Time is just as precious as money. Time and money management go hand in hand so you will find a person who struggles to do one also has immense problems with the other.
Fact: everyone wastes both some time and some money, what differs between individuals is the degree to which we waste.
My very first lessons on not wasting pertained to food waste. If I left food on my plate I got reproached for it and either had to finish it there and then or keep it for later. My father and mother both argued that if I had dished the food myself I had made the decision of how much I wanted to eat and so I had to finish it. “You've made your bed now lie in it,” as it were. I learnt that my eyes were bigger than my stomach so I started putting less food on my plate.
This is one thing many kids around the globe do and most parents take the stance. It may seem like such a simple thing but it helps a child appreciate that resources are limited and that you can’t afford to waste them.
I’m not saying force your children to finish their food, no, what I am suggesting is that you monitor how your children waste and explain why wastage is bad.
If your child spends the whole day playing and they’re too tired to do their homework properly later explain why it’s better to do their homework before going out to play. That’s a time management lesson. They learn to prioritise and there is a transferrable lesson on managing money.
I didn’t think about it then but when I was in secondary school the same people consistently loitered around. You’ve got to wonder why I felt the pressure to work hard to manage my time wisely and they didn’t.
I had a study timetable that ran from the very beginning of term to the end. My dad never failed to emphasize that he had to make sacrifices to afford the school fees so I felt the obligation to at least try.
On a weekly basis I managed to stick to my timetable 70% to 80% of the time and that was okay; but why didn’t everyone else feel the need to honour their parents in the same way? I can only assume it was because they had been indulged by their parents and thought they were entitled to fun and enjoyment.
I had been taught that there is a time for everything. When my dad thought I was working too hard, he told me, he wanted me to be a balanced child.
The road to success is paved with good time management
To move up in the workplace requires supreme time management. Getting to work on time, meeting deadlines, taking on more and more volumes of work. Being smart at school does not necessarily mean you will do well in the work place; however, those that managed their time well in school are the same people that do well at work.
Some people genuinely find school difficult but they still try very hard at it and manage their time wisely. These people are set up for workplace success. Those that are effortlessly smart and don’t have to try hard at school will tend to have more trouble in the workplace. Teach your kids to manage their time and you’ll also be teaching them to manage money.
“I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don't intend to waste any of mine.” Neil Armstrong
For 2 years until early 2014 I wrote a weekly personal finance and business column for Malawi's leading media house, The Times Group. The target is middle-class, working African women.
This is a reproduction of the articles that appeared in the weekend edition of Malawi News.