Prioritise Time Over Money for a Better Life

Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

In This Post

  • Why prioritising your time, rather than your money can lead you to a more fulfilling life
  • Why your time is more important comes down to 2 things: it is limited and irreplaceable
  • How your time can help you appreciate the moment, develop your relationships, give you new experiences and help you improve yourself

Prioritizing time over money in a society that places a high value on success and material wealth may feel counter-intuitive. It’s easy to see why money is the most important factor in people’s lives. There has never been more pressure to be wealthy, grow a business, or climb the career ladder. Flaunting your wealth, whether that be your new car, house or watch is the new norm. If you’re not thinking of ways to upgrade your life, what are even you doing? It can be an exhausting ride. This never-ending cycle of comparison can leave you feeling like you don’t have enough. It can make you question your own worth.

Social media and society constantly tell us that more is more. Our consumerist world encourages us to grow our bank accounts and increase our material possessions with the promise of it making us happier and more successful. But, more zeroes at the end of your bank account, or more cars on your drive isn’t the key to happiness. Constantly seeking more wealth and more money isn’t going to make your life better.

Time > Money = More Meaningful Life

Money isn’t the key to living a good, meaningful and well-spent life. What is the key, is prioritising and focusing on your time. It’s true that money makes the world go round, and money can often feel like the limiting factor in our lives. I agree that if we were all freed from our financial worries, we would all be a lot happier. But, the real limiting factor that is often overlooked is time.

Your time is an infinitely more important, influential and scarce resource. And as such, it deserves more attention! It is all too often that the importance of time, and the true reality of its scarcity, only reveals itself as we get older. At that point, naturally, it is beginning to run out. This isn’t meant to be a jumpscare though. You shouldn’t feel that you need to stay up late, never sleep and work 24/7 out of fear of time running out. But this message should act as a wake-up call to those of us who are dawdling in life. Feel like the ‘rest of your life’ is an infinitely large playground? Hint: it’s not!

So, here are some simple reasons why your time is worth more than your money.

Photo by Morgan Housel on Unsplash

Time Is Limited

Unlike money, which can be replenished and accumulated, time is finite. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. This makes it all the more important to make the most of it. Coming to terms with the limited nature of our time on earth is a tricky thing to do. Life is relatively short (compared to many things). But at the same time, it is the longest thing we will ever experience. You don’t want to feel existential. But, you should acknowledge that we all only get one life. This will help you to come to terms with how you should spend your time.

The limited nature of time is something we particularly struggle to understand when we are young. The reality of how short life is usually only sets in when we’re much older. Then of course it might be too late. This is even more problematic when you consider that sometimes life is cut short. Hopefully, most of us will die of old age, but getting hit by a bus or some other tragedy could happen. Sorry!

Time Is Irreplaceable

Another reason why prioritising your time over your money is this. While we can always earn more money, we can never get back the time that has passed. You should spend your time in life doing a balance of things that are good for you, good for others and enjoyable. You cannot work and play hard constantly. We need rest, and you should never deprioritise sleep. At the same time, consider where you’re actively wasting time. If you haven’t looked at your screen time yet, we highly recommend looking into your phone’s settings. It might be time to set some app limits. A horrifying statistic might also do the trick:

If you spend 3 hours a day on your phone starting from when you’re 20, and you do this until you’re 80, this means you will have spent 7.5 years on your phone.

If that doesn’t encourage you to reprioritise time in your life, who knows what will?

Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

Time Helps You Appreciate Each Moment

Again, this isn’t meant to scare you. It should help you learn to appreciate every moment. It is unlikely that you can abandon all your responsibilities for your bucket list out of fear of your time running out. Life will be full of things you have to do. Things you cannot avoid, and shouldn’t avoid! Some things will not always feel like the best use of your time. Of course, most people would rather have fun, travel or go water skiing than clean their room, go to the gym or review their finances. But that’s the balance of life!

Use this newfound motivation to enjoy and appreciate each moment. Whether you’re walking to work, doing the dishes or spending quality time with a friend. Each moment in your life should be enjoyed to the fullest extent. Do this by being present and prioritising meaningful moments every day. You do not have control over 100% of your time, so even in those other moments, you can still control your mindset.

Time Allows for Experiences & Relationships

A second thing to remember is that money can buy us very cool things and help open the door to cool opportunities and experiences. But it cannot buy all types of experiences. It definitely cannot buy the meaningful relationships that arise from spending time with someone. Our time, if spent well, can create treasurable memories and relationships. Connections with others, even for introverts alike, is a key part of life. Spending time with people we love is often the thing that brings us the most joy in life.

When you ask people what they regret most in life, very few (if any) people say they wish they worked longer hours and spent less time with family. We are social beings and surrounding ourselves with people we love and intentionally spending time with them is essential for our happiness.

Photo by Jungwoo Hong on Unsplash

Time Allows for Personal Growth & Development

Investing our time in personal growth and development can have a much greater impact on our well-being and happiness than accumulating wealth. Past a certain point, the benefits of increased financial wealth start to diminish. The positive benefits you get from more money wear off. What doesn’t wear off, however, are the benefits of mindfulness, serving others, and sharing quality time doing things that bring us joy and meaning.

You can bring a certain level of positivity to your life by accumulating more wealth, but the benefits it brings are finite. Your time, as limited as it is, can be spent in a much more impactful way. By choosing to spend your time learning and growing as an individual, you can give yourself whatever it is you desire. Whether you want to learn more technical skills, develop confidence and self-assertiveness.

Whether you want to feel more peace and calm in your life by working through your past experiences, self development can be a never-ending journey that brings more positivity, clarity and peace. We are constantly evolving and growing, so there is no upper limit to the expansion of your happiness, unlike there is with money alone. Therefore, your time spent developing yourself as an individual is worth as much (and considerably more) than your financial and material worth.

To Put it Minimally

  • In short, while money is certainly important and can provide us with certain conveniences and security, it’s time that is truly valuable.
  • By recognizing the importance of time, you can learn to build a meaningful life that brings you purpose and happiness. Your time is worth more than your money, so treat it as such!
  • Whether that means you start prioritising spending time with your family, overworking more hours, or you just begin to acknowledge the privilege that you have in being able to spend time doing what you want, making sure you are completely mindful, present and as full of gratitude as you can be in each moment is key.