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The Time is Money Myth Debunked

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The Time is Money Myth Debunked

Ben Franklin once said that “time is money.” Therefore, you should not go around wasting your time or that of others because it will ultimately cost you money.

Apparently, he was not the only one who felt this way because the slogan went viral, and is now a common principle in the lives of many. There is, however, an issue with this theory: time is not equivalent to money!

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Time and Money Defined

Time is defined as a limited period or interval and has a finite duration. On the other hand, money is defined as any circulating medium of exchange.

Did you notice that time is finite and money continuously circulates? Time holds a much greater value than money due its scarce nature, and there is nothing that you can do to earn more of it once it’s gone.  Money can be replaced in most instances, but you cannot turn back the hands of time.

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If you spend your collegiate years buried in a textbook hoping to earn a 4.0 GPA, you may actually achieve your goal. However, if your reasoning was solely to land a dream job, you may find yourself at a major disadvantage if the employer is seeking well-rounded individuals because you only focused on school and nothing more. It is totally possible to use money to rectify this issue: simply re-enroll in school and get involved in student activities. You may end up being selected for the position, but you will never have the opportunity to relive those four years of your life again.

In some instances, many individuals also equate time to money in the workplace. They calculate how much money is needed to cover their expenses, and immediately come up with an hourly figure along with the number of hours that have to be spent on the job to accomplish this objective. While it is a proven way to ensure that needs are met, it fails to consider the time factor once again.  Salaries vary by job, but the time spent earning wages is indispensable. You can always make up for lost wages in subsequent jobs, but you can’t buy back the years spent with prior employers.

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Some who are self-employed also use a similar equation. An amount that reflects what they would like to be compensated (to cover their needs and wants) for a particular project is assessed, either on an hourly basis or as a flat rate. Instead of making the bottom line your focal point, exert as much energy as possible into your work to ensure that value is added to each client that you are serving. They will more than likely take notice, tip you for your efforts, and refer you to other customers. End result: time well spent and a financial boost to your business.

Formula for Success

In all of these examples, the individuals focused on attaining a desired outcome in a set amount of time. While the end results may have been in their favor, their focus was too narrow.

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Your efforts can definitely earn, and in some situations, lose you money. The good news is that the supply of money is abundant, and with the right actions, you can earn a ton of it.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for time. It is important to understand that no matter how hard you work towards accomplishing objectives, time cannot be purchased. Therefore, you should focus on making the most of each day and living a richer life because once the time lapses, it can never be retrieved.

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So, the next time you find yourself thinking about the famous words of Benjamin Franklin, remember that time is not money, and should be used wisely!

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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