Managing Life’s Resources: Time, Money, and Energy

What Are the Raw Materials of a Life Well Lived

One body, one mind a limited supply of time, money and energy on an open playing field with only a few rules. You have won the intergalactic lottery, and you have been given life on this beautiful planet with all these nice people. Matter that is billions of years old has been assembled and given breath, conscious thought, and the opportunity to do almost anything you want.

Are you going to take care of your body, develop your mind, and manage these precious resources?

That was rhetorical. Of course, you are. Although be advised, many people simply piss it all away.

Balance Your Use of Resources

But not you. You’re going to have some fun, lean into it, and create some happiness and meaning for yourself and a handful of others you team up with along the way. Maybe you’ll even make a couple of new people of your own who will love you like you have never been loved before. Then, they will find you intolerable and think you are an embarrassment to them for a while, and then that will pass, and it will be OK again as they discover who you are as an adult. But I’m getting off track here.

And to do all of this, you have been granted a limited supply of Time, Money, and Energy. These are the resources of life. You have to play the game and create the life you have always wanted with one body, one mind a limited supply of time, money and energy.

The Nature of Limited Resources

You can use a limited resource only once. Since it is limited, you must make choices. You will have to make trade-offs.

For example, will you trade time with your kids today for a nice place to retire, hoping the kids will come for a visit? Or, do you want to create strong, lasting bonds with your children when they are still young or do you want to pursue your career progression?

Making Trades: This for That

Step back and see your life in context:  See the chessboard as the player, not just as a piece. As the player you can see more options, moves that may sacrifice one thing for a better outcome overall. It’s very easy to put your head down and make decisions as they present themselves, but a lack of context can lead to poor choices. Like putting too much on a credit card and spending the next 2 years getting out of debt. Yes, it was an amazing vacation, but do you truly know what you gave up for it. Step back and think critically.

Will you choose fun today vs. security tomorrow?

Time with your kids vs. a bigger house with more stuff?

Hobbies you love for money to survive or wealth? Where are the lines for you? Do you have lines?

Time (Life)

Time is the true currency of life. I’m not talking about an abstract view of hours and days. Rather, I’m talking about the measure of your life. 

You are given just one life. Spend it wisely. We measure life in terms of years, typically. It’s some unknown number of years to exist and make something of yourself. How would you like to spend that? Working? Having fun? Becoming wealthy? Practically speaking, there will be some blend of all these things. But there is quite a bit of latitude here. So, you need to be smart about this.

What are you going to do with your one and only life? 

Now is when life happens. The past and future are ideas that occupy and distract you from life. That moment where I said “now is when life happens”, It is now in the past, and I’m still dwelling on it, dang did it again, oops, still dwelling. I keep explaining what happened a few moments ago, and now I’m missing now, while I dwell on then. As you might have noticed, I am often ‘in my own head’. This can be a very good thing in moderation. Critical thinking is a very powerful tool. But getting lost in either the past or future can distract you from where life is truly lived, which is right NOW.

Spending Time

Time is limited, and we are given an unknown amount to spend. You can spend time with someone you care about.

Work is a great example. We do things we wouldn’t do, but we do it for the money. We do things we don’t enjoy doing to get money, which we then trade for stuff.  Arguably, we trade life for stuff.

Ask yourself these honest questions: How much of your life did you trade for that big house? How much of your life did you trade for that car, vacation, groceries, etc.?

Justin Timberlake, in the movie In Time, had a barcode like all citizens where they were simply scanned and days or years of their life was withdrawn when making any kind of purchase. No money in between, just time in your life. I found it a powerful metaphor, as we think we are spending money (it’s only money), missing the fact we bartered years of our life to get that money. We go to work selling some time for money that we can spend on things we want. You just sold some time. How much of your life did you just spend on that car? We do things we don’t want to do so we can have or do things we want to do. We are selling the limited resource of time from our lives. You would be wise to be cautious here.

The Past Is Over, and There’s No Changing It. It’s Only How You Think About It: The Future Isn’t Here.

Often, we spend a lot of time in our heads re-living the past. The problem is we can’t do anything about it now, except how we think of it and what we learn from it. We can’t change the past, but we can change the future.

The future is largely a product of how you handle now. The choices and decisions you make now all have costs and consequences. It is so easy to do what feels the best now. Part of crafting a great life is balancing living now well (when life happens) and incorporating strategic choices in what you do now that impact the future. That’s some kinda 3-dimensional chess (whatever that is).


There are lots of ways to think about money. But money is essential in today’s fast-paced, unforgiving modern world.

How much money is enough? How much money do you want? What will you sacrifice to have it? Is money more important than time? Is it worth selling the life you have for money so you can buy stuff? Is there a limit to that?

Lots of people miss life building a future. They miss their kids growing up, so their golden years will be wonderful. Is that your plan? When you are old and your kids have kids, will you be glad you made that choice? You do have a nice condo in Florida to sit in your rocker and ponder the life you wish you had lived. 

Was that really the trade you wanted to make?

Money is a man-made construct: we accept it as one of life’s great realities. I suppose it now is.

Imagine going back in time 100,000 years and offering a caveman a crisp $100 bill for that piece of meat he is eating.  What would he do? Do you know how much $100 would be worth if invested properly for 100k years? I bet he would not be impressed. We have created our own modern reality. What seems so real to us is real because we believe it. The thing is, we can toy around with our belief systems by becoming more aware of life, our interests, and our priorities.

Money: How Much Is Enough Money?

Practically speaking, you need enough money to meet your needs. We want enough to provide future security and happiness. So what is the right amount? You should figure that out. A life of perpetual more, more, and more means you will never be satisfied. 

Eastern philosophy describes unmet expectations as the primary source of human suffering. Unmet expectations are typically the things you wanted but didn’t happen. More, more, and more isn’t an expectation that can be satisfied. That is where the concept of “never enough” was born.

We trade time/life for money to have stuff so we can enjoy life more. An awareness of this will help make your life more rewarding. What if you skipped a bunch of this and just made life better? You have been taught by society about the work, money, and stuff plan for happiness. But that doesn’t mean that is the only path. If you wanted to be happy today but not spend money, could you do it? Or, do you need some stuff to be happy today?

I spent too much of my life chasing money. It turns out money and stuff are not really high priorities for me and not the path to my life of happiness and meaning. I was just too lazy to dream up anything better. Or perhaps, I was too busy working my ass off to have the time or energy to see life differently. Hey, maybe you don’t have to do what I did and can start making choices that truly serve your values.


What is energy? Stamina, will, and the discipline to do what you don’t want to do. And sometimes even the will to do the stuff you want to do. Sometimes just getting off the couch seems exhausting.

Energy is the most pliable resource. You can increase your energy with healthy living (diet and exercise). Also, your mindset, attitude, and self-discipline all impact the amount of energy you have. 

Spirals: Upward Spiral vs. Downward Spiral 

When you find the energy and discipline to eat well and exercise it gives you more energy. Now, you have more energy to do better at work. That’s motivating, making you want to put in the effort to go skiing this weekend, which is fun. (I use skiing because, for me, it’s an example of something fun that takes a lot of effort).

Lots of good things come after effort (hard work), which is the nature of energy. On the other hand, sitting on the couch all night drinking beer after beer sure is easy, and it’s fun, too. Did I mention easy? But that kind of thing drains energy. You’ll feel a little headachy and lazy the next day. You’ll think, “Maybe, I’ll just rest today…”

Downward spirals are those patterns of behavior that feed one to the next in a way that destroys energy. But energy is an important resource for creating a good life. Hmmm. What to do, what to do.

Work: if you didn’t get paid, would you still do it? Really? People say stuff like that, but, in reality, it is rarely true. Lots of people do work for free because they believe in something, have strong values, and care about something beyond themselves. But most people with jobs do their jobs for the money and give their time to other causes. If you find a career you would really work for free, you are one fortunate man.

Relationships Require Resources: Time, Money, and Energy

You don’t have to be in a relationship. You don’t have to want a relationship. It is optional. If you get into a relationship, it will require resources. LIMITED resources. I think too many people want the benefits of relationships without considering the cost in terms of time, money, and energy. 

Guys chase women, get women, and then are frustrated that they aren’t spending as much time with their friends or playing games or their work suffers. This is important. If you want a woman in your life, it will take resources. And resources are limited things that can only be spent once. The life you had before will change because you are now reallocating your time, money, and energy away from the things you used to spend them on over to something new.

You can only spend a resource once. You need to be aware that you have to choose your priorities and invest your resources where they serve you best. Don’t blame a woman for wanting your time and attention. You did this. You wanted this. You got her to like you, and now, you’re bothered because you had to give something up? 

You should consider all this before you start a relationship. Don’t start one if you aren’t willing to reallocate time.  Or, you can structure a relationship based on the resources you are willing to dedicate to it. Be clear and honest about what you really want. If you just want a girlfriend for a few hours on a Saturday night, that is your choice.

A woman can take that information and make her own choice.  But don’t go all out throwing resources to get a woman and expect to go into autopilot and keep her. Don’t set expectations you have no intention of maintaining. 

Manage Life’s Resources Assertively

You get to spend resources once. Applying a resource to one thing, by definition, implies it can’t be used for anything else. You can spend the next hour on anything you want, but not everything you want. Once it’s spent, it’s spent. You can spend that dollar on one thing, and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

It’s easy to just move through life using these resources based on mood or craving in the moment. But that is more like drifting than having a destination. You have one body, one brain, and three types of resources. And you have been put on an open playing field. 


If you wanted to win (winning meaning anything you want it to mean), what would you do? If it were a game, would you get strategic? Would you use your resources to your best advantage? Put some time and money over here to start a business. Cut out some waste over there (sorry, Netflix). Would you sacrifice some game pieces early to establish a stronger long-term position? This is getting exciting!

You have so much more control over your life than most men are aware of. Take it.

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