In earlier generations in America, it seemed there was an inordinate emphasis placed on finding a good job or career and working hard, devoting as much time as possible to climbing that ladder. Then one day, so they said, everything will be great. Unfortunately, the millions of broken marriages and families of those who took that prescription stand as a grave warning to the consequences of a life lived out of balance.
For years since, many marriage and family experts have suggested that, at the minimum, we should all make a committed effort to devote as much time and energy to our family time as we do with our work. If you are like a lot of people, though, this makes for quite the struggle. In fact, the pendulum has swung far in the other direction to where many have cut back too much or altogether from work and have found there are consequences to the all play and no work lifestyle.
Clearly, seeking a balance between time spent at work and home should be a goal we all strive for. If we all agree on that, perhaps we can improve on this goal even more by learning to invest our time and not just spend it.
What's the difference, you ask? Perhaps you believe there is not a big difference between the two. I get that. It's just a couple of words, right? Well, maybe.
It really comes down to attitude.
For a lot of people, spending time requires little if any concentration or focus. There is really no emotional investment involved. And trust me, the people you are with can detect it.
Investing your time, on the other hand, demonstrates that you are really engaged. It conveys that you are intentional and desire to be there. The benefits to investing your time payoff big time! Your family, friends and you will all be better off for it. Plus, your relationships will grow deeper and more intimate.
So how do you invest your time? Simple!
Be intentional. Investing your time starts with planning and a decision to be there. Often, we have to just do things without having experienced the benefit from it. Just move by faith.
Think in terms of money. Most everyone would never enjoy losing money. With that in mind, think of spending time as taking dollar bills out of your pocket and letting them blow away in the wind. Investing your time can be thought of as taking your money and buying a good blue-chip stock. The dividends are huge!
REALLY be there. When you are investing time with your family or friends, keep your mind on the moment. Silence your smartphone and don't talk about school or work. Learn to think about how you can be a blessing to those you are with.
A time for everything. King Solomon wrote in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiates that there is a time or season for everything. Put another way, that task or project will be there when you get back. Just remember where you are.
As you grow older, you'll understand more clearly the value of investment as time seems to go by more quickly. The sooner you learn to invest your time, the sooner you'll experience a more satisfying life.