I have three lessons that I learned about how to value your time:
1) Prioritize the things only you can do, and delegate the rest,
2) Put a dollar amount on your time – lawyers and psychologists do it because that is what they are selling, their knowledge in hourly increments – you should value your own time in the same manner,
3) Learn to say no to time sucks more.
Prioritizing your time is absolutely crucial and you have time wasters that you can delegate or hire out to free up your time for the things that are most valuable to you. Look at how you spend your “down time” and see where you are spending time that could be better spent somewhere else.
Start with the easy and obvious one – laundry and housecleaning.
Some genius created the idea of Fluff and Fold and I will be eternally grateful for the ability to drop off (or in most city’s have picked up!) my laundry and 24 hours later it is returned cleaned and folded. The cost on this is usually 1-2 dollars a pound and I average 25 dollars worth of laundry every three weeks. Contrast that with the costs of water, soap, softener, and my time folding my socks and it’s a no brainer for me, and should be for you. There are people who are providing for their families in these jobs and you are not only helping them, but freeing up your own time to pursue goals and dreams. Same goes for house cleaning – cleaning services usually start at $30 an hour depending on the city and they free you up to go after your dreams.
I have an assistant to help with podcast production. He lives in the Philippines and he frees me up to just do the recording and then he edits and compiles – the cost is minimal (less than minimum wage in the U.S.) and it creates a turnkey solution for me.
Being a lawyer and business coach, I have to value my time and charge for it, because that is what I am selling – my hourly rate is high, but it’s the value I put on my time and that makes it easier for me to turn things over to those who earn less. If I can save an hour or two a week from laundry and turn that into writing or legal work, I’m progressing on my life’s goals, rather than work that is going to have to be redone next month anyways. You should put an hourly rate on your time and decide what you can afford to delegate and hire out. If you’re earning $60,000 a year, your hourly rate is $30, so long as you are spending less than that to do menial jobs, you’re ahead of the game.
Probably the hardest thing for most people to learn and practice is saying NO to the time sucks – usually they are really attractive and “fun” but they’re costing your progress on your life. This is where the 30 minutes a day of Facebook / Snapchat / Instagram and television is holding you back from being the superstar you want to be. It’s tempting to scroll just one more screen on Facebook, but that can lead to a 20 minute video and rant. That’s time you could be reading a book, writing an article, learning a skill that will help you make your life better tomorrow. Besides, there are no new cat tricks, the dogs are still adorable, and whatever your political bent, the other side is still wrong – put away the Facebook after 15 minutes, unless it’s for your business profile and pick up a book, write something, plan a goal and remember, time is your most precious asset – you only get so much of it, and to “kill it” is to waste it.
Prioritizing, valuing your time by putting a price on it, and cutting the time sucks will make a huge difference in your life in a short period of time. Facebook and the cat videos will always be there – but your opportunities may not.
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