financial challenges that this year will bring, it becomes even more crucial to manage the precious resource of our time. I often comfort my clients by explaining that they can always recreate lost wealth; but I can’t give the same guarantee about time because it’s not a renewable resource.
Many of us approach time as if it were an hourglass that will replenish itself with sand once we turn the instrument upside down. The reality is that once we use up all the seconds, minutes and hours in a day, we will never see them again.
It’s time to stop wasting time
It’s alarming to see how easy it is for people to waste time with regard to their finances. How we choose to use our time can actually make the difference between financial success and failure. Here are some common examples of how people squander valuable time:
1. Focusing too much time on entertainment instead of becoming more productive.
I recently advised a colleague to listen to some training material that would help to upgrade his skills for a new venture that he was undertaking. He reluctantly responded that he wasn’t sure when he could get started because he was currently consumed with viewing a particular sporting competition on television.
You have to be clear about your priorities right now — don’t complain that you don’t have enough money to meet your bills and then spend countless hours playing Farmville on Facebook. In fact, this social networking application is one of my pet peeves, as I wish that users would actually get off their computers and plant some real vegetables instead! Spend more of your time looking for opportunities to earn more money.
2. Procrastinating on starting a savings and investment plan.
Although most people are aware that they should be putting aside money for the future, many delay getting started on this process. Common complaints include, “I don’t have the time to go to a financial institution to open an investment account”, or “I want someone to handle all my investment decisions because I don’t have the time to learn how to do it for myself.”
If you are serious about growing your wealth, you have to put some time into achieving your goal. What’s the point of working overtime to build your employer’s fortune, and not making the effort to learn how to amass your own? Schedule some time in your day to read investing articles or surf the Internet for information; and take a day off if necessary to visit financial institutions to choose the right products for you.
Too many opportunities, not enough time
Some people have another type of time challenge. They are not wasting time with regard to earning and investing; in fact, they can’t find enough hours in the day to complete all their money-generating activities. A client recently shared with me that she was so focused on improving her financial position that she was burnt out by all the multiple jobs she was trying to do.
I understand this problem quite well. I have often wished that time would stand still to allow me to accomplish more. What can time-deprived go-getters do to be more efficient and productive with their time?
Francis Wade, management consultant of Framework Consulting, revealed some strategies to improve time utility. He noted that while many persons depend on gadgets such as a BlackBerry to manage their time, if they are unaware of the basic principles of time management, these tools may end up making them even less productive.
The key, Wade pointed out, is to use a time management system that regulates your time demands and your practices. He explained that time demands are the different things that you decide to do such as returning phone calls, attending meetings or replying to emails. When you make too many demands on your time, you can get stressed out from forgetting important tasks, working long hours without accomplishing much, and wishing that you could spend more time with family than on the job.
To get more out of your time, you need to apply seven core principles to convert time demands into actions. These include capturing and disposing of information effectively, getting rid of useless time demands, taking immediate action, and employing schedules and lists to manage activities. Wade, who offers time management workshops and coaching, provides more useful tips at his website.
So whether you’re currently wasting precious time or trying to squeeze 25 work hours into one day, make an effort to learn the appropriate time management strategies to help you accomplish more and achieve your goals.
About the Author
Cherryl Hanson Simpson is a financial consultant and money coach, and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. She is currently writing her first book, “The 3 Ms of Money: How to Manage, Multiply and Maintain Your Money.” Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services is Jamaica’s number one source for practical, down-to-earth and independent answers for all questions relating to personal finance. Get more smart money advice at www.financiallysmartonline.com and and www.financiallysmartadvice.com .
Copyright © 2010 Cherryl Hanson Simpson.