In this post, I'm sharing both my perspective - and that of my friend Becca Rich. Becca is amazing and works as the Holistic Time Coach.
Today we're talking all about TIME and MONEY - two resources that many of us find to be in short supply.
If you're looking to improve your relationship with time or money - or both! Read on!
How do you see the connection between time and money?
Time and money are tools that societies have developed with the intention to help us live more collaboratively. The main difference between them though is money is completely invented by humans, while time is inherently natural–the sun rising and setting every day, standardized and commoditized.
Just like any other tool, both time and money can be used in a healthy and beneficial way on a collective and individual level, or in a corrupt and scarce way.
When an individual has enough time and money, most people would say they have a good quality of life. Almost everyone I work with as a time coach, as well as myself personally, is aiming for this sweet spot. Also, when an organization uses their time and money in a healthy way, they are able to make a positive difference in the lives they impact and one would most likely say that is the definition of success.
How often is this sufficient sweet spot achieved (or even noticed), individually or collectively? Rarely, unfortunately.
Why? I believe for two main reasons.
- The complex relationship that exists between us and the two.
Time and money are deeply intertwined: How we spend our time, impacts the amount of money we have. Likewise, how we spend our money, impacts the amount of time we have. Often the more we have, the more we’re able to create.
How each of us experience, use, and feel about both time and money are impacted by who we are as humans, our experiences, and our outlook on the world.
- Corruption and scarcity.
There’s a lot that can be said about why, how, and where. But if I had to summarize it: Our economic system, as we know it, is completely dependent on how much of our time (human life) can bought as cheaply as possible to turn into a profit. This has created a society that is individualistic, competitive, and highlights a scarce relationship when it comes to our time and money.
Over the years, we’ve been taught to equate our influence and worth as humans with how much money or time we have. When one doesn’t have, or doesn’t feel like they have, enough money, time, or both, there is often a felt sense of failure.
There is of course a relationship between time and money. We use time to earn money. We use money to buy ourselves time.
But what’s most striking to me about both time and money - is how many of us have a relationship with both time and money which is defined by scarcity.
There’s never enough time. There’s never enough money.
But what’s interesting is that while our immediate time and money resources often feel exceptionally constrained, we often assume that time and money resources will be more abundant in the future.
These beliefs might sound something like: I can’t save for retirement right now, but I’m sure it’ll all work out. I don’t have time to rest and recuperate right now, but as soon as I [insert goal here] I’ll be able to.
The trick is, of course, that all we ever have is the present moment.
How you are — and how you think — in the present moment is quite likely how you will be and how you’ll think in future present moments.
So what to do? We train ourselves to think, and relate, differently to money and time.
I believe this retraining begins with a deep reflection on who you are and what you want. What is important to you? How do you want to be leading your life?
Answering these questions is hard work. And it isn’t easy.
Aligning your use of time and money with a deeply meaningful and fulfilling experience of living is not a quick fix. It is a life-long practice.
But it’s incredibly rewarding and worthwhile.
What can I control when it comes to time/money?
There’s a lot out there we don’t have control over in our world. However, because money and time are human constructs, I believe we have control of quite a bit.
We have control over:
- What we do with the time and money we have. We get to vote with our minutes and dollars for the kind of world we want to see.
- How we think and feel about time and money.
- How much is enough in our lives.
I also know the overwhelm or apathy that can set in when thinking about how big and messy the world is can melt away when we focus on what we do have control over. How might you focus on what you have control over?
I have good news and bad news.
The BAD news is that you can control virtually nothing when it comes to time, money (or anything else in life).
The GOOD news is that you can control virtually nothing when it comes to time, money (or anything else in life).
Much as we might try and resist this inconvenient fact, we have the ability to control only two things: our attention and our actions.
That’s it. Your attention and your actions. That’s all you’ve got. What are you paying attention to right now? You can control where you direct that attention. What action are you taking right now? You can control that action.
But there’s a catch! (Isn’t there always a catch?) You can only control your attention and actions IN THE PRESENT MOMENT.
Literally everything other than your current-moment actions and attention is outside of your control.
But this is actually good news - it can be a relief to recognize we can only do what we can do - and we can let go of trying to control the rest.
There is SO MUCH in your financial life that’s out of your control. Pretty much everything! That’s ok. You can let that go.
And then… let’s focus on where you can direct your attention… and what intentional actions you can perform to begin your journey to financial health and wholeness.
What is holistic time management?
There are millions of blog posts, articles, podcast episodes, and books out there giving advice around time management and productivity. However, even with all the advice out there, how many people truly feel like they have enough time and are able to spend their time how they want to? Millions of people. Why?
Regular ol’ time management has one main goal: Be more productive and efficient at work. With the general undertone or implication to make more money, oftentimes for your company or boss. Traditional time management and productivity advice says be more productive at work and get everything done first to earn, self-care, rest or time-off.
But we know that to-do lists never end and believing we can work really hard to get ahead only leads to stress, overwhelm, burnout, and often less money or success. That’s where holistic time management comes in.
Holistic time management’s one main goal is: Spend your time in a way that makes you healthy and fulfilled.
Time management is flipped on its head and says you can get everything done easier and achieve everything you want when you prioritize your well-being first. Because when you’re well-rested, healthy, happy, energized, and taken care of…time becomes abundant.
What is holistic financial planning?
Holistic financial planning takes care of you as a whole human being. It doesn’t impose unrealistic budgets (or any other unrealistic constraints) upon you, because it incorporates your humanity.
The whole point of financial planning is to build a better life for you as you actually are - not as you (or anyone else) thinks you should be.
Holistic financial planning begins with you and your life. What do you want your experience of living to be like? What do you want to spend your time doing? How much do you want to work? Beyond work, what else do you need time, money and energy for?
Holistic financial planning includes working to let go of productivity as self-worth (thank you, Brené Brown). We then intentionally structure meaningful and financially rewarding work as one part of your overall life plan.
Once we’ve thoughtfully defined the life you want, we get about the work of structuring your financial resources to support that great life. That is actually the easy part!
Sure, there are things to learn and work to do, but the hardest work is getting clear about your vision for your life. Don’t worry - I’ve got some tools to help you bring some clarity and definition to your great life.
If you had to pick one tool to share, which do you think is most impactful?
There is so much pressure, information, and noise out there telling us how to best organize and spend our time. There are a ton of tools… and I believe they all can work.
The real tool is who you are, your core values, and what makes you tick. You don’t have to go searching outside of yourself. Pause, tune out the noise, ask yourself how you want to spend your time… and then do that.
Sounds simple, but oftentimes the most simple thing is the most powerful.
As a holistic time coach I get to help people leverage who they are in order to live more consciously, fully, and joyfully in their relationship with time. The work I do with my clients is profound because it all starts with getting to know who they are in relation to their time. It’s a time management tool, skill, and hack all wrapped up into one.
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Engaging with your money stuff and structuring your financial life - whether you hire someone like me to help you build a holistic financial plan - is NOT a one and done project. Rather, navigating our money is an ongoing practice.
For that reason, I believe that cultivating a consistent practice of engaging with your money and your finances is the single most powerful tool out there. Especially as a small business owner, you have myriad financial tasks to execute and money matters to contemplate.
For (almost) everyone I suggest the practice of a weekly “money date.” The money date isn’t an original idea, but I sorta have my own take on it. You can hear me speak in greater detail about the money date here.
The core of a money date is a weekly, scheduled time for you to sit with your money stuff — and see what comes up.
This isn’t a time to actually accomplish anything. Rather, it’s a time to simply be present, to bring your awareness to some financial matter. And be curious about what you discover. Curious about the external details. And curious about what internal, emotional responses and bodily sensations arise within you.
We engage to make better friends with our emotional responses, especially those which are a bit more challenging to hold (like fear, anxiety, or worry). By holding this space for exploration, your next, empowering money steps will begin to reveal themselves.
What’s a time and money quote you live by?
I have two I have to share:
I grew up in a false scarcity of time and money, but it felt just as real. I’m continuously working on healing my scarcity relationship and this quote helps me do that. It’s firm, convincing, and direct… all of which I need to make my overthinking mind take a pause and say “oh, yeah… that’s true.”
Apparently Pema Chodron has deeply impacted our relationship with time and money, Dave! Love it. As a buddhist, Pema reminds me that life is short, uncertain, and scary as hell. That’s why I live by this quote. It’s the solution required to heal scarcity and fear.
This quote has nothing to do with time or money. And it has everything to do with time and money.
That’s from Pema Chödrön’s book The Places That Scare You. And I’ve found money is often a place that scares us!
That's a Wrap 🎬
That's it for this today's post. I know we covered a lot and yet it is but one small part of navigating the entirety of your financial life.
If this all feels a bit much, give me a shout. I work one-on-one with therapists from all over the country helping them address issues just like the ones we talked about today! Learn the different ways you might work with me on my services page.
Turning Point is a registered investment advisor in the state of California. Please visit turningpointhq.com for important information and additional disclosures. This article is provided for general information and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes financial, legal or tax advice; a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security; or investment advisory services. I encourage you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Read the full Disclaimer here.