How do you spend your time?
The language we use around time is identical to the language we use around money. Think about it:
We spend time. We spend money.
We save time. We save money.
We make time. We make money.
We waste time. We waste money.
What we rarely do though, is earn time. Our attitude towards time is one that is set mainly by society. We exchange our time, which is our most limited and finite resource, for money in the hope that we have the opportunity to exchange that money back at a better rate. It is what is known in the financial markets as a future’s trade. Of course, the exchange rate rarely goes in our favour.
We spend around 40 hours a week working, plus the time to commute. On top of that, mornings are usually timed to get the most time in bed, and evenings are spent recovering before we do it all again. When you take sleep out of the equation, you spend two thirds of your time at work converting your time in to money, which you hope can be converted back in to time at a better rate in the future. But the maths is plain to see. Time is finite. And two thirds are gone. That leave at best, one third assuming a perfect exchange rate – no commission in the guise of overtime, weekend work, answering email or stressing about what needs going when you go back in on Monday morning.
You can work more hours and earn more money, but you will have less time in which you can spend it. You have exchanged time for money and lost on the buy-back. This is the trap that we should try to avoid. We assume that we can save for retirement or have the nice house and car to enjoy at the weekends. But if our retirement never comes, or the weekends are spent recovering from work, what have you actually earned? Your investment is fruitless.
For many, the idea of being wealthy is simply the size of your house, the model of your car, and the balance in your bank account. But if all of that comes at the expense of being able to enjoy life, are you actually rich? If you can’t spare the time to take a break and explore the world, to experience new cultures and meet new people, you are not time-wealthy. Your bet on the time-money futures market has not paid off.
Fortunately, there are plenty of people willing to sell you their time. Most of us are. Anyone working the 9 to 5 probably is. So reinvest your money and hire a local tour guide, or a virtual assistant. Spend your money on experiences and assets that free up your time to reinvest in your life. The nice car is great, but can you take it on a 3 month once-in-a-lifetime tour across America? The big house is lovely, but can you exchange it for 6 months for an apartment in Singapore?
Once you know the value of your time, you are in a position of power. A position to invest in yourself and watch your time nest-egg grow!
P.S. If you’re wondering what this has to do with motorsport… that is how I spend my time. And it’s fantastic value for time!
Tom is an engineer working his way through the motorsport industry, sharing stories, anecdotes and lessons to help new engineers coming through the ranks.