Do you decide how to spend your time and money? Or you on auto-pilot, letting life spend it all for you? Here’s a tip for becoming a master of space and time.
How’s that saying go?
Mother Nature hates doing the dishes.
No, that’s not it.
Nature abhors a vacuum.
That’s it. The world can’t handle empty space, and will rush to fill it at any chance it gets.
This is an idea for the natural world – and it governs everything from chemistry to dynamics of flight.
But it plays out at a conceptual level too.
And as an investor, we have to watch out for the way Mother Nature hates free time and roomy budgets.
Here’s a little exercise for you. Take a survey of your friends. Ask them if they think they earn more than they need.
My bet is that all of them will say that they don’t, that they’d be happy to earn just a little more.
My other bet is that this will be totally independent of how much they actually earn. Your poorest friends and your richest friends will probably feel exactly the same way. Their budgets are stretched to the point of breaking.
It’s interesting isn’t it? No matter how much people earn, they find a way to spend it all?
Nature abhors a vacuum.
As soon as you create room in your budget, the world of desires rushes in. And desires are infinite. There’s no budget in the world that can contain them all. You literally can’t satisfy them. All you can do is move up a ladder of fancier and more expensive desires.
And so everyone – EVERYONE – feels like their budgets are stretched. The Sultan of Brunei probably frets about his portfolio.
There are very few people who master their desires.
And that’s why, I reckon, in one of the richest nations on earth, so many Aussies feel like they’re struggling to get by. It’s why the politics of poverty sells so well.
If people want to play out that story, let them. But if you want wealth and happiness – both of them, together – then you need to defend your budget from the onslaughts of desire.
My tip would be save 10% of your income up front. (Hat tip to the Richest Man in Babylon here). Put it away first of all, before you’ve spent a cent.
The worse thing to do is to the ‘save what’s left-over strategy’. Spend all your money and just see what’s left at the end.
I’ll tell you what will be left. Sweet F.A.
Lock up part of your income up-front, and keep it safe from the demands of the world. In time it will grow.
It’s the same story with time.
We all spend 100% of the time we are given, one way or the other.
If you free up time in your schedule, demands will line up to fill it. The dishes are never done. There’s always more books to read, or films to watch, or people to catch up with.
The only people who get bored are people who’ve given up trying to achieve anything. They’ve surrendered to letting life drag them around by the neck.
But as long as you have dreams and schemes, then the to-do list is never empty.
And no matter how efficient you become – even if you learn how to get the dishes done in under 3 minutes, there will still be demands upon your time.
So would the RMIB rule of thumb be useful here? I reckon. I reckon put time aside for the most important things in life straight away, before the demands of life start trying to carve out their own chunk of your time.
If that means getting up at 5.30 to get your exercises in before the baby wakes up, then maybe that’s what it takes.
Maybe it’s putting an hour aside after lunch to read and skill-up.
There are many ways you could carve out a chunk of your day as entirely your own. They might not all be easy, but how committed to your life are you?
And then how you spend that time is up to you. Only you know what’s most important to you.
I could see how this could be a bit depressing: No matter how much time you have, it’s never enough. No matter how much money you have, you’ll always need more.
It does sound like a kind of hell, doesn’t it?
And in a way, it is. Cruel nature abhors a vacuum. But we get to choose how we engage with this reality.
We’ve got a choice. We can become hamsters on a wheel, always trying to get ahead (and never making it).
Or we can become masters of space and time. Accept that our desires are infinite (laughing at how funny humans are), and then decide for yourself how you’ll spend your time and money.
This takes a bit of discipline and strength. But tell me, how are you going to achieve what YOU want, unless YOU decide how you spend your time and money?
Anyone else experimented with saving rules or dedicated time strategies? How’d you go?