Buying time

There is a common tendency in life to say yes to too many things. We are getting busier and busier, not getting to spend time on the things we really enjoy.

Think about what you are saying yes to. Is it worth your time?


I never thought I would sell my apartment anytime soon. Yet, one day recently I saw online how much another identical apartment in the complex sold for. It was about $50,000 more than I thought my apartment was worth.

At this time, I just had another tenant move out. With a 8 month old daughter, the landlord gig was not something I enjoyed doing with my limited spare time. Rushing in to look at plumbing or electrical problems. Advertising and screening for new tenants. I would much rather spend the time doing something else.

This was fine in my early 30’s when I was still single. Now that I have a family, a business, and am volunteering, my list of duties was forever growing and something had to give. Yes, I could have hired a property manager, but from my experience they will never treat your property as well as you do, and they will not be as urgent in filling vacancies as you will be. On top of that, the returns from the tenants were barely enough to cover the costs of ownership. Adding a property manager fee on top of that would have created an annual loss.

Yes, the house may have continued to increase in value. Yes, I may have been able to charge higher rents in Wellington in future. But if I sold I could use that money in more passive investments such as index funds. Less work, and potentially better returns.

I also have a house and am invested in property index funds. It is always a good idea to be diversified, so by selling the apartment I am not so invested in the housing market should something bad happen.

As you can see by my thought process, not all decisions are all about the finances. There are emotional and personal factors to consider sometimes.

I have freed up about 5 hours a week, and have one less thing to worry about.


I have always been an avid reader of online news. I even used to frequent the comment sections of articles, sometimes getting into arguments with random strangers. It was not a great use of my time and it was not great for my mental state of mind. Some news and comments just made me angry and upset.

I still read finance blogs, but I am much more selective in what I read instead of aimlessly scrolling. This seemingly innocuous change has made a big difference to my free time and my well-being. I have a much happier disposition now.

If something really important happens in the world, I’m sure I will hear about one way or another. I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything.


I still need Facebook for my business, but I have greatly reduced my personal time spent on Facebook, and other social media sites.

Checking for replies to your comments or for ‘likes’ is as big a waste of time as any. Not to mention the extra mind space this takes up. Not engaging in this stuff, has freed up a lot of mind space to concentrate on more productive things such as my business.

I have separated my work and home time

I have a work phone. And like most work phones it goes off at all hours of the day. I have stopped replying to emails outside of my work hours, unless it is extremely urgent.

Up until this year I was always available and would respond to emails at all hours. This wasn’t healthy for me or my family.

Now the time that I spend at home is of much better quality, and the time I spend at work is also better quality as I am not as burnt out. Win - win.


Just these four changes in 2018 alone have freed up about 15 hours a week and just as importantly, more mental space for more important things to concentrate on.

I am spending more time on growing my business. I am spending more time volunteering in the community. I am spending more time with my wife and daughter. Whereas I’m spending less time on real estate management, social media, and arguing with random strangers on the internet. Sounds like a much better use of my time to me.

Trying to work on the business, or volunteer, or spend time with the family, was much more stressful and challenging when I had less time. By creating the time and mental space I find I am more relaxed. I am now subscribing to the one thing in one thing out philosophy, where if I have something new occupying my time, I try and find something less important to ditch.

We can’t keep saying yes until we are overstretched. It isn’t healthy, and it is extremely inefficient to be pulled in many different directions. We make more mistakes and we have no fun.

Simplicity is very underrated. Simplicity doesn’t have to mean unproductive. In fact, by doing less you will find you can often do more. More of what you want to do. Things that add value. And less of things that add no value.

Think carefully about what you are saying yes to. Write a list of your daily time log if that helps. Look at how much time you spend on each activity and whether that is worth your time or adding any value to your life.

You may be surprised at how much time you spend on useless unproductive activities. Sure, some downtime is good. But isn’t it better to spend downtime with friends and family than it is online? Maybe you can do 8 hours of work in 6 hours?

Your newfound free time may be the kick start you needed to start that new business, or create that new product, or find that side hustle job, or to reconnect with family.

The more time and mental space you can create, the better version of yourself you will become. So I recommend being more selective about what you choose to spend your time on and what information you allow to enter your brain. Your health and finances will thank you.

The information contained on this site is the opinion of the individual author(s) based on their personal opinions, observation, research, and years of experience. The information offered by this website is general education only and is not meant to be taken as individualised financial advice, legal advice, tax advice, or any other kind of advice. You can read more of my disclaimer here