Do you value your time?

Do you value your own time?

Do you actually do the math?

Suppose there was something you spent 10 minutes on per week that you could avoid doing—some chore you could eliminate. How much money is that amount of your time worth?

The first step is to value your time and it turns out this is rather hard to do. But just investing the time to think about it will shift the way you think about the way you spend your time. A few ways to put some brackets on how much you—not others—value your time.

If you know a specific hourly rate for your job, you could multiply that by 10. (The thinking being that you’re willing to sell that time at a HUGE discount because you’re gauranteed to be able to sell large amounts of it, on a well-known and convenient schedule. It’s a market balance between you and your employer.) Another possible valuation is to imagine some task you would hate; maybe it’s shoveling out latrines… and that you had to do an entire 8 hour shift of that; what hourly rate would you want? Or take your total current take-home annual income and divide by a “sane” 40-hours a week of work times 48 weeks and divide it out to get an hourly rate. Again multiple by how much you think you’re selling it at a discount based on the market forces with your employer.

Just doing the “how much is my time worth” math is valuable. Now, suppose you came up with $500/hr. (Which is a pretty reasonable amount for a reasonable human being in my opinion. Remember, this isnt how much cash you can earn at your job in an hour; this is how much do you value your time.)

That 10 minute per week task times 52 weeks? …that’s $4,300 per year of value that you “regain” by stopping that activity.

Suggested exercise: Do the math for your intentional hobbies and discover how irrelevant the physical costs are. Do the math for your “time wasting” activities and you discover how much you value your down-time, etc..

Update March 2019: Here’s something apropos from Seth Godin, Making Big Decisions About Money.