Why Your Time is Valuable

By Biron Clark


Misc Tips

Biron Clark

Biron Clark

Writer & Career Coach

Your time is valuable both in your career and your overall life. In today’s fast-paced world, the value of time is higher than ever before. We are constantly bombarded with information and demands, so it is crucial to be strategic about how we spend our time. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Lost time is never found again.” In fact, time is the most valuable resource you’ll ever have.

You can never get more of it. Once you use a bit of it, it’s gone forever. (Unlikely money, which you can get more and more of, and probably will throughout your career!) So, how should the value of your time affect your decisions? And how high should the value of your time be, to begin with?

Answering these questions will help you live a more productive, happier life while wasting less time on tasks you don’t feel like completing. Thus, this article helps answer this question by exploring the importance of time in today’s world and provides tips on using it wisely to achieve your goals and live a fulfilling life.

How to Value Your Time

It’s worth taking time to think about how much your time is worth. Knowing the value of time encompasses several key considerations that are highly personalized based on individual goals and values.

The main factors involve managing your time in line with your priorities, improving time management techniques for higher productivity, and evaluating how the use of time aligns with your life goals and values in the long run.

These considerations underscore the dynamic and subjective nature of the value of time in a world where personal goals and values drive the perception of its worth.

View Time as a Currency

At this point, you need to view time as a currency — a valuable one at that. When you begin to view time as a currency with value, you will begin to ask the right questions to better position yourself for success.

How much does your job currently pay? T

hat’s a good starting point. It doesn’t have to be your final answer, as the value of your time may constantly change. How much money would you require to spend an hour on the weekend doing something you don’t feel like doing?

How much do you think you ought to be paid in your next job?

What if somebody wanted to hire you as a consultant for a ten-hour project? How much would you charge per hour? These are all good questions to ask yourself when deciding how valuable your time is.

Invest Time in Relationships

Spending time with people who understand the value of your time is essential for nurturing meaningful connections. When you and your loved ones appreciate the preciousness of the moments you share, it strengthens bonds, fosters trust, and enhances the quality of your relationships.

These shared experiences become a currency of love and care, reinforcing the notion that time is not only spent but invested in the enrichment of your connections with others. An 85-year Harvard study linked great relationships to happiness and longevity. And you can only cultivate great relationships by spending quality time with loved ones

A paper published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that married couples in the United States are happier and more fulfilled when they are together rather than apart. This points to the far-reaching positive effect of allocating quality time to your partner in the grand scheme of things.

Learn the Importance of Free Time

One problem with viewing time as a currency is how easy it is to forget the need to spend time on oneself. Understanding the value of time and having free time are not mutually exclusive. As much as you value your time, you should never be stingy when it comes to self-care and personal well-being. Setting aside dedicated free time for yourself is not a frivolous expense but an essential investment. 

It allows you to recharge, pursue your passions, and reflect on your goals and values, ultimately enhancing your ability to give your best to both yourself and others. In the grand currency of time, allocating some of it to your own growth, happiness, and fulfillment is a wise and necessary transaction.

Set Aside Time for Mental and Physical Health

The impact of time on mental and physical health is profound. When time is managed effectively to include relaxation, exercise, and stress reduction, it contributes to improved mental well-being by reducing anxiety and burnout. Likewise, allocating time for physical activities and a balanced daily routine positively affects physical health, lowering the risk of various ailments and enhancing overall vitality.

In essence, how we utilize our time plays a pivotal role in maintaining a healthy mind and body, making time management a critical aspect of our well-being. Research published in the Journal of Work and Occupations shows that there is a direct link between an individual’s time management and their engagement at work and other areas in life. 

Whatever you decide on, come up with some figure of what your time is worth.

Unlike money or possessions, you can never accumulate more time. Each day, hour, and moment that passes is gone forever. When we grasp the finite nature of time, we begin to understand the true value of time. It compels us to consider how we allocate it, pushing us to make choices that align with our priorities, values, and aspirations. 

While money and possessions can be earned, accumulated, and even lost, time is starkly different. Look at it this way: you can save money, but never time. It’s like a conveyor belt continually moving forward, carrying each moment away, unrecoverable. It doesn’t wait for anyone, and there are no refunds or rollovers. Time is a universally distributed resource that’s irreplaceable and non-renewable. The richest people on Earth do not have extra hours, and neither do the poorest have less. 

Now, here’s the key: You must decide how valuable your time is. After you’ve decided how valuable your time is to YOU, stop doing time-consuming tasks that aren’t worth the time spent. Think of it as opportunity cost. Spending time on non-urgent and non-important activities isn’t exactly a good use of your time. 

For example, calling a company to dispute a $5 credit card charge and holding on the phone for an hour. That’s NOT a good use of time for most people. If you value your time at less than $5 per hour, then stay on hold. Otherwise, hang up the phone. This is why it’s important to come up with an amount that your time is worth to you first. Without this figure in mind, how can you decide which tasks are worth doing?

Stop Doing Tasks That Aren’t Worth Your Time

For the tasks not worth doing, you can either choose to pay somebody else to do them or cut them out completely. Calling your cable provider would probably be one that you want to neglect completely if you value your time at $20 per hour or more. Tasks like mowing your lawn or cleaning your kitchen might be things that make sense to pay somebody else to do.

One of the biggest differences between the top earners and the rest of the people is their focus on earning rather than saving. Most people think about how to save $20. The top earners are thinking about how to earn enough that spending $20 doesn’t matter.

Saying No to Tasks

Admittedly, you’re not always in control of the tasks that come your way. However, you can always say no to tasks that are not aligned with your priorities, values, or personal growth. Empowering yourself to decline commitments that don’t serve your well-being or aspirations is a liberating choice. 

Overextension and burnout are all too common in today’s fast-paced society. The relentless pursuit of constant busyness and the fear of disappointing others can lead to emotional and physical exhaustion. The solution? Learn to say no firmly and politely. Here are some tips to help out:

  • Be Clear and Direct: Say “no” without ambiguity or long-winded explanations.
  • Express Gratitude: Begin by thanking the person for the opportunity or request.
  • State Your Reason: Provide a brief, honest reason for declining when appropriate.
  • Use Positive Language: Frame your refusal in a positive light, focusing on your current commitments or priorities.
  • Offer Alternatives: If possible, suggest an alternative solution or recommend someone who can help.
  • Stand Firm: Be confident and assertive in your response without being confrontational.
  • Practice Empathy: Acknowledge the other person’s perspective and express understanding.

Why Time Is Valuable in Your Career

As a young, up-and-coming career person, you might think you have all the time in the world. In the early portion of your career, you should be looking at jobs where you can learn the most in the least amount of time. If you want to advance your career in the long run, you need your first two or three jobs to be challenging and to really stretch you.

Look for companies with room for growth and positions that can develop your experience and continue providing challenges as you master the basics. If you’re not struggling or learning anything at work, your job is wasting your time. If you are bored at work, you are doing yourself no favors by staying at the company without speaking up about it.

If you have to take a small pay cut to be in a challenging position in the field that interests you, it’s well worth it.

Calculate Your Hourly Rate

Calculating your hourly value is another key component of time management. This involves determining the worth of your time, often based on your income or personal goals. Calculating the hourly value of your time provides a tangible reference point for assessing the significance of various tasks. It enables you to decide whether it’s more cost-effective or personally fulfilling to delegate, automate, or spend time on a specific task.

Value Your Time and Prioritize Effectively

Knowing the value of time and effectively prioritizing tasks are vital skills in today’s fast-paced world. You will rarely ever have only one thing to do. There will usually be several tasks requiring your attention at the same time. Here are tips to help you prioritize effectively and get premium value from your time:

Use the Eisenhower Matrix: Categorize tasks into four quadrants based on their urgency and importance:

  • Urgent and Important (Do First): Tasks that require immediate attention.
  • Important, but Not Urgent (Schedule): Tasks that contribute to your long-term goals but can be scheduled.
  • Urgent, but Not Important (Delegate): Tasks that can be handed off to others.
  • Neither Urgent nor Important (Eliminate): Tasks that don’t contribute to your goals and can be dropped.
  • Set Clear Goals: Begin with a clear understanding of your short-term and long-term goals. This will help you evaluate tasks based on their alignment with these objectives.
  • Break Down Large Tasks: Divide big projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. This makes it easier to prioritize and approach complex projects incrementally.
  • Consider Deadlines: Take note of deadlines and prioritize tasks that are time-sensitive.
  • Assess Your Hourly Value: Calculate the worth of your time and evaluate tasks accordingly. Focus on tasks that align with your hourly value.

Use Time Management Techniques

You have your priorities set now. How do you make sure you assign reasonable time to each task and get it done promptly? You need to understand time management techniques. 

  • The Pomodoro Technique: Break your workday into focused intervals (typically 25 minutes) followed by short breaks. This technique helps maintain concentration and prevents burnout.
  • Time Blocking: Allocate specific blocks of time for different tasks. This method creates a structured schedule, making it easier to prioritize and complete tasks efficiently.
  • Getting Things Done (GTD): GTD is a productivity method that emphasizes capturing tasks and ideas in an external system, organizing them, and taking action based on priority and context.
  • Eat the Frog: Inspired by Mark Twain’s advice to “eat a live frog” first thing in the morning, this method suggests tackling your most challenging or undesirable task as your top priority.
  • Time Tracking Tools: Use time-tracking apps or tools to monitor how you spend your time. These insights can help you identify time-wasting activities and make more informed choices.

Investing Your Time Effectively

Investing your time effectively is akin to cultivating a valuable asset. It involves several key principles that can lead to personal and professional growth and a more fulfilling life.

Investing Time in Learning and Personal Growth

Dedicating time to learning, whether through formal education, reading, or skill development, is a crucial investment in your future. It not only enhances your knowledge and abilities but also opens doors to new opportunities and enriches your perspective. 

Your bosses at work have managed to stay at the top of the game because they understand the value of time. They are willing to set aside time for personal growth. In the end, we are all self-made, but only the successful will admit it, as Earl Nightingale pointed out.

Learn to Delegate and Outsource

You haven’t truly mastered the value of time until you recognize that you can’t do everything yourself. Delegation and outsourcing tasks to others, whether in your personal or professional life, allows you to focus on what matters most and leverages the strengths of others.

Smart Time Investments Pay Off in the Long Term

Just like financial investments, the returns on your time investments may not always be immediate, but they can yield significant long-term benefits. Investing your time wisely in learning, relationships, and strategic delegation can lead to personal growth, happiness, and career success that compound over time. Incorporating these principles into your life can transform your perception of time from a mere commodity to a powerful tool for building a more rewarding and fulfilling future.

Conclusion: How do I make my time more valuable?

The transformative impact of investing time in learning, personal growth, and nurturing relationships is glaring. If you’ve hitherto treated time as a fleeting resource to be spent, now is the moment to recalibrate your approach and understand the true value of time. Time is not just a ticking clock; it’s an opportunity for self-improvement, creating lasting memories, and strengthening the bonds that enrich our lives.

Reflect on your current time management practices. Are you making the most of this invaluable resource? Are your choices aligned with your goals, values, and aspirations? Making positive changes to prioritize your time more thoughtfully can enhance your personal and professional growth. Remember that each moment you invest in yourself, your passions, and the people you care about is a step toward a future where you look back and appreciate the value of time well spent.

Biron Clark

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5 thoughts on “Why Your Time is Valuable”

  1. Great article, Biron.

    By assigning a dollar value to our time as your article suggests, we create a really useful tool to figure out where to most efficiently put our time which seems like a excellent strategy.

    Thanks for the tip!

  2. Hi Janette,

    Gain more specific expertise in your field or area of specialty.

    This will help you demand more money from employers or clients (if you consult), and will help you value your time more highly.

    Depending on your field you could also gain certifications or other qualifications that would make your time more highly valued.

  3. This is a great starting point and very helpful but what tips might you suggest for actually increasing the value of my time?

    What steps can I take to be able to value my time more highly?

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