6 Smart Ways to Invest Your Time

“We think much more about the use of money, which is renewable, than we do about the use of time, which is irreplaceable,” Jean-Louis Servan-Schreiber warned.

It’s not enough to simply keep track of how we spend our time. Just as we invest money in the expectation of a greater return in the future, we need to invest our time in the present in order to see a bigger reward in the future.

Sometimes that means devoting large chunks of time to creating a product that won’t generate revenue for months. At other times our investment may be a demonstration of faith in ourselves and our vision.

I am growing quite weary of folks who declare that they can’t be bothered with social media…

Here are some smart ways to invest your time whether you’re a new startup or simply want to keep your self and your enterprise invigorated.

Take the boss for a walk. Have you ever noticed how diplomats often go for a walk together when negotiations break down?  Walking can both calm us down and stir up positive thoughts. Any creative enterprise will profit from a frequent change of scenery.

Even if your office or studio is the happiest place on Earth, moving around a botanic garden or browsing in a hardware store can rekindle your creative spirit.

Hang out with some wise guys. Put yourself in regular contact with our best entrepreneurial thinkers who generously share their insights with anyone who cares to listen.

Don’t try to listen to everybody who is offering advice, however. Find your favorites and pay close attention. Don’t just read and delete. Consider how you can put their ideas to work in your enterprise.

Reach out and connect. I am growing quite weary of folks who declare that they can’t be bothered with social media or building relationships.Yes, it takes time, but if you do it right, the rewards are huge.

Besides building a network of self-employed folks, keep finding ways to connect with others who may become your customers or raving fans.

Schedule ninety-day inventories. Regularly invest time in looking at what’s working, what needs help and what’s ready to be discarded.

It’s easy when our business is growing to get swept along in the tide, but in order to create something satisfying and profitable, a regular evaluation is a valuable tool. Put it to work for you.

This is also a time to consider the ROI you are—or are not—receiving.

Don’t be tricked by convenience. I once had a friend who was dating a most unpleasant man. When I challenged her choice of mates, she acknowledged his lack of character, but defended spending time with him by saying, “But he’s convenient.”

I’ve seen entrepreneurs use the same justification for hanging onto uncongenial clients or projects that no longer thrill them.

While there are certainly times when convenience makes sense, don’t make it your top priority when making decisions.

Be willing to practice. I’m not sure if Malcolm Gladwell’s assertion that it takes 10,000 hours to master something is accurate or not, but it’s certainly true that those who become more than mildly adequate invest heavily in practice.

Like a 7-year-old learning to play the piano, it’s easy to procrastinate about putting in the time that we need to improve—and, eventually, dazzle.

The late Jim Rohn was an avid proponent of respecting time and investing it in things that matter. He said, “Fortunately, life has a unique way of rewarding high investment with high return. The investment of time you make now may be the catalyst for major accomplishment. It is precisely this effort that will open the floodgates to the place where great ideas can work their magic.”

Barbara J. Winter regularly invests time in researching, writing and speaking. She also constantly asks herself the question, “What is the best use of my time right now?”