How Much is an Extra Hour Worth to You?

I have always been fascinated with the idea of how much our time is worth. It’s something I write about a lot on this blog. Whether we are Presidents, CEO’s or an up and coming entrepreneur, we all get the same 24 hours in a day and it’s up to us how we use them.

I did a Google Survey and I asked thousands of people ““How much would you pay for an extra hour in your day?”

The majority of people responded that they would pay between $0-$199. So not very much at all. How interesting is that?

That 72% clearly valued their money over their time in the end.

However, the second highest group of people (11% of those surveyed) said they would be willing to pay over $1000! To those people an extra hour was practically priceless.

So why this huge disparity in how people value their time?

I’m guessing most people don’t have $1000 just lying around. According to the United States Census Bureau the average American household income is approx $55,000. Meaning that $100 for a hour is probably a much more reasonable amount.

Although I suspect so many people were not willing to part with their hard-earned cash for extra time because I find people tend to understand the value of money a lot better than they understand the value of their time. The thought of what to do when you need cash now may have crossed the minds of many of us. But would we want an extra hour or extra money?

I’m a big believer in outsourcing and I regularly use services like FancyHands or Taskrabbit to get tasks done.Admittedly it took me a while to reach this point and not too long ago I would’ve insisted on doing most tasks myself. Finally I realized that I was so insistent on self sufficiency because it gave me control of everything. But why do I need that? I’ve started letting go of the little things so I can focus on the bigger picture.

If you’re new to outsourcing, it can be difficult to decide how much you should outsource and what you should be willing to pay. Most of the time we assign value to our time based on a gut instinct. For example we would probably be happy to wait in line for 5 minutes to get a $100 gift card.

Famously, there was a mathematician who figured out that Bill Gates’s vast fortune earns him so much money in interest (approx $115 a second) that it would not be worth Bill’s time to stop and pick up a $100 bill off the ground.

So how much exactly is YOUR time worth? Lifehacker published a great article which gives you the mathematical tools to assign a monetary value to an hour of your time. Knowing the amount is important to help you set realistic limits on your outsourcing (or perhaps you might realize you should outsource more!) Tracking your time is an invaluable exercise.

Let’s say you really did manage to get that extra hour in your day? What would you do with it? Huffington Post posed this question to 1000 adults and discovered that the top answers where relax, sleep, spend time with loved ones and exercise.

I wonder why, if these activities are so important to people, why are they hoping for some magical 25th hour instead of making them a priority. When it comes to sleeping or relaxing I think these activities are often seen as wasted time. However if it’s important to how you will feel then it’s just as important as cleaning your house or going to your doctor’s appointment.

My survey concluded that the majority of people wouldn’t pay very much for an extra hour in their day. But other people have had different results. For example, the results of this Zico Coconut Water study that was published on found that more than half of Americans would be willing to pay $2000+ for an extra hour in the day! Either way it’s safe to say that we are all struggling to balance our work and home lives. To me the answer is not about more time, it’s about choosing and protecting your priorities.

If you really want to make the most of the time you have, check out my Listful Thinking Masterclass here. I’d love for you to join and I’m shutting the doors this Wednesday at 5pm ET.

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