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Do you aspire to be a time millionaire?

Diane Hall


Bag of money and hourglass on a seesaw

I read an article on this last week, about how the pandemic has seen some people reassess their lives and aspirations.

This subset of the population doesn’t yearn to be monetary millionaires. They are acutely aware how short our time is on Earth and have instead designed their lives so that they can enjoy the one true commodity that cannot be bought or sold: time.

It’s something I talked about in this article.

I absolutely align with these people, if I’m honest, though to outsiders it would not seem so. I have four jobs and one business, and a family and house to manage—looking in, it would appear that I never know whether I’m coming or going and that my life is pressured beyond measure. Whilst I’m not someone who spends their afternoons lazing in the last of the summer sun, these things are simply not true. Yes, I work and work and work. The reason for this is that I get a huge amount of fulfilment from my jobs. They all bring their own rewards and fulfilment, as does my business—however, if they didn’t, I’d quickly say ‘Ciao’, for the very reason stated above: life’s too short. My social life is melded into my work, as are my hobbies (I’ve designed my career so that I’m constantly doing fun things across many different industries, for which I just so happen to be paid). I don’t feel as if much of my time is actually spent ‘working’.

Admittedly, most time millionaires are unlikely to be like me; instead, they’re fulfilled by their hobbies and in how they spend their time outside of work. These people opt for part-time hours or careers with limited responsibility, so that they can focus on their other commitments.

Some time millionaires work full-time hours but have engineered a certain lifestyle. They work from home for a company that pays little attention to the productivity of its employees. As long as their computers are switched on, and provided they do the bare minimum, they slip under the radar, undetected. During the time they’re meant to be working they watch TV, have leisurely breakfasts and lunchtimes, they play games, sit in the garden, surf the net…whatever takes their fancy.

In the past, those who keep their noses to the grindstone would have termed these people ‘shirkers’ or ‘wasters’; however, there will probably be many people today—following the slower pace of lockdowns and the freedom they know can be enjoyed when working from home—who will actually be quite envious of their situations.

Who decided that working 40 hours a week or more is a true sign of success? Which employee will likely have the longer, healthier life—the time millionaire or the one that works 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, and who lost sight of how to relax or sleep without interruption years ago?

Be happy written on a tag

Be happy written on a tag

Money is all well and good, but once your basic needs are met and you have the funds to enjoy what you spend your time doing, what do you need more money for? Time millionaires don’t care about keeping up with the Joneses or showing off their wealth…after all, you can’t take your money with you, and we’ll all end up in a box of some kind one day. So the wealthy will have velvet lined boxes and the time millionaires may only be able to afford a cardboard version; both will go in the ground amongst the bugs and worms. You could argue that having more money improves the quality of life, in that you can visit more expensive restaurants and travel the world; however, if you did, you’d be missing the point. Some people can feel fulfilled from simply hanging around at home.

They don’t feel the need to travel the world. I can relate to this. On my bucket list, there are only a few things I’d like to see in person: the Northern Lights, Niagara Falls and New York City. I don’t hanker to see the pyramids, ride a gondola or visit far-flung places. I’m not a good traveller for a start, but let me explain how I see the first example. View alternative angles of the pyramids online and you’ll see a McDonalds practically sat in their midst, as well as a whole shanty town society at their rear; the images show their glory much better than if I saw them in real life. To go all that way and be disappointed…why bother?

We have a high unemployment rate at the moment, and whilst there have always been people happy to claim benefits and not work, despite being fit to do so, numbers are growing. Statistics show that 56% of the UK’s unemployed are not actively looking for work. They’ve made their peace with the income Universal Credit brings (no doubt some will have additional income streams of a nefarious nature) and have tailored their lives to suit, opting instead to be wholly time rich.

It’s a common theory, that we live in a society that’s designed to make us unhappy. Because, if we’re unhappy, we buy things we think will fill the void and/or make us happier. This premise becomes wasted on time millionaires, who feel happy and fulfilled with very little. Highly attuned to their wants and needs, they don’t have the urge (or budget) to buy superfluous items. They recognise that a desire for anything extra would drain time from their lives to attain, so they learn to dampen these feelings by appreciating what their freewheeling lives bring them.

Makes sense, really.

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