Monday, April 16, 2012

Investing One's Time

Recently a news program was inviting callers to chip in with personal finance advice they had found valuable and one gem from a caller really stuck with me: "Invest your time, don't spend it."

Wow, is that a hard one for me to follow, but it's one I think I need to do.

One can invest one's time in a lot of things. I think it's possible to invest it in leisure, in friends, in advancing oneself at work, in family, in fatherhood, in Church, in maintaining a blog. I don't think the advice is a call to be a workaholic. It seems to me like it's a call for one to be purposeful, a word I like to use a lot with my students.

My last month or so has been humbling, in part, because I've been spending time rather than investing it. My time is something I'm usually quite willing to give: to band, to Church, to my kids, to my work, to doing more than I need to do at work. But if I'm spending it so freely in so many places, I don't know if I'm really investing it. And I think it's time for me to figure out where to stop spending time and focus on where to invest it. It means I'll have to say no more often, which I think I can do politely, but it doesn't come easily to me. Maybe young, in the midst of a career, married, with two kids (who are no longer babies), and with a growing extended family is exactly the point when one needs to find ways to invest time rather than just spend it.