Trade

You can’t have everything; but you can have anything

It’s a life of trade-offs.  If you pay someone to cut the grass while you work late at the office, you’re trading one job for another.  If you’re paid overtime, you might come out ahead in the trade. If you pay someone to babysit the kids while you go on a business trip, you are again trading one activity for another. You may or may not come out ahead, depending on the frequency of the trades and how you value the two activities.

To barter effectively, you must be aware of your values. Don’t trade indiscriminately.  Determine what is important to you in life and prioritize those tasks or activities.  If something is important to you and you don’t have the time to spend on it, ask yourself what you could trade for it.  Is it really important to spend more time with the family? Perhaps you can trade money for it by taking a lower paid job with fewer hours.  Or trade recreation for it by giving up a few TV programs, computer games or time on the Internet.

Is it important to be physically fit?  Perhaps you can trade a few dinner meetings, some newspapers, a magazine or two for the time it takes to walk every morning.  Is money really important to you? Perhaps you can trade some personal time or travel time, or social activities for a part-time job.

It’s a life of trade-offs. You cannot create more time; there are only 24 hours in a day.  And it’s being completely used up already.  Sure, you can manage your time better, become more efficient, and do things faster.  But there’s a limit to how efficient you can become – even with the help of technology. The important thing to realize is that you have complete control over the use of your time.  It’s a case of sacrificing something of lesser value in order to spend the time on something more meaningful.

Time management experts will never be able to do it for you. You are the only expert there is when it comes to deciding what is important to you.  And you are the only one who really knows what it is you can give up. Sometimes the sacrifice doesn’t have to be too great. You might be able to give up shuffling papers, being indecisive, procrastinating, daydreaming and all those other timewasters that time management experts talk about.  But you’ll never eliminate them completely. And the amount of time you save may actually be negli­gible.

The real payoff is in the trade-offs.  Large chunks of time can be released by simply deciding that some things are not all that important when compared to those things that can be achieved or experienced in the same amount of time.

Want to write a book? Travel around the world? Become a lawyer, doctor or an expert in a specific discipline? Want to be president of your company? Fluent in two or three languages? A leader of your country? Want to be a successful entrepreneur? A super parent? Missionary? Prayer warrior? Million­aire? Decide what it is you really want. Then decide what you are willing to trade in order to get it.  You can’t have everything.

But you can have anything.