Time, energy and money may have many things in common, but here is one to think about. They cannot be created; they are finite and can only be managed.

Money for example, only changes hands. Your employer earned money from a person they worked for, only to give some of it to you for the work you have completed for him. In return, you give that money to someone for something they are doing for you (like allowing you to take food from their store to your house).

Energy is generated, but really it just changes from one form of energy that isn’t really useful into an energy that is. We turn wind and sun into electricity that keeps the lights on.

Image courtesy of bplanet / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of bplanet / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Time is similar. We can’t create any more time. We can only simply manage it. We each spend time at the same exchange rate. Every minute that passes on the clock is one minute used in our life. It doesn’t matter if you are the president or a sleeping newborn, time is what it is, and we all have the exact same amount.

Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it?

Andy Stanley reminded me the other day that we only get to do life once. We are only in our teens once, our 20’s once and so on.

What does that mean for us?

It means we need to be good managers of our time. Knowing that once today is over we don’t get that 24 hours back, it’s gone and it’s a part of history.

What is important here is that we spend our time on useful things.

I like to read. I would like to read more. Each year, I increase the amount of books I read.

Realizing there are millions of books I could read, I have decided that I will mostly only read books that someone I respect recommends.

This might sound like I am just a sheep being told what to do. In reality, I recognize the limits of my time and desire to use my time the best I can.

How do you manage the time you have been given?

How do you decide what you do and what you won’t do?

Here are 3 things to consider:

1. Is it worth it?

If someone was selling apples at $5 per apple, would you buy one? Probably not, because it’s not worth it when you know you could get lots of apples for much less.

What is it you are buying with your time? Is it worth it?

Look at your time as a commodity, and only trade it for things worth doing.

2. Is there something better to do?

Jim Collins in his book Good to Great tells us that good is the enemy of great.

You could watch TV when you get home from work until you go to bed each night, in the name of rest. Or you could pick up a book or start a conversation with your significant other.

3. Am I consuming or producing?

I love baseball, and I could watch it all day, but I don’t. This would make me a consumer and take away my time from producing and making a contribution. I still watch baseball. I watch several games a week during the season.

The time I spend watching games are my down times, they are my scheduled times of rest. Some people play golf, build model planes or scrapbook. I watch baseball.

My down time is purposeful times of rest which makes me more productive because I have been rejuvenated and have detoxed from the stress of life.

We each get to be the managers of our time, what we do with the time we have is ours to decide.

How do you decide what things are worth your time?