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Treat Your Time Like You Treat Your Money

by David DeFord

As Flight 440 sharply ascends past the rain clouds of DFW carrying me home to Omaha, I watch my fellow passengers occupy this time of confinement in pursuits of their choosing.

The two older ladies on the opposite side of the aisle read paperback novels as their husbands sleep.

The pleasant woman to my far right reads the leisure section of USA Today. Her husband, the slight gentleman to my left with the black and gray Hawaiian shirt, pores over a Popular Science article titled, The World's Largest Gun. In these days of airplane terrorism, sitting beside a passenger reading an article like this one can be unsettling. I don't fear him though-I think I can take him down if necessary.

My fellow passengers are doing what they choose while we now cruise five miles above Texas or Oklahoma, or whatever state we're speeding above.

And I'm also doing what I love to do--I'm writing to you using the thumb keyboard of my PDA.

We all choose how we spend our time. Some cram more living into their time than others.

Time is a finite resource like money. We choose how we'll spend it. Sometimes we waste it; like we sometimes waste money. Other times we use our time to purchase what we want most. And at times we invest it so that we can have more control of it later.

Waste, spend, or invest--our time choices.

I do not here advocate some of the sophisticated time management techniques touted by others of my ilk. You probably know how to accomplish more. I encourage you to prioritize your time so that you get what you really want.

Remember how, as a child, when you received a few coins you wanted to immediately spend them on some little junk that would be gone or broken in minutes? I remember saving my money for a reflector telescope. I was so proud of myself, and loved to look at the huge moon, faraway stars and planets.

Like we do with our money, we prioritize how we spend our time. When I allocate our paychecks, I first write out my charitable donation checks, then my investments, and lastly my bills. For the most part, that’s how I prioritize my money.

I spend my time in a similar manner. Of course, my work is important to me. But I find considerable satisfaction and significance in my time with family, in my volunteer work and in my various projects. Ask my kids—I always have a project.

My first time priorities center around my family: dinner at six; Monday evenings set aside for family activities; and Friday night dates with my wife. We allow nearly no exceptions to these three. Try to phone me during these times, and you’ll get my voicemail.

Next come my spiritual time commitments: scripture study and prayer every morning; prayer several times per day, as needed; family and personal prayer each evening. I never work on Sundays.

Like with our money, time luxuries can follow wise time investment. If we sacrifice some of our time now, we position ourselves to have more time freedom later. For instance, hard work now can allow us to work fewer hours later, or even to work on something we enjoy more.

In this life, time is a finite resource. Treat it as a precious resource and you will find you not only find more time for what you love most, but you’ll also live a more meaningful and significant life.

The next time you find yourself in a reflective mood, think about how you have spent your time in the days previous. Were your choices about time use in line with your real priorities?


Related Quotes

"There are two ways to look at life and the world. We can see the good or the bad, the beautiful or the ugly. Both are there, and what we focus on and choose to see is what brings us feelings of joy or feelings of despair." Lloyd Newell

Time is the best kept secret of the rich. Jim Rohn

You are always free to choose what you do first, what you do second, and what you do not do at all. Brian Tracy

The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want now. Zig Ziglar

Dost thou love life, then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of. Benjamin Franklin


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