In my line of work, I often have to do financial assessments for clients. I look at their income and the breakdown of their expenditure like food, transport and household bills.
So, a typical conversation might go something like this:
- ME: Your expenses are more than what you are earning. How are you going to manage?
- CLIENT: Pay the minimum sum or borrow from others first. When the salary comes in, then I can return the money.
- ME: Looking at the breakdown of your expenses, is there any part that you can make a change?
Many of my clients have true financial difficulty, but there are others who, with some changes in perspective of what is actually important to them, could actually start living without an income deficit.
It got me thinking. While I also do my own budgeting and break my financial expenses down, I never considered doing the same for my time.
How is my time health? Time health is about how we use our time and whether we have sufficient time for what is important to us.
It’s about recognising the limit, value and potential of time.
Time, like money, is an important resource. However, unlike money, time can neither be earned nor saved. We can never get back the time we spent. All the more, we need to take stock of how we use our time!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not about packing your schedule to the brim with “meaningful” activities. It’s about recognising the limit, value and potential of time.
Let’s try to do a breakdown of our time usage. For a weekday, it might look something like this for those who are working (outside the circuit breaker).
What are you left? 2.5 hours.
Let’s say, we set aside 30 minutes for relaxation (or a “buffer”) and another hour to spend time with our family and friends.
For the remaining hour, what are you going to choose to do?
Slouch on the couch watching television, surf aimlessly on the Internet – or spend time with God?
When I looked at the numbers, I realised I had to reexamine how I go about “budgeting” my time.
I should honour God by giving him the best hours, rather than what’s left. We should all make time with God a non-negotiable.
Now, you might say, time is limited on weekdays – that there’s nothing to spare. Or you might think you have more time over the weekends.
Let’s find out what a weekend really boils down to. Its time expense might look something like this:
There will always be time. Take it from someone who started part-time studying while working a full-time job.
Each time I completed a term and my load of assignments, I was always astounded how I managed to do so as I was terribly exhausted from work. It made me wonder what I had been doing with all the time I had before I started studying – how much time I had wasted!
We have sufficient time to do what we want. We just need to prioritise and be disciplined in stewarding our time – it’s just like budgeting our finances.
Because of COVID-19 and the circuit breaker, many of us have to work from home. Others still, have no work for a month or have difficulty finding work.
This means travelling time for most has been eliminated – time has been freed up. The question is how we will use it: are we going to allow ourselves to be fixated on the news about COVID-19, and be worried endlessly?
Or will we be productive with our time? Let us not let the days slip by! Let’s assess our time health and rethink how we want to spend each day of our life.
So let us be careful how we live. The Bible tells us not to live like fools, but like those who are wise, redeeming the time in these “evil days”.
- Break down your time usage. How’s your time health looking?
- What is something important that you’ve been putting off doing?
- What has prevented or distracted you from doing it?
- What is one way you can change the way you use your time this week?