By Dean Whittaker

Every moment, we are confronted with decisions to make. They can be simple, such as how to spend the moment, or complex, impacting you and those you care about. One of my learnings this month came from a lecture series by Andy Stanley called Just Ask It. The phrase “just ask it” refers to an important question we need to ask ourselves each time we have a decision to make:

“In light of my past experiences, current circumstances, and future hopes and dreams, what is the wise (smart) thing for me to do?”

In lecture 3 of the series, Andy Stanley suggests that we apply this question with how we spend our time. In his lecture, he states that TIME = Life. He says that our time is the most valuable asset we possess. Yet, many of us squander it on useless things rather than those things that are important to us. There was a movie, titled “Time Bandits,” which reminds me of the how the media high-jacks our time in order to capture our attention and sell stuff. Have you noticed how our culture focuses on poor-return investments of our time, such as television, gossip, hanging out at bars, etc? In the long-term, these are low value investments of our precious time.

Investing small amounts of time is cumulative. It adds up just like savings. Exercise, time with family, and eating healthy are all cumulative. However, neglect is cumulative too. Neglect of your body, relationships, and spirituality is costly. When you need it, it won’t be there. When we opt for the low value uses of time, we accumulate nothing of use. On the contrary, learning anything, such as a musical instrument, a new language, or healthy choices, is a great investment of our time.

In the areas that matter most, we cannot make up for misspent time. All-nighters do not work in the important areas of our life. You cannot cram to make up for the most important areas of our life.

Stanley makes a great point when he says that the little deposits we make in our children over a long period of time pay big dividends much like periodic saving gives us a better retirement. So, do we decide to work late or go home and have dinner with our family?

One of my life lessons is that what I pay attention to grows and what I don’t diminishes. The tricky part is that none of know how much time we have. But, we know it is limited. So we should commit to investing it wisely.

In light of your past experiences, current circumstances, and future hopes and dreams, where do you need to begin making consistent deposits of time right now?