How Well Do You “Spend” Your Time?
February 12, 2020
Time: it’s a precious resource that is distributed equally to each of us daily. While less tangible than money, the principles of spending it are the same. How can you spend it most wisely, for the greatest gain, without wasting, squandering or blowing it?
Wisconsin dairyman Hank Wagner shared his thoughts on time management on a recent Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin podcast. In his message, he noted that while we are granted a new deposit of time every day, that “income stream” is not infinite for anyone. “We don’t know when our time on this earth will end, and none of us are guaranteed unlimited time,” shared Wagner.
He said interviews of people who know they are at the end of their lives repeatedly have revealed that the #1 regret they share is that they wish they had more time, and that they had made better use of the time they did have.
“This should lead all of us to thoughtfully consider the way we budget, prioritize and spend our time,” said Wagner. “If you had $1 million in one-dollar bills, and were required to spend all of it in a day, which if these scenarios would you most likely follow?”
1. Drive down the road and randomly passing out bills to anyone who wants them, until they are gone.
2. Tell everyone to line up, and split it up evenly until it is gone.
3. Seriously ponder your life’s priorities, and allocate who and what you will spend it on, and in what proportions.
Wagner said we do “A” with our time when we give it away to anyone who wants to occupy it, regardless of whether or not they value it. We do “B” when we try to please everyone by allocating equal time to various aspects of our lives. But the approach in “C” is the one that will likely create the most lifelong fulfillment and the least regret.
“After you’ve established your priorities, make it a routine habit to verify that you are spending your precious time accordingly,” Wagner advised. He suggested, before going to sleep each night, considering:
1. Was my time well-spent today?
2. Did I spend my time only on urgentthings, versus importantthings?
3. How might I spend it differently tomorrow?
Finally, Wagner emphasized the importance of also being mindful of other people’s time. After building an innovative new barn a few years ago, he has observed firsthand the spectrum of respect that others wanting to tour it have for his time.
“They have ranged from people who literally call up and tell me when they’re coming and assume I will be there, to those who schedule an appointment, to a lovely Austrian couple who insisted on paying me for my time,” shared Wagner. “Respecting other people’s time is just as important as respecting your own.”