What will happen to your productivity if you treated your time like money

  • Time, like money, is a limited resource. However, most people rarely treat their time the way they manage their finances even though we always overemphasise that 'time is or means money.'

    Time is the most valuable resource for everything on the planet, and even for the earth. Due to the finite nature of time, our lives will end one day. No matter how good or bad you are at something, you will never have all the time in the world to achieve everything you set out for yourself. It’s essential to make conscious use of your time, as time lost can never be recovered. And this is where most people get it wrong.

    If you invested all your savings in a business venture and it went haywires, the chances are that you will make your money back. It means that while money is a finite resource, it is salvageable. On the other hand, any of your time that slips away without being put to good use you lost it forever. But this is lost on most of us due to the intangible nature of time, unlike money that provides instant gratification. To be a master of your time and life, you should accord to time the same value you place on your money. When you treat time like cash, you become frugal about spending it, and your daily productivity will increase considerably.

    Which is more important for happiness- time or money? Research suggests that people who value their time over money tend to be happier

    If you were asked to choose between an extra $10 per day or save 10 minutes per day, which would you take? Logic dictates that you go for the money since it makes your purse richer and brings in tangible results. Time is less obtrusive, but it is also more valuable. 10 minutes each day would amount to about 60 hours of time, which could fetch you far more than having an extra $10 in your pocket every day. It could translate to more time spent with your family, or skills that could raise your earning potential etc.

    What is your time worth?

    Have you ever asked yourself what your time is worth? You can’t get more than 24 hours out of a day and an hour will always be 60 minutes. What is the value of one hour in your life? If you are lucky, maybe you could live long enough to become a septuagenarian. How many years of your life will you spend on the things that matter most? How many of those years will be spent watching TV, eating, sleeping, or lounging with friends at a summer beach party?

    The value of your time comes from what you spend it on, not how much time you took to finish an activity. To know how much your time is worth, ask yourself these questions:

    • How much time do you spend on work? By this, we mean the actual hours spent doing work, not the total time you spent at the office or shop as most people waste a large chunk of their work hours on non-office activities.
    • How many hours per day do you spend in profoundly connecting conversations with your family and friends? Time spent chatting on your phone while in the same room with a loved one doesn’t qualify in this case.
    • How much time do you spend in a state of anger, unhappiness, dissatisfaction or anxiety?
    • How many hours of quality sleep do you get each night?
    • How much time per week do you spend on making yourself a better person? It might be reading a book, taking an online course etc.
    • How much of your time each week do you spend on activities that add no value to your life, but which you agreed to so that others won’t judge you?
    • How many hours per day do you spend adding value to the lives of others?

    Addressing these questions can help you identify what's eating up your time and how to allocate your time more efficiently to help boost productivity at work.

    What is the money value of your time?

    It’s almost impossible to treat your time like money if you don’t know how much you can earn per hour. But it’s necessary to understand your rate/hour as it helps you become more efficient at spending time. Here are two methods for calculating the value of your time according to

    • This method involves dividing your income by the number of hours you spend on the work. It’s the simplest way of determining your $/hr rate.
    • The second method is using The Time Value Calculator from In addition to measuring the time spent on tasks, this calculator asks you a series of questions to find out your mindset about the value of time. Once you complete the quiz, the website sends a detailed analysis of your results through email.

    Knowing the dollar worth of your time is a powerful tool for increasing productivity in the workplace, especially if you are a solopreneur or freelancer. With this information, you can project the amount of money you can make in X number of hours, and this can motivate you to become more decisive in your time management decisions. If you could make $50/hour, would you spend 2 hours mowing your lawn or pay the kid down the street to do it for $20?

    Start tracking your time

    Once you know how much you can earn per hour, it’s time to start following your time and scheduling tasks by order of importance. Have you been spending the most productive time of your day watching repeat runs of your favourite TV show? You are leaving money on the table right there, and you know it’s time to cut off that habit for good. Do you spend a large part of the office hours chatting with co-workers or lifting files off your desk? Or have you been spending the more substantial portion of your weekends on house repairs at the expense of quality family conversations?

    You can track your time manually using a planner or better still download one of the several time monitoring apps from your favourite app store. A week or two of diligent time tracking should reveal the activities that are taking much of your time.

    The question you should ask yourself now is whether these activities are worth your time? Are they value-adding activities or time-guzzling tasks that could have been cheaper to outsource?

    With this information, you can reshuffle your schedule and timetable by allocating more time to the things that help you increase productivity. Don’t waste valuable time on tasks that cost less than your hourly rate to outsource.  It’s an unnecessary waste of a limited resource. Allocate your time wisely, and you will increase productivity and the quality of your life. You will have more money, share plenty of memorable moments with the people that matter in your life, and contribute more to making the society a better place.

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