In financial circles it is often said that the best way to obtain wealth is to pay yourself first. This means that at a minimum 10% of all cash you earn is “yours to keep”. This means taking the first 10% and putting it first into savings; and then into investments. That 10% is never touched and over time not only does it grow – but as that money is placed in investments – the money you earn through those investments also grows.
I am a big believer that this also applies to our emotional and intellectual wealth. Many of us are very service oriented or driven by hard work ethics. This allows us to obtain phenomenal short term results in our work – but can leave use impoverished in our personal lives.
This is where 10% time comes in. For every 10 hours I commit to the growth of others, I commit one hour to my own growth. That hour of growth comes in the form of engaging in an activity that feeds me – this can be painting, exercising, reading a book that inspires me or expands my learning, it can be working on a special project, or even some one and one time with my loved one that is special in one form or another – but whatever it is – I know that really it’s “me” time – time spent doing things that energize and re-vitalize me.
I want to be clear. This is not me coming home after working a 12 hour day and watching Netflix. While this may satisfy the part of me that wants to “veg out” and I have no trouble doing that – it is not “me time.” It doesn’t grow me physically, emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually. Me time, ideally develops me in at least 2 of these areas. Walking on a treadmill is not me time. Going for a long walk or a run by a lake is. Reading an article I have to read for work is not me time. Going to the coffee shop with four books that I’m reading and reading a chapter from each and developing connections between them excites me mentally and spiritually and absolutely is me time. Ultimately – I know if I am engaging in 10% time because the time begins to pass quickly as you lose yourself in the activity.
10% time is critical to our ongoing well being. “Joshua!” I can hear someone saying now “I sometimes work 60 or more hours a week and what you are saying is the more I work the more time I have to commit to 10% time! How does that work?
It doesn’t, which is the point. if you are working 60 hours or more and 10% time is not built in you may find it “doesn’t work”. You are “too busy” and “too tired” to build in your 10% time it is even more important that you build 10% time in because it is likely that your life is out of balance in one or more areas – and the only way to build balance and joy back into your life is through that active commitment to 10% time.
As you commit to the 10% time, like money, you may find that your 10% time grows. You may even find that the time you used to spend working has slowly been transforming into doing things you love. There are many people who actually make a living devoting their time and energy exclusively to those things that feed them. To “follow your joy” though, you have to first commit to it. And as you invest, your wealth will grow. So pay yourself in time first. Give yourself your 10%.