I fell into the trap- I was checking my phone 10,000 times a day, scrolling mindlessly through social media and incessantly checking email.  I had even turned off push notifications, but that made matters worse.

My premise today is this:  Small increments of time and money can make you happier in a big way.  Those two valuable resources need to be protected and used as intentionally as possible.

The main idea behind Minimalism is “don’t let material things stand in the way of what truly makes you happy” and I think you can also apply this to time.  So, how are you spending the 10 extra minutes you have when you arrive early, or the 20 extra minutes you get when someone else is late? I know how I was.

I was burning it on Twitter, Instagram and other social media.  It was not making me happier. In fact, quite the opposite.

There is a ton of research that’s been done into what makes a happy life.  The short answer is stronger relationships and deeper connections.  Neither of these can be cultivated through social media.

Found Time

Instead of impulsively checking my phone, I decided to come up with a plan for how I was going to use my Found Time and I advocate you do the same.  In 20 minutes, the average person can read 10 pages. Do that daily and you’ll read at least 12 books a year.

There are, on the conservative end, 25 people in my life I’d like to have a stronger relationship with.  Keep the people in your life on a list and call them when you have Found Time. Or just call your mom…I know she’d love to hear from you.

All of this is also true about money. Could how you spend $20 or less improve your happiness and life?  Before you stop reading, don’t-this isn’t about budgeting.

For years, I was caught up in a cycle of eating breakfast and lunch out everyday. Was that making me happy?  No, not really. It was just what people in that community did.

On the flip side, going out to breakfast with my son is the best $20 I’ve ever spent.  So, I’m not judging or wagging my finger at you, I’m just suggesting you audit you’re spending.  If it’s bringing you happiness and joy, keep doing it! If it’s not and you’re just going through the motions, quit it. You’ll have more money to spend on the good things which will lead to a happier life.

To make this effective, you’ll need to consistently audit how you’re spending your time and money and I think you should do this twice a day.  At noon, look back on how you spent the past 6 hours and at 6pm, do the same again. Figure out if you’re maximizing those small increments of Found Time and those small amounts of money.  

We all know the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time and I living a happier life can be done in the same fashion!  

Make it happen, you can do it!