I was at a conference recently where Bernard Salt, the man who has made demography interesting, spoke. He has classified some new demographic groups since I last heard him, one of which strongly resonated with me: the NETTELs.
So who are these people?
A NETTEL is some who has Not Enough Time To Enjoy Life.
I regularly come across people who fall into this category, and lately I find myself falling into this trap too.
We are taught the benefits of delayed gratification as a child. If you are good, you will get a reward. If you save your pocket money you can then go and buy something you really want.
Fortunately (or unfortunately) for many of us, there are now fewer financial reasons to practice delayed gratification outside of buying a home and saving for retirement. Most of us are doing ok. Sure, we would generally like to be doing better, but in the grand scheme of things we are pretty comfortable.
So the delayed gratification is being transferred to time. We allow ourselves to become trapped in a cycle of busyness, and as a result put off doing the things we enjoy till later – when we will somehow magically have more time.
But our spouse, kids and friends won’t wait for us to reach the promised land where spare time is in abundance – they will continue to grow, and if we aren’t around will just move on without us.
Our health won’t wait either.
We all have short term projects and issues that require an intense focus and absorb our time. But if this becomes a longer term pattern then it needs to be examined – honestly.
If you are doing something that you love and you want to pour yourself into it then that’s one thing. But you are not really a NETTEL. Like everything there are trade-offs that come with this decision, and you need to make a conscious decision that acknowledges the reality of this.
But, if you are feeling out of control with no time for yourself, then you have to ask yourself: Why?
If it is due to financial issues, could you do with a Second Opinion?