Out of all the resources that we have, time is the one that’s hard to quantify. It’s hard to determine the value of time. A dollar will always be equal to a dollar, but time cannot be measured in the same manner. One person’s hour may be worth something else to another.
For instance, a man’s 10:00 AM at work might not be as valuable as his 5:00 AM in bed. It depends on which one he values. In the same manner, an hour spent late at night taking care of a sick child is more valuable than spending an extra hour at work going over your SBA loan or catching up on some backlog.
Determining Your Time’s Monetary Value
There are mainly two ways to determine what your time is worth. Ask yourself these two questions:
- What does an hour of your time cost your employer?
- What does an hour of your time cost you?
Both of these questions have to do with the monetary equivalent of your time.
For example, if you’re employed, everything that you do within your working hours costs your company a considerable amount of money. Your salary, office space, and other overhead expenses all factor into how much the company spends on you.
Take the monthly or annual sum of all these amounts and divide them by the number of days you work in a month or year. With the number that you have, break it down even further and divide it by the number of hours you work per day. The answer that you get is how much your hour is worth at work.
Now, if you’re self-employed or under contract, the factors will change a bit but it’s still pretty much the same equations that you will use.
But we all know that the value of our time goes beyond just the monetary value, right? Your personal time also has value and its value is determined by your values and priorities.
Time Value Beyond Money
When you ask a person who has a terminal illness and only 6 months left to live about what they plan to do with the time they have left, do you think you’ll get “Work harder and make more money” for an answer?
Unless they have a pressing financial concern that needs to be taken care of before their demise, most people will usually say they will spend their remaining time on Earth to make themselves better, mend broken relationships, spend more time with their loved ones, and enjoy life and all its little pleasures.
Unlike money, the hours in our day don’t have the same value. We can’t always base its worth on money and profit. Our life involves more than that. We also have other important things in life that require our time and attention — things that more often than not are more valuable than money.
Take, for example, a couple whose marriage is on the rocks. If they value their marriage, they will easily say no to extra work to dedicate all their extra hours working on restoring their marriage and saving it, even if the extra work hours bring in a significant amount of money.
For those who are in military service who rarely spend time with their children because of their overseas deployment, every hour spent with their kids is worth all the money in the world.
These types of people made the decision to put more value on certain things other than those that can add to their bank accounts. This makes it easy for them to say no to a lot of other things that are not lined up with their priorities and values.
That being said, the way we manage our time will always be based on what we value most. It doesn’t matter if you’re self-employed or working for someone. The fact is the way you set your schedule for the day will be based on those things that you find valuable.
This is why proper time management is important. Achieving that healthy balance between work and life is hinged on your ability to manage your time well.
If you feel like you’ve misappropriated your time and had your priorities mixed up, it’s not too late to turn things around. Take a step back and honestly evaluate your situation and see where you can make certain adjustments and improvements.
Don’t waste your time getting caught up in things that don’t matter to you. Having a clearer understanding of how much your time is worth will lead you to a better and more productive life holistically.