What’s your ratio of time to money?

Hourglass

How to value my time has been of interest to me for a long while.

When I left University, it was on my mind during that post-Uni job hunt. My salary change (along with the other, more intangible benefits) was a large part of the new job each time I chose to move on.

I struggled to determine an hourly rate when I started freelancing on the side.

There’s the value of two decades of deliberate study in the field of software and web development to account for. And what about the value of all the added extras I’ve learned in those years?

The courses I’ve taken to improve my communication skills. Those I’ve taken to improve technical skills. The countless hours spent doing micro-projects to learn and improve specific skills that comprise my toolset.

The people I find myself interacting with (both in professional and personal circles) seem to fall into one of two broad camps:

  • There’s a group that won’t invest in themselves at all. They won’t take courses. They won’t read non-fiction. They won’t even spend time deliberately studying anything (even hobbies that are free after a modest outlay, such as playing a musical instrument).
  • There’s another group that will invest in themselves. They’ll sign up to courses (if the money is available). They’ll get a book and carry out personal, deliberate study of the topic. If they can’t afford a book at the time, they’ll make use of free resources to get the kickstart that they need.

I will say that I’ve also met people that move from camp to camp depending on the subject. They’ll also be happy to make use of provided resources (their workplace’s training budget for instance) but won’t invest their own time or money.

I’ve also met people that will pour their life’s savings into car purchase and restoration, but will refrain from time saving options in other areas of their lives.

I also tallied up my personal and professional investments over the two decades, and it’s easily in the tens of thousands of pounds.

I don’t regret a penny of it.

Ideally, I’ll learn a ton of useful, actionable items from everything I study. It doesn’t always go that way, so I make it a point to try and find at least ONE thing that benefits me in every piece of deliberate study I go through.

Just ONE thing.

If I can find that in a two week course that I’m sent on by an employer: GOOD!

If I can find that in an 8 week online course I buy with my own money: GOOD!

However, we all have only the same 24 hours a day.

There’s so much to fit into those 24 hours. We can push and pull at all the elements that consume our time, and some will resist.

This resistance is either direct (try telling your partner that you don’t want to spend time with them as it doesn’t feel very efficient) or indirect (as is the case with sleep. See how well you do after reducing this to 4 hours a night).

We can go to the gym and figure it all out ourselves, or we can get a personal trainer. For some people, getting a personal chef (or making use of the part done for you services such as Hello Fresh) makes sense.

There are other ways to spend our time (or save it) when it comes to business.

We can do our books ourselves, or hire an accountant.

We can host our own websites on a server that we manage entirely, or we can go with a host that includes management of the servers.

So my question to you is this: Have you ever sat down and figured out your time to money ratio?

How much would you pay to recoup an hour? Three hours? Or even ten hours?

Don’t just ponder it and then forget about it, reply and let me know. See how your answer feels when you actually tell someone else.