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Stop Expecting to Get Paid for Your Time How much is your time worth? An "I don't work for free" mindset could actually be doing you more harm than good.

By Nick Gilmour Edited by Amanda Breen

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

How many times in the last week or month have you chosen not to do something because you just don't "feel like it"? If you look back, you might not be able to count the times you chose to sleep in or binge a Netflix show. You know, all the times you chose to do nothing over making positive use of your time.

We just don't have enough time, right? Or are we just not intentional with our time?

What does being intentional with our time mean?

Some days can feel short. We've woken up, done a bit of work, and it's somehow time for bed again. Other days it can feel like we got so much done, and we're pumped for the rest of the week. Likely this is because we woke up that morning and chose to be effective with our time. Being successful doesn't just mean getting lucky; it means that you made an active decision to not let your time be wasted and instead use it intentionally to make your goals a reality.

A lot of entrepreneurs and people in everyday life don't focus their time on the right things. Being more intentional with your time is a good way to achieve whatever type of success you're looking for be it success in fitness, business or anything else. I'm not saying you can't indulge that Netflix binge, but you need to set limits and guidelines for when you're going to relax (and how much time you need to relax) in order to best use your time.

Related: 10 Time Management Tips That Work

Invest time in yourself

You see a lot of people spending time on social media and focusing on what people should or shouldn't do. Everyone on social media has his or her own opinion and each person has the right to it but it can sometimes become very overwhelming (and time-consuming).

Take the Covid-19 vaccine, for example. People are constantly providing their reasoning for why you should or you shouldn't take it. It's very important that you just focus your time and efforts on yourself.

Make sure to make the right investments in yourself just as you would with your money. When you invest your money into mutual funds and real estate, it's like investing in reading a book or working out, but investing in a used speed boat is like blowing your time on social media. When we really maximize the use of our time, we set ourselves up for success. In the long term, that correlation between investing your time into yourself and investing your money will have immense benefits in life.

Related: 7 Time Management Strategies for Busy Entrepreneurs

How much time do we really have?

People come to me complaining about not having the time in the day. They ask me how I find the time to do what I do. My time is intentional. And, if I don't have enough time, I create more time. I wake up an hour earlier or go to bed an hour later. That extra hour a day is 365 hours a year. That's a lot of time. They say you need to spend 10,000 hours doing something to become an expert at it. If you added an extra three hours to your day each day, you'd become an expert at a new skill within a year. That's huge.

So, next time you think you don't have enough time to do what it is you want to get done your primary goals go back and look at what it is that you did do over the past few days. Did you let yourself sleep in? Did you watch a couple of extra episodes of Grey's Anatomy? Did you scroll through TikTok for hours?

It's a good idea to keep a schedule on your phone or with a good old-fashioned day planner. Until you've gotten good at intentionally using your time without the need for a daily budget, decide every day what you're going to do with each hour from wake-up to bedtime. Schedule in your TikTok and Netflix time and then don't go over. If you find yourself breaking your schedule, give yourself incentives for the little successes.

No one is going to show up while you're relaxing on the couch and putting off writing that novel and tell you to get to work. You need to parent yourself and get yourself moving. If you need to treat yourself like a child who needs a physical push to get going, then do it. Hold yourself accountable.

Related: 9 Rules for Successful Time Management

Stop expecting to get paid for your time

There are many of us who just can't separate the idea that if we are working, we should be getting paid. We think that if we are using our time to do something, there should be some form of monetary reward.

We often hear ourselves saying things like, "I am not doing that for free," but we're not looking at what we're actually learning or the skills we are gaining from the use of our time. This mindset that our time should always be exchanged for money needs to go. When you start thinking that your time could be exchanged for other things like learning new skills and bettering yourself, you'll start seeing the rewards it brings to your life (which, hey, will lead to more money at some point).

Realize that there is huge value in our time; there's always something more to learn. Understand that value extends beyond money, and you'll start using your time more intentionally without even thinking about it. Because the advantages and successes you begin to see appear in your life will propel you forward.

Nick Gilmour

CEO of Gilmour Group

Nick Gilmour is a serial entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience with business startups in the retail, real-estate and manufacturing industries. He has an accelerated-growth mentality with a "grassroots" business approach.

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