Once you’ve started dominating your schedule to ensure maximum productivity; the next step is to dominate your free time and turn those moments with seemingly nothing to do into opportunities to close the gap between you and the you that you aspire to be.
Every minute of our life can be categorized into three types of time use:
- Investing Time
- Spending Time
- Wasting Time
While you’ve likely heard these terms before, let’s create a better definition of each so that you have a clear picture of how you’re using your time.
Anything that we do that will benefit us in the future is an investment of time, regardless if it benefits us in the present or not. Obvious examples are:
- Going to the gym
- Studying for a test
- Preparing a PowerPoint presentation
- Learning a new skill
- You reading this blog post
All of these have obvious benefits to your future self, and for most of them, we are doing them with the future outcome in mind. Everybody who goes to the gym knows that they will not see results tomorrow and it’s probably going to be uncomfortable today, but they go because of the future benefits.
Here are some less obvious investments of time:
Getting enough sleep is key to be able to function at the highest level the next day.
- Quality time with loved ones
Spending time with loved ones is an investment. You’re investing in them to make your relationship stronger for the future.
- Take some time to relax
Some think that in order to be the best version of yourself you cannot take anytime to relax, everything has to be on all of the time. The truth is, not taking time for yourself can be of hard to your future endeavors. Burnout is real and going at 100 miles an hour with no time to unwind will result in lower quality work.
Spending time is the opposite of investing. Spending time is time which prioritizes the present regardless of future benefits.
Spending time does not necessarily need to be a bad thing if done in moderation. Taking a lazy Sunday to binge watch Netflix and eat ice cream may not be a wise investment, but one lazy Sunday won’t keep you from greatness. The key is to make sure these moments of spending are done with the intention above of unwinding so that you can be more effective in the future.
Where spending time becomes harmful is when you begin consistently procrastinating and putting no weight on how your actions will affect future deadlines and responsibilities.
Wasting time has no benefit whatsoever. To waste time is to do something that has no benefit to your future and really doesn’t fulfill you in the present either. When lazy Sunday becomes lazy everyday, you have lost the tag of unwinding for future productivity. Your present isn’t being fulfilled either because of your constant stressing over upcoming responsibilities.
Spending hours scrolling through social media is time wasting. While a few minutes of social media may help you stay connected with current events or what friends are up to; this can quickly become a rabbit-hole that sucks away your present fulfillment and works toward putting off your future responsibilities.
Try to use as much of your time as possible as an investment. This doesn’t mean making yourself a slave to your work in hopes of a better future. Think of short term time investments as well as long term. Maybe study for 15 minutes everyday in order to avoid a night before all night cramming session. Doing so will clear up time and stress for you to focus on investing in relationships and fulfilling hobbies.