How Do You Spend Your Time?
You can’t buy more of it, there’s only so many minutes in every day.
One of life’s simple truths, even if it’s hard to hear, is that not every use of time is equal. If you spend your time wisely then you will likely be a more profitable person, whether that is monetarily or otherwise. If you invest your time in others, then you are using your time to build stronger relationships.
If you use your time to build a high-flying career, then you will likely make more money. Likewise, if you invest your time in activities that contribute to your community, then you will leave a legacy. Whatever you want, whether it’s freedom, wealth, friendship, or a legacy to be proud of, it all boils down to how wisely you spend your time.
Like most people, you probably want good health, great friendships, plenty of freedom, and societal impact. That’s normal, but ultimately, you can’t have it all. At least, not all at once. This is why you have to understand how to manage those tradeoffs that come up daily.
So, we’re going to look at things differently. We’re going to approach it from a monetary angle because what better way to understand just how valuable your time is than by expressing it in dollars and cents!
Your Time’s Worth
Have you ever spent a considerable amount of time shopping for a specific item only to finally find it and it’s a bargain? You just about jump for joy when you see the price and realize it’s only $25! It’s the affordable purchase you have been searching for, but wait, there’s just one problem. It’s a foreign seller and the product is only $25, but the shipping cost alone is $50.
Imagine, spending $50 just for a $25 product to be shipped to you. It’s downright egregious. So, you leave that bargain in the basket and you start searching the retail stores in your local area. You find one and you realize that the return journey would take two hours.
Was $50 really worth two hours of your time? Spending $50 to have the product shipped to you would cost more than you planned to spend, but not all that much more than the product was retailing for. It’s going to eat up so much of your time just traveling to get the product, time you could be spending better elsewhere.
Do you save the $50 and spend two hours traveling along with gas usage? Or do you spend the $50 to get the product delivered to your door with no more time-wasting?
Which one is a better use of your money and time?
While you might not think about it often, there’s a good chance you have a gauge for how much you believe your time to be worth. While this is an exaggeration, it’s fair to say that if someone offered you $3,000 for an hour of work you would happily accept, but if they offered you a quarter for an hour of your time you would walk away offended.
It’s easy to make a decision like that when the offers are on such intense ends of the spectrum. When you start nudging the needle toward the middle of that spectrum, however, the lines grow blurry. It is suddenly far less clear if a task is worth your time and energy or not. That’s the problem. We live the majority of life in the blurry lines of the spectrum.
For example, you could save two hours by paying up for the nonstop flight. But taking a layover means you save $100. Is $100 worth two hours of your time?
You could mow the lawn on Saturday morning or you could pay the local landscaping teenager $25 to do it for you.
You could work with a client for a guaranteed $2,500 paycheck this week. Or you could choose your own business idea to work on and that may generate $30,000 in the next year.
Perhaps you spend $30 to order food in and save yourself time making dinner when you’ve had a rough day. Or you spend an hour cooking for everyone, save the $30, and probably eat something healthier.
These are the types of choices that you make every day. The majority of people make those decisions using guesswork, they do it on a gut instinct. Rarely does anyone stop to calculate how much their time is worth. The reality is, we all have an hourly rate. A value we will accept, but rarely can anyone tell you what their hourly rate is.
Calculate The Worth Of Your Time
There are all different ways for you to calculate the worth of your time. The easiest way would you to work out your hourly rate based on the salary that you earn. It’s even easier if you are paid hourly. That being said, our employers don’t always pay us our worth. So, let’s work out what you’re worth.
This first calculation should help you make smarter spending decisions like whether it’s worth your time to spend $50 for shipping versus driving two hours to buy it in person.
All you need for this exercise is how much time you spend earning your money and how much you earn for working those hours.
We will use an imaginary number for this, but for you to calculate your working time is simple. How many hours do you work? You should include your commute because that is time invested in earning your wage. So, your commute is an hour a day and you work eight hours. That’s a nine-hour workday. If you have a secondary income from a side hustle, then you should include all of that information in your equations. You might have to spend some energy tracking your time because a lot of people have no idea how they spend their 24 hours each day.
So, for the sake of this exercise, we’ll say you spend 10 hours of your day involve with work and that adds up to 50 hours weekly, assuming you work five days. If you work 50 weeks of the year that adds up to 2,500 hours of work a year. It’s fair to say that this number is in the ballpark for the majority of full-time workers.
Now you need to look at how much money you earned for all that time you spend working. The easiest way to do so is to take a look at your most recent paycheck and then multiple it by whatever number of paychecks you receive each year. Alternatively, last year’s tax return can help. The number you want is the take-home amount, after taxes, etc. has been deducted. It’s what you effectively hold in your hand.
Now you just divide the money you earned by the time you spend working.
For example, you spent 2,500 hours working in the last year.
If your income was: $12,700, then your hourly rate is $5.08. This was the 2020 poverty line for a single person in the US, depending on the state you live in (ref.).
If your income was: $47,299, then your hourly rate is $18.92. This was the 2020 median income for women in the US. If your income was $57,456, then your hourly rate is $22.98. This was the 2020 median income for men in the US (ref.).
If your income was: $150,000, then your hourly rate is $60. If you make $1,000,000 annually, then your hourly rate is $400!
Of course, how this works out is entirely dependent on how many hours you work, how much you get paid, and whether you put in extra hours to generate additional income, and how much that additional income adds up to. You’ll need to do your own math.
Once you work out the value of an hour you might be surprised. You might think you’re worth more. Maybe you are, but this is the reality of your situation.
Just think of the freelancers that set their hourly rate at $60 but earn nowhere near $150,000 annually. Or, the consultants or lawyers who charge $400, but fall spectacularly short of earning a million.
How is this possible?
They only earn that rate for some of the work they do, not all of it. That’s the easiest way to explain it. You might have a firm grasp on what you would charge hourly but rarely do we calculate the effort that we put into earning money that falls outside of the typical working hours.
You get a much clearer view of things when you account for all of the time you spend trying to earn money, as you were encouraged to do so above. Sadly, it generally comes out as much less than you’d charge for an hour of work if you were on the clock.
Is the number you calculated correct, though? Because it doesn’t feel right. It feels far too low.
You can double-check your work if you question it, but sadly, it’s likely accurate. It might be even worse than you realize because there’s a good chance you missed some of the extra work you put in and didn’t get paid for.
Now, let’s look at how you can use that information.
Your math has suggested that your time is worth $25 hourly. Therefore, spending half an hour of your time lining up for a $10 gift card is not a good use of your time.
You have discovered your time is worth $60 an hour so $50 shipping is a way better use of your time than traveling two hours to purchase a $25 product.
You worked it out and your hourly rate is $80 so you will absolutely pay the extra cost for a nonstop flight. It’s worth it.
Once you have a good idea of what your time is worth in dollars and cents it becomes much easier to ensure you spend that time wisely.
Using Your Time Wisely
When you decide how to spend your time it’s important that you don’t waste it focusing on the wrong things.
As important as it is to understand how valuable your time is, it’s just as important that you understand what you want from life. Knowing the value of your time won’t be particularly helpful if you don’t know how to direct that knowledge.
A lot of people get caught up chasing approval, money, or power. Everyone else is doing it so it seems to make sense. But have you ever stopped to question whether that’s what you want? Sure, you can focus on increasing the value of your time, but some people want more free time and aren’t concerned with the money aspect. That’s what you need a good grip on your core values.
Bill Gates is so rich that his time is worth over $100 per second. Not every second that he is awake or working, every second of every day. If he dropped a $100, the very act of behind over to pick it up would technically be a waste of his time. Except, it isn’t really because while he’s bending down to pick that money up, he is still earning more. He isn’t losing time and money by picking up the money he dropped. It’s not a one or the other situation.
Though, many of the situations you face will be tradeoffs. Unless you’re Bill Gates.
For example, an author who is also a motivational speaker. If they spend the majority of their time attending speaking engagements, then they will have far less time to write new books.
Eventually, they would be less relevant because they stopped producing new work to speak about. Therefore, their rate would decrease before eventually work would dry up entirely. So, an author has to make plenty of time for writing to support the speaking engagements.
There is a danger to calculating your time value this way. It becomes much easier to talk yourself into using another hour productively to increase the value of your time. That can harm your quality of life. It’s easy to get caught up in this behavior and the more often you do the less time you have to spend on rewarding activities.
You can track your free time to see how much of it you use for leisure versus work, but it’s important that you don’t put a value on that free time. You have to think of it as non-negotiable time. Those free hours are valuable.
They are your opportunity to decompress, reenergize, and ensure that you have the energy and focus to use your productive hours wisely. Free time is valuable and it should be recreational. It should be the time you spend with family, engaging in activities you enjoy, catching up with friends, and just enjoying what you enjoy.
So, should you work another hour?
Take a look at every hour of your day and how you spend it. Then look at each hour individually and ask yourself whether that block of time required net negative or net positive decisions. If you work an hour longer will you create positive outcomes with it? Or are you going to make more mistakes that you need to fix tomorrow?
Are you tired enough that an extra hour of work will get you nowhere fast? An extra hour of work isn’t a positive choice if it results in burn out or a net negative on average.
Time is valuable no matter who you calculate its worth, when you consider how to invest in yourself for a better future, then how you spend your time is a key consideration because what you do today can predict and mold your tomorrows.
Why Time Matters
Now that we have addressed the value of your time, let’s talk about why time matters aside from that. It’s important because we often miss out on the benefits that come with time.
For example, can you think of the last time you carved out time for self-care?
If you regularly set half an hour aside to focus solely on your needs, you clearly recognize the value of your time and the importance of using some of that time to ensure you’re in tip-top shape. It’s a meaningful way to create a balanced life.
1| Time Is Valuable
You might not be able to physically hold it in your hands, but time is valuable. And, in many ways, its importance far exceeds the monetary value you worked out earlier. There is one thing that time and money have in common, you can save it. Or you can waste it. There’s one major thing, though, they don’t have in common. Once it’s gone, you can’t get time back, but you can always earn more money.
2| Life Is Unexpected
You do not know the number of days you have to live on this earth nor do you know the number of days your loved ones have on this earth.
The person closest to you could be gone tomorrow and the last words you spoke to each other could have been in the heat of an argument. Those would be the last things you ever speak to each other and then they’re gone.
That isn’t to say you should be a doormat for others, but it should highlight just how important it is to manage your emotions and be careful with your words. And, how important it is to spend time with the people you care about.
Likewise, you could wake up with a headache tomorrow and find out you have a terminal illness. We don’t have time to waste in this life, we only get one chance to get it right. Having said that, do not attempt to live each day as though it is your last because that will only result in impulsive, potentially dangerous decisions. But, if you have a habit of overthinking everything, you’ll need to find a way to streamline your decision-making process.
3| Time Is a Teacher
Time is one of the greatest teachers because, with time, we recognize that though we may make mistakes, there is always a lesson to learn. Experience is what helps build morals, it’s what shapes and builds character.
4| The Impact Of Time
How you spend your time will affect you and the people you choose to spend your time with can change you. If you spend all of your spare time watching movies, then you will be incredibly skilled at watching movies, analyzing them, breaking them down, and recommending them to your friends.
But, if you used that same amount of time for a productive task, then you will grow proficient at something useful. If you want to get good at something, learn more, understand more, then you have to put time and effort into making it so. That isn’t to say you have to stop watching movies entirely, of course, it’s simply that you should carve out free time to watch movies, and time for more productive uses.
The same is true of the people you spend your time with. Your friends rub off on you. Their values influence you, whether it’s in a positively or negatively. They may help you avoid riskier decisions. Or they might help you justify bad behavior.
5| Time Heals
Think of a painful experience from your past. Ideally, something that happens over five years ago. Even better if it was more than ten years ago. The pain you feel thinking about those moments now is nothing like the pain you felt when you went through it or even in the year following it. It might not go away entirely, but time does heal and it dulls the pain.
6| Time Is Binding
While OK Boomer became a meme, there is something important to touch on. Time binds us to people who were born in the same era. The simple reason for this is, though our experiences may vary wildly, there are lots of collective experiences we share with the people born during the same time.
You don’t have to know someone to relate to someone born at a similar time. The struggles that Boomers faced are nowhere near the same type of struggles that Millennials have faced. Likewise, the struggles that Generation Z will deal with are nothing like those of Millennials. There is also a vast difference in morals from generation to generation, that is something that has and will always exist. Time binds you to others.
7| Time Is Inescapable
Time is limited, you cannot escape it. Everything ages, from humans to animals, to nature, to manmade objects. There is absolutely nothing in this world or in this life that is permanent.
8| Time Is Powerful
Time is powerful and how you choose to spend it can be powerful. When you spend some of your time serving others, then that is time well spent and it is time you are using powerfully. It also showers how important and powerful time is when you consider how little of it it takes to help someone.
You took 15 minutes to hear what’s bothering your colleague and changed the course of their week, allowing them to get their head on straight. You spent an hour putting together care packages and an hour delivering them to the homeless community.
You’ve provided them with a bit of relief, saw to some of their needs, and let them know people care. You spent twenty minutes helping your child with their homework, a nice reminder that they are loved and that you want to help them learn and understand.
9| Time Builds
With time, comes stronger bonds and relationships. Time provides you with an opportunity to get to know someone, to build trust, to develop intimacy, and to grow closer to them. The longer you have, the stronger that relationship grows. The world would be a lonely place without friends.
Spending Your Time Well
You are faced with a multitude of decisions daily, but the ones you make involving your time are some of the most important. The only person who can determine what is classed as spending your time wisely is you. We all have our own priorities and expectations, but it’s fair to say that there are three key values everyone tends to agree on.
People matter, whether it’s practicing self-care to keep yourself on the level of feeling the gratifying reward of helping others. Time spent on yourself or others is always time well spent.
The present is always greater than the past, just like the future should be. Humanity has made constant progress, with technological, scientific, and medical progress. Using your time to progress your own knowledge is always time well spent.
There are a variety of ways to look at freedom. Ultimately, being able to do the things you want to do, live the life you’d like to live, and empower others to do the same… that’s what freedom boils down to. You just have to figure out how best to spend your time to further your specific idea of freedom.
We talk a lot about striking a healthy work-life balance, but it’s important to highlight the fact that a balance doesn’t necessarily mean a 50-50 split. It’s up to you to decide which split is the best use of your time. Only you can answer that question because it has to align with your values.
Your life is important and spending your time well means protecting both your physical and mental health. In doing so, you protect your ability to invest time in work to earn money to pay your bills. You can’t ignore either side of things. Think of work as a way to contribute to your life and make those important decisions about your time from there.
So, how much time should you spend working?
As much as it takes to meet your needs. This, of course, will vary wildly depending on your job, but if you consistently work far more than you want to you should take a look at how to change that. Maybe you need to invest more of your free time into adding to your skill set or knowledge in order to change careers.
If you hate your job, work 60 hours a week, and you’re still scraping by… then I can understand how easy it is to get up spending all of your spare time playing video games to decompress or with your family because you have little time to spare. But it will always be this way if you don’t use some of your spare time to further yourself. The choice is yours.
What do I do with the rest of my time?
What do you want to do?
The freedom to decide is all yours. However, there is an obligation with that freedom. You are obligated to use your time wisely. The only way to achieve that is to get a clear view of your values in order to prioritize your time accordingly.
Invest In Yourself: Better Use of Your Time
Let’s explore the concept that time is valuable. Life is short, we only have so much time in a day, and so much time in life. Considering how you spend that time from the aspect of investing in yourself is an important consideration.
Stop for a moment and think about you greatest time wasters, what are they? What could you do instead that promotes your wellbeing and a better future? Here are a few ideas,
54 Ideas Of Time Better Spent
- Research and list books, you want to read – make at least 3 of them educational
- Learn a new skill
- Learn a language
- Learn to plan an instrument
- Do your own oil change in your car
- Think about what matters most to you
- Think about what you want your future life to be
- Think about what you want your future self to be
- Find an opportunity to speak in public
- Watch a documentary
- Create a vision board
- Listen to uplifting, motivational podcasts
- Make a plan with steps on how you will promote positive thinking within yourself
- Create a productive morning ritual
- Play brain games
- Make your “I Will Be More Productive” Plan
- Write a list of what fulfills you
- Write your “Life Mission Statement”
- Make a list of poor habits you need to change. Make a plan to change them
- List all your resentments and make a plan to work through them
- Lie on the roof and watch the stars
- Set up a tent in the backyard and camp out
- Spend quality time with your significant other
- Spend quality time with your kids
- Spend quality time with your pets
- Turn off your brain
- Update your resume and portfolio
- Complete personal development workbooks
- Watch motivational YouTube videos
- Unfollow all negative, non-constructive people and channels from your social media account
- Write out your “No List” – list of all the things you never want to do
- Write out your “worry list” and burn it
- Engage in a creative activity
- Plan 10 actions you can take today that will improve your tomorrows
- Write a letter to yourself in 5 years, 10 years, and 20 years
- Do some financial planning
- Set goals and plans to achieve them
- Rest, relax, turn off all electronics, slow down
- Self-improvement activities
- Meditation and Yoga
- Take a class
- Spend time with friends or family
- Cultivate social connections
- Consider your health
- Learn to cook healthy
- Organize your spaces
- Go to a museum
Avoiding Distractions And Disruptions
If you want to avoid disruptions and distractions, then you should take steps to eliminate those disruptions and distractions. For example, if emails, phone calls, and texts constantly interrupt you, whether at work or at play, then turn off notifications.
You don’t need constant popups on your laptop or computer. Set a time for checking emails and restrict any email communication to that specific block of time. If much of your business is email related, set two blocks of email times.
You can use an app to block your use of specific apps during specific hours, which should help you avoid games, social media, and texts during hours you need focus.
It would behoove you to schedule your time. This process allows you to block time off for everything. Begin with a blank calendar or a spreadsheet that breaks your week down into hourly slots.
Create your schedule in the following order to ensure you consider your true priorities.
- Family/friend time is always first because that is crucial to both your mental and physical health. Your family and friends are the people closest to you and when they’re gone, you will never get them back. Use your time wisely.
- Exercise time because it’s important to look after your physical health which also protects your mental health. Exercising regularly helps prevent lifestyle diseases, improves mood, and helps stave off stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Recreational time for creating, reading, and thinking. This is the free time that you are using wisely and productively. So, it isn’t technically free time, but it is time you can enjoy provided you are funneling your energy and focus appropriately.
- Free time, the time you spend relaxing and having fun, whether it’s watching television, playing video games, taking a hot bath, or just sitting quietly and enjoying some peace and quiet.
- Work. Your work is important because it pays your bills, but if you start your schedule with work you will overdo it and end up with no time for anything else. Your job should have set hours and therefore, your work meetings and to-dos should fit into those working hours.
It's time to "Pop a Pill" and Upgrade to a Limitless Life
"Just pop a pill!"
That's the quick-fire answer to most modern-day health problems.
Need more energy? "Just try this pill..."
A greater night's sleep? "Pop this before bed..."
Beach-ready body? "Get these injections..."
Got to get heart-healthy? "These tablets help..."
It sounds great, on the surface.
But read the small print... the shocking side-effects... the longer-term cancer risks...
Often, it's just not worth the risk.
You need a 'life upgrade' pill without any side-effects.
And that just doesn't exist.
I'd like to introduce you to Limitless Labs.
This company produces "digital pills", which use a powerful active ingredient ('NLP') to deliver rapid, lasting change -- all in just 15 minutes.
They have over 35 pill formulations -- for everything from rapid weight loss to exercise motivation, from incredible health to the most rejuvenating sleep.
They're all incredibly powerful, and 100% safe.
It's time to rethink how we do "pills".
(Use voucher code VIP3030-10 to get 10% off anything on the site.)