Making the Best Use of Your Time
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What is an Hour Worth?
This week I had a couple of sobering thoughts regarding the amount of time we spend working for somebody else. Working for myself has been quite freeing, somewhat frightening, and ultimately invigorating.
Even given a couple of outside job opportunities, I couldn’t help but imagine myself back under the slave driving requirements of an 8+ hour work day 5+ days a week.
Since I’ve been blessed to spend more time with my family this year, I’m beginning to imagine how differently I now value my time. For some of us, an hour is just a fleeting moment that we can spend on social media, browsing the web, working or sleeping.
Our work labels us with an hourly wage that we can easily let define us as a person but we are blind to the actual value of an hour of life given the alternative.
So what is an hour worth?
Supply and Demand
I asked Ariana this week what she would normally charge for an hour of work.
That’s a difficult question since she’s a hair stylist and everyone’s hair is unique and different but we could narrow down and calculate what she charges per hour on average. But you see, there is a difference between what you can charge per hour and what you believe an hour of your time is worth.
I then asked the actual tough question; if we were to lose our son, how much would you be willing to spend to experience another hour with him?
The value of an hour is extremely different depending on a varying number of external factors. If you lost your job tomorrow, how much would you being willing to pay to go back to work at the same job for another hour?
We are talking about the same unit of time but the activity that we experience during that hour has a significant impact on its perceived value.
An hour of extra work at our day job we would pay very little for, but an hour with someone we love that we may have once lost is priceless.
I want this blog to be a challenge to us. I will mention a lot of ideas that will make some of you angry or frustrated but that’s the point. Often, we need to be frustrated or angry before we decide to make change in our own lives.
Think about this: most of us don’t have the time, energy or the education to create and maintain a budget, to understand how to invest for retirement, to research unique ways to save and earn money, to develop and challenge ourselves to learn new skills or to even spend quality time with family.
If you’re heard enough and want to jump in, check out my 7 Day Budgeting Course.
These things are what’s arguable most important in our lives but they are largely ignored. Men and women are working 50+ hours a week even if they have a family to care for.
Day-cares and nannies are raising our children so we can spend a little extra money, or have a little more house, or have that brand new gadget. Don’t we understand the impact we are having on the next generation?
We’re led to believe that we need all of these things but it’s all a facade to happiness and it doesn’t pay dividends years down the road.
I think it’s worth pursing change at the cost of telling that little child inside of us, “No” from time to time and by telling each other no.
Can we try that? Can we hold each other accountable even if it hurts?
“Be careful what you trade your time for. Time is finite. You can’t retrieve it and leisure is deceitful.”
Instead, trade time for creating value in yourself so you can have more freedom in life.
Making a Choice
The rub is what we decide to do from here on out with the resources we have.
Budgeting and finances are not about making money and investing as much possible. It’s about changing the way we live our lives in order to make room for the things we truly label as priorities.
If working those extra hours at work means we can buy that nicer car or bigger house, or next new phone but we’re sacrificing current quality time with our family, maybe that nicer car or bigger house or next new shiny object isn’t really worth it.
If I would fork over an obscene amount of money to spend another hour with a loved one that I had already lost, maybe I should find a way to make more time creating memories now with the ones I still have yet to lose.
That may mean we spend less time working for other people, making less income that we may not need anyway and spending less money on superfluous things that we don’t truly value.
Time and again I talk about creating space in our lives for the things that matter. Right now, a lot of us may have our noses just above the water of the ocean, struggling to breathe because our finances are so out of order and they are demanding our extra hours, health and attention. And then another fully anticipated wave comes.
But what if we had space?
A bit of extra breathing room to float higher above the ocean when the waves of life come.
What if we spent the time to build a boat?
Let’s envision a different future. In the next 20 years, maybe we can have a paid off mortgage. Maybe our monthly expenses can be less than two thousand dollars. Maybe we can enjoy living on a smaller income because we’ve planned ahead and created the space in our lives by reducing complexity.
We’ve quieted that screaming inner child who always wants what’s new and expensive and often pointless. Instead, we invest in that which grows and matters; relationships, people, our spirit and health.
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” – Matthew 6:19-21
What have you given up in order to have the life you want today? Let me know in the comments below.
Being disciplined with your money is hard but trust me, it's worth it. -Brandon
I’m Brandon and that’s my bride Ariana and our first born. We listened to age-old wisdom and paid off over $100,000 in debt from college, credit cards, vehicles and an underwater mortgage in under two years. We now we live a debt free life. Now we’re able to spend more time at home with our kids and prioritize our life.
With BeardedBudget, I have developed a number of financial and merchant relationships; some of which are affiliate relationships. The opinions expressed here are mine alone and should not be construed as professional financial advice but honest reviews and recommendations based on my own experience. For more information, read the disclaimers and disclosures.