One of my goals for the new year is to ask why more often. This is driven by the idea to continue reflecting on how I spend my time in order to better focus it on things that matter most to me. When it comes to financial independence, the why for many people is around time. Time to pursue interests, travel, and do more things they want to do – or more of things they enjoy already. The next why is more to the point: why aren’t you doing those things now?
Although I’d like to say I’m living my life to the fullest, I often say “I’ll do that later”. This could even be for something that is fun, exciting and living for today. For example, I haven’t been hiking yet in our month out in Utah – something I wanted to do after the move. I can make excuses (it’s too cold, I have too much else to do), but in the end, it’s all how about how we spend our earned time.
How Do You Earn Time?
I’ve chosen to focus Minafi mostly on investing, minimalism and mindfulness. It’s not because those are the fastest path to financial independence. With extreme frugality, side hustles and career advancement you could add a ton of money to your bank account far faster.
I’ve focused on these three areas because I think they allow you explore the rest of your life to the fullest! There is one thing these areas have in common – they grant you more time for everything else in life.
By investing, you shave years off your working career, granting you more time in retirement.
By incorporating minimalism, you have less time spent today taking care of and maintaining your possessions.
By embracing mindfulness, you focus more on the moment, with the hope of making more of them count.
These are 3 examples prominent in my mind for how to earn back time, but they’re far from the only ways. You can earn time doing anything from Sunday Meal Prep to xeriscaping your yard. After years of programming fulltime, looking for ways to optimize my time and make less work for myself has become a passion (can laziness be a passion?). These three areas are ones that I’ve found to be some of the most impactful while taking the least time. What to do with this time is another story.
When you imagine what will make you the most fulfilled right now, or in the next 5, 10, 15 years or even further – that’s what I want you to have time for today. Depending on your list, a great many of these could be looked into right now. Listing out these areas of life that I want to enjoy was the motivation behind the article Why I’m Going for FIO. This helped me understand just how many dreams I have and take those dreams into account with my FI number plans.
Make a Day Off List
When you have a day off, what do you do? If you’re like me, it’s usually not planned out ahead of time. I personally have a tendency to plan things that need to get done rather than to plan things that would make me happier.
This past weekend it snowed here in Salt Lake City. Browsing my friends feeds on Instagram, I saw all kinds of fun I hadn’t even thought of that inspired me with some ideas to do next time. That got me thinking: let’s make a list of things we really want to do that we could just pick up and jump on given an open day. Considering it a Getting-Fun-Done list if you will.
- Go sledding with Mrs. Minafi
- Go on a hike
- Go to the planetarium
- Find a local place for great ramen
- Try a Harry Potter themed escape room (yes, there’s one in SLC!)
- Take a ski lesson
- Programming an investing visualization for Minafi
Next time you’ve earned some time for yourself – whether it’s a day off, or time that you’ve managed to accumulate through other means, take a look back at your Get-Fun-Done list and try something!
What do you do to earn time back in your life? What would be on your list to do when you’ve earned time?