Ask Yourself; How Much Time, Money and Energy?

time-money-energyAre you thinking about starting a new project, joining a new club or learning a new skill?  Are you constantly being asked to serve as a volunteer, on a board or committee? The first question you should ask yourself is how much time, money, and energy will this cost?  Make sure you have a good idea of the costs before you say yes.

How much time?  How much time does the commitment require?  Are there meetings to attend (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.)? How long are the meetings?  Are the meetings during the workday, after hours or on the weekend?  In addition to meetings, how much time will you spend working on tasks between meetings?  You want to make sure you have a complete count of the time needs vs. your availability. Time is valuable. You only get 24 hours in a day and you still need to sleep. Protect it! Say no if it requires too much time.

How much money?  Are you required to pay dues, fees, make donations or buy equipment? Will you have to buy tickets to anything (an annual gala, conferences, concerts, shows or games, etc.)? Are there other expenses?  Do you have to contribute to a soup kitchen, food drive, supply closet, or team uniforms? Will you have to travel at your expense? Small costs can add up quickly. Can you afford it all?

I served on a nonprofit board once that served a lite meal at each board meeting.  The committees took turns providing the food.  If it was my committee’s turn, I had to share in the cost.  In addition, I had to make an annual donation ($500 or more) plus the cost of tickets to two events each year. Bottom line … it put a big hole in my wallet each year. Try to get a realistic idea of the financial costs for the commitment.  I have seen good people forced to quit volunteering or give up a new hobby due to the financial burden. Say no if it requires too much money.

How much energy?  This is the hardest one of all.  Most people don’t think about energy cost.  Have you heard the saying, “A meeting of the minds but the minds didn’t show.”  Well each of us has a finite amount of mental energy to spend each day.  All commitments require mental energy. Sometimes, a lot of mental energy!  It’s important to show up to commitments with a clear, well-rested mind. When you take on a new project, you want to do more than just keep the chair warm.

Stress counts too. Stress counts more on the scale than mental energy. Why? Stress has both a mental and physical cost! Too much stress over time and you’ll pay the costs in doctor’s bills … which adds to money costs. Say no if the mental (or stress) score is too high.

Note: I first posted this on my old blog back in June 2014. I’m in the process of phasing that blog out. I edited it a little a re-posted here. It has nothing to do with travel but I like the wisdom.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Brent Jackson

Author: Brent Jackson

Blogger at CAPM and More ( & Maryland Travel Stories (

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