Years ago when I was single I would eat out a lot, even more so than I do as a married man now, I think. Ha Ha. I can remember one year I was looking at my bank account online.
My bank had one of those software systems that put all of my spending into categories, and it gave me a pie chart of how and where I spent my money. Under the food category it would actually break down by name the different restaurants where I spent my money.
I can remember looking at this chart and thinking to myself. WOW. I spent a lot of money at this restaurant, and that restaurant, they should be giving me so free food. I did say that in my head, but what I really thought was, Oh my God, I can’t believe how much money I am spending just to eat out and then basically flush that money down the toilet, if you know what I mean.
At the point I made the decision to change my eating habits and only eat out a few times a month. At this time, I was in the process of making some investments and doing some other things that I needed to do to secure a better future for myself. I made those changes and about a year later, I was significantly better off. That one little change in habit and discipline allowed me to make others changes as well. These changes allowed me to have some success in several areas of my life.
This one little measurement in my life had high gains for me. By looking at my spending habits I could easily tell what it was that I valued. And that was work, because I didn’t have time to cook. Or at least that is what I told myself. And I enjoyed not having to cook. And my thinking in my head at that time was “I had the money to spend”, so why shouldn’t I do it?
I tell everyone today that if I look at your bank account and your transactions I can learn really quickly what it is you value and think is important. And these important things could be good for you or bad for you, I don’t know. The bottom line is, you and I both, spend our money on things we think are important.
The other area of people’s life that I can look at and take a measurement of, and know what it is they find important. Is where they spend their time, inevitably I have people tell me all of the time in my workshops that they put their family above everything else as the most important, and the time they spend with them is sacred.
Then I ask them to complete a timelog (which is a log that you put what you do each day down on paper to the quarter-hour of every hour). Now, most people never want to be totally honest with themselves and put exactly how, and how much time, they spend on certain things. But those who do, can really learn a lot from this exercise.
What people typically find out is that they waste more time than they thought they did. They also learn that what they say is most important, doesn’t always measure out to be as important. At least the amount of time, if any, given to that activity.
Are you willing to do an inventory of yourself or your household? Are you willing to look at these two measurements in your life and see if you are spending too much, or too little time and money in these areas? Most people aren’t willing to be this critical with themselves, but you are different if you have read this far.
Take a look at how you spend your money. What trends do you see? Good or bad. If you are interested in tracking your time on a timelog, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will give you the timelog sheet for free. Just shoot me an email with the subject line TimeLog and in the email put your email address.
Before you can decide where you want to go, you have to first know where you are. You can do this by measuring these two areas of your life.
To your success and your future.