Skip to main contentA logo with &quat;the muse&quat; in dark blue text.
Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

Is it Better to Spend Your Time or Invest it?

Amazing career lessons can come from the most unlikely places.

For evidence of this, look no further than Philadelphia Eagles head coach, Chip Kelly. (And yes, I’m near positive this is the first time The Muse has offered up advice from a football coach.) When asked recently what he thought the most important factor was for success, he said:

“You can either spend your time or invest it.”

To think about it another way: Time is one of the most valuable commodities we have. Instead of just spending it, or using it up, why not look for ways to invest it into our future success? He went on to explain:

We all have 24 hours in the same day, and it’s what you want to do. If you want to go play video games and watch TV and do all those other things, you’re going to get beat out by the guy [who] is doing the little things that are going to make the difference between making the team and not making the team.

Ignore the part about making the team for a minute (unless you are in fact trying to make a football team), and consider your own life. Everyone has the same number of hours in each day, so it’s what you decide to do with that time that directly impacts your success in life.

What is the difference between spending your time versus investing it? Well, you probably already know that putting in extra hours at work will have a better payout for your career than reading BuzzFeed all day long. But, let’s say you really want a promotion. Sure, you could keep doing the status quo at your job. You could even work a little harder or put in extra hours. But wouldn’t it be a better investment of your time to brainstorm new ideas that could help the business and bring them to your boss? Or figure out what skills are really needed on your team and make a plan to learn them?

Or, let’s say you are looking for a new job. Many people spend their time sending out resume after resume, hoping to get lucky. But a better strategy would be researching amazing companies, identifying the few opportunities that sounds like a perfect fit, and crafting a stellar application that will get you noticed above anyone else. See the difference? It’ll take the same amount of time as blasting out thousands of applications, but it’s bound to have better results.

The bottom line: People who find success in this world are often willing to not only work hard, but to think about how precious their time is and invest it in the things that will truly matter.

Take it from Chip.

Photo of watch courtesy of Shutterstock.