When I talk to my coaching clients about what they fear in business, most of them say that they fear wasting time and/or money. I get it, we work hard for them and when we realise that we’ve wasted time or money it hurts. Imagine all the other things you could have done instead!

I’m not immune to this either. I think something is a great idea, I put resources into it and *poof* it’s not what I expected. I’ve done this with events. I’ve definitely done it with courses. I’ve done it with people. Heck, I’ve even done it looking back over my career!

So why is the fear of wasting time or money such a common thing? Is it that we are so cash or time poor? Is it that we hate missing out and do “all the things”? Is it that we fear regret or making the wrong decision?

Time & money as finite resources

People will say to me, “But there’s only 24 hours in a day” or “money doesn’t grow on trees”. Sure! I only have 5.5 hours in a day to do my work and I know what’s in my bank account and what’s coming in. (Hint: it could always be more) But at the risk of sounding like a Pollyanna, that’s an incredibly closed mindset.

Fear of wasting time quoteBefore you yell that there is only 24 hours in a day, head over and read my article on time management and come back or watch these videos I’ve collated on time management. Sure, we have a set amount of time but the issue isn’t the amount of time most of us have – it’s how we waste it.

There’s two main ways I see people, including myself, wasting time. Firstly, procrastination. We just don’t do things because well, um, choose any excuse! Essentially, because we are busy getting in our own way. We procrastinate with money the same way, we get in our own way.

Secondly, we waste time with how we think about it. We waste money with how we think of it. What do I mean? We don’t value our time, we don’t prioritise our time. I don’t mean that we don’t schedule it, but if something really mattered – we MAKE time for it. We still have 24 hours. You might think that we then don’t do something else, but the thing is that if that too is a priority, we MAKE time for that too. Humans have an uncanny ability to fill time and make jobs take longer – just because we have time.

We waste money because we don’t value it. This doesn’t mean we don’t save it, but we don’t make it a priority. We don’t take care of it. I see so many people be so flippant with their money management. The same ones say to me, “Kara, you work so hard and deserve the things you have” as though they were somehow less deserving and less hard working. No, I just choose different priorities for my money.

This way of thinking around time and money is a closed mindset, it’s finite. As a parent, I want my children to have an open mindset. One of options and possibilities. We do not live the exact same day over and over, we do control our time and we do control our money. So why do we live as though we are passengers and they are in control? Neither time nor money are actually finite – they continue after we go.

Time and money as symptoms

Here’s another way of looking at it… what if the fear of wasting time or money is actually really a lack of trust in oneself? What if we use time & money like a drug to make ourselves feel better and in the end we just don’t trust ourselves to do better? What if it’s another version of “drowning our sorrows”?

Here’s the thing, if it is – and that’s a story you tell yourself. And you don’t want to do that any more. You can change. I promise it will take work. You will need to look deep to what story you tell yourself about money or your use of time. For me, it was that I had to work hard for money, that time is money, and that I didn’t deserve things unless I worked for them. How’s that for turning money away?!

Time well spent

Fear of wasting time and prioritizing quote Stephen CoveyI recently realized that while sometimes I don’t think I’ve made the best use of my time, that I haven’t prioritised things as I should but there’s a catch. Sometimes the best ideas come when I’m silent and still. Sometimes I need to step back from things to move forward. And all the time I can look back and learn.

You see, we often can’t see the lesson when we’re neck deep in it. It’s only when we step back that we can realise just how far we’ve come, what we’ve learnt and how what we did in the past wasn’t wasted but is applicable to the now.

So maybe some of us are too quick to judge or too harsh on ourselves when it comes to how we spend time or money. Perhaps it’s not that we are wasting time or money, perhaps we just haven’t realized the lesson we need to learn just yet.

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