How ‘Time Is Money’ Can Lead To Bad Decisions

How ‘Time Is Money’ Can Lead To Bad Decisions

You’ve heard the phrase “time is money,” and we often use money to gauge how much time we have. The problem is, time isn’t money. It’s way more valuable than money, and as personal finance site Done By Forty points out, assigning a monetary value to your time can be problematic.

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If you’re like most people, you probably feel like you’re constantly busy. However, research – including this 2011 study from Monthly Labour Review – finds that people significantly overestimate how busy they actually are. That study, for example, found that subjects who estimated they worked 75+ hours a week were wrong by about 25 hours. As Done by Forty explains, a big part of the problem is we determine the value of our time based on money:

…as we earn more per hour than we used to, we grow to see that hour as both more valuable and more scarce than it once was. So when we have to ‘spend’ that hour, it feels like we’re giving more up… Somewhere along the line, we bought into the idea that time is money. And when we equate the two concepts, we reinforce the idea that both are scarce. We become frugal with our money and our time, despite the fact that we probably have both in greater abundance.

And this mindset perpetuates the cult of busy. What’s more, it reinforces a mindset of scarcity. Time is priceless, but we put a price tag on it to help us quantify it, and in quantifying it, we think we can buy more of it, so we’re constantly catching up. It’s not just busyness, though. Done by Forty explains:

And believing time is money causes some other harmful behaviours to rear their heads. For one, we’re less likely to donate our time when we think one of our hours is more valuable. When we could be earning $100, it’s harder to convince ourselves to donate that hour to a charity, even though it’s a great way to make you happy and, incredibly, will make you feel like you have more time, too. Additionally, when you start seeing your limited hours in terms of a monetary value, we even become less likely to do things like recycle: It’s just not worth our precious time.

Check out the full post at the link below. It’s an inspiring read and a useful reminder that time might be able to help you make money, but it’s way more valuable than cash.

You’re Not as Busy as You Think You Are [Done by Forty]

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