A lot of people think they have a handle on where they spend their time but in most cases it’s general knowledge at best. It’s the same with money. A small percentage of society has a solid budget where they know where their money is going. In both cases this is pretty sad and why a lot of people are struggling with financial issues and stress.
Let’s think through how our time is usually spent during a work week. In prioritizing things we need to provide for our families first and foremost or a lot of other important things won’t have a chance. Prep time, drive time, and work time, often add up to around twelve hours a day. In most cases people get around seven hours of sleep so if you add the two together we only have four hours of discretionary time to work with.
This is where a serious problem begins to unfold compared to what most of our parents experienced. Times have changed and a lot of households revolve around the children and their extracurricular activities. This particular investment also leads to a lot of stress as parents have to keep up with their children’s schedules, make sure their uniforms are clean, make sure they have everything they need for the game or for practice; the list goes on and on. Just my opinion but I’m not sure there’s a good return on investment considering the added stress it puts on the household.
Time is too important a commodity to not manage. Everyone should sit down and think through everything that needs to get done and then prioritize it. Is your daughter’s dance class or piano lessons as important as other areas that might lead to her success? Is your son’s Karate class important for his future? Only you can answer these things but let me give you something to think about. Children from places like China, India, Japan, and Taiwan don’t have baseball or soccer trophies in their rooms they have Math, Science, and Spelling Bee trophies and they’re killing us in the global market. Children from China and India meet with their teachers on Saturday mornings to make sure they understand the week’s lesson. Compare this to our children who sleep in until noon or later! I watched an interview that 60 Minutes did with Chinese high school students and one of them said: “We won’t be a national power through our military we’ll be a national power through our intelligence.”
I got goose bumps when I heard this because these are the kids our children will be competing against. It's no longer good enough for our children to be better than the rest of their class because the bar has been raised. Will ballet classes, baseball, clarinet lessons, piano lessons, or Tai Chuan Do help them get to the level they need to be to compete in the real world. You might think it will because of traits they learn in being involved in extracurricular activities but you really need to think it through. My philosophy is if everybody is doing it it's probably not a good idea because most people aren't going about life the right way.
The effective use of time is a life changer. People who appreciate and respect its value will naturally take care of it more wisely. When you invest something you want a good return; how are you doing? Just take a look at your life and see if you feel like you’re in a better place today than you were a year ago. Is there any difference or is it the same? There’s only one fix and that is to change your time portfolio. Where would you and your family get the best return on your investment? It’s time you answer this life changing question.