The Importance of Time

Poems, songs, and proverbs have been written about time over the centuries. We talk about time every day, whether we are “saving” it, “spending” it, being “on time”, having “time off” or measuring it in some other way. After all is said and done, time is the only thing we all share and we never know exactly how much of it we will have in the end. The very last thing we should do is waste our time. It’s that important and precious, isn’t it?

The Importance of Time

In this blog I have written about some “time savers” over the past year or so. Today, I want to talk about the importance of time in a few of the ways that affect you, your family, and your finances.

Being On Time – Personally

It’s a given that one of your most important traits should be timeliness. It’s a reputation builder and could become a significant problem if you don’t respect other people’s time. In your job schedule, or when making appointments, being on time is imperative to build relationships and make others believe you have the skill to plan and execute your time management in a professional fashion. How many times have you waited for someone and felt annoyed or angry when they show up late for what was a scheduled meeting or function? What excuses did they have that you just couldn’t fathom? Was it heavy traffic? Some other conflict that caused them to be late? Frankly, there are so few reasons for which lateness can and should be excused that I usually do not forgive it easily. I especially feel that way when it becomes a recurring pattern with the same individual.

I remember managing a large department store where some employees were late every day for their scheduled work time. They received less time on the schedule, poor performance ratings, and eventually would lose their jobs when it became so bad that we couldn’t handle it without firing them. Perhaps they just didn’t care? More likely, they just never thought about or learned how to plan their time and commitments to people, places, and things. If this is you, it’s never too late to change a bad habit into a good one. Go out of your way to keep on time and watch as people change how they respond to you. You can become the dependable, reliable, and trustworthy colleague you should be and can do nothing but enhance your reputation.

Being On Time – Financially

Are your bills always paid on time? You know very strict records are kept and reported to the major credit agencies, and those reports can and will affect your credit rating. That credit rating can influence many things, from jobs to insurance rates, so it needs to be a real concern of yours. If you don’t pay your bills on time, you’ll need to determine if that’s because of disorganization, poor planning, lack of responsibility, or overspending and take steps to correct the issue.

In most cases, paying your bills late will cost you in interest. That’s money my friend and there isn’t a good reason in the world to pay interest on things you buy if you have the money to pay the bill in the first place! I can honestly say that years go by with my payments always on time and no interest gets charged to me. For that reason, along with other good habits, my wife and I both have FICO credit scores well over 800. It’s very reassuring, although we are by no means wealthy, to know that we can walk into a store or get services for our home and lifestyle without worrying if we will get credit approvals. If your score suffers because bills aren’t paid on time, you should put a plan in place to achieve on-time payments by getting organized and/or cutting back on spending.

Saving or Wasting Time?

When you think about your time and how you spend it, you may be surprised by how much of it is not free or really your own. If you break down your work week, for example, here’s what I call the typical numbers for an average person who works about 40 hours per week. Conservatively, I’d estimate:

Sleep 7 hrs/day x 30 days/mo = 210 hrs/mo
Work 40 hrs/wk x 4 weeks/mo = 160 hrs/mo
Commuting 5 hrs/wk x 4 weeks/mo = 20 hrs/mo
Meals 1-2 hrs/day x 30 days/mo = 45 hrs/mo

That totals about 435 hours of your month. Since there are only 720 hours in a month, a typical full-time worker spends almost 60% of their time committed to their daily routine and only 40% of their time is truly their own to spend as they please. That even includes the free time we think we have on our days off from work! That means that if you live to 75 years of age, you have probably spent 50+ years committed to a daily work routine that usurps most of your free time!

The reason I’m talking about this phenomena is simple. Don’t waste your time, the precious few hours a day you actually have to spend. Successful people never waste their time. Even time you may spend meditating or contemplating is productive, unwasted time. If you haven’t already, sit down and think about your priorities in life and set some goals around them. Make sure the things you value are the things you spend your time on.

 

With apologies to Steve Miller, Jim Croce, and Paul Simon, does your time keep slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future? Can you put time in a bottle? Time, time, time, what has become of you?

The answers to those questions are only answerable by you and your own habits. Make timeliness a goal, and focus your free time on your priorities, such as relationships and self-development. It will help you, your family, and your finances to thrive.

Do you place a high value on time and timeliness?

Image courtesy of Pong on freedigitalphotos.net (with changes)

10 Comments

  1. Alexandra @ Real Simple Finances

    Gary, I’m not sure whether your monthly time breakdown is helpful or terrifying. 🙂 I am gearing up to teach a huge course load this semester, and am trying to prioritize my hours now. If I don’t keep on a strict schedule, everything can easily dissolve into chaos. I’m going to try breaking down those “must use” hours for sleeping, commuting and work, and see what I’m left with before I let myself fill it with time wasters.

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