Author and Entrepreneur Grant Cardone has a quote that says: “Most people have no clue what they are doing with their time but still complain that they don’t have enough.”
What he’s saying is absolutely correct. How often do you hear someone complain that their life isn’t heading in the direction that they want because they haven’t got the time?
Of course, it’s always something else: “I can’t workout because I’m tired all the time.” “I can’t make time for my passion project because someone always wants me here or there.”
However, everyone gets 168 hours in a week (7 days X 24 hours) who you become is simply the sum of what you do with that time. So, what are you doing with yours?
- If you slept 8 hours each night (8 hours X 7 days = 56 hours), you’d have 112 hours left.
- If you worked 40 hours per week, you’d have 72 hours left in your week.
- If you spend 3 hours eating and commuting each day (3 hours X 7 days = 21 hours), you’d have 51 hours left.
Therefore, in theory, the “average person” might have about 50 hours each week to allocate to spending time with their family, running errands, and doing whatever else they wanted to do.
So, if we’re being honest, how much of that time is deliberate, purposeful, and goal-oriented? Meanwhile, how much of that time are you not fully present or simply wasting away in distraction?
Time Invested vs Time Spent
“You cannot save time for future use. But you can invest it for the future you.” -Unknown
The difference between time that’s invested and time that’s spent is very simple: the former is about using your time to do things that will generate a later return, while the latter is effectively wasting your time by putting it into things that will reap no reward.
For example, mindlessly scrolling social media is a clear example of spending your time—for all the time and mental energy you put in, it won’t often positively move your life forward.
On the contrary, reading, developing relationships, learning and exercising are all great examples of investing your time for the future you. And hence, Scott Adams has brilliantly said,
“Every new skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.”
Indeed, when you invest your time, you’re creating new opportunities. It’s essentially the act of saying, “I want a better future than what I have in the present.”
Meanwhile, spending your time is justifying the status-quo. In truth, it’s actually keeping you stuck. You might want something different, but you’re not actually willing to create or put in the time to have it.
Hence, Jack Canfield has similarly said, “If you want something different, you are going to have to do something different.”
Your life follows your behavior. What you repeatedly do with your time is what you eventually become. Says Ryan Holiday,
“You are what you do — so ask yourself whenever you’re doing something: Is this reflective of the person I want to be?”
You Create More Time By Going Slower, Not Faster
“Many of us are speeding up and skipping over, missing the important as we scan for the urgent. The irony is that in our anxiety toward not missing out, we are losing the most meaningful moments of life.” -Jeff Goins
Most people see the gap between where they are now and where they want to be and think that the bridge is to do more work. They try to cram more into their days and do everything faster.
But this is backwards. Gary Keller had said: “Make sure every day you do what matters most. When you know what matters most, everything makes sense. When you don’t know what matters most, anything makes sense.”
Benjamin P. Hardy has similarly written,
“Success is taking 20 steps in one direction rather than one step in 20 directions.”
Of course, there are always many things we could do in a day, but being truly productive means asking: “What should I do?”
It’s essentialism. It’s realizing that the world is full of options and possibilities, but most of them are simply bad choices. As John C. Maxwell has said,
“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.”
So, the challenge is to slow down. It’s to simplify and remove things. It’s to recognize that what’s urgent isn’t always the most important. It’s to create time for what’s better or what’s best.
Said Dallin Oaks, “We should be careful not to exhaust our available time on things that are merely good and leave little time for that which is better or best.”
The way you use your 168 hours each week ultimately determines who you become.
We should all question: How many of my spare hours am I investing, and how many am I spending? Like with money, the more you invest, the greater your potential return.
However, simply doing more doesn’t guarantee success. It’s key to focus on taking 20 steps in one direction rather than one step in 20 directions.
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