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Your most valuable resource and how to protect it

Show me an individual who values their time and I will show you an individual who knows their value. Image by FunkyFocus from Pixabay

The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.

Stephen R. Covey

Show me an individual who values their time and I will show you an individual who knows their value.  Because when all is said and done, it comes down to the time we were given on earth and what we did with it.

And while it is impossible, in the technical sense, to negotiate with time, in the literal sense, there is a way to get more “hours” in a day by negotiating your time wisely.

It’s about making deliberate and conscious decisions regarding how you use your time.

It all depends on what you want out of life. If you choose to invest seven days a week doing profitable work at the office, you will not reap the same results as the one who chooses to spend the same amount of time investing in relationships. Nothing wrong with either but the keyword here is choice.

Most of us, however, long to live balanced lives, where we can enjoy good health, more wealth, stronger relationships, more freedom and more impact, all which require our time investment. And it really comes down to the choices we make. But because there is only so much we can achieve by ourselves on any given day, it becomes necessary to understand how to effectively “buy more time” for ourselves in order to achieve that which we hope to achieve.

Spending money to buy time

It’s hard to put an exact value on your time, because ultimately, time is, worth more than money. Having said that, once you know how much an hour of your time is truly worth you can make better decisions on a daily basis.

You can begin by using this calculator to determine, in monetary terms, your value by the hour.

Let’s say you make 1000 shillings per hour. In that case, anything that costs you less than 1000 per hour might be worth paying for or outsourcing- because this translates to you getting an hour of your valuable time back.

Think about services like cleaning the house. This is a time-consuming undertaking, especially if you have kids.

We live in a country where you can easily find a house cleaner whose services will cost you 200 shillings per hour. Since you value your time at 1000 shillings per hour, hiring a cleaner to get the job done will be a worthwhile spend.

If you own your own business or work as a freelancer, you might consider hiring an assistant or financial planner who can perform certain tasks efficiently. Alternatively, you could find the software that can automate certain processes for you.

When you embrace outsourcing not only will the time you spend around certain tasks get freed up but the professionals doing the tasks for you will likely do them far better than you.

In essence, you should think about outsourcing the “time-wasters”: tasks that command skills that you don’t possess, tasks you dislike doing the most and those that take you away from focusing on more important things.

A good deal or a costly tradeoff?

I know absolutely no one who doesn’t like a good bargain.

Whether it’s a two for one deal at the restaurant, a Black Friday offer or a discount at the supermarket. Whatever it is, discounts tend to elicit excitement within us. And why shouldn’t they?  No one wants to spend more than they need to.  

The problem comes in when almost everyone wants to snag that deal and because of the high demand, we may find ourselves spending precious hours in line waiting for our slice. In this case, we prioritize saving money over our time. This usually stems from our having allowed deeply ingrained negative beliefs about money take over and lead us; beliefs that tell us that we should protect money at all cost.

If you know your time is worth 2000 shillings per hour, does it make sense to wait in line for 2 hours to get a 500 shilling gift card?

If you know your time is worth 8000 shillings per hour, doesn’t it make sense to buy the direct flight that saves you two hours, even if it costs 3000 shillings more than the flight with a stopover?

Is sitting in traffic for 2 hours to pick up a package on the other side of town the best use of your time? Or would it be better to, at the touch of a button get Sendy, Uber, Deliveroo or your trusted boda guy to get the job done for a fraction of the cost and none of the stress?

It may seem like you are saving money but are you? Really?

Yes, we mustn’t be wasteful. Without frugality, you likely wouldn’t be where you are now. But like all things, frugality can be taken to the extreme. If being frugal causes you to lose time that you could be spending with loved ones or doing something you enjoy, you could end up feeling less satisfied with the overall quality of your life. Money is valuable but it’s not necessarily the most valuable resource you have. 

Understanding the value of your time is helpful, but more importantly, you need to know what you want out of life to get the most accurate idea of how to value your time. Too many people chase money or power or approval because everyone around them does the same. What if that’s not what you really want? Sure, you can find ways to increase the value of your time, but what if you’d rather have more free time than more cash?

Time is a limited resource. And once it’s gone, it’s gone. The best thing you can do for yourself is to find out what you want to achieve with the time you have on this earth and devise suitable methods to free up the time you need to get it done.