What’s Your Time Worth?

January 13, 2012 · Productivity

Time

More and more I think about what my time is worth. Not in regards to what I bill my clients necessarily but in how I spend my time. We exchange our time for different things every day. It could be in how we spend our day, how we eat, the risks we take. So many decisions in a day can affect our net worth or how long we live. Every day we put a value on that time with the decisions we make.

Time Currency

It was interesting to see the trailer for the movie “In Time”. Where everyone has a number of minutes left in their life and they make purchases with their time instead of money. Instead of paying a few dollars for a coffee you might be paying a few hours. I have not seen the movie yet so I don’t know much more than the previews show. But it is an interesting thought.

We get up each day and sometimes get the most out of our time and sometimes we throw it away. Sometimes we spend far too much of our time on something that simply isn’t worth it. Like doing tasks that we could pay someone else a 10th of what or time is worth to do. All of these decisions either lower or increase our hourly worth and shrink or grow our business’s lifetime. Yes, it can be seriously hindering our ability to do business and grow.

Imagine that we do use time for currency. Imagine that while buying a coffee might shave off a few hours, eating a salad adds a few. Or that wasting a few hours on a task you shouldn’t be doing, shaves a few years of the life off our business and investing a few hours in ways to better serve customers, adds a few years. How would you view your time?

Maximize Your Time

Time is an extremely precious thing. You can’t control it, you can only maximize your use of it. Money is abundant, you can always get back the money you spend. You can never get back the time you spend.

Earlier this week I spilled soup in my computer keyboard (Actually it was my wife but don’t tell her I said that). I really like my keyboard, it runs about $85 to $100 for a new one. So, I stopped what I was working on, got out some tools and took the entire keyboard apart to clean it out and save it. It was definitely due for a cleaning, pretty nasty what I found in there.

It took me about 3 hours to clean it. Now, I actually enjoyed doing it and got to catch up on a show I am watching on Netflix at the same time. I like tinkering with things and thought it would be fun to clean it out. But, if I was doing this to save the $85 – $100 to buy a new one, it would not have been a very smart decision. I mean, if someone offered me a job at $23 an hour I certainly would not accept it. But that is what my time was worth for those 3 hours.

If I spend $85 for a new keyboard I can get that back. I can’t get back the 3 hours. Now, I am not upset about those 3 hours. As I said, I enjoyed it and it was a good diversion that day. But there are certainly times where I have made that mistake to save money and it ends up not being worth it.

You can find people ignorantly using their time every day. Just look at what happens when a fast food chain gives out free hamburgers. People will wait hours in line for it. But offer that same person a job for $1 an hour and see if they take it.

So what’s your time worth? And are you maximizing every hour?