As a husband and father of four kids with a demanding job; my time is limited and precious. This has become again clear to me lately. But it made me think of the following:
What are the resources at my disposal?
Other than time the next obvious resource is money. Money is limited and also precious (albeit, probably not as precious as time). But one resource that I have been neglecting and did not seem immediately apparent is: energy. Just as time and money, energy is also a limited resource that needs to be taken care of and managed.
Time, money and energy
These three resources seem to be the trifecta that are not only limited, but need some nurturing and attention in order not to be depleted. Each one of the three can also be used in either wise or foolish ways.
Time is one of those things, that is the great equalizer. Everybody has the same 24 hours a day at their disposal. The Queen, you and me. The main question is: How do you choose to use your time? I have to be honest with myself and say, that this resource is probably the one that I have the hardest time to manage.
For one I have many hats on, all of which demand a part of me and my time. All of them are important and require a piece of my day. Some of the “facets of my existence” inlude being a Christian, Husband, Father, Son, Brother,… etc (more about that here: http://www.swisspersonalfinance.com/personal-mission-statement ) – but:
I also find myself wasting time with meaningless things (like watching mindless YouTube videos, or checking and re-checking the news – especially during the Corona crisis).
Because I wanted to force myself to reduce my time with mindless things, I took pretty drastic measures: I am using an app-blocking software to block apps on my phone. For some of you this might seem really radical, but I look at it this way: Sometimes we are just not mature enough yet in some parts of our live, and just need some helping out.
It’s kind of like my “mature-older self” is parenting “my-not-so-mature-now self”.
|mature-older self||not-so-mature-now self|
The good thing about time is, that by saying no to something (like YouTube) you are also saying yes to something else. Such as writing for the blog, reading the book that is catching dust next to the bed, talking to your neighbor, etc.
Money is a little bit easier to manage for me personally, but it is the resource that is the hardest to come by. It is not generated, but traded. It requires hard work and wise choices.
It is a limited resource. It is usually exchanged for something else: work is exchanged for a wage and the wage is then exchanged for food or a service. In the most rare cases we win or inherit money, but that doesn’t happen to most people.
Really important: Money is a tool! That’s it. It is a all it is and all it should be. We should not love money or put our trust in it!
The Bible talks about the love of money in no uncertain terms:
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.Matthew 6:24
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.1 Timothy 6:10
As for me and my house, we will be wise with what we have entrusted with, we will continue to work hard and gather money in order to get to a point in our lives, where we can work without having to gather money.
Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.Proverbs 10:4
Finally there is Energy. It is the “live juice” that keeps us going. The health given to us. To replenish one’s physical energy there are a few things that we can positively influence. Sleep, food, and exercise.
Sleep is one of those things, that I severely neglected in my 20s. As an athlete morning practices started at 6 AM. That meant setting the alarm to 5:30 for 4 days a week. Then lectures from 9-noon. lunch, quick break or an afternoon class, before we had another two hour practice session in the afternoon. With regular school work on top of that I rarely went to bed before midnight on a weekday. That resulted in a very bad and sleep pattern of only five and a half hours a night.
With little kids this hasn’t gotten much better. I am thankful, that I seem to function ok with little sleep, and that we have had our kids young. But going forward that is definately something I would like to improve on.
I am so blessed and thankful to be married to a woman who is an good cook and also a bit of a health fanatic. Mrs. SPF500 has led the charge of making sure that Mr. SPF500 (aka me) and our four kids are fed a balanced, nutritious and healthy diet.
She makes sure we eat enough fresh veggies. There is always fruit in the house and we are reducing our carb intake.
For some of you this might be old news, but my wife introduced me to the three white poisons: salt, sugar, refined flour.
Salt I can reduce fairly easily, but sugar and flour are HARD. As a sweet-toothed italian reducing on refined flour products is especially hard. Basically everything is made with flour: Pane (bread), Minestrone (soup with pasta), pizza and of course pasta!
Exercising has many positive effects on our well-being. Working out can combat various health conditions, it controls weight, it has a positive effect on our mood and ironically boosts energy. Now that the summer months are slowly back I use the commute to hop on my bike and get my heart rate up.
Not only is it a great way to start the day, but I also like the clean cut between home and work (and vice-versa).
Can’t have it all?
I came across this little chart that shows how the three resources spread out over our lifetime. Interestingly one can’t have all three at all times. We are definitely in the adult phase. Money is not a concern and we have energy (unless one of the kids keeps us up at night). But we know that time is precious and need to be intentional with this scarce resource.
I found that having this illustration (albeit not perfect) in our mind, helps us prioritize things. Do I want to drive for 1 hour to the hardware store to buy a hammer that costs 5 francs, or do I just order the 7 franc hammer from Amazon? In this example: Amazon wins, every time.
Give me some feedback
How do you spend your resources? In which time of life are you? Please let me know in the comments or send me a message directly.