Does it drive you crazy when people talk about using their time wisely? It used to make me roll my eyes a bit until I thought a bit more about it. You could multi-task, you can do more in pockets of time (like waiting at the doctor’s office), or you could skimp on sleep by waking up earlier.
I thought I’d add another perspective on how to use your time wisely. One of the ways we’ve simplified our lives is viewing our time as money. So, before we take on a project, we usually ask each other, “Is it worth it?”
We think of our time as a commodity. With that in mind, we compare our ability and then, usually against the minimum wage ($7.25/hour). If we can’t “pay” ourselves to perform a task, then we will hire someone to do it.
Let’s use house projects for a couple of examples. When we bought this house, I realized that the grout in the tile was dark because it was dirty. I could have tackled the grout myself, but with more than 2000 square feet of tile, the task would have taken hours upon hours.
We ended up hiring a professional for that cleaning project. He cleaned the tiles, grout, and carpet for $500 and he did it in 10 hours.
Okay, so here’s how I figure it: For $500, divided by $7.25, it’s around 69 hours of work, so is that amount of time worth doing it myself? There is no way I could have cleaned all the grout, tiles, and carpet in 10 hours for $7.25. It would have taken at least two weeks of 8 hour days and then I would have to buy all the supplies to do it as well.
Other ways we’ll hire out to “save money”: painting rooms, major landscaping changes, roof cleaning.
Another example is hiring a lawn service. I haven’t asked our neighbors how much they pay for theirs, but in our last neighborhood, it was about $175 month and they would come out weekly to mow your lawn. This included the late fall and winter to rainy days. It was outrageous.
So, we spent money on a new lawnmower, and it takes Brian around 1.5 to 2 hours to mow the lawn (including weeding, using the grass blower). So, factoring in his $7.25/hr, it costs around $15 to mow the lawn every two weeks (and $0 in the late fall/winter season) versus around $40 weekly to have someone else do it.
Other ways we “save money”: cleaning the house ourselves, electrical work, installing small appliances.
Of course this doesn’t apply in every situation. Like, I know the amount of time I invest into making a quilt is way more than it costs to buy a mass-produced one from the store. But, I enjoy the process and devoting my time to doing it.
The “fuzzy math” comes in handy when we are trying to figure out if we should handle less-than-enjoyable projects in our home and in our lives.
What are some other ways you use your time wisely?