Time: Capital or Income?


“How are you spending your time?”

“Has it been a valuable use of your time?”

“Time is money, you know.”

We use economic terms to describe our use of time, so why not extend the economic terms to our definition of time, not just our usage? Do you consider time to be capital or income?

How you view your time can impact significantly how you spend it. If you view time as income, then it is in essence never ending. Yes, we all know that eventually our time “comes to an end”, but that point is hopefully far off in the distance. And we don’t want to morbidly spend our time considering our demise. But if you view time as income, it gets refreshed, every minute, every hour, every day, week and month. There’s always more time, in the same way that our income gets refreshed each month (hopefully!).

Think about how you spend your income, you do so in the knowledge that another pay day will come. You can treat yourself. You can spend your income (after deducting money for food and bills) on pretty much what you want.

Imagine if it was your last pay day? Would that change how you spent your income? I think for most people it would, and quite significantly.

So let’s think of time as capital: you have a finite amount and once it’s gone, it’s gone. Once you have spent today it’s gone. And if you only have a limited number of “todays” then you may treat them with more respect than you do at present.

As you age, time does becomes more precious. In the same way that if you have a finite amount of cash, as you see it disappear what remains increases in value to you (but unfortunately not to others). It can lead to a frantic need to account for every penny you spend, a desire to spend as little as possible.

If we treat our time as capital, with the realisation that you can’t get it back, you can’t refresh it, maybe we will consider more wisely how we spend it.

It’s not to encourage you to be frantic about how you spend every minute and mourn the loss of time, it’s the exact oposite. To celebrate the time you have, to enjoy it to the maximum. And of course, like wasting a bit of money on some frivolity, it’s okay to waste some time now and then. It’s okay to allow yourself time when you don’t do anything.

Enjoy this amazing gift, the time to live your life, on your terms, to be the best you that you can possibly be.

Image credit: Luis Llerena | stocksnap.io

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