We’re familiar with the financial concept of the time value of money: this principle states money in hand now is worth more than that same amount of money in the future. Essentially, this principle is taking into account that a dollar received today, invested, will yield more over time, compared to receiving that same dollar in the future. Compounding interest over time is on your side. Simple to grasp, and most likely something you strive to achieve with the money you have earned.
But let’s flip this. Instead of looking at the value of money over time, what if we look at time in terms of monetary value; the monetary value of time. Put simply, how much is your time worth?
A simple question, but not simplistic. How do you value your time? This is one of the foundational components in my business performance coaching with my clients. At first blush clients are tempted to calculate their earnings against hours worked. But it needs to be more than that.
By simply applying a calculation of money earned divided by hours worked, you are looking at a retrospective analysis, a lagging indicator; a measurement of something that has already occurred.
What I challenge you to do is to determine your current and future value. If time is our most valuable asset, then what is your time worth? Push your thinking beyond an hourly compensation rate, and truly dig into the reality that for every hour “spent” is an hour we cannot recoup. Unlike money, we cannot bank time for future use. We cannot hold onto it until we are more prepared to spend it on something more valuable down the road. No. Every hour, every minute, requires our attention to spend it as wisely as possible…at that moment.
As a business owner, I know you get this…as the old adage states…time is money. But knowing this and embracing it may be two very different concepts. Truly embracing the monetary value of your time can have profound effect on your business and your personal life.
A few things to consider. How often are you asking yourself why you spent your time completing a particular task; stating things like, “I’ll never get that time back”.
Start by reflecting on what you believe to be the best use of your time. Take all the barriers away…what’s on your top-three list of where your time should be invested? Review your list and compare it to the list of your completed activities from yesterday. How would you score that day based on your top-three? Listen, I get it. One day doesn’t tell the whole story. And I’m also a realist when it comes to business ownership and leadership. Striving for perfect is far from perfect. But are there incremental adjustments you can make to get you closer to focusing on those top-three that contribute the most value to you and your business? You get the idea. Small adjustment to where your time is invested can yield tremendous return.
Shift the thinking. Invest your time rather than spending it. Let’s face it, you certainly can’t bank it for later or take it with you.
How would you grade your level of satisfaction as an optimal time investor? As a core component of my practice, perhaps a conversation around time management and prioritization would be an investment worth your time.