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  • Brian Pendergast

Spending Time vs. Investing Time

Most everything in life has a cost; whether it’s fiscal or not, nothing in life is free. Most of these costs are time. In order to get something we want, we need to invest our energy and more importantly, our time. We all have a limited amount of time and how we use it dictates what we are able to achieve. How do we get the most out of our time? There is a simple question you can ask yourself to find out: Are you investing your time or are you spending it?

When you invest your time, you are putting in the effort and work towards the process of achieving your goals. Examples of investing your time include:

  • studying for school, studying game film, or studying deficiencies in your team as a coach

  • practicing your sport or craft, whether it be a music instrument, computer program, etc.

  • training for your sport through off-the-field conditioning

  • prepping food to fuel your body what it needs

When you are spending your time, arguably, you are wasting it. Just take a look at your phone’s screen time setting. What you see might surprise you. I’m betting you probably have spent lots of time doing something unnecessary on your phone. Those precious moments are gone, squandered on any number of the following examples:

  • playing video games

  • playing on your phone

  • social media

  • watching tv or YouTube videos

  • lounging on the couch or in bed

  • hanging out with friends

  • poor time management skills

Nick Saban, Alabama Head Football Coach, tells athletes:

“When you are spending your time, you’re basically wasting your time. When you’re spending time, you’re playing Xbox. And I know all of you will say ‘I need my relaxation time.’ You know what I say to that? That’s bull. You don’t need to do that.

And he’s correct. You do not need to spend time that way. How will that help you achieve your life goals? How will time spent that way help you get good grades in school or get that promotion at work? How will it help you be successful in life? It won’t. It will make whatever you’re trying to achieve all the more difficult.

Time Management

Poor time management skills lead to wasted time. Efficiency is the name of the game here. There may be moments where we think we are investing time, but are in fact wasting it. For instance, when you are in the weight room and your workout takes you three hours when you can get it done in two because you have no functional workout plan, you are wasting time. When you take all day to complete your homework on Sunday when it should take you three hours because you leave it all for one day and like to take “relaxation breaks” by watching online videos, you are wasting time. When you have an important work presentation to prepare for that takes you six hours to complete but two of those hours were spent socializing with coworkers, you are wasting time. Essentially, anything that takes longer to complete than it should results in time spent rather than time invested. Procrastination, inefficiencies, and distractions take away from the completion of your tasks and goals.

“The choice you make today will impact how you perform tomorrow.”

Whether you are an athlete, student, musician, coach, teacher, or parent, we can all utilize our time in an efficient and productive manner. However you chose to use your time, there needs to be an accountability attached to your decisions. The actions that you take on a day-to-day basis determines whether you are successful or not. Discipline, sacrifice, and commitment are all great words that relate to success, but it’s the action of choice that determines your level of achievement. If your goal is to be a Division I or professional athlete, you need to invest your time. If your goal is to create a winning sports program as a coach, you need to invest your time. If your goal is to be the best math teacher in the school, you need to invest your time. If your goal is to be a rock star, you need to invest your time. In order to be the best that we can be, regardless of what we are doing, a relentless and efficient drive towards the process of achievement is a must.

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