By Sara El Kareh
Return on investment is common jargon in the business world. The intent is to achieve more return on the investment which is not limited to the monetary kind. For instance, time is an investment and often it holds more value than money given that it can never be reclaimed. When one views time as an investment capital, the approach to daily decisions changes, in a way to maximize the return.
Time is spent in various ways. Spending time in one aspect of one’s life builds for future problems. It is crucial to spread the time investment over different areas of one’s life for more happiness and productivity. Splitting one’s time is not an easy task, as there is no concrete reference to refer to. One has to count on his or her intuition. Some principles may be used as guidelines.
- A multiple positive is an activity that generates a positive return in more than one area.. These are efficient because they incur returns on a multitude of fronts while requiring minimal resources in comparison. Like for instance having a website with advertisement revenue where one can maintain a cash flow, develop transferrable skills, and keep one-self entertained. These experiences are unique to every individual and it key to find the one that suits best.
Every individual will have different multiple positives, the important part is finding ones that work for you. A multiple positive for a software developer might be working on open source or a personal project. It can even be as simple as playing basketball, a fun game that’s also great exercise. The key to finding multiple positives is finding areas where different positive actions intersect. If I can find a way to get paid to eat delicious food I’ll be golden.
- The definition is the antithesis of what is mentioned above. For instance, a night of drinking incurs money spent, time lost, and troubles hung-over tomorrow. If one doesn’t have fun, then it’s the worst case scenario. This doesn’t mean one should limit his entertainment, but one should keep in mind how to minimize the negativities. Periodically analyzing the behavior helps identifying the negativities and avoiding them in future times. One of my favorite weaknesses is going out drinking. This hurts me in three ways: the time spent isn’t productive, drinks are expensive, and the effect of staying up late and being hung over usually ruins the following day. If I don’t have a good time, this is basically the worst possible scenario.
I’m not saying you should never go out and have a good time. To be happy we need socialization and excitement. My point is that we should always try to minimize the negative impact of our actions. I try to do this by minimizing the amount I drink and only going out when I know it will be enjoyable. Often we get caught in a pattern of poor investment. Over time, the benefits fade away and what remains is mostly negative, but we keep doing it out of habit. This can be avoided by periodically analyzing our behavior. Is it still a good investment, or is it time to make a change?
- The principle of compounding is simple: you invest today, make interest later, and then make interest on the interest. This grows your monetary sum in the long run. Likewise can be done when investing time: working hard when young will give you leverage in the future. Time wasted cannot be made up and an opportunity cost is witnessed. Many fail to realize this until it is too late, because people are often stuck in the mindset of their youth where the only thing that matters is their entertainment: they focus on having fun and forget investing in themselves for the future. This mentality often remains through college and isn’t shed upon graduation, throwing the individual into a late start or failure.
Time is valuable even if you are not working, and it is recommended to choose activities with higher return that build for the future. Attaining the ideal lifestyle is done by considering every action as a significant investment. If you consider your life to be a company where you are the CEO, everything you should do is to maximize profit.