How do you treat your time?
The time you spend will be gone forever.
Time as the most precious commodity
Diamonds, platinum, gold, crude oil…all very precious commodities. Not everyone has some in their possession, and not everyone can afford them. You can, however, commit yourself, earn money and buy it.
You can invest your money and buy gold. You can buy as much gold as you want, as long as you have enough $.
Gold — you have none, but you can buy it.
With time it is a different story
While we do not necessarily have any diamonds, platinum, or gold, we do have time. The time has been given to us without any effort; we all have it.
So unlike gold, for which I need to commit myself to earn money to get it, the time has been granted to me for free.
Still, the value of time is immeasurably higher than the value of gold. How so? It was for free, but to get gold, one must work really hard, right?
There is, in fact, one even more significant distinction of time from any other commodities: The time we have is limited and we can never buy more.
Time — you have some, but you can never buy more.
“Time is money”
From the Enlightenment period, people started to express the value of time by matching it to currency — to something they could get goods or services for.
In the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin largely popularized the phrase “Time is money”, when he used it in his essay Advice to a Young Tradesman, 1748.
Remember that Time is Money. He that can earn Ten Shillings a Day by his Labour, and goes abroad, or sits idle one half of that Day, tho’ he spends but Sixpence during his Diversion or Idleness, ought not to reckon That the only Expence; he has really spent or rather thrown away Five Shillings besides..
In business, time is supposed to be spent on making more business. The idle time or delays generally result in earning less. Therefore, one should devote all his time to make money.
In the context of economics, it makes perfect sense!
“Money can’t buy happiness”
While in the world of business it fits, to put the equal sign between time and money in our life is genuinely a reduction ad absurdum. Oversimplification at best.
I can always decide to go and make more money — yet I can never get that time back nor “make” more time.
Besides, if time would really equal money, our lives would be unbearably boring. Fortunately enough, our lives are much richer than that.
Two years after Ben Franklin, another bright mind of that era, a Genevan philosopher Jean-Jacques Russeau, published Discours sur les sciences et les arts or A Discourse on the Moral Effects of the Arts and Sciences, 1750.
In his essay, Russeau gives the base to today’s well-known proverbs such as Money can’t buy happiness, money can’t buy everything, or money can’t buy friends, etc.:
Let our politicians deign to suspend their calculations in order to reflect upon these examples, and let them learn for once that with money one has everything except morals and citizens.
The simplified pursuit of wealth took over from the pursuit of happiness, and people shifted the primary focus on generating economic profit. On their journey, they often omitted moral integrity, family, friendship, or finding a long-lasting sense of purpose, that people could feel joy from even after their productive life.
This resulted in a devaluation of happiness across society in general. Social anthropologists would label it as corruption by civilization.
The idea of immense wealth being an ultimate source of one’s happiness lasted until today. And money as its symbol.
Spend time wisely
Every human needs to realize the value of time.
Therefore, think about how you spend your time as you will never get that time back. You won’t have a chance to refill.
You can’t go to the supermarket and buy more time.
Whatever you do, ask yourself: Is it a reasonable investment? Is it in line with my goals and beliefs?
This quote from our friend J. J. Rousseau could provide good guidance:
Being wealthy isn’t just a question of having lots of money. It’s a question of what we want. Wealth isn’t an absolute, it’s relative to desire. Every time we seek something that we can’t afford, we can be counted as poor.
Find your Sense of Purpose (SoP)
To help you navigate through the ocean of options on how to spend your time, try to outline a list of things you believe in and value the most.
This list would be called Sense of Purpose and would become your lighthouse.
It is personal, YOURS and yours only, and can consist of things like looking after my family, being a respected member of the community, helping others to be happy or earning enough money to buy an Ironman suit.
It reflects all the things that are meaningful to you and that you crave: family, respect, self-esteem, outstanding financial stability (well, money won’t buy happiness, but it could go a long way in helping you), and others depending on what you value the most.
The decisions you make, the actions you take, the direction you go in your life should comply with your SoP.
The Sense of Purpose embodies the motivation that drives you towards a satisfying future. Invest your time into what you really value the most and you will become a rich person.
In Apollo Division, it is our implicit commitment to ensure we provide all our colleagues and friends a sense of purpose. Especially in the knowledge workers' environment and a highly competitive IT market, the ability to provide meaningful work to every team and individual is vital. Every hour that people — clients or employees — invest in our company must be worthy and have a meaning. Otherwise, we have deviated from our core values.
This piece was written by Martin Dušek, Director of Apollo Division. Feel free to get in touch.