Time and Money

black and white photo of clocks

Photo by Andrey Grushnikov on Pexels.com

Like most workers here in Japan, the end of the year is one of the busiest time of the year for me. There are just so many things to get done before December 31st. Since I was so overwhelmed, I requested a deadline extension on one of my projects. Unfortunately, because everyone had so many things to do, there just wasn’t time to be cut anywhere. This week will proceed as scheduled, the deadline firm.

I understand. We’re all busy people. This is all part of our job.

The reason why I wanted more time is because I wanted to balance out my time. I just felt that spacing it out would make more sense. One long meeting for this week and then the extra project could be done next week. I didn’t consider other things involved with the postponement of the deadline–actually, according to the boss, next week, there’s more to do.

Yikes.

And, ugh.

However, this whole thing has made me realize that if I don’t protect my time, nobody else will do it for me. I’m glad I’m able to learn this lesson now because the more time I work for other people, the more I’m rejecting this idea of being a wage slave–of exchanging my precious time for money.

Why do I work? It’s so that I can earn money to fund my lifestyle. I like traveling and living in a nice, cozy home. I like eating delicious food. I like buying books. I like going out to lunch and dinner with friends. I like all of that, but is there a way to make everything cost less? This way, I don’t want to spend my time doing things that I don’t want to do just so I can get a steady paycheck.

Don’t get me wrong. For the most part, I love my job–but it’s not perfect. There are still many dreary aspects and time-consuming tasks that I begrudge. I could be spending that time doing something more meaningful.

In Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth for the Real Estate Investor, there is a part that just blew me away. In the closing chapters, he points out that many people, and not just real estate investors, forget that people’s time is not unlimited. In fact, it is actually finite. People need to think of time not with a lowercase t, but time with a capital T. In essence, your Time, is actually your life. Even with so many other valuable nuggets of information in the book, this was the one that struck me as the most important lesson I needed to learn.

Which is why I wanted that extension on my project so that I would have Time to work on something that I wanted to do. Unfortunately, I’m starting to see these work projects as things that are really not worth my Time. I don’t get paid enough for that. I would rather work on something that I am interested in doing or find enjoyable–even if I don’t get paid for it.

And it’s true. I’ve come to value the Time I spend doing activities that give me joy. Or, in most cases, it might not be super enjoyable, but I find that I am learning something new about myself. Either that, or I feel like I am working towards a particular goal–one of my own choosing. This makes me feel alive and appreciative of the Time I have on this earth. But if I don’t actively create this lifestyle or value time as my life, I’m just going to let it waste away.

I don’t want that. I don’t want to waste away all the Time that I have. It is the one resource that I will never be able to earn back. With money, even if I lose it, I can still find a way to gain it back. With relationships, it might be difficult, but at least it can be mended with effort. However, with Time, there’s nothing I can do to get it back.

All things seem to be culminating to a single, very important point: I value my Time more than the salary. So, if I don’t protect my Time, my life, then who else will do it?

Hopefully, I will get to the point where I don’t have to exchange my very precious time for a paycheck.

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