They say time is money. But actually, time is far more valuable than money can ever be.
Think about it. Although we don’t know how long we have on this earth, we all know our time is limited. One day, it will run out. And no matter how much money or power you may have, nothing is going to bring back the time you have spent.
In lots of ways, money is a stand-in for time. And money is important. We all need to eat, to have a place to live, and to experience life in ways that only money can provide.
For many of us, that means going to work and exchanging our time for money.
Still, some people never lose sight of the fact that time is more valuable. And a study by UCLA and the University of Pennsylvania found that people who value time above money are happier than those who value money more than time.
Plus, when you value time over money, it makes you live in ways that maximize your time, and can lead to some incredible experiences.
Here are some of the things you’ll experience when you shift your mindset from chasing money to freeing up your time.
1) They get more than money from their work
Valuing time over money doesn’t mean quitting your job and going to live in the forest somewhere — unless that’s what you want it to mean.
Valuing your time isn’t so much about how much you work as it is about the kind of work you do.
Psychologist Ashley Whillans writes that people who value time over money often work the same amount of hours as those who value money more.
And it’s also true that they often make more money, too.
That’s because they choose careers that give them more than just a paycheck.
They focus on their values and principles to guide them toward a career where they can make a difference, whether it’s helping others, learning new skills themselves, or following their passions.
2) They value their relationships more
Personal relationships are like plants in your garden. They require time and attention to grow into everything they have it in them to be.
If you spend all your time chasing money, your relationships are bound to suffer.
While you may think you can have it all, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of trying to get rich and thinking that you will then have the time and luxury to work on your relationships.
Unfortunately, by then, it may be too late.
People who understand that time is the greatest resource they will ever have make the effort to work on their personal relationships now, not tomorrow.
As a result, they tend to have richer and more fulfilling relationships than people who are busy chasing dollars.
3) They analyze their habits
It’s easy to get stuck in a routine. And often, habits are one of the major factors that determine the quality of life we enjoy.
Unfortunately, bad habits can be just as sticky as good ones, if not more so. And our bad habits can shape our destiny to keep us from living the life we want.
I found this in my own life when my phone started keeping track of how much time I spent on social media.
I was spending up to 20 hours a week mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram notifications that made me unhappy far more often than they made me happy.
But there are other, even more harmful habits that can hold you back from a fulfilling life.
In this eye-opening video, the shaman Rudá Iandé explains how our negative habits can have a startling impact on the quality of our lives.
He also explains how we can break free of negative habits and instead develop more positive habits that can help us use our time better.
Watching the video helped me identify my own bad habits and focus on using my time more constructively.
Check out the video here if you want to learn how to shed toxic habits and develop better ones.
4) They explore their interests
People who value time over money don’t put a dollar value on everything. That means they see nothing wrong with exploring their existing interests and developing new ones.
Sure, you can stay at work and make a bit more money answering emails or making sales calls. But why do that when you could go sailing or camp under the desert stars?
The people who truly understand the value of time use that time to make themselves happy in whatever way seems best to them.
That makes them some of the happiest people you’ll ever meet.
5) They buy experiences, not things
People often forget that money has no use in and of itself. It’s only useful because it can buy you other things.
Those other things might be actual things. A big-screen TV. A fancy car. A luxurious house.
Or it could be experiences, like traveling the world and visiting family and friends.
As it turns out, studies show that people who spend their money on experiences are usually happier than those who spend them on material items.
It makes sense when you think about it. That car will break down, that TV may stop working, but you’ll always remember that magical trip you took with the people who mean the most to you.
6) They know their values
It takes a certain level of self-belief to break away from our society’s obsession on money and focus on time instead.
So maybe it’s not a surprise that people who do that understand themselves really well.
Understanding that time is more important than money allows you to also question other values you’ve been taught.
This makes you stronger in your beliefs and willing to stand out from the crowd when necessary.
7) They look for efficiency
My dad says I’m lazy for having a robot vacuum. I just call it efficient.
The thing is, everything has a cost. I may have spent about $400 on my robot vacuum, but vacuuming takes me about an hour every time I do it. If I make $50 an hour, I only need to use the vacuum eight times before it has paid for itself.
This habit of being efficient with your time is something people who understand the true value of time often practice.
It’s not just the monetary value of your time, either. It’s the experiences you could have in that time that you won’t if you are wasting it on chores, work, or something else that means nothing to you.
8) They are open to their spiritual side
Valuing your time means understanding that time is like a currency. If you spend it on one thing, you can’t spend it on something else.
In other words, if you spend all your time at the office, you’re not leaving much time to develop your personal relationships or explore your spiritual side.
The thing is, human beings are spiritual animals.
That doesn’t mean you need to adopt a religion or join a cult. But it does mean you will never be truly fulfilled as a person unless you get to grips with the spiritual aspect of your being.
Unfortunately, the world is full of fake gurus willing to sell you salvation. And in the quest for spiritual truth, we all develop some bad habits and strange ideas.
For example, when I first started trying to understand my spiritual side, I was often held back by the idea that if I were truly enlightened, I wouldn’t get sad or angry or upset.
This is how people fall into the trap of toxic positivity and rejecting the parts of themselves they don’t like.
This incredible course from Rudá Iandé will help you to break free of toxic spirituality. I mentioned it earlier.
This noted shaman will show you how to free your mind from the useless chatter of popular psychology and spirituality and get to the core truth of who you really are.
9) They don’t try to know everything
People who understand the value of time are often relentlessly curious and open to new experiences. At the same time, they know they don’t know everything.
I learned this the hard way when I ran my own business. They say that if you want the job done right, you have to do it yourself. But if you understand the value of time, you also understand the value of trusting others to do things.
You can’t be everywhere at once. And if you value your time, you will rely on the expertise of others to free up more time for you to enjoy living.
Start valuing your time
Hopefully by now, you can see why valuing time over money will give you a much more fulfilling life.
Break free of your old conceptions about what life can be and embrace time as the most valuable thing you will ever have.