One of our most valuable assets is our time. How do you decide your allotments? If you find an empty space on your calendar, is your automatic response to fill it?
I’ve spoken to a couple of clients recently who expressed their desire to have more unhurried time. What does that mean, exactly?
That’s the driving conversation in this episode. Unhurried time can mean different things to different people but the underlying value of it comes down to a simple phrase: scheduled, unscheduled time.
Imagine having two hours every Friday afternoon from 4:00-6:00pm. That time is scheduled as “free time.” What will you do with those two hours? Maybe you have a long to-do list and your goal for that time is to pick an item and get it done. Perhaps you want to spend more quality time with your kids so your goal is to do something together.
Unhurried time is yours to do with as you please. There is no compulsion to get something specific accomplished. You aren’t scheduling two hours to get that bathroom re-grouted so your spouse stops needling you to complete the task. That’s not to say that during your unhurried time you can’t choose to get the grout job done. You aren’t scheduling a hike with your kids. But that’s not to say you can’t grab some granola and hit the trails when the time comes.
Booking yourself some unbooked time is a great way to get the most value from your time. We live in a world in which capacity is almost always filled. Take Robert Moses’ construction of the NYC freeways, for example. He believed that by expanding the Long Island Expressway from three to four lanes would increase capacity by 33%. After years of construction and expense, the LIE went from three lanes of gridlock traffic, to four lanes of gridlock traffic. We are conditioned to fill to capacity. Our wallets, our homes, our time…
Use your unhurried time to live in the moment. What do you need when the clock stops ticking?
Welcome to real financial planning broadcasted on WKXL and available wherever you get your podcasts. I'm Matt Robison, and I'm joined as always by Mike Morton, from Morton Financial Advice and the host of financial planning for entrepreneurs, a great podcast, if you're into that kind of thing. I hope you are because that's why we're doing the show. Mike, how are you?
Good, man? Oh, only if you like that kind of stuff? Hopefully, you do. Because here you are.
Yeah, we just finished recording a show where we had a listener question asking what is the value of a financial advisor anyway, and I love the way you started it, which is like for a lot of people, there's no value and that's fine. That's cool. I just love the credibility that comes with people saying, Yeah, you don't need to spend money on this. It happens to be my line of business but it may be it's not for you, I'm gonna grab some credibility with our listeners by saying, yeah, maybe this isn't for you. Although today, I have to say, this is another one of these topics that you and I do from time to time, that's kind of about financial planning is really more about your broader thing, which is helping people with overall kind of logistics life management, the whole big picture, and you wanted to talk about the value of something, I don't know, it's a very, it's really late. I want to, I want you to say because this is interesting. It's not the way I thought about this.
To be honest, this came up from a couple of clients that I'm working with. And I just loved the way they said it. So we have a process where I work with my clients to try to figure out what's most important to them, because only by knowing what's most important in your life, do we know how to plan for it? So only if we understand what is most important this month or next year and in the next five years can we then make a plan to accomplish more of that thing. And these people sitting across from me said, you know, I just want more unhurried time and I just loved the way that was phrased unhurried time for them. It was to spend with their family and with each other and with the kids and doing things creating memories. But it was just this idea of unhurried time that really struck me. And so I thought we could spend a little bit on today's episode talking about what that means. And then also how to get more of it. And I don't know all kinds of stuff around having more unhurried time in your life.
We did an episode on putting down your phones and managing your time better. And we had said that the only totally non-renewable resource in the universe is time. And honestly, who cares about saving money? Who cares what's right it's basically all about giving yourself the ability to do what you want when you want it. I mean, like, why do people want to be wealthy? It's so that they're not forced to do stuff that they don't want to do. And so that they don't need to feel compelled. I mean, I guess in an odd way, this is the undercurrent that is underneath everything you do.
Yeah. And this was in particular, I thought it was cool the word unhurried as part of this, which really put it in a different context for me. But I totally 100% agree with you that it's all about time. And when you start thinking about these bigger questions, Hey, what is it I want more of in my life? What is it I really value? It's all about where you are going to spend your time, you know, you only have so much time and it's never about the money. The money is there. I say this to everybody. I've said this a number of times in this podcast. Money is there to power the life you want to live, you might have enough today, look at the way that you want to live. And then look at your pile of money. Maybe it's enough to live the way that you want to live. And defining that the way that you want to live is really important because you get in this rat race we all know about ‘I'm trying to get wealthy’ ‘I'm trying to get wealthy’ ‘I'm trying to get wealthy’, but oftentimes, the expenses ramp up with the income. And so you never quite get there. I have just another couple of years. And then you end up getting that bonus, and when you buy a really nice car. Like, oh, just a couple more years. And so knowing both sides of this equation, knowing that what's important is the time aspect, how you want to spend it, and today really thinking about that unhurried aspect of time.
Yeah, it's a better way of thinking about it. Because I have a universal law to propose that I'm sure someone else who's like a philosophy type has come up with in better phrasing, but the way I put it is capacity always gets filled. There's a story if you've ever read the power broker about the construction of New York, and Robert Moses, who literally planned and built everything, all of the infrastructure of New York City, and he wanted to expand. I think it was the Long Island Expressway because it was always clogged with traffic. And he said look if we go from three lanes to four lanes, 33% more capacity. What happened? They spent so much money and so much time. They expanded from three lanes to four lanes, gridlock traffic, New York listeners, you know what I'm talking about why, because capacity always gets filled, you have that capacity. And it's like, well, now I'm more likely to want to take the highway, I'm more likely to think I'm going to drive instead of taking transit, or whatever it is, I think it's the same thing with your money and your time, it's if you've got the capacity, you're gonna find a way to fill it. And so yeah, you can build up more wealth. Look, I want to do that, too. I can't get myself out of that mindset. But it is important to ask what for because you are going to fill it, you're going to find ways to spend more to get fancier stuff, whatever it is, and are you getting ahead…
Let's you know, let's talk about that in terms of the time aspect, because as you were speaking, what I was thinking is, I'm looking in fact, here on my screen is like my calendar sitting right behind your video. And everyone's got the calendar and what do we do with the capacity? Oh, we're not doing anything on Saturday, what should we do and fill it in? How do you spend your time filling up that capacity? Oh, I got a free day. I've got a free hour, what am I gonna do? And then our phone podcast episode, it was like, I'm standing in line waiting to pay for my groceries I have five minutes. What am I going to do? I can read three tweets. I can read. I can read three tweets in five minutes. What am I gonna do? I gotta fill that capacity. So today's episode is actually great the way he just said that because it's about not filling the time. It's about looking at the calendar. Or looking at that five minutes in line is what we said last time. And don't feel the time, just look around.
Yeah, or is there such a big difference by being unhurried? Look, you have a definition. But what's your definition? Because I've got a bit of one. Maybe we should contrast here, what do you mean by unhurried time?
Yeah. So unhurried time, to me, means that you have no definitive outcome as part of that time. I don't want to say goal because there's a goal for this unhurried time, but you don't have a priority on what you expect the outcome to be.
See, I have a slight twist on that, which is, that I think of it as a time where there's nothing compelling you to do a specific thing. To me, it's a huge difference. I don't know. I mean, maybe people don't vibe with this. But this is what I hated about being in school. I hated knowing that I had assignments. I knew that somewhere between now and Friday, I had to hand in a paper. And so I was under compulsion. Look, I don't know if you're like this with your spouse, maybe this will resonate with people out there. But the simplest
This might go sideways, Matt, be careful.
My wonderful spouse does listen to this so I have to be careful here. But I think the quickest way to make someone less likely to want to do something is to make them feel compelled. And so it's the difference between you need to do the dishes right now honey, actually, my wife never says anything versus when you choose to. That's just a big mental difference. So to me, the aspect of having time where you're not under duress, that's a big difference.
Yeah, to me kind of drawing the distinction, I guess, you know, the way I'm finding it, is not simply slower time, not like unhurried kind of slower time or not compelled, it's really having no set desired state at the end of it. It's going in knowing I'm not even sure what I'm doing at this time, I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I just know that I want to have time that is open-ended, it's relaxed, that doesn't have anything associated with it, in terms of having a compulsion to do something, or to finish something or to have some desire to stay at the outcome.
Alright, I have a personal question for you. When was the last time you can remember having that, and what did you do with it?
Yeah, it's a really good question. And last time, I remember having it, not recently and so I'm not the expert at this, like, oh, here's what I've been doing for months. Like, here's why it's so great. But I do think just like that attention episode, why is this important? Because I want you to just think about your calendar, your next day or this upcoming weekend or something like that, and think, what if I had two hours of a block of time where there was just nothing to do? Okay, nothing that I had to do on Saturday morning from eight to 10. Or it's Friday afternoon from one to three. How does that feel? Yeah, to me, it feels like Whoo, that sounds pretty exciting. Like I'm starting to feel very energetic. I feel like what will I do not what will I do in terms of oh, I can pick something but how will I spend that time that's, you know, I go into without the desired outcome. Will I get with the kids ahead of time and say, Hey, we've got Saturday all morning, and we'll just wake up and do whatever or am I gonna go? I don't even know what I'm gonna do. But just knowing it's there. Want to clarify something?
I don't think you're advocating sitting around doing nothing. I think what bridges your definition of my definition, to me, is the idea of, I don't want to feel compelled. And you don't want to have a specific outcome in mind going into it, but you might find one. And that's really the thing. So I'm reaching back,
Well, let me pause for a second because I do want to say like I mentioned the word goal. And I think there is a goal for this time. But you can have goals for this time, the goal can be to create memories with my kids. So I don't know what we're going to do exactly, or how we're going to do it. But that could be a goal of mine to create some memories, or could just be to be present. It could be to rejuvenate yourself, I know, I need two hours with nothing to do. Because I know that later in the day, I have lots of activity, and I will have way more energy. So it could create energy, it could be in your business to be creative. Having that space, we know this from research, having the space in between trying to solve problems, not specifically thinking about them, is when your subconscious will solve them. So create unhurried, time and space to be able to do so so that you could have goals for this time. And you will at the end of it like you just said, there'll be definitely outcomes and you'll get stuff done or do things or have stuff happen. But it's just that idea of creating chunks that you don't have a specific like I'm doing at this time.
Yeah, look, I'll answer my own question. I remember about a week and a half ago, there was a weekend day when the kids were occupied. The kids were busy and I was like, this is great. I'm going to read a book, I'm going to intentionally not read the news. It's a Sunday, a brand new book and that was fantastic. There really is something to it. But here's the problem, of course, is that you have to say this so ironically. But do you have to intentionally create your own spontaneity?
Yeah, of course. Okay, how do you do this? I would love more unhurried time. Will he do a calendar like this? I think that the best way of going about this is actually scheduling it. Because it's like everything else we talked about in this show, I don't know a way of making sure something is going to happen. You know, if it's something that's important to me, that I really want to do that I wanted to accomplish, or want to set some time aside, without planning it. We said a number of times, that it's all about planning. What do you want to have more of in your life? How do you want to spend your money, your energy, and your time when you come up with ideas and write them down? Then you have to plan it? When are you going to do those things? How are you going to do those things? Who's going to be with you? Who's going to help you accomplish those things? And so in all of this, I do think the best way of creating unhurried time is actually to plan it. Now. It doesn't have to be I'm not saying I have an itinerary and all that sometimes that might make sense, hey, look, we want to go do this thing, we're gonna go to the beach, you know, that's the plan, and then we're just going to be there all day. So that could be an unhurried time like you show up there. And then I don't know what you're going to do, you know, sometimes on the beach, sometimes in the water, sometimes doing this or whatever it is. So that could be, you know, where you do need specific planning, but others could just throw it in the calendar. Hey, on Friday afternoon, I'm blocking out my time leaving the office at two. And then there's natural six, or whatever it is. So you know that you've scheduled that time, because like you said before, max capacity will get filled. If there's nothing on your calendar, trust me, you're gonna be doing something and it may not be what you want to be doing.
Yeah, first of all, the entire approach of having rigorously scheduled spontaneity was actually invented in America by German settlers in 1945. And I do like the idea here, which is I actually do this quite frequently, I have a to-do list that's in the background. It's long, there's a lot of stuff on it. And if I block off a segment in my afternoon, if I have the ability to do that, again, we're talking about doing nothing. We're talking about doing things were for me, it's, I'm not compelled, it's like an opportunity to get to my list. There's so much on it. Like right now. I've got outdoor seat cushions that I need to die because we want it to be difficult All right, if I say I've got to do that at such and such a time, it's gonna feel like I'm being compelled, if I block off an hour, and then I get to choose, that's one of the things on my list. I've got some financial planning, gotta edit this show that I just recorded with my then I'll get through those things, but I'll feel better about it. I think that's that sort of thing. Or maybe, you know, maybe my kids will be around, I'll say, All right, I'm gonna blow all that off, and we'll do something. I want to bring up the kids aspect of this for just a second because one thing that I think you're pretty good at, is letting your kids be bored. There's such a value to boredom that we don't appreciate it as parents nowadays. We do so much snowplow parenting and helicopter parenting. I don't know, pick a machine like you do, try to remove all obstacles and pre-curate every experience your kids are going to have. And there is literature about this, there's real value to having a moment where your kids say they don't know what to do. And you say, that's a real dilemma. What are you going to do about that? And it is amazing. If you just had to leave it there after like 10 or 15 minutes, they will find an activity, and it's probably a lot better than what you would have come up with.
Yeah, that's right. Because what I come up with is, oh, there are some dishes over here that need doing so are you bored? I got something for you. That's usually the answer. And then they run off and find their own thing to do a lot faster than 10 or 15 minutes. But I think there is what you're saying to you know, like that having that time and then figuring out oh, this list, and what should I do? Or am I just gonna blow that off and go do something else enjoyable, read a book or spend time with the kids? I think we need more of that, in our lives in general, given our hurried pace, and trying to always get more done all the time. I think we just totally undervalue how much energy and positivity it brings us to be present in the moment with that unhurried time, and so to not have the list and the stuff to do, but just simply sit back. And so what do I really need right now, maybe it was you needed a nap. And maybe what you need is to roll around outside with the dog or the kids or to do something. So I think by having that time, and then filling it with how you're feeling, what you really need to rejuvenate to get back to doing all the things that are part of your life is just really under-appreciated and undervalued, and we should spend more efforts making it part of our lives.
Notwithstanding my quip about fascists. What I take away from this is first of all, yes, you do need to schedule that we're all busy. Don't feel bad about that. Grab a chunk of time. Number two, don't feel bad about having a to-do list in the background. That's fine. That's cool. Yeah, just the idea here is, you know, you get some agency, you get to decide a little bit. And the third thing is, maybe you have a pile of dishes, you could offer that for your kids. Or if you're Mike Morton, you could have your wife call me and say, hey, Matt, do those dishes. You can FOB off the honey to-do list onto your friends. That seems like a great way to go. All right. Mike Morton. I think we've got to wrap here because people have just dissipated solid 20 minutes with us. So from Mike Morton and Matt Robison, we'll see you next time.
Thanks. Thanks for joining us on financial planning for entrepreneurs. If you liked what you heard, please subscribe to and rate the podcast on Apple, iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can connect with me at LinkedIn for Morton financial advice.com. I'd love to get your feedback. If you have a comment or question, please email me at financial planning . Until next time, thanks for tuning in. This recording is for informational purposes only and should not be considered for investment advice or opinions expressed as of the date of recording. Such opinions are subject to change. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the data presented here.