If you’ve visited my blog before, you probably know that I am a huge triathlon enthusiast. As a six-time Ironman finisher, I thrive on the adrenaline and challenge that each competition presents.
But just like any hobby, competing in triathlons requires a time investment.
In fact, it requires a much larger time investment than most casual hobbies, like cooking or collecting coins. You need to train for hours on end in order to mentally and physically prepare yourself for the challenge of a triathlon.
So, where do you find the time?
For me, it was difficult. Between my professional life and other personal interests, there hasn’t always been enough time in the day to dedicate to my passion. When this happens, we have the tendency to desperately reach out for our passion in new and unproductive ways.
For example, let’s say that I want to train for an upcoming triathlon, but I simply don’t have enough time in my schedule during the week. Even though I don’t have the time to actually train, I’m still thinking about training throughout the day. Whenever I have a few spare minutes, I might even pull out my phone and start looking at new equipment.
Before you know it, I’ve ordered a new bike for the next triathlon, even though I don’t have availability to adequately train.
This is what is known as an “artificial replacement.”
Artificial replacements allow our brains to think that we are getting the thing that we want by replacing it with something else. More often than not, artificial replacements take the form of financial investments that stand in place of time investments.
Needless to say, artificial replacements are not great for your financial plan.
But what is the solution?
How can you strike a balance between your time and money so that artificial replacements don’t take away from both resources?
Developing a Balanced Strategy
Balancing time and money requires a sound strategy that takes both resources into account. Your time is limited and your money is limited, so figuring out how and where to implement each will allow you to manage your finances more effectively. So, let’s look at a few specific steps you can use to develop a balanced strategy with your time and money:
- Figure out what’s important to you – You may not be a triathlon enthusiast like me, but you probably have at least one hobby that you’re passionate about. Identify the thing(s) that you want to spend time doing. This will help you with the next step…
- Identify your “artificial replacements” – While it’s not always easy to identify artificial replacements, it is vital to know how your brain tries to replace your hobbies or interests when you don’t have enough time for them. Once you are aware of your artificial replacements, you can actively try to avoid them. Whenever you find yourself trying to replace your hobby with something else, consider how the artificial replacement is taking away from your time and money.
- Budget your time – You don’t need to have every day planned down to the second, but you should set aside specific times for the things that are important to you. While it may seem that you have no extra room in your schedule at times, you’d be surprised how many ways you can reorganize your time to make room for the things that matter.
- Budget your money – “Time is money” as they say, so this step goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. In any case, once your schedule is set, you can develop a budget that works for you. Since your revised schedule includes one or more of your passions, you’re far less likely to let artificial replacements take away from your financial planning.
If you could benefit from a financial coach that can help you find balance in your financial life, we should talk! Click here to schedule a 30-minute (virtual) conversation today! We can discuss your unique situation so that you can learn more about Waller Financial and determine if we’re a good match.