Valuing Your Time
How do you value your time? What helps you decide where you spend your time, who you spend it with and how you spend it? How do you determine its worth? This article provides guidance for valuing your time.
What is Your Time Worth?
“Every day is a bank account, and time is our currency. No one is rich; no one is poor, we’ve got 24 hours each.” Christopher Rice – Author
Time management is not just about being somewhere on time, or meeting deadlines. Time Management is what you invest your time on and how. It is about making the best use of the time we have so that we do not feel like we have wasted it. This can be in personal or professional areas of our life.
How do you calculate the value?
In a professional environment, time vs money is frequently considered. The priority is also discussed, alongside who is best to complete the task. Questions may be asked such as, do you outsource, bring in a specialist, delegate to a lower grade post? These questions are all asked to ensure that time is spent wisely and in the most cost-effective way.
As with many things in life we often do not apply similar principles to our personal lives. In a professional environment, you would know how much you are paid per hour; this gives you a financial figure you can allocate to what your time is worth. In a personal situation you wouldn’t think of time in financial terms, so how do you determine what your time is worth? When you give your time to others, does it cost you personally? When you spend time on a task are you using it wisely?
Are You Making a Sound and Smart Investment?
Spending time is an investment. It is an investment in achieving a task; it is an investment in successfully achieving goals. It may be an investment in your physical or mental health.
Is it a smart investment or are your throwing it away? If you struggle with procrastination, then it may be that you do not see the value in investing your time. It may be that the task is not in alignment with your goals or with your values. If you are putting it off because it is outside of your comfort zone then try to break it down into smaller sections of work so that the first task feels more manageable. Give yourself an hour to ‘make a start’ and see how you progress.
Considerations when planning your time
- Are you prioritising where you need to spend your time? It is important to look at how much time you spend on each task and which task you commit time to first.
- Are you giving all your attention and focus on one task at a time or trying to divide this up across tasks? Spending time and focus on one task without disruption will often result in getting tasks completed more quickly and to a higher standard.
- At the beginning of each day set your priorities for what you want to achieve that day and setting time aside to complete this. Allocating time to your ‘to do’ list is one of the best ways to ensure that this happens and to keep you on schedule.
You may also find the Zing365 post helpful on Must Do Lists and Tasks Lists
- Are you investing time on the right things? Quality time not the quantity of time is important. Prioritise the tasks you have, and the time you must spend on them. If you are working for eight hours of the day, you need to ensure that you spend those hours wisely to achieve the high priority tasks.
- Minimising distractions and setting focus is important. Give yourself one hour of time on a task. Switch off your phone. Close down computer applications. One hour of 100% focus on the task ahead will ensure quality time and often mean that you waste less time and get the task completed more quickly than if you stop for distractions.
- Set yourself key milestone dates or times and deadlines. Look at the day ahead and state your intention of what you want to achieve by the end of the day. Risk manage the possible disruptions that may happen and ensure that your time is well spent.
What is the Return on Your Investment?
In a professional environment, it is easier to determine whether there is a good return on time and budget invested in a task. Often there are key performance indicators or reviews and evaluation reports that will examine the outcome and review the budget and time management.
In our personal lives, we do not approach this in quite the same way. We often don’t evaluate how we spend our time and whether this is a valuable use of the time that we have.
Considerations when evaluating your time
- Are you spending time on tasks and activities that take you towards your goals?
- Are you spending time with people that contribute towards a happy and fulfilling life?
- Is saying yes to others a conscious choice or is saying yes to others saying no to yourself?
- How often do you use the phrase ‘that was a waste of time’? It is a worthwhile exercise after you complete a task to ask yourself if it was a good use of your time.
- If one hour equated to a pound a minute, would you consider the time you spend on certain activities a sound investment?
- What would you do more or less of?
We all have the same number of hours at our disposable. How we choose to use them is up to us. We are responsible for how we invest our time in our personal and professional lives.
Value your time, make it worthwhile.