If you read the news you might believe that the world is in a bad place, but the fact is we are still living in one of the best quality of life times in history. Our tools for productivity and managing our time have never been better. Our financial tools and knowledge is the greatest it has ever been and easier to access than ever. You would think with these advancements that we should have more time and money than we did before. However, you would find the opposite is true. People are always connected now so there is a strain on finding time to disconnect and recharge. Money is so tied up into debt and spending that the stress of finances makes it seem like there is not enough. Shifting from the Industrial Age to the Information Age has brought many good changes and also many challenges. Things we did every day and took for granted because they became so routine have been completely changed and flipped around. Some for better and some for worse. Let’s focus on each topic one at a time and take a deeper dive on where time and money are today and where they really should be.
The biggest shift regarding time going to the Information Age is the fact that we are connected 24/7. There are no more boundaries like there was in the past. Before, you went to work, did your hours, and came home. These days you could work all day if you wanted to at any hour. That freedom is great and can be an advantage, however it can also be a cause of stress. You can be responding to emails and phone calls anytime, but is 8 o’ clock at night when you are putting your kids to bed the best time? Or if you are out with friends instead of focusing on them you may find yourself doing work. This issue doesn’t just affect your work life. It also affects your personal life. Social media for instance (or the internet in general) can be a time drain unless you define what you are doing and set boundaries yourself. One solution to this would be to set time limits or deadlines on yourself. For example you are only allowed to check email for 30 minutes or no matter what at 10 o’clock electronics go off. Another idea that has really worked for me is to limit what apps I put on my phone. This helps me for 2 reasons. One, even if I can do something on my phone, that does not mean it is the easiest, best, or fastest experience. Some things are better with a bigger screen, keyboard, or more processing power. Secondly, it limits my distractions and forces me to do the things that I should be doing on my phone like going through my to do list/calendar, being social (but not using social media), and reading.
When it comes to money, things have changed especially in the workspace, but also in personal finances as well. In the workspace we do not have the same job security that we used to and we are working in general for less money (unless it is skilled or knowledge work). Being financially secure/independent/debt free whatever you want to call it is more essential today than any point before in time. Since we are changing jobs more frequently, when opportunities present themselves, it is imperative that your finances are not what holds you back from taking these opportunities. If you are saddled with debt and can’t move or cover the costs of switching to a new job, you might have to say no or go deeper into debt which just continues the cycle. There are plenty of debates now about whether college is worth it or not as well. Some think the cost is too high for the return you receive and you should go out and just get experience. The other side thinks that the numbers back it up that going to school will benefit you in the long run. One thing to consider is that there is so much free information these days that if you want to get knowledgeable on subject, you do not necessarily need to go to college. If you are debating going back to school, before you apply, see if the cost to benefit ratio makes sense for you. Can I learn this field or subject using mostly free resources or connections? Or is getting into a program a faster track to get me where I want to be. College overall is a good thing and it has its benefits. You just need to make sure you are going for the right reasons and can afford it.
So why are we in this situation that we’re in and how can we get out of it? That is something I hope to address with the blog and in future articles. I want to make you think differently about how you manage and use your time, I want you to realize there is a cost to your time, and I want to change your thinking about your finances so that you take responsibility and understand how some things make you money and other things take your money. We should not feel out of control with our time and money, because as was stated in the beginning, it has never been easier to manage these two areas. There is just more noise and confusion that needs to be cut out to get to what is most essential and to learn what works for you.