Smart time investment turns to 'profits'

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Smart investment of your time can guarantee "profits," but it's how you choose to spend your time that lays a foundation for both you and your subordinates. Your time is valuable, so invest it wisely.

Most people think of money when they hear the word 'invest,' but it really holds a much deeper meaning. Today's investment opportunities are a gamble, so if your investment fails, you simply throw more money at it. Smart time investment provides a much broader return.

If you invest your time in non-productive activities like watching TV or movies, playing video games all night, or just 'hanging out,' then maybe your goal is to be the most popular vegetable (couch potato)? Don't get me wrong, there's a time and place for mindless activities, but not all the time, and not every place. Just know that lost time can never be recovered.

Investing your time in what matters isn't easy. It takes dedication and sacrifice for the dividends to pay forward. Spending your time in education provides a 'profit' (degree). That dividend offers more options, opportunities for promotion and higher pay. The earning differential by educational levels varies dramatically over one's lifetime. (High School, $1.2M; Associates, $1.6M; Bachelor's, $2.1M; Master's $2.5M; Doctoral, $3.4M; (http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/p23-210.pdf ) Invest in education.

When investing in your family, profits can be off the chart and seem very simple. Helping the kids with homework (maybe while you do your own), having a game night, play catch, or support your kids' activities. I've been to so many band concerts, my ears still bleed from the early years. But my kids always knew I supported them. Nobody ever said on their death bed, "I wish I would have spent more time at work." Invest in family.

Smart investment planning can also mean placing your time in a physical fitness annuity. Careers end because time isn't spent on healthy living. It seems simple, yet commitment is critical to investing the necessary time to show any profits. Never forget that there are "financial advisors" at the Health and Wellness Center available to assist with your fitness investments. Invest in healthy living.

One of the biggest struggles is figuring out how to invest in your subordinates. Too often, it's assumed they'll 'figure it out.' This is a foolish gamble. Investing in your people's professional development, training, education, and morale may be time consuming, but worth every second. The profits can be seen through mission success, high morale and a highly professional organization. Invest in your subordinates.

Time is an irreplaceable commodity and can never be recovered. It's like believing you can catch up on your sleep ... impossible. Only you can decide how to invest your time to make your world a better place. Your world is what you control and can influence. Invest in your people, family, education, and healthy living and you'll know that your invested time will result in windfall profits.