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What Is Your Time Worth? Are You Investing Your Time or Wasting It?

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Everyone has valuable time on their hands, but sometimes people assume that their time is just valuable and fail to remember that the value of time is measured by how successful you are at living life.

In reality, the value of your life is estimated by how much gets done and how you choose to do so. The value estimate of your time is up to you, and what you choose to do with the 24 hours that we all have every day.

Now, we all have different goals and aspirations, so the value of each one of our times is different, but that doesn’t make your life any less valuable than another’s. All that means is each of us has to choose a personal road that will take us to those goals and aspirations, and how we invest or waste our time getting there is what will determine the value of those goals.

The value of the goal will be obvious by what you are willing to do and how much time you are willing to invest to achieve it. How we invest our time is what will dictate that value, but how do we decide what activities are worth more or worthless?

In the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey makes an analogy about time management comparing it to sand, pebbles, stones and a bucket. He assimilates the first three to actions, and the bucket to a day. How you fit those rocks, pebbles and sand in the bucket is how you will ultimately fit all of your daily activities in one day.

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra

If one does not pay attention to detail, or is unorganized with the order in which these go in the bucket, all three will not fit. There has to be a thought process in which you analyze which of these three goes first, second and then third, so that ultimately you can fit all materials in the bucket.

This can be applied to the day-to-day activities we all carry out, and how we prioritize them to obtain the most value out of our day. See, all of the activities you need to accomplish today are of value, but not all of them are of the same value. It is up to you to figure out which ones add more value to your day, and in the long run to your whole life.

When you assign value to the things you do during your day, you really see what activities are productive, and which ones are a waste of time. So let’s analyze the things you do during a busy day and categorize them amongst Stephen Covey’s sand, pebbles and stones.

SAND: This is pretty much the details of life. The small things that most people have to do, like dishes, laundry, walking the dog, etc. All of these things are a part of life but they will have the least, if any, return in energy or investment.

PEBBLES: These are the activities with the most ROE (Return On Energy), what that means is they take up the most energy, and the Return Of Energy should be the same as what you put in. These activities can vary from exercising, reading, cooking, and so on.

STONES: Now these tasks are the most valuable of the day. These are the things you NEED to invest in: work, family, spirituality, health; Make sure these actions have the highest ROI (Return On Investment) which means whatever you’ve invested in this (time or money) is returned in the same amount if not more.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

Once you have categorized your daily activities you can really see what you do during a normal day. The time wasting ones will pop up once they’re written on paper because you will visually become aware of the fact that there really are activities that can take up our time but really have no return in energy or investment.

These activities are of little or no value to you. Don’t think that you cannot have any leisure time or time to relax, but there has to be a balance. Give yourself a limit of time which can be spent doing the minimal things, give yourself a schedule, and stick to it.  

At this point, one important thing to do is to cut out the time wasting activities that will not give you anything in return for your time. Now take a look at your new list, do you now have more time to invest in activities that will bring more ROE or ROI? If you don’t, then it might be time to reevaluate your priorities and see if you are spending your valuable time working towards your goals or wasting it.

If you have successfully found space in your bucket for all three: your sand, your pebbles and your rocks, then you are one step closer to achieving your goals and knowing the value of your time.

Are you investing your time or wasting it? Leave your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Stephen Dela Cruz is a best selling author, speaker and serial entrepreneur who specializes in helping budding entrepreneurs double their income in their first year. He’s built several 7 figure businesses and in his online school, The Mastermind Experience, he shares strategies around time and money management to help beginning entrepreneurs soar. You can see more about Stephen on his website and follow him on his Facebook page.

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