Value of Time – Making Choices For Life and Happiness

We all know that time is precious, yet we waste time doing things we really don’t enjoy.  From grocery shopping to cleaning house, there are those menial tasks we do to save money, but what about time?  Let’s talk about the value of time and how it can be better spent.

Our time is limited-so we try to use it wisely. There are several values to time including time itself, potential gains (experiences or money), and balances (emotional and physical). Through prioritization and understanding the true cost of things, one can better understand the value of time and how to balance it.

Do you ever feel like there’s not enough time?  From working all week to running errands at night, who wouldn’t be interested in ways to save time?

What Is the Value of Time?

Time is probably the most precious commodity on earth.  What is its value?  Well, let me ask you this-what value would you place on spending more time with a loved one who has passed?  Another bedtime story with your child who is now grown?  Another snuggle with your dog who died 6 years ago?  Time really has a value it’s difficult to put a dollar amount on.  But maybe we can try.

The value of time is extremely personal to the individual, their resources, priorities, and even their regrets. It can be challenging, if not impossible, to place a value on time, it is based on opportunity and its connection to success. By understanding and being aware of the value of time, we can make better decisions and lead more fulfilling lives.

Hour glass - Value of Time - Gone Minimal
Hour glass

How the Value of Time Is Part of Life

We’ve learned as we grow that time goes by really quickly.  We blink and our children are suddenly teenagers.  We postpone travelling to visit grandparents and then they’re gone.  Life flashes before our lives and before we’re ready, loved ones pass away. 

We spend what time we can with our children, teaching them valuable life lessons and watching them grow.  And hopefully we someday have the opportunity to watch our children teach their children life lessons.  Maybe not-one never knows. 

We learn with the passing of time that our time is never guaranteed.  Taking time for granted we lose precious, valuable time with others.  Time for laughter, fun, love, joy, pain, and sorrow that all remind us we are alive and need to value our time.  Part of life is learning to value our time.  We can do that in one way by outsourcing some jobs to save us some time.

Decision Making With the Value of Time

We have a limited amount of time to live our lives, and we must use it wisely.  One way to do that is to be intentional with decision making.  Rather than spend countless hours deciding what we want to do with our lives and beating around the proverbial bush, consider pros and cons and what makes us happy to come to decisions quicker.  Now obviously some decisions are going to be easier to make than others, but we can choose to be smart about them. 

Part of life is learning to value our time.  We can do that in one way by outsourcing some jobs to save us some time.

How do you want to spend the weekend?  Probably not taking hours lamenting over going back to work on Monday!  Take a little bit of time each day to sketch out plans and decisions to save some time and truly enjoy your time off.  Also let’s consider having someone else do the yardwork, clean the house, pick up after our animals, and all of those things that take up a great deal of our time each week.

Here is a helpful video on how to value your time and be happier:

Using the Value of Time to Choose a Happier Life

Most of us aren’t born knowing exactly who we are and what direction we want to go.  We can choose our own happiness though-and part of that is taking the time to live intentionally, spend time with those who mean the most to us, and do what makes us happy. 

Sometimes this even means having someone else do things for us in order to free up our own time.  I know I’d much rather pay someone to clean the house and pick up after our animals so I can do something that makes me happy.  What’s the value of that?  Well, let’s look at some examples to help us choose.

Examples of the Value of Time Calculation

When considering everyday life, there are often opportunities where we can pay for others to perform some work, that provides us more free time, while also providing others a meaningful source of income.

For example, a house cleaner might have the right tools and experience to do a higher-quality job in 1/3 the time we might perform the same work. They can benefit by earning income, and the person hiring them might benefit by utilizing that time to invest in another area of their life that they value. Here are some more detailed looks into examples like this:

House cleaning service

We easily spend an hour or two hours per day cleaning our home including keeping up with pets.  House cleaning services vary in price range and services provided, but a Google search shows $25/hr for general cleaning services.  If we went this route we could spend about $100 per week for two cleanings per week.  This could save us about 14 hours a week, time much better spent with family or doing self-care.

Yard service

For about 9 months out of the year, we spend about 6 hours per week mowing the grass (we’re on about a ¼ acre lot).  For $50 per week, we could have a yard service do the work for us, saving us those 6 hours for other activities like cycling or swimming.

Meal subscription plan:

Grocery shopping and meal planning costs us about two to three hours per week (plus we have a picky eater).  For about $7 per serving, we could invest in a meal subscription plan that would take the guesswork and some of the meal prep time for dinner most nights.

So for about $200/wk for a family of four, we could have dinner covered, save money on our weekly grocery bill, and save time on dinner prep.  That’s about 7 hours saved per week-time I’d much rather spend on my bike or even sleeping!

Value of Time Opportunity Examples – From Real People

I asked 5 family/friends what top 4 things they could consider paying for that would give them more time back than the cost of paying someone else do it. Here is what I learned and what they shared:

Task# of People
Running errands3
Family at the ocean - Value of Time - Gone Minimal
Family at the beach

Other Resources:

Time really is a precious thing-and we can make decisions on how we need to spend it.  Sometimes we must make sacrifices to save more time in one area, and everything comes at a cost.  But let me ask you something-would it be worth it to spend the money for someone to take care of something for you-so you can spend more time with your family and loved ones?  I think it’s something worth looking into.

Related Topics:

What Really Matters?

This is something everyone should take the time to identify at least occasionally.  It’s how you spend your time each day, the people and events, and your work that make you who you are and what contributes to your happiness.  If you prioritize your time, focus on your values and beliefs, you can recognize what fits in your life the best and really matters to you.

What Are Time Wasters?

Time wasters are those things we do every day that we may not identify as wasting our time, but take up a lot of time.  This includes social media, procrastination, and just being disorganized.  If you can identify those things in your life that are wasting your time, you can create a plan to fix them.

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