time management

Time is All We Have: 3 Ways to Increase Return on Investment

Do not squander time for that is the stuff life is made of.
– Benjamin Franklin

Return on investment (ROI) is a term you hear frequently, usually in relation to business and finance. The goal (obviously) is to maximize return on the money you invest. The implications of this concept go much deeper when you start to think of time as your primary investment rather than money. Everything you do is an investment of time. When you watch television, you’re making an investment in entertainment. If you watch a show that sucks, you’ve made a bad investment and receive a poor return for your time.

In many ways time is more valuable than money. You’ll always have the opportunity to make more money, but once time has been spent it’s gone forever. When you think of time as a commodity, and all of your actions as investments, it changes the way you approach every day decisions.

We spend time in many different ways: working, eating, sleep, exercise, entertainment, etc. All of these things are important. When we start investing too heavily in one area and not enough in another we create problems for ourselves. The key is investing our time in a manner that perfectly balances each of these areas and forms a productive and pleasurable life.

Deciding how to invest our time is a formidable task. Unlike business, there are no percentages or spreadsheets to reference. We have to rely on experience and intuition. I’m far from a master at this, but these are a few principals I use to guide my decision making.

1. Look for Multiple Positives

A multiple positive is an activity that generates a positive return in more than one area. These are great for ROI because they multiply returns and incur fewer losses. One of my best multiple positives is working on this website. It’s something that I find extremely entertaining, it contributes to a small (but steadily growing) stream of income, and it develops skills that I’ll be able to use the rest of my life like writing, web design, and networking.

Every individual will have different multiple positives, the important part is finding ones that work for you. A multiple positive for a software developer might be working on open source or a personal project. It can even be as simple as playing basketball, a fun game that’s also great exercise. The key to finding multiple positives is finding areas where different positive actions intersect. If I can find a way to get paid to eat delicious food I’ll be golden.

2. Avoid Multiple Negatives

Multiple negatives are the same as multiple positives, except the complete opposite. These are activities that detract from multiple areas of life. One of my favorite weaknesses is going out drinking. This hurts me in three ways: the time spent isn’t productive, drinks are expensive, and the effect of staying up late and being hungover usually ruins the following day. If I don’t have a good time, this is basically the worst possible scenario.

I’m not saying you should never go out and have a good time. To be happy we need socialization and excitement. My point is that we should always try to minimize the negative impact of our actions. I try to do this by minimizing the amount I drink and only going out when I know it will be enjoyable. Often we get caught in a pattern of poor investment. Over time, the benefits fade away and what remains is mostly negative, but we keep doing it out of habit. This can be avoided by periodically analyzing our behavior. Is it still a good investment, or is it time to make a change?

3. Utilize the Power of Compounding

I’m sure that everyone reading this understands the power of compound interest. When you invest money you earn interest. Then you start earning interest on the money you earned from interest. Over many years this continues to compound and eventually leads to a very large sum of money. The same concept applies to time. If you invest time by working hard when you’re young, you put yourself in a position to succeed that will continue compounding for the rest of your life. If you waste time when you’re young, you can’t make up for it later because you’ve lost the opportunity to utilize the power compounding.

Many people my age fail realize this, in fact I didn’t, or at least I didn’t act on it, until fairly recently. The primary reason is that we’re trapped in the childish mindset. As a child, your only responsibility is entertaining yourself. You needn’t worry about investing your time because Mommy and Daddy are there to take care of you and they’re usually happy as long as you stay out of trouble. These days many young adults ride the childish mindset straight through college. After graduation we’re expected to adopt the adult mindset (and the responsibility of investing our time) instantaneously. A lot of people don’t get it, and every year they waste trying to extend the college days is an opportunity that can never be replaced.

Many people think their time isn’t valuable when they aren’t working, so they throw it away on activities that have a poor return on investment and don’t build for the future. The truth is, no one else is going to consider your time valuable until you do. If you want to acquire the wealth that will provide the freedom to live your ideal lifestyle, start thinking of every decision as an investment. Nothing is insignificant.

One mental model that can help you make better decisions is imagining that your life is a corporation and you’re the only employee. If you were the CEO of John Doe Incorporated, and were obliged to maximize profit on behalf of investors, what would you make yourself do? You’ll find that this sort of analysis simplifies many decisions and increases return on investment.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

51 Responses to Time is All We Have: 3 Ways to Increase Return on Investment

  1. I’m grateful for the blog post. Thanks Again. Keep writing!.

  2. Stephenpep says:

    viagra otc viagra without a doctor prescription viagra doses 200 mg

  3. JamesHib says:

    viagra discount buy cheap sildenafil no prescription viagra

  4. KevinUsaby says:

    cialis generic availability generic cialis for sale cialis erections

  5. DanielNug says:

    roman viagra viagra for sale viagra 100mg price

  6. Wallyblula says:

    best male enhancement buy medications online natural drugs for ed

  7. Wallyblula says:

    best medication for ed cheap ed pills cheap erectile dysfunction pills

  8. Stevendub says:

    viagra canada viagra roman viagra

  9. Stevendub says:

    viagra generic viagra canada where to buy viagra

  10. Stevendub says:

    viagra price generic viagra viagra cost

  11. Stevendub says:

    buy viagra online usa generic viagra online cheapest viagra online

  12. Danielzef says:

    diabetes and ed ed online pharmacy 100mg viagra without a doctor prescription

  13. Danielzef says:

    viagra without doctor prescription amazon ED Pills Without Doctor Prescription medication for ed dysfunction

  14. Danielzef says:

    prescription drugs canada buy online ed medicine online medicine for ed

  15. Danielzef says:

    ed men Cheap Erection Pills tadalafil without a doctor’s prescription

  16. Danielzef says:

    cheap drugs online ED Pills Without Doctor Prescription buy generic ed pills online

  17. Danielzef says:

    prescription drugs online ED Pills ed medications list

  18. NathanHoake says:

    does cialis lower your blood pressure cialis online how to take cialis

  19. NathanHoake says:

    what is cialis cialis cialis in canada

  20. WilliamRox says:

    best ed solution cheap medication online hims ed pills

  21. WilliamRox says:

    cheap pet meds without vet prescription canadian drugs online buy prescription drugs from canada

  22. Roberttop says:

    speedy cash payday loans online payday loans direct lenders

  23. Roberttop says:

    buy sildenafil online sildenafil pharmacy

  24. Roberttop says:

    buy cheap tadalafil tadalafil online

  25. Roberttop says:

    tadalafil for sale tadalafil pharmacy

  26. StephenNup says:

    canadian pharmacy generic viagra viagra canada viagra pills

  27. LarryCague says:

    zithromax drug zithromax cost canada zithromax 250 mg

  28. LarryCague says:

    how to buy viagra canadian pharmacy viagra cheapest viagra online

  29. Good web site you have got here.. It’s hard to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!! ラブドール

  30. sex doll says:

    sex doll low price Make Utilization Of Grown-up Sex Dolls And Fulfill Your Sexual Needs

  31. anyhill says:

    Very well written information. It will be useful to everyone who usess it, including myself. Keep doing what you are doing – looking forward to more posts.

  32. 스모크밤683 says:

    The best e-cigarette liquid site in Korea. Korea’s lowest-priced 전자담배 액상 사이트 e-cigarette liquid.
    스모크밤683 스모크밤

  33. mhePst says:


  34. Rahul Shastri says:

    Your article has answered the question I was wondering about!

    Speak To Astrologer In Jalandhar

  35. Keylife says:

    You have lots of great content that is helpful to gain more knowledge. Best wishes.

    Car key cover

  36. novelwebsolution says:

    I’ve discovered It absolutely helpful and it has aided me out loads.

    Flipkart Account Management Services In Jaipur

  37. novelwebcreation says:

    Thanks for the blog filled with so many information.

    E-Commerce Photography In Jaipur

  38. maharanacab says:

    nice article , really impressive

    Jaipur Sightseeing Package

  39. harivanshtours says:

    Keep posting such things.
    Best Taxi Service In Jaipur

  40. companysuggestion says:

    This is a great blog and I have to congratulate you on the content.

    Private Limited Company Registration

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.