For three minutes today, I fantasized about how I would spend $429.6 million in lotto winnings. Then I realized that since my thrilling combination of being super cheap and strongly analytical has prevented me from ever having purchased a lottery ticket, these were three minutes sorely wasted. Besides, once you are a legit adult, don’t you have to subscribe to that boring windfall rule of 1/3 toward debt, invest 1/3 and just 1/3 for splurging? Zzzzzz…
All this happened just moments before winning my own brand of lottery.
First, I finished a task in half the time I expected it to take (it wasn’t even daydreaming about the lotto. It was a whole different thing). Then, a late afternoon conference call was cancelled. After my careful planning of the week ahead, I knew it was set to be a super busy one. But suddenly, two hours of my Monday just opened right up. Two hours. Two, juicy hours of limitless possibility on a sunny day.
How does one spend a surprise time windfall?
I can imagine a version of myself moving right on to the Tuesday to-do list. This week is going to be BUSY, YA’LL. I’ve got writing scheduled between phone calls scheduled between pressing admin stuff. I will be lucky if I get it all done. But then, that’s kind of tomorrow’s problem, right? And Wednesday’s? And Thursday’s and Friday’s? What good is winning the time lotto if you don’t spend it on a hammock? If I pluck things from future days’ to-do lists, I’m just going to fill those days back up before they arrive. Time is fleeting. We’re ALL GOING TO DIE OMGLIVENOWFRIENDS. And I don’t just say that because I recently purchased life insurance. Okay, it’s a little bit about the insurance thing.
Anywho. You know what the saddest thing about that boring adult formula about breaking a windfall into thirds? I found that it’s actually the best thing to do. Now, time is a super personal resource, so don’t let me tell you what to do with your life. But this is what I did. And it felt really good:
1/3 Splurge. I mulched. This is seriously my splurge, because I derive deep satisfaction from yard projects. There is much mulching to do, but I just did this adorable little circular spot I made on Sunday around a found (!) peony bush, found (!) succulent thingy and a (as yet) sad little rose bush I just planted. On the way outside, I also rehung the potted plants that slept in the house due to a late frost and pulled exactly four weeds from my flower bed. It turns out four is just the right amount of weeds to pull in one session. I left about 53 others for later.
1/3 Invest. I edited one story I’d planned to do tomorrow. It wasn’t fun, but tomorrow will be better for it. We’ll call that my investment. That makes sense, because investing is also no fun, but you hope many tomorrows from now you’ll be glad you did it. Like buying life insurance, but without the dying bit.
1/3 Pay down debt. As you may have noticed, I’m writing a blog. Something from last week’s to-do list that never made it to fruition. Come to think of it, blogging was on the previous week’s list too, and nope. Didn’t do it. If that’s not paying down time debt, I don’t know what is. It also feels a little bit splurgy because a) I like doing it and b) it’s a thinly veiled excuse to show my mulching photos to the internet.
Few things are more psychologically satisfying to me than treating my time like the precious resource it is. Doling it out, saving it up and strategically managing it like dollars fall right out of the clock. When you work for yourself, they sort of do.