How Valuable is Your Time?
There are an incredible number of quotes about time - just search “time quotes’ in google and you’ll see what I mean. But there are less quotes about the VALUE of time. And unless you subscribe to the quantum theory of time or metaphysics, you likely feel you have far too little of it. I think my very favorite quote about time is from Albert Einstein:
“Time is relative; its only worth depends upon what we do as it is passing.”
The older I get, the more I think about time and how little of it I actually have. But I suppose that’s relative. My free time is almost non-existent right now, with my daughter graduating high school, all of her activities and sports, going off to college, my son finishing up his freshman year of high school, his crazy baseball schedule, and then the regular stuff, like my career and my home life. Even trying to fit in yoga and gym visits has come to a screeching halt. I don’t have a lot of time to focus on the things that I would like to, and that has me doing some deep diving into my time wasting. Surely I have at least a few hours to spend on myself, don’t I?
We can talk about productivity, organization, how you can be more effective with your time, calendar management, and even about self-worth and valuing your talents. But this is not what I am alluding to. I want to talk about the value you place on your time. How do you qualify an hour of your time? Should you? If we listen to Einstein, our time is only worth as much as how we choose to spend it. It is about our experience. Yes, we have to take care of our responsibilities in order to support our experience, but can’t the responsibilities be valued as well? We can see those things in a grateful way, because they are allowing us to bring worth to our time.
What keeps coming up in my mind is the propensity for us to say yes, constantly. Why do we do this? What are we trying to keep up with? If we are spending our valuable time on something that we don’t actually want to do, we are wasting that time. You get invited somewhere you don’t want to go; do you make an excuse up, because it sounds better than “I don’t want to?” I do. And I need to stop. Can we please normalize this? I just don’t want to. Enough. That’s it. Let’s shift our perspective to assigning a dollar value to our hour when it is spent doing something we want to do, let’s say $50 (which is being quite conservative on my scale). And then if we are doing something we don’t want to do for that hour, we have to relinquish that money, or essentially, throw it out. Would you toss a $50 bill in the trash? Probably not. Now, I don’t like assigning monetary value to things that make me happy. The reality is that a lot of things cost money, and that’s just the truth of it. We need money. But, this isn’t about money. It is about time. And time is a precious commodity. Saying no doesn’t mean you are less, or that you are inconsiderate. It means that you are giving yourself your time. It’s YOURS! What a gift! Stop giving it away. Keep it, unapologetically.
Not to be a total cliche, but if you were to leave this earth tomorrow, would you fee like you have spent your time to the very best of your ability? I think we lose sight of the big picture because we get distracted with all the small stuff. The small stuff is important for keeping the bus moving, but when we get bogged down with the details, we tend to lose valuable time.
I am not the most organized person when it comes to my schedule. I have a lot of distractions that veer me off my intended path. I am in the midst of a lot of life changes - a teenager going off to college, another teenager dealing with normal high school drama, a husband with a new job, a dog that is getting old enough where I have to watch her behaviors for changes, on top of all of the external world drama. There are bills to pay, chores to do, paperwork to complete…on top of an emotionally demanding job. And what I see in my life is that a lot of it is not about me. Well, maybe it’s adjacent to me…but it really isn’t about my own internal stuff. My wants, my desires, my dreams.
It could be something that’s just inherent with being a mother? Or maybe i don’t spend enough of my time thinking about me. What I want. What I want to be spending my time doing. I am not just talking about my “free time” but about ALL of my time. Because if you only value your free time, what is the point of how you’re spending your other time? There is no point, because you aren’t valuing it. It’s essentially worthless in the long run.
I’m not saying that you need to stop turning the cogs of the wheel of life. But maybe it is time to consider that your time is worth more than you are giving it credit for. Are you spending your time doing something that is giving you some sense of purpose? Can you be proud of how you spent your time at the end of the day? We don’t all have to be world-changing individuals…that’s not the point. You are the point. Your happiness, your fulfillment, your peace. My problem is that I allow the small things to take over, and I don’t revisit my wishes & dreams…until two years later when I wonder why I still haven’t gotten certified for meditation facilitation or realize that I still haven’t taken my dream trip to Machu Picchu.
So what’s the fix? Habits are a huge part of time management…and if my habits or routines aren’t in line with my actual goals, they are only going to get in the way of me reaching them. Instead of plopping down in front of the tv every night because that is my normal routine with my husband, I could do yoga. Or perhaps instead of pushing snooze in the morning, I can change my habit and gain an extra 15-20 minutes each day to dedicate to something that will push me further toward my goals.
When’s the last time you checked in with yourself? Have your dreams and goals changed? Maybe try a journal, a vision board, something to keep you in focus. Stretch goals are perfect for staying on course. You shoot for the stars, and even though they are probably out of reach, the clouds are a wonderfully nice and soft place to land. We can’t stop the little stuff - it will be there, always. If we stop devaluing our time, we can free up space to achieve those goals and dreams. We only have so many years on this planet, and none of us really knows what comes next. If we aren’t doing what we really want with our minutes, hours, days, years…what are we doing it for?
This podcast is part of the Airwave Media podcast network. Visit AirwaveMedia.com to listen and subscribe to other great shows like The Daily Meditation Podcast, Everything Everywhere and Movie Therapy. We’d deeply appreciate your support at patreon.com/amindfulmoment. Our podcast is now available to view on our YouTube Channel, so be sure to follow us there and on Instagram @amindfulmomentpodcast. Visit our website, amindfulmoment.com to access podcasts, scripts and book recommendations.
A Mindful Moment is written and hosted by Teresa McKee and/or Melissa Sims. The Spanish version is translated and hosted by Paola Theil. Intro music, Retreat, by Jason Farnham. Outro music, Morning Stroll by Josh Kirsch, Media Right Productions. Thank you for tuning in! This podcast is produced by Work2Live Productions.