You're sitting at home and you get a phone call from your father. He's got a surprise for you.
He says that he loves you so much, he has decided that every day he is going to deposit exactly $86,400 into your bank account. $86,400! That's a lot of money to get every day.
You wait for the catch – and it isn't long in coming. The condition is that whatever money is left over at the end of each day is erased from the account; it can no longer be used. You can never get that money back again.
That's not too bad, you think, I'll just have to spend it all every day! Won't waste a penny! You hang up the phone with a heartfelt "thank you," run for a pen and paper, sit down and start planning. You know that in order to ensure each dollar is used to the fullest, you'll need to come up with an idea of how to appropriately allocate the money.
First things first. Charity. You know that each Jew is obligated to give between 10-20 percent of earnings to charity. Being a generous person (who just happens to have the $17,000 to spare), you decide to donate 20 percent to charity every day. That leaves 80 percent to deal with.
Let's see, you think. Next would be my needs. Out of the 80 percent, probably a good 40 percent should be used for things I absolutely need – food, rent, clothes. Fine.
Forty percent left.
Well, you ponder, there are those little things that must be dealt with – improvements to be made, things to be fixed – the not-quite-essential-but-still-
Out of the remaining 20 percent, you allow yourself 10 percent – just for fun. This 10 percent will be spent on special treats, gadgets, etc. After all, it's no crime to enjoy yourself. (And you can't save it, anyways!)
The last 10 percent, you decide, should be for contingency. After all, you never know what extra expenses will pop up. If nothing else, you'll use it for more treats. But most importantly, every spare dollar should be spent. Otherwise, it’s a waste of good money!
That's it. You have it all figured out, each dollar dedicated to a purpose, each penny with a direct focus. Now you can truly make the most of this opportunity.
Every day our Father in Heaven deposits exactly 86,400 into our account. 86,400 seconds within each 24-hour period. What a gift! What an opportunity!
What are you doing with those 86,400 seconds?
The "catch,” of course, is that at the end of each day, it's gone. If you didn't use that time wisely – and wasted an hour – that's 3,600 seconds gone forever. You will never meet those moments again.
Most of us strive to use every dollar in the best way possible. But when it comes to the precious gift of time, can we truly say we're using it properly?
Following the model of our ambitious plans for the $86,400, we should be donating 20 percent of our time to helping others. We should spend 40 percent accomplishing that which needs to be done, including sleeping and eating. At least 20 percent of our treasured gift of time should be used for repairs – dedicated to self-improvement, whether it be reading a motivational book or adjusting our goals to develop ourselves spiritually. 10 percent can be put aside for enjoyment and relaxation (with the purpose of getting recharged for the really important stuff), and then the last 10 percent for contingency – an unexpected traffic jam, a family event, etc.
In truth, 100 percent of our time should be focused on making ourselves better people and improving our relationship with God.
It's all about having the right focus. Make your own game plan and keep yourself on track. Run and grab that pen and paper. Set big goals, and break them down into small incremental steps. Have specific hourly goals. And like any responsible resource manager, set daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual and long-term goals.
Allocate the 86,400 wisely. And follow through.
Rabbi Noah Weinberg, obm, used to say that it all begins with a decision, a commitment. He recommended reciting aloud: “Life is an opportunity. I want to use my mind, and be constantly moving toward my goal.”
Don't waste a penny, not a nanosecond. It may sound like too much, or seem too intense, but remember, if it's gone – it's gone for good. Catch yourself day dreaming at least once a day and examine: “What am I doing right now, and how could I use this moment more effectively?”
Why waste your moments wallowing in regret about the past or worrying about the future? It's like having to pay a fine of $10 for every dollar you didn't spend. Ridiculous.
Every moment can be used to the fullest. There is so much good we can do, if we keep our eye on the ball. Pardon the cliché but it happens to be true: Each moment is a gift. No wonder it's called "the Present."