Time is the only real currency.
And you’re continuously and forcibly trading it for other things.
Health through sleep, diet, and exercise. Money through learning, working, and creating value. Entertainment in its varied forms. All the little time debts we pay for a life well-lived.
Good news is you determine where to spend your time. Bad news is you don’t get it back if you waste it.
Therefore, one of the most valuable skills you can develop is the ability to recognize when and where to invest your time. Those who are good at this can effectively double or even triple the value of their time. The very best at this can accomplish more in a year or two than most do in a lifetime.
The biggest challenge we face in mastering this skill is determining the correct balance between time spent on immediate outcomes versus time invested for future benefit.
To help, here are a few maximalist time management principles:
- Optimize lifelong (repeated) activities first. Sleeping. Eating. Walking. Talking. You’ll be doing these things your entire life. Spend a little time to understand what works best for you. What small tweaks can you make to these activities to make them more effective and enjoyable for you? The payoff here will be huge.
- Invest heavily in activities with compounding benefits. For example, learning how to manage your personal finances or how to improve your emotional intelligence is always going to be worth your time because it impacts the quality of your life both immediately, and ongoing if you keep investing.
- Combine fun + useful when planning activities. By creating activities with short AND long term benefits, you get the best of both worlds. Enjoy hanging with friends, but hate working out? Combine the two. (Social + Exercise > Social OR Exercise).
- Treat your time like a savings plan. Don’t trade all your current time for future outcomes. A majority of your time should be spent on activities that bring you joy now, because we’re never guaranteed tomorrow. Then, just like a savings plan, set aside a percentage of your time to spend on activities that improve your future.
- Commit to more to do more. We are often told to say “no” to new things when we get “too busy.” The truth is we let activities fill the time allotted. Committing to more, then, is a forcing function to better time management.