Time is money.
That aphorism is so oft-repeated — so accepted as fact, so patently obvious to us all — that no one questions it. There’s no need to defend the position.
Except it’s not true.
Time is more valuable than money.
Think about it for a moment.
When each of us is born, we’re given a certain amount of time on this Earth. Once a second passes, it’s never coming back. Did you waste it? Too bad! There’s no do-over.
Money, on the other hand, comes and goes. Lose it all and you can make it back. Waste it frivolously? You might damage your finances overall, but blowing $100,000 on a bad idea isn’t nearly as damaging as, say, getting a four-year prison sentence.
With that in mind, today we’re going to focus on ways to increase your time.
Of course, when you increase your time, you usually wind up getting financial benefit out of it as well. When you live an efficient life, it usually shows up in your bank account.
But for the most part, that won’t be our focus. Increased earnings are a side perk — and that’s mostly where we’ll leave it today.
Track Your Time
The first problem most people have with time is figuring out where it all goes.
Consider, for a moment, how you spent your time last week.
If you’ve got a regular job with regular hours, you probably know how you spent those 40–100 hours.
But what about the rest?
- How much time did you spend checking email?
- How much time did you spend reading about the football playoffs… perhaps torturing yourself over your team’s embarrassing early exit a little over a week ago?
- How many hours did you spend on social media?
Believe it or not, the answer is really easy to get.
Just install RescueTime on your devices, and you can get a comprehensive view of how you spent your time each day.
Every week, you’ll get an overview of how many hours you spent on your various devices… along with a generalized breakdown of how productive your time was.
Time spent on Microsoft Word is considered productive, while time spent reading TMZ is not. Though you can tweak those definitions however you like — if you’re an entertainment writer, maybe that time on TMZ was extremely productive. You can tell RescueTime to record it as such.
To give an example, here’s what my summary looks like for today — which, of course, isn’t yet complete:
You can get as granular as you like, seeing how long you used each individual program on your devices or how much time you spent on any website.
You can see when you normally waste time… and when you’re productive. And you can choose from a variety of time frames — daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, you name it.
To look back over data from long ago or to unlock a few extra bells and whistles, you’ll need a premium account. But for the vast majority of folks — including me — the free version is more than powerful enough.
And maybe best of all, it does all its work in the background and never slows down your devices. Give it a shot.
Organize Your Time
Once you know how you’re spending the time, you’ll have a better idea where to trim the fat.
That’s not to say anything “unimportant” has to go. We all need different ways to wind down. That might be video games for some or trashy TV for others. Or any of a hundred other ways to destress.
The occasional treat is necessary for sanity.
But there’s a time and place for it. And as we all know, you should save your treats for after you’ve eaten your vegetables.
Which is why it pays to have some sort of organizational or productivity app.
What kind works best for your style is a highly personal question. For instance, if you like minimalism, you might prefer Todoist — a simple, clean and entirely free software service that tracks your to-do list and goals.
On the other side of the spectrum, Trello lets you plan out everything that touches your life remotely in any way.
You can create custom boards related to work projects… family trips… meal prep… and you can share your lists and/or goals — and/or assign responsibilities — with anyone you care to invite.
And Trello is free as well.
There are plenty of other free apps and services out there. Most have premium upgrades available, but the free versions do everything most of us would need.
Try a few out — you’ve got nothing to lose. Then move forward with the one you enjoy most, the one that’s most effective at helping you plow through those veggie items.
Turn Money Into Time
Finally — you can directly buy your time back, by paying someone else to take care of chores you abhor.
How? Simply hire someone from a service like TaskRabbit to do them for you.
Let’s say it would take you three hours to put together your new bed frame you got at Ikea. And let’s say there’s someone on TaskRabbit willing to do the whole project for $40.
If you were working those three hours, would you make more than $40? Then it’s worth it.
If you’re overstressed, would you gladly pay $40 to have three hours of alone time? Could be worth it then too — especially if you’re able to actually maximize those hours.
It doesn’t have to be a perfect financial bargain every time. Indeed — you don’t necessarily have to, say, work all three hours to out-earn what you spend on TaskRabbit.
The important thing to remember is your time is valuable. Often more valuable than money.
Although if you’re a whiz at putting together furniture, you might offer your services on TaskRabbit’s platform and get others to pay you for your time.
Whatever side of the coin you’re on — and it’ll be different for different tasks — you should use a (totally free) service like TaskRabbit to maximize either your time or your money.
Whichever one is going to maximize your happiness. Which is the whole point of this life thing anyway, right?
Editor-in-chief, Unconventional Wealth
P.S. If you haven’t yet, sign up for TaskRabbit right here today. Whether you want to use it to make some extra cash… or use it to free up some of your valuable time… you should check out our partners at TaskRabbit today and familiarize yourself with the platform now so you can use it when you need it.
Creating an account is totally free. So don’t delay and forget about how TaskRabbit can help you — go here now, click on “Become a Tasker” to make your free account and have a look around.
Ryan Cole is the editor-in-chief of Unconventional Wealth. He’s been covering the alternative investment space for nearly a decade and writing about finance and investment for almost 20 years.
Ryan has walked the walk for years, living a very unconventional life. He’s led snowmobile tours through the mountains of Colorado, settled in Japan for five...