If they spent all of their time speaking, then they would decrease the value of their time because they wouldn't write any new books, they would gradually become irrelevant and their speaking rate would decrease.
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As you move toward the middle of the time-value spectrum, however, it becomes less clear if a particular task is worth your time or not.
I was in the gym one day, training like usual, when my coach made an important observation. Not all uses of time are equal and this simple truth can make a big difference in life. People who spend their time doing more profitable work make more money.
People who spend their time investing in others build better relationships. People who spend their time creating a flexible career enjoy more freedom. People who spend their time working on high-impact projects contribute more to society. Whether you want more wealth, more friendship, more freedom, or more impact, it all comes down to how you spend your time. If you're like me, you probably want the things listed above friendship, freedom, impact and others too health.
But you can't have everything at once, so you need to understand how to effectively manage the tradeoffs that you face on a day-to-day basis. This article explains how to figure out what your time is worth and use that information to spend your time more effectively. Understanding how to get the most out of your time starts with knowing—in exact terms—what your time is worth.
Before we talk about how to get started, I wanted to let you know I researched and compiled science-backed ways to stick to good habits and stop procrastinating. Want to check out my insights? The Value of Time: What is One Hour Worth? A few weeks before I began writing this article, I was shopping for a small travel bag.
But there was one problem: The company had a physical location in New York City and I was already planning to visit the city a few weeks later. I looked up the store location and realized that it would take me about one hour to go out of my way and stop at the store during my trip. That's when I thought of the question that prompted this entire article: Or should I save cash and spend one hour of my time going to pick it up in person?
I had no idea if going to the store or paying extra for shipping was a better use of my time and money. Money Dilemma At some level, we all have an internal gauge for how much our time is worth.
On extreme ends of the spectrum, it is easy to know if a task is worth your time. As you move toward the middle of the time-value spectrum, however, it becomes less clear if a particular task is worth your time or not. And this is the problem: We make choices like these everyday, but most people base their decisions on gut feelings or guesswork and never calculate what their time is actually worth.
Everyone has an hourly value, but very few people can actually tell you what that number is. Until recently, I was no exception. I talked to entrepreneurs, productivity consultants, executive coaches, and even professional poker players about the best ways to determine how much my time was worth and how to make better decisions based on that information. Then, I tracked every hour I spent over a three-month period and calculated the value of each hour using six different equations.
I've distilled all of this research and experimentation into a fairly simple process, which I'll cover right now. The remainder of this article is divided into two parts. Part I is fast and easy, and covers everything most people will need.
Within 15 minutes, Part I will help you develop a reasonable estimate of what your time is worth and you'll be able to make more informed decisions because of it. I recommend everyone read Part I. Part II is time-consuming, but valuable.
In particular, entrepreneurs and executives will find Part II useful. Part II builds upon Part I and helps you assess the expected value of different uses of time, so you can make better strategic decisions that will pay off in the long-run. Before we dive into Part I, I'd like to share a free spreadsheet I created with examples of every equation in this article. You can use this spreadsheet to plug in your numbers and get an immediate value for your time.
I will be referring to this spreadsheet throughout the remainder of this article. These calculations are based only on income you have actually received or realized , hence the name Realized Income Methods. These calculations will help you make better decisions about how to spend money on day-to-day purchases. To get started, you need two numbers: The amount of time you spend to earn money.
The amount of money you earn during that time. Let's talk about how to measure these two factors and come up with a quick estimate for the value of your time. How to Track Your Time The first step is to measure the total amount of time you invest to earn money, not just the hours you are physically at work.
For example, if you spend one hour commuting to work each day and eight hours at work, then it cost you nine hours to earn money that day.
Similarly, you should add in any time you spent working on a side hustle or dropping your kids off at daycare. Using these numbers, we are trying to get a complete picture of the total amount of time you invest each year to earn money. If you struggle to come up with an estimate for your time, you're not alone. Most people only have a vague sense of where their 24 hours go each day. If you're unsure how much time you spend working, I recommend using 2, hours per year as a starting point.
I'll leave it to you to make adjustments based on your specific circumstances, but for most full-time employees or entrepreneurs, I think 2, hours will get you in the right ballpark. When I started measuring my time, I installed a software tool called RescueTime. RescueTime records the exact amount of time I spend on each task: After I collected three months worth of data, I compiled numbers from other applications to round out my estimates.
Using the numbers from RescueTime and a few reasonable estimates, I found that I spend about 2, hours working per year. Because of RescueTime's category-by-category breakdown, I was also able to group my time into specific areas like writing, reading, website design, marketing, and so on. This detailed breakdown isn't necessary, but it will come in handy during Part II of this article. For now, all you need is a reasonable estimate of the total amount of hours you spend to earn money each year.
How to Track How Much Money You Earn The second factor you need to know is how much money you earned during the time you spent working. This is pretty simple. If you're an hourly worker or a salaried employee, just look at your latest paycheck and multiply that by the number of paychecks you receive per year. If your pay hasn't changed much this year, you can also look at your tax return from last year and just use that number. You should also include money from side hustles and freelancing gigs because the time you spent on those activities is included in Step 1.
The number we are trying to calculate is your take-home pay. This is the amount of money you have left after deducting taxes. For most employees, taxes are withheld from your paycheck, so your take-home pay is basically what you get paid.
If you are a business owner, however, you should deduct taxes and business expenses from your top-line revenue. Bench is an online bookkeeping service that automatically pulls the data from my business accounts and then a bookkeeper compiles everything into tax-ready financial statements. With a few clicks, I can see how much money I've earned during the previous month, quarter, or year. If you are also an entrepreneur, I recommend using yearly earnings for these calculations because small business income can fluctuate sometimes drastically from month to month.
Looking at your earnings over a longer time period helps to smooth out these inconsistencies and provide a more realistic value of your time. For example, let's say you spend 2, hours per year earning money: This is the poverty line for an individual in the United States.
This is the median income for women in the United States. This is the median income for men in the United States. Again, all of these numbers assume that you are working 2, hours per year. Obviously, the numbers will shift if you work more hours or fewer hours. Are These Numbers Accurate?
When I first calculated these numbers I was surprised. The value of an hour of my time was much lower than what I thought it would be. How can this be? When we divide their total income by the total time spent working, the value of each hour is much less than what they charge for a given hour of work with a client.
Furthermore, although we might know what we would charge per hour, we rarely calculate how much time goes into earning money outside of our working hours. By accounting for all of the time we invest to earn money, we get a clearer picture of what our time is actually worth—and it is usually much less than what you would charge for an hour of work on your job.
Now, if you're like me, you'd like to verify the accuracy of this first calculation. Rule 2 - PM each other your usernames, do not post them in public. Posts and comments containing a username will be removed. Rule 3 - Be civil. No racist, transphobic, homophobic, or otherwise offensive and hateful comments are allowed here. Without them, there is no guarantee we can help you, but we will try our best. Rule 5 - No self promotion; this includes, but is not limited to: Rule 6 - No spam.
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