Time wealth: 3 questions to upgrade how you spend your time

What would you do if you woke up with $1 million in the bank?

Now what if everyone else had $1 million too, no matter what was in their bank account the previous day?
Would we all be millionaires and print our own cover of Time magazine, or would we measure wealth in a different way?

Let’s imagine a different scenario.
I offer you an imaginary bank account that took care of all your expenses every day, but didn’t allow you to check your balance. Every day you get the same generous (but finite) allowance and, in exchange for it, you can never do paid work for the rest of your life.

Let me be clear: you walk to ATMs, and money keeps coming out. Contactless? Not a problem.
You keep making payments, and money keeps flowing. No need to work or to top it up (you can’t – that was part of our deal).

time v money

The only catch is that you have no way of knowing when it will end, if ever.
And no, you can’t withdraw it all at once and save it up.
You can only spend it.

After a few months, would you get used to it and stop worrying?

How would that affect your generosity?
Would you be careful who you spend your allowance with or just give money away?
Would you stop and enjoy your daily expenses since you can’t accumulate it?

We’re all born millionaires

At around 80 years, the average life expectancy counts 42,048,000 minutes. Sure, some of us will never get there, and others will surpass that number. But not knowing makes it fair. You cannot budget it, save it, or put it under the mattress.

We all have 24 hours each day, and we must spend them.

The amount of time isn’t a variable: time wealth depends not on quantity, but on the quality of how that time is spent.

Time is the only truly non-renewable resource.
And yet, too often we let our focus become so narrow, we compromise on the quality of our time.
We often try to do more, cram in more things, see more people, do more tasks, watch more TV, go to the gym more often.

Yet, you can’t fabricate more time.

Like our imaginary bank account, you can only spend your fixed daily allowance, and cannot save or top it up.

That’s when the busy trap happens. We say yes to activities we don’t want to do, and over time they accumulate and take over. No one’s ever said “I’m too busy going to the cinema” or “I’m too busy learning something I’m passionate about”. Being busy it’s an acknowledgment you’ve lost control of how you spend your time.

Subtract your way to what matters

To avoid the busy trap, start tidying up how you spend your time by subtracting.

What are the 3 recurrent activities that you dislike the most?
It could be a particular task at work, or a “friend” that makes you feel drained every time you see them.
Whatever it is, eliminate (or outsource) these activities as soon as possible.

What are the 3 recurrent activities that don’t add any value to your life?
These are usually things you do “because you have to” but are not really passionate about.
You may not like to admit it, but they’re a total energy drainer. Eliminate.

What are the 3 recurrent activities that bring you the most joy?
Once you get clarity on these, do more of them. Whether it’s dedicating more time to something you’re passionate about, finding new friendships, or just being more mindful and present in the moment, make sure you maximise the time spent on them.
Prioritise these in your calendar and get rid of time drainers, and you will have the energy and time to work on what matters to you.

Once you’ve filtered your time spending through this, make it regular practice to review your week and spot what you enjoyed the most and made you time wealthy. Look back and answer: what brought you the most joy in the past seven days?

Send me an email and let me know your answer.

— Matt