I don’t know about you, but I’ve had some unusual purchases since the pandemic began…a Shower Toga ™, a very complicated paint-by-number, and some non-alcoholic cocktails are the most noteworthy. 

All of us have made purchases this year that we didn’t anticipate or budget for.

None of us started 2020 expecting to spend the year collecting new face masks or hoarding hand sanitizer. (On the other hand, if you planned to update your work wardrobe this year, you might have saved a bundle—sweatpants are cheaper than suits!)  

Our collective spending habits have certainly changed this year. Millions of people lost their jobs and have less cash to spend. Some people who would normally devote their discretionary cash to travel and live events have more spending money than usual.  

But it’s the boredom of being stuck at home that drove a lot of purchases this year. Companies that install pools saw their sales more than double over last year’s sales. RV sales have spiked too. Retailers reported that sales of items including yeast, puzzles, board games, home workout gear and scented candles all dramatically increased when the pandemic began.   

The Connection Between Spending and Time Management 

If you’ve come here for help with time management and productivity, I know what you might be wondering why I’m talking about RVs and candles.  

Well, here’s why I’m interested in your recent purchases: How you spend your money is an extension of your priorities and goals. Your spending habits are often an indication of what you’re craving more of. During the pandemic, I think most of us have been craving comfort, distraction and connection—hence the soothing candles, the swimming pools and the board games.   

All of your decisions about money are ultimately decisions about your future. 

You have a limited amount of money; all of us do, even billionaires. Say you’re hurrying through a big box store, mask on, just looking to pick up some essentials for the week. It’s a tense time. You’re really anxious about you or your loved ones getting sick, and feeling bummed about missing out on normal holiday traditions. You see a cool $400 gadget and buy it on impulse, giving yourself a little burst of excitement that distracts you from your anxiety and frustration.  

This purchase reflected your immediate priority—to comfort yourself—but not your long-term goals. Now you have $400 less to work with going forward. That’s money that you could have used to make progress on those goals.  

Plus, now you need to get $400 in value out of that gadget in order to feel like your purchase was worthwhile. Maybe when you get it home, you’ll find it’s not that interesting after all. But you paid for it, so you’re going to get your money’s worth out of that gadget, gosh darn it! 

(Can you see the connection to time management and productivity here? The things you spend your money on are also the things you spend your time on!) 

  • How many impulse buys have you made to get that temporary jolt of excitement?
  • How may weird things have you bought since the pandemic began, just because you were bored or scared, or because a targeted Facebook ad caught your eye?
  • If you could go back in time, would you still buy those things? 

To be very clear, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with buying a stack of jigsaw puzzles, or even spending $40,000 on a new pool. Get that candle if it’s going to bring you joy! I just want to urge you to take a beat before making those non-essential purchases. Ask yourself why you’re buying that item. Is it about getting a temporary serotonin boost, or is this item something you truly value? Would the time and money you’re about to invest in it be better spent working toward your long-term goals? If so, maybe it makes sense to hold off. 

Easier than it sounds, maybe. I know how challenging time management and productivity are right now.

Buying yourself something new can be a great distraction from those challenges. Instead of avoiding the problem, I want to help you deal with your time management challenges head on. Join me for Time Matters Boot Camp 90 Day Program. During this powerful vitual training, I’ll help you take control of your time (even now!) and build the life you crave. 

Click here for more information and to register. 

This is a one-time purchase that will help you actually make progress on your goals—you can’t afford to miss this.  

Happy Thanksgiving! 


Sarah Reiff-Hekking