Time is the most valuable commodity. So precious that you are unable to buy more. Once lost, it can never be replenished. Time is also the commodity that is most often wasted by people.

With tangible commodities (money, food, gold, etc.), if we lose it, we can acquire and gain more at a later date. It's impossible to replace time which we have wasted away today.

Time is forever lost.

Not even the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos can replace the time that he's lost or wasted. Time most certainly does not discriminate. We each have the same amount of time and can't purchase any more.

Unfortunately, most people live their lives without realising that each passing day, minute or hour, means that they have one less day, minute or hour to use. They unconsciously treat time as an infinite resource, thinking they immortal.

Focussing on what's important and becoming more productive is the only way we can "get more time".


Companies that want to be more profitable have only two options available to them. They can either:

  • Increase their revenues; or
  • Reduce their expenses.

Similarly, there are only two ways to having more time to do the things you need to do. We can't create more time out of thin air, so our only options are to:

  • Look for creative ways to become more productive; or
  • Reducing the amount of time that we waste away.

Our energy is finite, and there's only so much you can do to become more productive. It's far easier to stop wasting time than it is to become more productive.


Stop Wasting Time Is the Best Productivity Hack

It's easy to think we have a lot of time on our hands and this is a sentiment generally held by the younger generation. We project our current lives and situation into the future when forming this outlook.

However, it does fail to take into account a critical factor in the equation - the fact that the older we get, the more responsibilities we acquire. These responsibilities give us less disposable time to use to accomplish our goals.

Most people waste their time on things that are truly trivial and irrelevant. I've previously written about being more mindful of the time we spend on social media (see article) and watching TV (see article).

Sadly, many people will continue to waste their time calling it "entertainment" and claiming entertainment to be important. That's okay, so long as you know exactly where you're spending your time and that spending more time on entertainment is a conscious decision.

Generally, I try to combine my entertainment with something productive. For example, reading a book, going for a run or writing - this is generally how I like to entertain myself. It's a sort of productivity hack that allows me to be able to make the most use of my time.

To be able to get ahead in life, we must not waste any time.

Inversion

I learned about the idea of inversion from James Clear. It occurs where you consider the opposite of what you want. For example, if your problem was "how do I lose 1kg over the next 30 days?" With inversion, we would rephrase the question as "how do I not lose 1kg over the next 30 days?". Answers to the latter question could be:

  • Not going to the gym
  • Not eating healthy meals
  • Not exercising regularly

Now we understand what not to do; it is often easier to work backwards to identify what we need to do to achieve whatever it is we set out to achieve.

We can also apply inversion in understanding how crucial time is. In my article on the importance of setting personal goals (see article), I explained that the average person alive in the western world today is likely to live for 30,000 days. A 25 year old has already used up 9,000 of these days and has 21,000 days left to go - this is inversion. Working backwards and realising our time will run out one day can help us understand the importance of time.

We should all make the most of these 30,000 days to contribute to society. We want to be able to look back at our short time here and say that we've made the most of our time on the planet. The worst thing would be to look back and regret what we've done with our time and wishing we had done more.

The end of 2018
Photo by Adam Tinworth / Unsplash

If we didn't have this time constraint, things would be very different. With enough time, we can achieve pretty much everything in life.

To get this point across, let's assume that you're immortal. You have unlimited time to do and learn everything you want to do or learn. You can become the leader in almost every single field, from science to aerospace to finance to philosophy. You could be the best chess player of all time, the most celebrated pianist and the most impressive artist.

Given you have infinate time, you'll have had several thousands years to hone your skills in each field. It follows then that innate talent almost becomes irrelevant. The infinite amount of time you have compensates for your lack of talent.


Everyone Has the Same Amount of Time - You Have No Excuses

Super busy executives with the tightly packed schedule, intrinsically understand that time is their most valuable resource. They very clearly understand that they do not have enough hours in the day to do everything they need to do. They don't have a lot of time, so are forced into organising their lives as efficiently as possible.

Successful people learn how to manage their time wisely and ignore tasks not contributing towards their goals. They're very good at saying no and not getting involved with unnecessary projects.

We are given the same amount of time as everyone else on this planet because time doesn't discriminate. Not having enough time should never be an excuse. You, the president of the US and top CEOs and executives all have the same amount of time each day. Yet they accomplish so much more with each hour of their day. Not having enough time should never be an excuse for you.

If you ever feel like you don't have enough time, perhaps you should consider why you think this is the case. What are you wasting your time on? What's not helping you to be productive? What's taking your attention away from your goals? Time management is crucial, and if something is important enough for you, you'll find the time to be able to do it.

Time is the most valuable commodity.


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