Time Investment

by Steve Morton

October 2016

Time Management is not exactly a sexy subject is it? I am sure you would rather sit beside the pool on holiday reading a romantic novel or a thriller than read about time management. You don’t exactly leave your books on Time Management laying around as ‘coffee table’ books do you?  They are the perfect book if you have trouble getting to sleep at night!

We all live in a world that has 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 52 weeks plus one day in a year, or plus two days in a leap year. (Check the maths!) How we spend each of those days, weeks or years in our lives shapes the person we really are. 

Instead of thinking of it as Time Management think of it as Time Investment. We invest time in activities in the hope that it will reap benefits later on in life. 

Let us take a step back though for a minute and examine how our lives develop and change over time. 

Think of yourself as a tree, you start life as a sapling, you need a lot of care as a sapling, you are vulnerable to the outside elements. You grow with other saplings on the same soil you all have an equal chance to succeed. When you have established a full root system you might get transplanted. Some of you young trees might stay in the area, others are exported to other parts of the country and you never get to see them again. 

Your root system develops even further in your new home, it provides you with stability and you continue to grow.

Think of your trunk as your life, as it grows upwards so you have branches that spur off of that trunk. 

The branches are the different areas of your life, your family, work, your hobbies and interests, voluntary roles you take on. The leaves on the branches are the small details of those branches. The projects and tasks you undertake and complete. 

Like a tree your life needs to be balanced if it is going to grow straight and tall. The small branches and new growth at the top of the tree are the information gathers that feed the branches. 

Adjacent trees might only see part of your tree, so they might not realise what is going on in the branches on the other side of the tree, that’s a whole new part of you. 

You have to decide how much time you invest over time in growing and maintaining the branches. 

Winter gives you that opportunity when some of the leaves fall to earth to inspect your life and for the woodman to come along and check your health and prune out any troublesome branches. 

Spring gives you that chance to look beautiful and majestic again, in full leaf. You put on a growth spurt and enjoy the long summer days to the full. Putting those winter plans in to action. 

Winter is the ideal time to take stock, like a tree things slow down over winter, it’s a good time to catch up on those indoor tasks and plan for the future. Deciding what we will invest our time on in the future, deciding on what goals we want to meet.

If our children go off on their own lives that might leave our family branch needing some checks to be done on it. Retiring from work is like having a main branch of your life suddenly chopped off right back to the trunk, you need to be careful that it doesn’t unbalance your life. It helps if you can plan in advance as to what to invest that new spare time in once you finish working. 

However, we might want to ask the woodman to spare our work branch, over time we have invested a lot of time and energy in that part of our lives and some of the skills and knowledge might be transferable in to our lives post retirement. So instead of paid jobs we use that branch to help others. 

If we continue to invest our time wisely we will continue to grow in a long and healthy way, keeping ahead of the forks in our lives and coping with the challenges that life throws at us on a daily basis. 

Live long and healthy and most of all enjoy life to the full. 

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