You’ve probably heard the old analogy that there is an imbalance of our time, money, and energy depending on what stage we are in throughout our lives. If you haven’t, it’s the idea that when we’re young, we have no money. When we’re middle-aged, we have no time. And when we’re elderly, we have no energy.
While there is some truth to these realities as our bodies, minds, and souls progress through our experiences as human-beings, we tend to put too much emphasis on allowing stereotypes to dictate our lives.
You can be young and have money, you can be middle-aged and have time, and you can be elderly and have energy. This tends to depend on the very systems & principles you follow for your long-term sustainability.
There are two main concepts that will allow you to reach this at any age. That’s by having autonomy and routine to drive the outcomes you seek.
Before jumping into time too much, you should know about a few different laws that help provide mental models for your time.
First is Parkinson’s Law which is an old adage that work will expand to fill the time allotted. If you do not choose to take control over your time, your work can take over your life.
Next is the law of triviality which is a metaphor commonly known as bike-shedding. It has origins as to putting more effort into the unnecessary details as a means to distract from the important decisions yet to be made. You can think of it as a form of procrastination in which you’re not comfortable making a hard decision.
What tends to happen in many of our lives is that we give other people an implicit “Yes” to our time. We accept their meetings, give them 30 minutes of our day, or even take on tasks that has little resemblance towards our responsibilities. This is where we go terribly wrong in managing our time.
Our time is precious. It’s the one resource we cannot replenish, yet we treat it like disposable income or energy.
You should treat your time seriously like an air traffic controller. Rather than saying yes to every plane asking to land to a potential disaster, we should be balancing our time by saying no more often and delegating others to land somewhere else when we’re overburden.
In other words, saying No is a decision, saying Yes is a commitment.
The simpler of the three, money can come to you by expanding the amount of sources you’re involved in.
For many of us, we exchange time & energy for money. But there tend to be better ways that we haven’t put enough effort into to understand such as exchanging only time for money (passive investments) or exchanging only energy (one-time investment decisions) for money.
What tends to be the most significant change for most people with regards to money is the idea of abundance vs. scarcity. In other words, do you view money as a means of focusing on what you have today or how much you can have tomorrow? Do you surround yourself with people and opportunities that will allow you to obtain more than enough for your needs? And lastly, do you pursue the possibilities that will allow you to do just that or do you stay put where you are?
Similar to time, money can come to you effortlessly if you make deliberate decisions by saying No more often. Whether you’re adopting a frugal mindset of saying no to purchasing things you don’t need, or whether you’re just adopting a mindset of saying no today for a prosperous tomorrow by investing your money regularly.
Lastly, energy is typically created by the momentum we ourselves produce. It’s similar to Newton’s First Law of Physics which loosely states that objects in motion stay in motion. Objects in rest stay in rest.
No matter your age, consistency & emotions create energy. When you’re feeling stagnant or low energy, you implicitly know that it’s an uphill battle to get back to your optimal state. When you’re on-top of the world, you worry that you’ll lose it all.
The funny thing about energy is that to sustain it, you are regularly saying No to just about everything in order to keep it. Yet with the additional energy you create, you may start to say Yes to more things which is a vicious circle in itself.
Deciding how to spend your energy may seem unattractive in the moment, but the delayed gratification of staying in motion will keep you on your feet.
Just Say No
Say No to more things. It’s the single word that will give you time, money, and energy. No gives you more autonomy and allows you to consistently follow through with your routine. This simple word is the difference between seeing your outcomes and reaching your goals.