Invest in spending time wisely

2009-03-25 00:00

Living above one’s means is generally when one spends on things that one cannot afford. Whether buying on credit and not affording the payments or buying something that one cannot afford to maintain, it is not good in the long run. What I would like to discuss is the idea of living above your means because you’re spending time in a way that is not sustainable or profitable.

They say “time is money” all the time in conversations, so much so that it has become a jingle that plays in the background. Time is money. It makes you wonder if “African time” is why Africa is so poor compared to the rest of the world. Someone I know made a joke about imaginary negotiations for the continent’s minerals and other natural resources tens of decades ago. The Africans came an hour late and by then there was not enough time to read through the paperwork and Africa’s wealth was given away. The thought may be frivolous but it has merit. Being late for a meeting puts you at a disadvantage and the quickest way to convince yourself of this fact if you doubt me, is to be one of the (usually) few people that arrive before a meeting starts. The informal conversations before, if not just breaking the ice, are rich with all kinds of information and sometimes certain unwritten understandings are reached. People talk on the latest news in the industry or even politics and even update themselves on information that may give the informed an edge in the meeting. So, if being late wastes time then being early can earn and save you money.

Way too many in the lower income brackets have barely anything to their name, but they waste a lot of this currency called time. That time spent sitting and drinking or watching television for about five hours daily could be used to do so much more. The expensive schools have extramural activities and classes that you cannot afford to send your children to but that time can certainly make up for it. There is so much to teach that forty-five minute “life orientation” lectures cannot cover. That time for parenting is so vital and can even be used to review your day as a family, get closer and to create a family culture. Children learn from the people at home. And since eventually children become too cool for their parents, how about some constructive alternatives to spending time at home. Spend time improving your present and future quality of life, and that is not just finances, but peace and prosperity too.

The dream of every individual that I know is to accumulate enough wealth to be able to afford to work a lot less. We all want to not worry about rent and bills, as soon as possible. Some calculate in years how much it will take just to get out of debt, but spending some time investing in knowledge of how lucrative your dreams can be may halve that time. Spending time building your dreams and getting your goals to be achievable can be the key. It is certainly unhealthy to have a five-hour vacation every day, when you could be reading on what meagre resources your hero had in order to make it. They just had a more effective way of spending their time and this in turn was supplemented by more effective ways to use their money.

Yet, some are nonchalantly living and having a party every day and actually seem happier, so the question arises, who is happier? Who is more content and who has a better quality of life?

This is the reason I suppose we can’t judge people. Like many before him, Robert Kiyosaki in his legendary book Rich Dad, Poor Dad suggests that to be successful you must learn to “Mind Your Own Business”. True,true. Maybe, some are really, really happy with having just enough to support their habits and not bothering the woman who has mothered them for decades when they need money.

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