“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” –JRR Tolkien

You’ve probably read stories about folks who made millions, lost it, and then even made all the money back. That teaches us something: Money can come back.

But you know what doesn’t return: Time.

At Frayed Passport, we write a lot about the FIRE lifestyle, semi-retirement, and even early retirement. Within those articles, you’ll find advice on how to work remotely, live frugally, save, and invest—even while traveling the world as a digital nomad.

Underlying these articles is an important message: Live and work the way you wish, and make the most of your time on this planet.

Because when it comes down to it, time is your greatest asset. With more time, you can do what fulfills you. You can chase entrepreneurial dreams, spend more time with family, travel the world, volunteer to help others, enjoy hobbies, and live in the moment.

Here, we’ll cover why you should think of time as an asset and how doing so will enhance your life.

Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic: Don’t Compromise Your Time

“No one here gets out alive.” –Jim Morrison

The COVID-19 pandemic has been tragic for millions of families worldwide, and it’s tested us all physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Each day, we heard about the number of cases, hospitalizations, deaths.

This is why many have begun to rethink their lives. As an article published by Time in December 2020 notes, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a “widespread existential crisis.” Just read the research:

In that Time article, Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, a renowned physician, makes a great point of why the pandemic spurred such big decisions. As she says, it gave people time to “review their lives and think about what life could look like moving forward.”

Additionally, psychiatrists and psychologists explain that the pandemic has reminded us of our own mortality. Life is short, as they say. Time is the one thing we shouldn’t compromise—because we can’t get it back and it all could be gone in a moment.

In the long run, this collective reckoning with how we’re living could be tremendously positive, especially if we make changes that enable us to work, live, and think more intently.

Life Goals and the Value of Time Management

“Time flies…but the good news is, you’re the pilot” –Michael Altshuler

You undoubtedly have a variety of life goals centered around your family, work, health, spirituality, finances, and more. When it comes to travel goals, you may have a bucket list that includes a trip to Antarctica, journey to Machu Picchu, backpacking in Thailand, and other adventures.

Considering all that you want to see, do, and achieve, you can’t afford to waste time. Because it will all be gone before you know it.

Unfortunately, too many people don’t use time wisely, especially with work. For example, employees spend an average of 31 hours per month in meetings, according to Trafft, a scheduling software company. If you work a traditional nine-to-five job, you may know all too well about unnecessary meetings.

In addition to work, we waste time elsewhere in our personal lives. The good news is that we reduce that waste, whether that entails checking social media less or watching less TV. It could even mean doing fewer chores. After all, 69% of parents feel doing too much housework causes them to miss quality time with family.

In short, we must maximize the use of our time. Otherwise, it will fly by and we’ll miss out on the things that truly matter. Because at the end of the day, what will you remember most fondly?

  • Making sure the floor was swept or learning to tango in Argentina
  • Attending an unnecessary meeting or starting your own business
  • Looking at Facebook posts or taking the family to Key West

Let’s start prioritizing the important things—those big life goals. By doing so, we’ll have a better approach to how we use our hours. And when we look back on our lives, we’ll be able to say that we cherished our time.

Time: It’s Worth More Than Money

“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” –Stephen Covey

Stocks, bonds, real estate, 401Ks, IRAs, HSAs, precious metals, savings accounts, 529 plans…the list could go on and on. Your financial portfolio is important. You can’t live the FIRE lifestyle without money. But…

…What good is your money if you don’t have time to enjoy life?

We need to change the way we look at time. That starts with expanding our definition of it. We can’t just think of time as a duration, which Merriam-Webster defines as the following:

The measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues

We also have to think of time as something that belongs to us—an asset that we should value above all other assets.

When we look at time that way, we begin to work, live, and invest differently. We work in a way that drives us towards our professional dreams. We live in a way that keeps us personally and mentally healthy and fulfilled. And we invest in a way that maximizes our time and ability to achieve all our life goals.

Time Opens Up All Possibilities

​​”Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” –Warren Buffett

Time is of the essence. You can’t stop it, and you only get 24 hours in a day.

Be stingy with your time, and prioritize and optimize every second. When you value your day and do what’s important to you, good things will come.

Going forward, treat your time as your most valuable resource. This will motivate you to live more intently. And it will open up more possibilities than you ever imagined.

Have any great ideas about time management, work, or travel? Join our community and start the conversation.

About the Author

Nick Callos

Nick Callos has always had a passion for reading, writing, and discovering the new and unknown. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Nick holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Boston College. He currently splits his time between his hometown, Chengdu, China, and the open road. A full-time travel writer, Nick hopes his work can inspire others to explore the world more deeply and enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle.