How to Overcome Time Poverty

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Print this page Email A Friend!

We have been looking at one of the main stumbling blocks to personal and financial success -- the inefficient use of the precious resource of time. Many people will argue that they really wish to start the process of change that will take them towards actualising their goals, but they find it very difficult to dedicate enough time to do what is required.

With work commutes that can take hours, job responsibilities that go beyond the contracted nine-to-five, and various commitments to children, service clubs or school, the average person is severely starved of unscheduled time. We may be able to find ways to alleviate our money deficiencies, but how can we overcome the challenge of time poverty?

Educator and author of Overcoming Time Poverty, Bill Quain, explains that if you feel like you don't have enough time in your life, you may think you can fix the problem by becoming more efficient at what you do. On the contrary, Quain says, "You don't need more time to do the same things you are doing now. You need to do different things in order to have more time in your life."

Technology-rich, but time-poor

Although we are equipped with technology and services such as e-mail, smartphones, the Internet, speedy transportation and convenience foods, which should make us more efficient and free up our time, Quain insists that we are actually more tense, tired and time-challenged than any other generation that has ever existed.

Therefore, trying to organise your time to do the same tasks won't solve the root cause of your problem. Quain explains that you're time-poor when "you don't have the time to do the things you really WANT to do, because you are too busy doing the things you think you HAVE to do". We all have 24 hours in a day, so how do some people become time-rich and achieve their dreams?

Your lifetime is limited

To break free of time poverty, Quain reveals that you need to understand two essential concepts of time. Most people measure their time like sand in an hourglass, thinking that they can just turn over the glass and start their time again. In fact, time flows like sand through an hourglass that has no bottom; when the sand runs out, it is gone forever. This concept is called your life timer.

When you are conscious of the value of time, you recognise that every second is precious, as you will never retrieve the time you've already spent. Time-rich people also understand that if they spend all their time working, they can't use that time for more fulfilling tasks. To get more time to do what you want, Quain asserts, you need to learn how to put your money to work for you instead.

Use your time to create assets

Another key element of time is described by Quain as time equity. "Equity is something you own... Time equity is the total of all the time you own," he explains. Many people trade their Time Equity for money when they work at their jobs or as self-employed persons. However, Quain maintains that more of your time asset should be utilised to create other kinds of equity.

If you trade your time equity for activities that are designed to build assets that can generate income, then you are getting a positive return on your ownership of time. When your assets create the money you need, you don't have to spend all your time trying to earn an income. This is the secret to overcoming time poverty, Quain discloses.

Time games that people play

Before you can start on the task of creating physical equity with your time equity, you need to make sure that you are playing the right game to get the results you desire. Quain notes that some people play a 'work and hope' game in which they work for 40 or 50 years in a job, hoping that some windfall will miraculously come along to rescue them when they want to stop working.

Other people try to play a 'balance' game in which they work frantically to pay for the good life, but they never really find the time to enjoy the things they have purchased! Oftentimes they rack up consumer debt in the process of trying to create this unsustainable lifestyle. Trying to cut back on work only leads to less income, so they are stuck forever on an unbalanced money seesaw.

The really ambitious will attempt to play the 'corporate' game to get on the fast track that leads to the top of the ladder. While you can make a lot of money in this game, Quain admits, your life may become all about work, and you will never really be able to enjoy life outside of your job. We have all seen retired persons who feel meaningless without the status of their careers.

To create a truly great lifestyle, you have to learn how to gain time and wealth by playing a different game, Quain insists. Next month, we will continue our discussion on how to create a time-rich life.

Cherryl is a money coach, business mentor, and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. Her upcoming book, "The 3 Ms of Money" will reveal all the secrets she learned about financial success. Get more advice on money and business matters at and

Email comments to




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon