Time… the same all over the world
Time is probably the only commodity that every country in the world recognizes in the same way. No matter where you live, there are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, and 24 hours in a day. There are no separate standards and no economic differences in its measurement across borders.
Why then, do some people appear to have more of it than others?
It all depends on our own perception and value of our time and how we measure it.
There’s an old expression that “Time is Money”. Do you believe this? What do you value more, your time or your money? The two are remarkably intertwined.
Time vs. Money
In our younger days, say as students, we may find ourselves with a good amount of time on our hands, but no money to be able to travel, experience, or buy new things.
As we grow older and advance in our work lives, our incomes improve and we can afford more material things, but often the responsibilities of work and family mean that we have less of it.
Then, in the traditional world of retirement, we would hope to have an adequate amount of both, time and money, for the rest of our lives.
Although there is no clear journey for this, unless you are born into a family with significant wealth, you will probably always have an imbalance in which you have either adequate time but a lack of money; or you have sufficient money but you don’t have enough time.
Working on an hourly basis
If you work, then you should be compensated appropriately for the work you do. It’s a simple transaction, in which you are devoting time to your employer, in exchange for money that supports you economically.
Given the huge spectrum of work that exists, there are equally big differences in the way that we are paid. If you are in a lower-skilled job, you may be paid by the hour for your time, with an overtime rate if you work above a certain number of hours. I call this a “Variable Pay Rate” because you are literally paid for the number of hours that you work.
Or with a salary
If you are employed in a corporate environment, you will most likely receive a pre-determined salary, but be expected to work whatever number of hours are needed to fulfill the responsibilities of your job. I refer to this as a “Fixed Pay Rate”.
The interesting paradox here is that while a salaried job will generally pay much better; and include paid vacation and other benefits, it gives us far less control over our time than a job that is paid by the hour.
Many companies also offer equity plans to give employees ownership in the business for which they work, which can be a great incentive to encourage people to “invest” more of their time in their work.
But the more you invest in your employer, the more they own you, and the fewer hours you have for other activities that you may want to pursue, either personally or professionally.
And as a freelancer
Have you considered leaving the world of salaried employment and dedicating yourself to freelance work, in which you have control over how much you work and how much you get paid? People that are able to do this successfully are likely to feel more satisfaction from their work and can compensate themselves with more time if that’s what they desire more than money.
You probably have no choice but to dedicate a certain amount of your daily hours to your work, and hopefully, you receive satisfaction from your work, in addition to monetary or equity compensation.
The gift of time
In addition to our work lives, we all have some amount of discretionary time, which should be used for pleasurable activities. Consider giving the gift of time to a family member or friend in need. Consider giving this gift by volunteering for a cause you believe in.
Consider giving yourself this gift to pursue activities that truly make you happy, and remember, that as with money, we need to budget it in a responsible way.
Modern society conditions us with the belief that we should work hard. But simply working longer hours may not be the way to demonstrate this.
If you work long hours for someone else, and you don’t feel appreciated and adequately rewarded, take a look at yourself, evaluate your skills, and ask where you could use them more effectively, to either increase your compensation or free up some time.
Make this your choice and not that of your employer!
And how not to use it
I live in a neighborhood of affluent people, many of whom have an abundance of time on their hands, and it saddens me to see how many of them turn to negative and petty activities, such as complaining about their neighbor’s landscaping or objecting to a renovation design; simply because they cannot think of something positive to do with their time.
None of us knows how long we have on this planet, and while boredom can be a curse, once time has been used, we never get it back. Let’s use it wisely.
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