Time: your most valuable asset

Everyone is born with an expiry date; the problem is that date is kept hidden from us, and when it happens, it just happens. But everyone also has a best-before date, a date up to which you are still physically able to do most things you enjoy: studies have shown this period can be influenced to a large extent by a person’s lifestyle.

When I think about the word “retirement,” and my definition for retirement is admittedly very narrow, I tend to think about that period that lies after a person’s best-before date up to their expiry date. This is the period where a person is no longer capable of being independent, and are dependent on others for care and support for their remaining years.

My main focus in my own Victory Lap is to make good investments of my time to create an optimal lifestyle with the goal of pushing back as far as possible my own best before date.

Each day has only 24 Hours – Use them well!

It’s important to understand how limited our hours are on this planet and to get a good feel for the problem watch the You Tube video “You have 28,835 days. Here’s how you will spend them.”

The video was a real eye opener for me. After watching it, I began to really appreciate the value of my remaining time. I promised myself  I would take the appropriate corrective actions, but habit change is never easy and it is a work in progress for me. Please be assured that I will talk more on this important subject in future posts.

It takes ten years to become an overnight success

One day at a yard sale, I bought some old poker chips with the intent of using them to help track the time invested in pursuit of some of my goals. I came up with this idea after reading the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell and his chapter on the 10,000 hour rule, which is the hours of practice required to achieve mastery in anything.

A key component of my Victory Lap is the job I created for myself (my reason for getting out of bed in the morning) and creating the VLR community. To succeed, I need to improve my writing, blogging and public speaking skills. I also need to get healthy again so I will have the energy to get it all done.  I have committed to investing 10,000 hours on this project, which equates to 1,000 hours per year over a 10-year period.

Those poker chips I bought? I counted out 520 chips, which represent the number of weeks covering a 10-year period and keep them in a glass jar in my home office. Each Sunday night after reviewing what I accomplished with my time that week I throw that week’s chip away and replace it with another one from the jar.

Watching that jar of chips shrink over time makes me focus on the important things in my life. It creates awareness especially as I carry the current week’s chip around in my pocket. When I hold it, it reminds me to focus on doing what I need to do in order to make things happen.  Sometimes I might write something on the chip to serve as a theme for the week. It helps me to focus on what’s important and to forget about the rest.

The most important decision that you make each day is how you are going to invest your time. If you can’t see a reasonable return from your time investment don’t make the investment period.

Drak 2014Mike Drak is an author, blogger and speaker based in Toronto. He can be reached at michael.drak@yahoo.ca. Victory Lap Retirement, co-authored with Hub CFO Jonathan Chevreau, is now available for is now available for orders online. It’s also available now as a Kindle e-book, and on KoboThe paperback edition will be available in bookstores in the second week of October. This blog is reprinted from Mike’s site with permission.  

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