Why Time Is Even More Valuable Than Money

Jake Wells

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We all have the same amount of time in a day, so you have an important decision to make: how will you spend your time?

Time is the most valuable currency you have. Hours spent on email is time spent where you cannot play with your kids. You only get one life. Why not live it doing things that matter? Each of us must bring in some form of income, and this is often (and often regrettably) the driving force in how we spend our time.

Most of us spend a lot of our time focused on money by working at a job. Thankfully, there are practical steps you can take to not let income decide where you spend all of your time. Get out of debt, live on a budget, cut the clutter, and sell what you don't need. Take the tough but smart step to drop unnecessary expenses. Once you've taken these steps, you will see that time—not money—is your most valuable currency.

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life." — Steve Jobs[ This quote was in bold, but none of the others were to this point. It doesn’t matter to me whether they’re bold or not. Just be consistent with the styling.]

How much time you spend working on a project is often tied to your energy. When you stay up really late working on a project, you eventually hit the point of diminishing returns and do more harm to the project than good.

When you work at the right time, you'll also get more work done. Your creative engine—your mind—must be running on all cylinders to achieve maximum success. Your mental energy supply is finite, so use the majority of it on whatever work matters most to you. Remember, just because something feels like work does not mean that it actually is work. Hours wasted on undefined tasks kill momentum and leads to burn out. Instead, define your tasks and then assign yourself a specific time to accomplish them.

Prime Time

Not all hours in the day are created equal. The time period you’re most alert is your prime time. During this period, do your important work. One hour of work during the right time is better than four hours of work when you're seconds away from snoozing on the keyboard.

For every hour you’re awake, your body's internal drive craves more sleep. Your body's natural rhythm, called the circadian biological clock, tells you how tired you are. If you’re sleep deprived, you’ll crave sleep much more. For a majority of us, we’re most tired between the hours of 2:00 to 4:00 a.m. and 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Most likely, these are not your prime time hours.

Figure out when you work best, and do what is most important to you then. Not sure what this time is for you? Ask yourself these questions:

1. 1. When do I have the most amount of energy?

2. 2. When can I find some uninterrupted silence?

3. 3. When am I less likely to make excuses?

For most of us, the ideal time to do our best work is one to two hours after waking up. Protect this time. Don't let others take this time away from you. Use this specific time to your advantage. Set an alarm to remind yourself and be sure you’re working on the right task. Don't take phone calls or answer email or texts during this time. Keep the shields up and don't let them down until another alarm you've set goes off telling you that prime time is over. Prime time is very important because it is when you are most productive.

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