One of the newest investing trends is an app called Robinhood. It lets people without a lot of money jump into investment markets with just a few dollars, a few clicks, and little experience. It makes knowing what to invest in seem easy. But it isn’t always, and neither is knowing what to spend time and energy on.
These app-powered investors are often chasing what’s trendy, not what’s financially wise. That tendency is found in all of us as we invest more than just our money, living out our days. Here are 5 questions to ask before investing your time, energy, or attention in anything.
1. What’s the worst that can happen if you don’t invest in this?
We are good at rationalizing why we “need” to do something that’s going to eat up a lot of energy and time. The FOMO (fear of missing out) culture drives a lot of attention invested in ultimately shallow pursuits. This question also helps us evaluate just what our real priorities are in our minds and hearts.
2. What’s your motivation?
Activities that will make you a healthier, happier, or holier person are important. But how many times do we instead invest our time in something because it’s popular or exciting? We want to be connected with the “in” crowd, even as full-grown adults! But it’s wiser to invest in whatever actually aligns with God’s will for our lives.
3. Whose interests are really served?
Knowing what to spend time and energy on requires this critical question. It helps us discern whether we’re being manipulated into how we spend our time. Hours can fly by as we scroll through social media, for example. When we consider how those platforms are designed to sell our attention to advertisers, we have to wonder if those companies are getting more out of our time than we are.
4. Whose interests NEED to be served?
Regardless of who is benefiting from how we spend our time, we all need to think about who should be benefiting. Intense, time-consuming hobbies are an example. We need to think about the long-term effects that “me time” has on a spouse and kids. Maybe we should pull them into our interests! Yet the nature of some hobbies means we shut out the people we love in order to focus, which inadvertently communicates that “this is more important to me than you are.”
5. Will the gains be worth the cost?Every minute of our precious, fleeting lives is an investment in something. Invest well.
In business, companies constantly consider “return on investment” or a “cost-benefit analysis.” What they choose to do has to be considered against what they expect to receive. Similarly, we need to consider whether the time, energy, and attention we spend is going to drain us with no benefit or help us reach our relationship goals and priorities.
These are just some of the questions we all should be asking in today’s fast-paced, high-distraction world. Let’s encourage each other to test our choices carefully before we make them. Every minute of our precious, fleeting lives is an investment in something. Invest well.
Sound off: Knowing what to spend time and energy on takes discernment. How do you decide what’s worth your investment?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What’s the most important thing you do every day?”