You spend eight, or maybe even 12, hours a day working and that doesn’t even count your commute. You’re lucky to see your children for four hours a day, much less spend quality time with them. You are a good and charitable person so you spend your weekends helping people in need.
Does this sound like your life?
Where is the time for you? You need to spend time on yourself. Sitting on the couch watching the football game doesn’t count. You need to INVEST in yourself. You need to make YOU better. How can you do that?
Here are five areas I’ve invested in me. They should also be good for you.
1. Spiritual – Even though this is not a religion-based blog, I will speak of religious matters from time to time. My faith and relationship with God is the most important thing in my life. It outranks my family and my career. Without having God in my life, my life would be empty.
I’m not perfect; far from it actually. I definitely have much to improve. One thing I’ve noticed though is that the more I focus on my relationship with God, the better my life becomes. My relationships with my wife and children improve (which is difficult because they are already pretty strong), I’m happier in my career and my health improves.
Again, I’m not perfect. However, I try to read some scripture on a daily basis. In fact, I’m attempting to read the Bible, in chronological order, in a year. I’ve read through it in a year several times in the past but there is so much to discern from studying scripture that I can’t read it too much.
I also attempt to pray multiple times a day. This is the weakest aspect of my faith but I’m focusing on getting better. I’ve got to pray more often and more sincerely. It has to happen in more than really bad or really good times. I need to pray multiple times every day.
How is your relationship with God? Can you improve it?
2. Intellectual – Even though I live a very hectic life, I have several hours of downtime each week. Unfortunately, this isn’t downtime in which I can do whatever I want. I’m usually stuck in a car, hotel or airport. I can improve intellectually during these times.
My mode of intellectual investment is in the form of podcasts. There are around 30 podcasts I have set in iTunes to automatically download. And, I listen to them all. I listen to business, entrepreneurial, self-help, sales and marketing and blogging podcasts.
You may like to read or watch videos. I like those methods of intellectual investment too but they are not as easy to consume when on the move. In fact, I’ve been in the middle of two books for several months now. I’ll finish them eventually.
How do you invest in your intellect?
3. Emotional – Your emotions will drive your activity. We tend to “feel” more than we “think” and we react more based on those feelings. Sometimes that can be good; sometimes not so much. My wife was just told by her mentor that she “thinks” too much. It is possible to over think an issue or problem.
Are you feelings in line with your actions? If not, what can you do to change? Maybe you need to spend more time with your spouse, kids, family or friends. My feelings are most in line with my actions when I get to spend quality time with my wife. We are so close that when I travel a lot or we are too busy to have extended talks, my emotions suffer.
Just this week, my wife and I were both traveling. Unfortunately, she left when I was headed home. In fact, we passed each other on the highway. I like to travel and I’m glad she gets to do the little bit she does but it still isn’t easy. When she finally came home, I made sure that we could spend time together. It was nothing uniquely special. We talked and that made my emotions whole.
How do you invest in your emotions?
4. Physical – Your physical health can have a drastic (good or bad) impact on all other facets of your life. If you don’t invest in your physical health, you may not have the energy or drive to do anything else.
This is another case of my underperformance and needed improvement. I’m doing well if I make it to the gym two days a week. It’s just tough to make it with my schedule. However, if I can’t make it to the gym, I become very cognizant of what I eat. In general, I have a very healthy diet and I watch my weight religiously.
Sleep is also a part of your physical health. You may not require a full eight hours of sleep to be productive each day. I function very well on seven hours of sleep but prefer eight. Anything less than six hours of sleep, I know I won’t be as efficient or effective the following day.
What do you do to invest in your physical health?
5. Social – Deep down, I’m an extreme introvert. Being around other people used to make me very nervous. Thankfully, being in public accounting has forced that introversion to the background. I’m now much more social.
I love to spend time with friends, co-workers and clients. I like to meet new people with common interests. But, put me in a room with no one I know and I’m going to be the most uncomfortable person there. When is the last time you’ve been in that situation? I was just last week. It took a few minutes before I was able to walk up and start talking to someone.
If you’re a social butterfly, you’ve probably never experienced that feeling of introversion. You’re just as comfortable with your best friend as a complete stranger. What if you didn’t get to spend as much time with your close friends and family as you desired? Would it wear on your emotions?
What do you do to invest in your social influence?
The Financial Bloggers Conference Story
Last week was one of my most productive and enjoyable weeks of the year. I had decided early in the year to take vacation the week of my wedding anniversary. I would use that time to invest in myself in each of the five areas just discussed.
Spiritual – I had committed to co-teaching a Sunday morning Bible class on personal finance so I could use part of my vacation time to study and prepare lessons.
Intellectual and social – Pat Flynn, one of the two podcasters who inspired me to start intentional employee announced on his podcast that he would be delivering the opening keynote at the 2013 Financial Bloggers Conference in St. Louis. Since it was local and I had already planned to take vacation, I signed up.
I wanted to attend the conference for two primary reasons. One reason was to learn more about blogging and how I could improve what I was doing. The most important reason, however, was to meet like-minded people with whom I could create lasting relationships. Both of these were realized.
Great information was shared during the conference and I took pages of notes. The conference ended on Saturday evening and I spent the following Sunday afternoon applying many of the lessons I learned.
I also met some great people such as Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome.com, Jaime Tardy of EventualMillionaire.com, David Siteman Garland of TheRisetotheTop.com, Dustin Hartzler of YourWebsiteEngineer.com, Philip Taylor or PTMoney.com and Steve Stewart of MoneyPlanSOS.com, among many others.
This was a conference I will never forget.
Physical – The first day of my vacation week was spent on my physical health. It was a day of appointments: annual physical, dentist appointment and haircut. Thankfully, the results of the dentist and doctor were good. And, I still have hair…
Emotional – As said earlier, I decided to take off this week because it was my ninth wedding anniversary. So naturally I spent time with my wife to celebrate. We also both got to chaperon my daughter’s first kindergarten field trip. Working as much as I do, I wasn’t able to attend any of my oldest daughter’s field trips so this was very special to me.
I challenge you to find ways to invest in YOU. If you aren’t willing to invest in YOU, nothing will change in your future. We all can improve in all areas of our lives. I’m not excluded; neither are you. Are you willing to invest in yourself?