Whether you like it or not, time will pass. There is nothing you can do to stop it, and you will never have as many hours in a day as you would like. In addition, there is an opportunity cost to everything you do: working on project A for one hour means you're giving up the opportunity of project B.
You will also likely never make the most optimal decision in terms of project choice, and there is almost always something else out there that will deliver you a higher expected return than what you are doing currently.
These are unfortunate facts. They are uncomfortable to explicitly verbalize, dwell largely in our subconscious, and yet drive the vast majority of the decisions that we make.
The solution, to me, is to institute systems that eliminate the omnipresent danger of opportunity cost entirely. Instead of having to choose what to do with your time (and risk making a sub-par choice in relation to another), one should focus on creating automatic processes that work for them independent of time. Or, if not fully independent, then at an order of magnitude that makes your current time expenditures largely irrelevant.
A few examples of time-independent processes that can yield a substantial return:
- Equity or fixed-income investments. These generate compoundable income consistently (which elevates your quality of life and provides considerable opportunity), yet they take very little of your time up-front. Your money can work for you over the course of forty or fifty years; all with no more than a few days of work to set up an account with your broker.
- Automating social media, whether through bots or scheduled posts. The primary motivator behind all of social media is improving your public perception. A strong presence is free advertising, both for you and for your brand. Instead of manually spending the time necessary to build up that following, you can automate the majority of processes (liking/posting/following), free up your time, and achieve the majority of the gains you would have with manual work.
- Search engine optimization. A large ranking factor for Google and other search engines is simply the amount of time that has passed since a domain has first been indexed (domain age). You can improve website SEO by purchasing your domain significantly earlier and making it publicly accessible. (A sidenote: this is how I make most of my money).
- Trading capital for other people's time on a consistent basis. For example, weekly blog posts written for you. Weekly YouTube videos produced for you. Social media content created for you. Each of these function similarly to market investments, except instead of providing direct access to money, they provide substantial opportunity. If in a year from now you have an audience of 10,000 because you paid for weekly YouTube videos, you will have improved your life and upward mobility significantly in exchange for a few hundred or thousand dollars.
The underlying theme: time will have passed whether you utilize these processes or not. Therefore, you may as well begin them as early as possible, so that you can make returns regardless of how productively you choose to spend your days.