Time is as important as money

By Malavika Varadan, managing director, The Hive

Published: Thu 7 Jan 2021, 10:06 PM

Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul podcast starts with a beautiful line. The greatest gift you can give yourself is the gift of time.

Last year’s biggest gift to me was time, and as markets go back to normal, as days and places around me get busier, I finally myself clutching desperately to the little time I steal for myself.

In my previous life (that’s what I call life before 2020), I would find my days bookend-ed with incomplete lists of things to do. No matter how hard I tried, I would find myself saying at the end of every day — that I have too much to do and too little time.

Perhaps that’s a factor of my chaotic work style, maybe it’s a millennial issue that stems from being constantly distracted. Maybe it’s called ambition, always trying to do a bit more than you can. Whatever it boils down to, I find many like me in this busy city. Lost like Alice, yet running like the white rabbit through wonderland. One of my big new year resolutions is to treat time the way I treat money — save as much of it as possible. While I may not be an expert, here’s a list of the things I will try to achieve this goal.

1. Every penny counts: Like a child excited by the rattle of coins in her piggy bank, I have been trying to give myself five minutes every once in a while. Sitting in my car and singing my favourite song, taking five minutes extra before I go to bed at night to appreciate the winter chill or calling my family or friends for a quick laugh. These five minutes add up. By the end of the week, I find I’ve saved a good hour to do all the things I never have time to.

2. Saying I am sorry but I can’t afford this, or I’m not interested: Just like I do when I walk past obscenely expensive handbags in the mall, or say no to credit card sales people, I have come to terms with saying , “Look, you may want to meet and spend three hours chatting about this new idea you have, but I can’t afford this right now.” The first time I said no to a meeting I didn’t want to go to, I felt like a petty criminal — thrilled but guilty. I am a seasoned no-sayer now.

3. Understanding that my time is precious : It took me a while to understand that not everything that needed my time would bear fruit immediately. Some things, as the wise say, need time. And the most important thing to ask is: is it worth it?

4. Pay yourself first: Different schedules work for different people, but I have found that getting my “me time” first thing in the morning, allows me to feel less stretched and bitter through the rest of the day.

I feel hopeful about the future and strengthened by the past. But if there is one thing last year has taught us, it is that time on earth is valuable and must be treated such. Good luck on saving you some time this year!


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