Usually when people talk about properly allocating investments, they refer to money. Even more important is how you allocate your time. With money you usually want to have some investments in areas that will pay off over time, some investments in areas that will pay off quickly, some risky, and some safe. This strategy is to protect you from future events that are outside of your control.
Your time needs to be allocated with the same type of care. For example, if you put all of your time into earning money at a high paying job, that does nothing to develop your skills or talents as a person and you could be wiped out by a lawsuit and be left with nothing. On the other hand, if you spend all of your time going to school or doing interesting work for little pay, your “investment” is at risk if you were to suffer a disability or injury to your head.
Someone who spends all of their time with their family instead of working runs the risk of losing their family through financial stress. On the other hand, someone who works all the time and rarely spends any time at all with their family runs a risk of losing their family as well.
You should also balance the time you spend on intellectual growth with taking care of your physical body. The genius who invests only in his mind and dies at 35 from poor health isn’t using his time wisely. But then again, neither is the body building health nut who is in perfect physical shape but has no interest in being intelligent and dies using a match to see if his gasoline tank is empty.
A well balanced investment of time should include time invested in a variety of areas. This isn’t something people usually do naturally, but it is important because you’ll get greater returns with a varied “portfolio” than with all your eggs in one basket.
Originally published on February 9, 2006.