How To Value Your Time Part 1
You spend roughly a third of your life asleep, a third studying or working, and the rest doing whatever you please. Supposedly. Most of us spend too little time asleep, too much time at work, and the rest of the time tired as a result.
In a culture which doesn't place much value on recreational or sleeping time (bar Arianna Huffington), we get pretty used to our time being eroded without placing any worth - financial or otherwise - on it.
We see unfilled space in our diaries as available, instead of as precious time for ourselves. We even give other people access to fill it in for us.
Yet time is our most precious resource. Every moment spent is a moment we're never getting back, and every moment spent doing something we don't want to do is a missed opportunity.
When you add up all of your unpaid labour just around the house - and you can, here's a calculator - what could you have done instead?
- Could you have learned an instrument instead of staying at work late to respond to all of those emailed questions others could've found their own answers to?
- Would you have had time to develop an evening meditation practice if you hadn't always had to make dinner?
- How many coffees could you have bought for friends instead of spending money travelling to meet with people who want to 'pick your brains' over coffee?
Your time has value, all of it. Guard it as precisely as a lawyer who charges by the minute, and as fiercely as Auntie Maxine.
If you can afford to get your food shopping delivered for £6 and it knocks 2 hours off your weekly chores, it's worth it. Yes you're paying £312 a year, but you get back the equivalent in time of 13 working days. Reclaim your time.
But what about those of us who are filling our time with polyfilla work because it's a great excuse not to do our creative work? When we find ourselves saying yes to producing someone else's project so that we don't have to give birth to our own? Or dutifully looking after someone else's needs because we're not ready or willing to fulfil our own?
The truth is, that's most of us. When working for others, we're perfectly capable of prioritization. If someone asks us to go and clean the office kitchen when we're scrambling to meet a funding application deadline, we have no problem saying no. We feel entitled to say no.
When it comes to our own creative work, many of us put it right at the bottom of our to do lists. Put it at the top. Right now, today.
Even if you're still not ready to do the work, make sure it's at the very top of every to do list you make. At least register that your work is the item on the list that's not getting done. The first step is noticing.
In Part 2 I'll explore the importance of keeping your best quality time for yourself and getting your work done.
What polyfilla work are you doing that you're going to give up? Let us know in the comments.