04/09/2014 10:00 EDT | Updated 06/09/2014 05:59 EDT

Treat Your Time Wisely and You'll Be Rewarded

I don't know about you but I love the longer and brighter days. Spring is in the air. It is a time for renewal and a time to recharge our batteries after a very long winter! I have a set of new short term goals around health and wellness or to increase balance in my life and to manage my time better. Most of my goals have little to do with making more money, although I always keep a close eye on my investments for buy and sell opportunities. When we pursue a goal or dream for the purpose of an economic gain or money grab, the value is lessened. Always look for soul in your goals.

What are your goals this spring? Are you looking to make more money or better manage your time? The reality is most of us can't fully account for either -- how we spend our money or how we spend our time. Both need managing. Like most working women, I feel time starved. My plate is full. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to get done all the things I need to get done. I am constantly making trade-offs. And, as an entrepreneur with a school aged child, I have less wiggle room.

Is more money the answer? Most of us feel we don't have enough of it. If I had more money would my life be more balanced and time better spent? I don't believe more money is the answer to a working woman's plight (unless you are on a fixed and modest income).

Some people believe that more time is needed. For example, if there was a 25th hour to tick the boxes more would get done. If we had extra time in the day would we really be more productive or just add more to the list? Executives will tell you time is their most precious commodity. They never give it away.

Some people will try to steal your time if you let them. They ask for a minute and steal an hour. Ouch. It's hard for many of us (women) to say "no" to requests. We can mindlessly give our time away in our quest to be helpful. However, when we become more conscious of the value of our time and increase our awareness of what lost time means, we may course correct and think twice about giving it away.

In the context of my business, I ask women to set aside one hour a week to focus on their personal finances. It doesn't really matter what they do -- balance their budgets, track spending, pay bills, read about a new investment opportunity or review their financial plan. A one hour investment per week is not a lot to ask of someone who seeks to increase their financial security.

Most people have a calendar that is not optimized. It has blank spaces meaning you are vulnerable to poachers or people who want your time to meet their needs. Your calendar is your best friend. An optimized calendar means that you control and manage how you spend your time. Use color-coded activities so you can differentiate between work, family, professional appointments, etc.

Each and every slot in your calendar must be full, including time for you. Every activity should be fully accounted for. Even your spare time and time you need to drive your children to an after-school program or class. Why? You control everything. And before you accept a new task or activity you have to check in with your calendar to see if you have time. If you have to give up something on your calendar, you will have to make a conscious choice.

Trust me when I say you will think twice before you act. And remember, it is OK to say "no" to a request. People will understand and get over it. When you manage your calendar you manage yourself. This is mindful living.

Make your life more bullet proof. So when there is a drive by or if someone wants to hijack your time, you are in control. If you can manage your time with precision, you will get more done, find more balance and will find the gift of time. Next time, I will discuss the value of harnessing time in the context of investing our money.


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