Time is money, and just like money, the way you invest your time largely determines the return you’ll get on it.
First, it’s important to get into the mindset of time investment. Rather than thinking about how you “spend” your time, you need to begin thinking about how you invest it.
For instance, instead of saying to yourself, “I have to spend 8 hours at work today,” ask yourself, “how will I choose to invest my time into my work today?” This simple mindset shift will make you more conscious of your time, how you choose to use it, and how that moves you closer to your goals.
Time is the great equalizer. It’s the one asset that everybody has and everyone is born with. Despite your wealth, intelligence, or physical appearance, you will always have time that you can leverage to get you where you want to be.
Everyone has a timer on their life. As you read this article, that timer is ticking away, moving you one moment closer to the time it stops.
In this article, you’ll learn how to better use your time to reach your goals for wealth, success, and happiness. Keep reading to learn the 10 best ways to invest your time.
Investing your time into learning is one of the most surefire ways to get a hefty return on it. It’s present in the most conventional advice (such as “go to college”) to more obscure advice (such as attending a self-help seminar). However, there are many ways to invest your time into learning to help you reach your goals.
You can go to college or attend a trade school to get a job that you enjoy and that pays well. Or, you may choose to learn a new skill after your last career skills became obsolete.
Another good idea is to learn about investing your money. This will make you far better equipped to pick profitable investments. Many people have made fortunes from real estate or small business acquisitions that began their journey by picking up a book on the subject(s).
There are many ways you can invest your time into learning, and some may be much easier than you think. For instance, you can get through dozens of books per year just by listening to audiobooks during your commutes or while doing the dishes. Though this may seem inconsequential to something like building wealth, many of the wealthiest people on the planet swear by reading.
And it’s not just Warren Buffett. Many of the most successful people in the world read for hours per day. People like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Oprah Winfrey, and Charlie Munger read for hours every single day.
They seem to take formal education seriously too. According to the Motley Fool, one study showed that 86% of billionaires have at least a bachelor’s degree.
2. Build a Business
Investing your time in building a business is one of the best ways to grow wealth and get a great return on your investment. The richest people in the world didn’t make their fortunes from Roth IRAs or crypto, they nearly all made them from starting a business.
Even someone like Warren Buffett made his fortune at Berkshire Hathaway by investing other people’s money and building a business — not by investing his piggy bank money into stocks.
Building a business can lead to increased flexibility, improved work-life balance, a high salary, and the ability to impact your community/the world in a positive way.
3. Build Expertise in a Specific Area
Another great way to invest your time both wealth- and career-wise is to build authority in a specific niche. If you become one of the best in any specific area of an industry, you’re almost certainly going to be paid well and have high job security.
As an industry expert, you’ll have the opportunity to build a business or help someone else do so as well.
4. Build the Right Relationships
Many successful people refer to relationships almost as a form of currency. It’s not to dehumanize people, just to acknowledge the great advantage you have by knowing the right people. Many of us experience this in our daily lives — your friend lets you drive his boat, or you get a job at your friend’s workplace because he can vouch for you.
No matter what the case is, learning to read people and make curate the right relationships can get you very far in life and help you avoid a lot of pitfalls and pain. Many lives have been ruined and fortunes lost because of someone being a bad judge of character.
5. Practice Self-Care
Investing your time into self-care is another investment that will pay dividends in many aspects of your life. This doesn’t mean taking as much time off as you want and being lazy, it means caring for yourself enough to help your life flow smoothly.
Ask any highly successful person, and they will tell you that most of their success comes from their mentality. If you can be more motivated than the next person, you will almost always surpass them.
Likewise, if you feel fatigued, unmotivated, and poorly cared for, you can lock yourself into a downward spiral that can be incredibly difficult to break free of.
6. Maintain Your Health
This one’s pretty obvious… take care of yourself and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and pain and — possibly tack years onto your life. We all know someone that died too young of a preventable illness.
Though it can be hard to prioritize at the moment, learning to think about your potential future regrets can help you to remain conscious of your health goals.
By staying on top of your immunizations, diet and exercise, dental health, etc., you will save yourself a lot of stress and sickness. Get your cancer screenings done. Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
You’d be surprised how much stress and mental health issues can be avoided by staying active. You can boost your testosterone, serotonin, and other productivity-related chemicals just by breaking a sweat.
Many times, when people think of “working hard” they think of compromising their right to sleep as an occasional consequence of that. While it’s true you may need to settle for six hours once in a while, don’t fool yourself into thinking that missing out on two hours of sleep is a justifiable trade-off for watching Netflix.
Investing in your sleep is one of the easiest and most effective ways to boost your health and productivity. Like most things on this list, getting a good night’s rest is something that pays dividends in many areas of your life.
Imagine if you could take a pill that would boost your immune system, help you burn fat, reduce your stress and anxiety, lower your risk for Alzheimer’s; heart disease; diabetes; and more, improve your decision-making, and improve your productivity with no adverse effects.
Would you take that pill? Well, you don’t need to. You can do all of these things and much more by doing, quite literally, the easiest activity imaginable: sleeping.
If you’re an adult, try to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night. It’s likely going to help you in many more ways than you recognize.
8. Stay Organized
Much like investing in sleep, this tip is based on saving you time. When you take the time to keep your house clean or your workspace organized, it allows you to save time by streamlining your routines and avoiding losing things.
So, if you’re someone that frequently misplaces things, or finds yourself in the same silly situations time and time again, consider decluttering your life. Wasted time adds up and can create a large disparity in your life trajectory over the long run.
9. Practice Time Management
Managing your time by following a schedule can help you get more done in less time. This doesn’t mean you have to squeeze every second of free time out of your life, but being aware of things like screen time can help you make more informed decisions and build discipline.
You see, people are wired to do structured tasks that make them feel accomplished. This is why so many people love playing video games. In the game, they have very clearly defined instructions on what to do to succeed and “win” at the game. When they complete a specific task, they get to be the hero, and thus dopamine is released in the brain.
The thing is, life’s decisions usually aren’t so clear. Structuring a “good day” and sticking to your schedule, can help you focus on the task at hand and minimize the amount of time you spend each day on pointless decisions. By staying on track, you can build momentum that will carry you through the difficult and boring parts of the day.
10. Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones
Many of us underestimate just how much of our life is driven by habits. We like to think that we’re constantly in a state of free will. However, most of our life is actually spent on autopilot.
From the time we spend in the car to the time we spend after work, most of our daily lives are structured around subconscious habits.
For instance, you may find it incredibly challenging to make it to the gym every day, and you assume that you simply don’t have the willpower to do it consistently. What you forget is that after a while of going, it will be as easy as getting in the shower each morning.
You will no longer think about building up the motivation to go to the gym; you’ll simply go because you’ve programmed yourself to.
Your habits are one of the most powerful determinants of your destiny. If you learn to make and break habits with ease, you can revolutionize your life and build the discipline needed to invest your time in the things you most desire.
What are the benefits of investing your time early in life?
When you invest your time early in life, you get a greater return on it due to the compound effect. In his book The Compound Effect, author Darren Hardy explains the way our actions build greater and greater rewards the longer that we do them.
Whether it’s a retirement account, an exercise habit, a small dietary change, or the flight of an aircraft, just a small, easy adjustment in your approach can make a massive difference in your trajectory over the long term.
Take a business for example. If you try to start a business today, you’ll likely invest large amounts of time working for free or less than minimum wage. However, as the company grows, your time produces greater and greater rewards.
After 20 years in business, a side project that you work on for two months may make the company $3 million — where it would’ve gotten you close to no money in the beginning stages.
The same goes for most of your goals. The sooner you start, the greater the difference you will ultimately make as you have more time to let your rewards compound.
Avoid “action faking”
Action faking is a term coined by psychologist MJ Demarco and refers to a certain type of procrastination. As the name suggests, it specifically refers to doing something that makes you feel productive without being the main task you’re supposed to get done.
It’s the sudden urge you get to clean your room right before you’re supposed to study. We have a daunting task ahead, often without clear directions, so we procrastinate by doing something else “productive.”
This is what makes action faking so dangerous. Rather than being easy to identify like typical procrastination, it allows us to justify putting off our real responsibilities.