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Jun 05

What's the Value of Your Time?

Posted by: Steve Marr

Tagged in: Untagged 

Recently, I looked into replacing a coffeemaker that bit the dust. I pulled into the Walmart parking lot, entered the store not sure where to find coffeemakers. My first inquiry sent me in the general direction. I checked out several options and put one in my cart. Then, I walked to the checkout line, made my purchase, and trekked back to my car. The whole experience took about 30 minutes.

Now I am wondering why I didn't just go to Amazon.com, search coffee makers, check out a few online reviews, and make a purchase. I would've saved nearly an hour of my time. In essence I wasted an hour by going to the brick-and-mortar establishment, time I didn't really have to waste. I wasn't valuing my time correctly.


I was working with “Mick” who cleaned high-end oriental and area rugs. I expressed my concern to Mick that the market was not large enough to support his business and pay him a reasonable wage. Despite my advice, Mick struggled over the next five years to make a go of his enterprise. In some years he only broke even, meaning he took home zero salary. Other years he took in about $25,000. He was living with his parents who covered much of his living costs.

Mick failed to grasp the value of this time, including the monetary value of that time. While it may be necessary to sacrifice for a few years while you start a business, if the market is substantial; you can build long-term income or develop the business to the point it can be sold for significant profit. In this situation, neither was a likely option. Mick liked owning his own business and failed to grasp how he would've been better off had he simply worked for another businessperson.

I have invested time in several enterprises where my return was very poor.  However, I've learned to cut my losses and know when to stop because I value my time. When I come to understand that I'm not going to earn a good return on my time, I look for another activity. I don't want to slave away at two dollars an hour long term unless I am focusing my efforts into a ministry passion.

Further, we need to value our time based on a 24 hour day and 168 hour week. I support downtime, taking breaks and enjoying good recreation. However, I endeavor to protect my time and not waste it. Watching the news in the evening or even catching a TV show is okay; but for me, I don't want to spend four or five hours watching television. I might return to my home office to catch up on a few items or, more commonly, read books or articles that will improve my business activities in the future. I value my time and how it helps me move forward. While I may enjoy watching a sports game on the weekend, I don't watch five or six games a week.  I monitor how I use my time because I value it.

Paul wrote, “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” (Ephesians 5:16, NLT) We have a responsibility to make the best use of our time. The challenge is to maintain balance in our lives so that we don't work 90 hours a week while we waste extensive amounts of time that should have been allocated for productive purposes. 

Take another look at your day.  Determine the value of your time and plan accordingly.

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