Have you ever inspected how you spend your time and how it relates to your energy levels? Every dollar has a definite value, but every hour does not. For example, your time may be more valuable from seven o’clock in the morning to noon, rather than from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Looking at your time in money terms
Considering the value of your time can cause you to appreciate the time given to you each day. It may even cause you to use time differently, such as in more meaningful ways. There are two principal ways that you can put a dollar value on your time, looking at time from the employer’s point of view and your point of view:
What is the cost of one hour of your time at work for your employer?
If you work for someone else, you cost their business more than just your hourly wage. Consider the other benefits you receive other than your base salary. For example, you may have life, health, dental, long-term care, pension plans, and other retirement benefits. Not to mention paid holidays, sick time, and vacation time – all paid for by the company when you are not working.
In addition to these benefits is the equipment you use that cost electricity, the office space you hold that needs cleaning and maintenance, and the supplies you need to perform your job. These are all benefits that the employer pays as part of your employment package. Consider these costs when you perform your job or when you decide to waste time.
For example, say your monthly gross salary is $2,000. Adding an average of 30 percent for other costs brings your salary to $2,600. Divide this by the average hours you work in a month, which is about 160 hours. You cost your employer $16.25 per hour. See the value?
What does an hour cost you?
What if you are self-employed or do contract work on your own time? How do you determine what an hour costs you? Spending your time wisely or wasting time affects your income level, so every hour of your time is precious. When your income depends on your output, you can easily see the value of your time.
As an exercise, try creating a list of business-related activities that do not directly create income, such as contacting potential clients, paying bills, doing web research, and cleaning. Then, using the previous month as your guideline, estimate how many hours you spent on each task. For example, say each task took 12, 8, 20, and 10 hours respectively.
Let’s say you charge $20 per hour for your services, working 50 hours per month; this equals an income possibility of $1,000. However, this time may have caused you to spend valuable time away from your family, such as missing trips to the beach or park, or even simple things such as watching a family movie together.
For example, sometimes it may be cheaper to hire someone else to clean your home so that you can spend those hours with your family. It becomes your decision on what is most important to you.
Looking at your time beyond money
Managing your time goes far beyond identifying the monetary value of your time spent on tasks and work. Personal time has much value. You are valuable. You have families, hobbies, special interests, and dreams. However, if you base your time in this life strictly on the importance of money, there may be something that you may have to give up – something that will become missing from your life.
For example, say your child has a school play that he or she wants you to attend, but it is during work hours. Do you ask for time off or worry about the money and work time you will lose?
Or say it involves your child in a sporting activity on the weekend, and you are exhausted from a hectic week at work; you need to clean the house and wash the clothes. Do you attend the sporting activity or do you worry your house is dirty? Again, it is your choice, and only you can determine the value of your time beyond its monetary value.
To help put things in a better perspective, imagine you just discovered that you only have three months to live. How would you spend your time? Think about this. What would you do? What would matter to you? The answer to this question is what should be the guiding factor in how you live your life.