… is time.
Money is renewable. Time is not. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
Let’s say you live until you’re 79, the average life expectancy for someone living in North America. That’s less than 700,000 hours.
One third of it will be spent sleeping, another tenth of it will be spent commuting – and many of those hours are already gone.
The goal of this post is to help you make the most of the hours you have left.
What is an hour of your time worth?
I was home for Christmas and helped a friend drive two hours to Minneapolis to pick up a dishwasher. In the trailer, he brought a bunch of 5 gallon gas cans because the Costco in Minneapolis sold gas for $2.99 compared to $3.29 in his hometown.
It took us 20 extra minutes of driving time and 10 minutes to fill up the gas cans while trying to not freeze our hands off (we, unfortunately, were not wearing gloves.)
30 minutes x 2 people = 60 minutes
2 frozen hands x 2 people = 4 frozen hands
25 gallons of gas at $2.99 instead of $3.29 = $7.50
My friend saved less than 8 dollars. Total.
Not worth it for me, but it was well worth it for my friend. He’s retired and getting a deal on gas makes his day.
So how do you choose you should focus on?
- Determine what your time is worth.
- Assign a mental dollar per hour value. Round it to the nearest $10.
- For activities that you don’t love to do, calculate your cost of doing the task by multiplying your hourly value by how long it takes to do the task.
For example, neither my girlfriend or I love doing laundry, so for only $1 per pound, we send it out. In 48 hours it is picked up, delivered, washed and folded better than we ever could have. For $20 per week, we never have to worry about laundry. Not only can we use that time for other more productive things, we don’t experience the mental frustration around procrastinating and actually doing the laundry.
For us, it’s a no-brainer.
Many basic tasks you can’t outsource, but you can automate.
Below are just a few of the activities that I have either fully or partially automated.
- 1Password + Dropbox – All of my passwords are stored in 1Password and with the Dropbox sync setup my passwords are stored in Dropbox and synced across devices. With this combination, I only need to remember one single password to login to every site I use. 1Password also stores all of my credit card info, which is great for online purchases, as well as security if my wallet is ever lost or stolen.
- IFTTT.com – A productivity geek’s playground, IFTTT allows me to automate almost any online action. Browse popular recipes or create your own.
- Manilla – Reduce paper mail clutter and never pay a bill late again with Manilla, a handy one-stop digital dashboard of all of your bills, documents, statements and reward programs.
- Amazon Prime – I’m still shocked at the amount of people that don’t use Amazon Prime. I can’t stand shopping, so it’s great to be able to buy anything from home with a couple clicks. We even have some staples (toothpaste, paper towels, etc.) on subscription. I may never set foot in a big box store again and that makes me happy.
- Ecquire – And of course I’ve been using Ecquire to help automate the addition of contacts into GoogleDocs and Mailchimp. No more time-consuming manual copying and pasting.
Saving time is not the goal. All the productivity tips, life hacks, and none of this advice mean anything if you don’t use the time saved to finish your projects and ship your art.
Inbox Zero is not a goal. Use your extra time, creativity, and focus to produce real work.
Do work that matters.
Ship your projects.
Spend more time with family and friends.
Change the life of a child.
Hurry, the clock is ticking.