Oct 062011

Image courtesy of Nina Matthews Photography via flickr

Time is money.

We’ve all heard that phrase before, but how many of us have really stopped to think about what it means. The common translation seems to be that if people are using your time they should be willing to pay you for it, and while that’s a fine stance to take I’m not quite sure it really it captures the true meaning of the saying.

Time is a resource, just like any other, and it it finite. There are things you can do to, possibly extend the amount of time you have on this planet, but you cannot ever get time back. Once you spend it, time can never be replenished. You get no dividends or interest on time. You can’t save it and let it grow. All you can do is watch your balance constantly diminish.

That concept is still a bit esoteric, though, so let’s break it down to something much more simple.

What if you could track the amount of time you had in life much like you could the amount of money you have in the bank. What if time had a dollar amount associated to it, and every second of your life that dollar amount shrank?

The life span of an average American as of 2010 was 78.3 years according to research by the United Nations, and a Mother Jones article claims that the average income of a US Resident is $31,244. The numbers themselves are, honestly, irrelevant…but we can go with those for the sake of argument.

There are 525,600 minutes in a year. If you divide $31,244 by 525,600 you get just under 6 cents per minute so lets go with that, shall we?

The average person lives 78.3 years. Your account balance at the bank of time is $2,478,816 dollars.

Seems like a lot, doesn’t it?

You’ll spend $826,272 sleeping.

You’ll spend $94,608 using the bathroom.

You’ll spend $120,782.88 eating.

If you start holding down a full-time job when you are 18 and continue to do so until you retire at 65 you’ll spend $338,400 working.

Those four activities alone total up to $1,380,062.88. That’s almost 56% of your time account right there.

That doesn’t include school or homework. That doesn’t include time spent commuting. That doesn’t include grocery shopping, house cleaning, laundry, paying your bills, or any of a number of myriad tasks that eat away at your time balance.

It would mean that you spend the average 2.7 hours per day watching television you’ll spend $277,792.74 of your time account on that activity. If all of that was commercial driven television, you’d be spending $69,448.19 of your time fund on companies trying to sell you products.

I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. Time is money because time is valuable. It’s precious. If you spend your time with someone you’re giving them a precious gift, and if someone steals your time from you they are taking something that you can never get back.

What are you doing with your time?

Are you spending it wisely, or are you squandering this precious resource?

I’ve spent about $3.60 from my time account to write this for you. I hope the investment you’ve made in reading it is worth it.


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  2 Responses to “Spending wisely”

  1. This weekend, I spend my time recapturing a bit of myself so I can cope with everything going on right now. I think I’ve said it in your earshot, but if I haven’t… at some point in 2009, I stopped being envious of everyone else’s extraordinary life, and started building my own. I think it’s been time well spent.

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