Value of time

The concepts of time and value are strongly related to each other. For example in popular statements such as ‘time is money’ and the ‘time value of money’, a central concept in business administration. But what is the value of time? Well-known entrepreneurs like Richard Branson and Steve Jobs -and no doubt many others – have said on occasion that for them, time is worth (infinitely) more than money. Because you can earn extra money, while time is always a fixed quantity, 86,400 seconds in a day. And automatically expires, whether you use it or not. The same for everyone, not to be supplemented or rolled back. Time is scarce, time flies (by).

Economic value

As such, time has limited transaction potential. However, economists like to use an hourly rate in determining the social value of investments. Whether it is a cost-benefit analysis of mobility or the value of prolonging a human life. They rely on the willingness of people to pay for a spare hour. The outcome is usually around € 10 to 15 per hour, no amounts to write home about. Steve Jobs would certainly have made a quite different calculation. With an outcome reaching infinity.

Zeit zum Leben

Most of us systematically underestimate the value of time. Because we are much more inclined to think in costs due to our Calvinist background. Not so Tim Ferris in his book The 4-hour Workweek. Tim talks about the ‘new rich’, which aren’t those who have a lot of money to spend, but have lots of freedom in spending their time. By letting the 80/20 rule of Pareto guide your choices and eliminating or outsourcing all minor matters, you can become much more effective. This way you save precious time that you can spend on quality of life. Concepts such as ‘time management’ and ‘work-lifebalace’ seems to be derivatives.

Maybe the value of time will stay more of a philosophical question. The video below illustrates this nicely. Whatever the value of time is, it is certainly intriguinging.

Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with 86.400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course!
Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME.
Every morning, it credits you with 86.400 seconds.
Every night it writes off as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose.
It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft.
Each day it opens a new account for you.
Each night it burns the remains of the day.
If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours.
There is no going back.
There is no drawing against the “tomorrow”.
You must live in the present on today’s deposits.
Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success!
The clock is running.
Make the most of today.
To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.
To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a pre-mature baby.
To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train.
To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask a person who just avoided an accident.
To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who won a silver medal in the Olympics.
Treasure every moment that you have! And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time.
And remember that time waits for no one.
Yesterday is history
Tomorrow is mystery
Today is a gift
That’s why it’s called the present!