How much is your time worth? It’s a question that most of us don’t think about very often. We go through the days, do all the things, count the hours, and feel the stress.
But how often do we sit back and think about how much our time is actually worth?
Think about your daily life and the tiny time thieves that are everpresent in our daily lives: answering emails, checking social media, waiting for a website to load, writing a blog post, creating a client report, cleaning out the coffee pot–they all take time.
The biggest daily time thieves are usually the tasks that we don’t want to do, the ones that seem to eat away at our time without giving anything back in return. They’re the things we procrastinate on and put off for another day.
A lot of people–and companies–talk about saving time. This is especially the case at business startups. But what does that really mean?
What if you could save time on those tasks and use it for something more productive? Would you explore new opportunities that you simply haven’t had time to focus on? Would you still work the same number of hours? Or would you sit back and ponder the meaning of life?
Each person will spend their time differently, but it would be nice to have that choice.
After all, there are a finite number of hours in a day, days in a week, and weeks in a year. There’s only so much time available to spread around to everything you want to do for your agency, your friends, and your family.
And then there is the question of what your time is worth, both in terms of money and in terms of the impact that you want to make on the world.
How Much Is an Hour of Your Time Worth?
If you’re making $50 an hour, then each minute is worth 83 cents. But what if you could save time and increase your efficiency to make $100 an hour? Then each minute would be worth $1.67.
Plus, there are the less tangible values of time. How much is an hour of your time worth in terms of the impact that you want to make on the world? If you’re working on a project that will save lives, then each minute is worth infinitely more than $100. Or, perhaps, it’s as simple as spending more time with your children. Not only is that time worth more than $100 to you, but it is also worth an undefinable amount more to them.
When you start to think about time in this way, it changes everything. It’s no longer just a matter of filling up the hours with whatever tasks land on your to-do pile. Instead, it becomes a question of how you can best use your time to achieve your goals and get the most out of life.
Time Value Based on Salary
Some people think about the value of their time based on their salary or hourly wage. For example, if you make $40 an hour, then every hour you spend working on something, whether it be for work or personal reasons, could rationally be considered to be worth $40.
Therefore, if you could pay someone $15 an hour to do that for you, you’re effectively saving $25 of your valuable time. In this way, you can think of time as a currency.
Consider the value of your time when deciding whether or not to outsource specific tasks or projects.
For example, if you’re a lawyer who earns $100 an hour and it would take you five hours to complete a simple legal research project that could be outsourced for $100 total, it makes financial sense to outsource that task.
On the other hand, if you’re a stay-at-home mom with no billable hours, then the value of your time is more likely to be based on how much free time you have and how much you enjoy or don’t enjoy the task at hand.
In this case, it might not make financial sense to outsource the task, but it could still save you a lot of time and energy if you did.
Time Value Based on Billable Hours
Although similar to the salary concept, this takes that value and applies it to how much you or your agency could earn if you spent that time in another way.
Take the example of the typical marketing agency. Although the marketing specialist may earn an average of $50 an hour, the agency’s billable rate for that specialist could be anywhere from $100 to $200 per hour.
In this case, it would not only save the agency money to outsource the client reporting project to a lower-cost source, but the marketing specialist’s time could be refocused toward billable activity.
This is an essential concept for companies to think about when deciding how to allocate their employees’ time and when to outsource tasks to lower-cost alternatives such as freelancers, virtual assistants, or productivity tools.
But billable hours aren’t the only thing an agency should focus on. For example, if an agency has two employees earning $50 an hour but doing very different tasks, sales vs. accounting. One employee’s time could be considered worth more to the agency because they generate revenue. However, without proper accounting processes, the entire agency could collapse into financial ruin.
It makes sense to have the right employee focus on tasks that will generate more revenue while the other employee focuses on functions that save the agency money. Both have value. And neither should waste time on projects and processes that do not improve the overall agency business.
The Opportunity Cost of Your Time
Another way to think about the value of your time is in terms of opportunity cost. This is the idea that every choice has an opportunity cost, which is the value of the next best alternative you gave up when you made your choice.
For example, suppose you choose to spend an hour working on a project for work. In that case, you are giving up the opportunity to do something else with that hour, including working on a different project or spending time with your family.
This way, you think of your time as a limited resource that needs to be allocated wisely.
This is an important perspective because it helps you make better choices about spending your time.
For example, if you’re considering taking on a new project at work, you should consider the opportunity cost of doing it and weigh it against the other things you could be doing with your time.
Let’s say you’ve spent the last four hours working on a client proposal. That proposal could lead to some new business, which is excellent. But what if you had spent that four hours digging through your client onboarding process and discovered a glitch causing a significant uptick in client churn? Finding and fixing that glitch would be worth far more to the agency than a single new client.
Both projects have value, but there is an opportunity cost to choosing one over the other.
What about the best of both worlds? What if it only took you an hour to create that proposal, and you were able to find that glitch in the remaining three hours? Wouldn’t that be ideal?
If the opportunity cost is too high, it might not be worth taking on the project. The challenge we all face is that we don’t always know what opportunity we are missing out on to perform the tasks expected of us in each of our personal and professional roles.
Plus, even if the opportunity cost is low, the project may be something you are passionate about. If that’s the case, it may be worth taking it on, even if it means sacrificing some of your free time.
The Emotional Value of Time
Are you feeling rushed? Stressed out? Overwhelmed? It’s easy to feel that way when you’re constantly trying to do more in the same amount of time.
When you don’t have enough time, it can lead to all sorts of negative emotions, including anxiety, depression, and anger. A lack of time is one of the most common sources of stress.
That’s why winning back even a small amount of time can profoundly impact your well-being.
Not only does it give you a chance to relax and recharge your batteries, but it also allows you to focus on the things that are truly important to you.
When you have more time, you can spend it with your family, work on a passion project, or simply enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation. All of these things can lead to increased happiness and satisfaction with life.
So, if you’re looking for ways to improve your emotional health, gaining back some control over your time is a great place to start.
The Value of Time Is Subjective
One important thing to remember is that the value of your time is subjective, which means it’s different for everyone.
What might be a valuable use of your time might not be seen as practical by someone else.
Let’s say you love playing tennis. You might think that spending an hour playing tennis is an excellent use of your time because it’s something you enjoy and gives you a chance to exercise.
But someone else might see that same hour as wasted time because they don’t like tennis and would prefer to spend their time doing something else.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help quantify the value of your time.
- How much money would I be willing to pay to have someone else do this task for me?
- How would I spend my time instead if I didn’t have to do this?
- Is this task something only I can complete?
- What would happen if I didn’t perform specific daily or work tasks?
- If I could buy an extra hour with a loved one who has passed away, how much would that be worth to me?
How to Win Back Time at Work
Understanding the value of time is one thing. Carving out more of it in your day is something completely different. There are a lot of ways that you can save time at work. Here are some of the most effective ones:
- Set priorities and stick to them. This will help you focus on the most important tasks and avoid getting sidetracked by less important tasks.
- Delegate or outsource tasks that can be done by someone else. This will free up your time to focus on more critical tasks.
- Automate repetitive tasks. This will save you time in the long run because you won’t have to do those tasks manually every time.
- Streamline your workflow. This will help you get things done more efficiently and avoid wasting time on unnecessary steps.
- Take breaks and recharge. This will help you avoid burnout and stay fresh to be more productive when you’re working.
- Simplify your life outside of work. This will help you reduce stress, increase motivation, and have more time to focus on work.
- Say no to non-essential tasks. This will help you avoid taking on too much and getting overwhelmed.
- Avoid distractions. Studies have shown that it takes an average of just over 24 minutes to get back to full productivity after being distracted during a task.
Implementing even a few of these tips can save you a lot of time at work. And the more time you save, the more productive you’ll be able to be.
How Time Savings Can Impact Your Business
Winning back your time can significantly impact your business, both in terms of productivity and profitability.
When you’re able to save time at work, you’ll be able to get more done in less time. This means you’ll be able to take on more projects and clients, leading to increased revenue for your agency.
In addition, when you streamline your workflow and avoid distractions, you’ll be able to work more efficiently and make fewer mistakes. This will save you money in the long run by reducing the need for rework or corrections.
Finally, when you simplify your life outside work, you’ll be less stressed and have more energy to focus on work. This will lead to improved productivity and better decision-making in all areas of your agency.
How To Win Back Time In Your Day-To-Day Life
You can do many small things to save time in your daily life, and when you add them all up, they can have a significant impact.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Take a few minutes in the morning to plan out your day. Planning helps you make better use of your time during the day and avoid feeling rushed.
- Take breaks throughout the day to recharge and refocus. This will help you be more productive when you’re working and prevent burnout.
- Make a list of the most important things. This will help you prioritize your time and ensure you’re working on the most important tasks.
- Set a timer when you start working on a task and see how long it takes you to complete it. This will help you track your progress and see where you can save time.
- Delegate or outsource some of your work to others. From yard work to housework, find ways to free up your personal time so that you can focus on the things that only you can do.
- Take some time each day to relax and do something that you enjoy. This will help you reduce stress and feel happier overall.
How Time Savings Can Impact Your Personal Life
Saving time in your day-to-day routines at home helps you enjoy the time when you’re not at work. And when you’re able to save time at work, it can also have a ripple effect on your personal life.
For one, you’ll have more free time to spend with family and friends. In addition, when you’re less stressed from work, you’ll be more present and available to the people in your life.
You may also find that when you have more free time, you can pursue hobbies or interests you’ve wanted to explore. This can lead to a more well-rounded and fulfilling life outside of work.
Finally, saving time at work can allow you to take some much-needed downtime, whether binge-watching shows on Netflix or taking a much-needed vacation. This will help you recharge and return to work feeling refreshed and ready to take on whatever comes your way.
Winning Back Time Changes Everything
We’ve all heard the saying, “time is money.” But how do you translate that elusive concept into your every life?
The perception of the time/value equation is different for everyone. For some, time is money and should be used as efficiently as possible to make the most profit. For others, time is more valuable than money and should be spent on things that matter most to them. In either case, winning back time can change everything.
On a personal level, thinking about the value of your time can help you decide how to spend your time and whether or not to outsource specific tasks so that you don’t have to work those long days or over the weekend.
At an agency level, thinking about the value of your time can help you decide how to allocate your employees’ time and price your agency’s services.
In both cases, winning back your time can change everything. When you have more time, you can spend it on the things that matter most to you, personally and professionally.
Having more personal time significantly improves the work-life balance, creating a more synergistic approach to life.
In both cases, winning back your time can change everything for the better.
When it comes to time, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. But how we use that time is up to us.
If you want to improve your life and work, focusing on winning back time is essential. Every minute that you save can have a big impact on your well-being, your productivity, and your overall satisfaction with life. You might be surprised at how much winning back even a few hours of time can change everything.