Time is worth money. But then how much money is my time worth? And what if my time were worth gold? I explore these questions and more in this article.
My mobile, used carefully for four years, decides to 'block' itself after all these years of faithful service. I can no longer get it to work, not even with a kind word or extra energy. Full of screenprints and downloaded books not yet safely saved, I take it to the mobile doctor with high hopes.
After three full days of tinkering, he proclaims that he can't get my precious mobile to work either.
What a disaster!
Meanwhile, in fact, I have been without whatsapp for days, I occasionally check Instagram on my chromebook out of necessity, and I send quick emails to people who I know that if they don't hear from me, they may go into a mild state of panic.
But do I actually miss the moments I waste on my mobile?
To bridge the time between old and new mobile, someone gave me an old Motorola that still just has 3G, which I can use to send a whatsapp now and then. I decide not to put the other social apps on it and I actually like it. I am now four chapters into a book that has been waiting for my attention for months.
This whole story actualy fits perfectly with the transition I'm in.
After all, I have been struggling with how I want to make a living for some time. That seems like a totally different topic, but read along with me anyway.
From Search Engine to Optimisation
For the past two or three years, I made my money mainly writing SEO-focused copy. This job taught me a lot, but it also showed me that I don't really want to work like this at all. I don't want to spend my time on stories that make readers buy even more in an already overly consumer-oriented society. I don't want to spend my time promoting online courses, seemingly for your own good and immense happiness, when in fact I think they are just a band-aid on the wound of a broken society.
So for a while now, I have been looking for answers to questions like: how much time do I spend and for how much money? Do I even want money for my time? And what do I really want to spend my time on?
Secretly, I have actually been in this process for much longer. For example, after ending my first long relationship in 2008, I didn't buy a new house, but because of the money I suddenly had on my bank account, coming from our joint mortgage, I decided to work fewer hours. It seemed to make more sense to me. I started living in small house, with less stuff that demanded attention and therefore less time and money.
At that time, I felt like just a weirdo. A kind of pioneer looking for other ways to still have what I wanted: to be happy.
But everything I wanted then was in exchange for time: if I wanted a new car, I had to work more to earn the money for it and thus also give up more of my own time. If I wanted a bigger house, I also got a higher mortgage, which resulted in working more hours to afford it. When I wanted to take a big trip, it swallowed up a large part of my savings in four weeks.
Time vs Money
We very easily say time is money, but I think in reality we mean that money is time. Because if I like having money in my bank account, I have to give up some of my time to do so. I decided to do things differently and enrolled in a course that promised I could still earn a lot with little effort. After three hours of listening to someone who only talked about money and kept throwing five-digit numbers around, that too felt very empty. It felt like it went past what I really wanted: to deliver something of value.
Fast forward a decade or so, after years of picking up anything and everything that came along, I come to the conclusion that writing SEO texts no longer fits because the value I want to give through writing cannot be expressed in money. In fact, I look for depth, connection and honesty. These three turn out to be gold for me.
So I am in a transition, once again turning my life more towards what ultimately does matter to me and asking myself: what if my time is worth gold?
If my time is worth gold, what do I pick up? How do I organise my days then? What will I still say yes to? And what will I let go of?
And if your time is golden, what do you pick up? How do you organise your days? What will you say yes to? And what do you let go of?
Let me know in the comments.
From my heart to yours:
By the way, I have been following Cal Newport for a while now, he wrote a book about his social media detox and different ways of doing things that are much more natural in my opinion. You can find all his information on his website (right, and so not on instagram, facebook and twitter!): calnewport.com
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