There are myriad ways to spend an hour. The time can be spent working, in a leisurely way, or even sleeping. What we do in that hour gives it value. Because each of us has only 24 hours in a day, what we do with that time determines the worth of each hour. Knowing our time has value can change our perception of how we value other things. In order to understand the true value of something, we need to be able to see the value of our time.
In spite of inflation, one hour of labor today translates into far more goods or services than at any other point in history. When we can factor in the “time price” (how long you have to work in order to purchase something) we begin to understand a good’s true value. Giving things a time price and understanding how long we must work for something also helps us to appreciate the value of our time and efforts. Knowing we have to work a set amount of time to purchase something (working 4-5 hours to pay for a family night out) helps us determine it’s worth to us on a personal level. If you could only use your time, instead of money, to pay for things, would you still be willing to work a set amount of time for a particular item you want? If you would be unwilling to pay for something with your time, it might not have enough value to take up place in your life, or your budget.
Not everything has a monetary value, though. Being present for your child’s school play, piano recital, or soccer game, a friend’s wedding, or your grandparent’s anniversary won’t contribute to your financial gains, but it does give value to your time. By spending your time in this way you will be increasing the value of those relationships, which will then give back to you. Using your time to “show up” can also reveal to others where your priorities are and how you value the people and relationships in your life.
There’s also a need to take time for recreation, develop talents and hobbies, and just rest. Most of us have spent a good hour doing mindless scrolling on a screen, which in the end doesn’t really increase the value of our time. However, we gain more when our time is used doing things that increase our development mentally, emotionally, and physically. The way we choose to spend our personal time can help determine the quality of not just the time spent in the moment, but in all the hours that follow. It is always a good idea to invest in yourself, not just in retirement plans.
We’re constantly spending our time, exchanging it for money, goods, or maintenance, but there is a difference between spending time and giving your time. Another important way to add value to our time is to give it to others without an expectation of receiving anything in return. Using your time to sit with a grandparent, serving your community or church, or listening to a friend in a time of need, all these things and more, help others and increase the worth of your and their time. When we give of our time its value multiples.
So, what is your hour worth?
Photo by Andrik Langfield