Although people have debated for centuries whether time is more valuable than money, the answer seems obvious: You should never trade time for money. In fact, I would go as far as to say time is your most valuable resource. Here are a few reasons why you should prioritize spending it wisely.
5 Reasons You Should Never Trade Time for Money
1. You will never be able to buy more time.
Time is a precious and limited resource. Although you can always use time to make money, money can’t buy you any additional time. It is the great equalizer among humans since we all get the same amount. Every day offers 24 hours, no more, no less.
However, one key difference that makes time more valuable than money is how you spend it. Since your time is limited, you should make the most of every moment and opportunity you get. When looking at successful people who accomplish amazing things and your average Joe, those who achieve more understand you should never trade time for money. Instead, they use it to improve themselves or their relationships. So, rather than prioritizing money, be sure to use your time wisely.
2. When the end comes, people ask for more time, not more money.
I have lost many loved ones in my lifetime. For those who had time to contemplate their lives, they each had one thing in common. As they were lying on their death beds, no one ever said they wanted more money. They all wished they had more time. Sometimes they wished they could spend it with those who meant the most to them. For others, their biggest regret was not taking time to do things they had always wanted.
In fact, this is the exact reason why many people create ‘bucket lists’ of things they want to do in their lifetime. It acts as a sort of checklist to ensure you actually are living and getting the most out of life. Since you can’t take it with you when you die, you should never trade time for money.
3. It is impossible to regain lost time.
It’s a terrible feeling when you lose money, especially if you lose large amounts of it. However, with good financial decisions and time, it is possible to earn money back. Unfortunately though, when moments and opportunities slip through your fingers, they are gone forever. There is no amount of money in the world that can bring back missed celebrations, holidays, or other milestones in life.
This is just one more argument in favor of maximizing your time. If you feel like you waste too much time in front of the TV, in a job that brings no satisfaction, or with toxic people, maybe you should re-evaluate how you are spending it. Really think about what you want from life and allocate your time based on these priorities.
4. There is greater potential in what you can do with a day off versus a day’s pay.
There is no way around it: we are all guilty of trading time for money every time we clock in at work. The hours we spend at our jobs are specifically designated and assessed in strictly financial terms. Your employer quantifies exactly how much your time is worth. However, what you do with the rest of your time is entirely up to you.
Although our jobs provide a source of income and the ability to survive, it is also important to take time to stop and smell the roses. The value of things should not always be set in monetary terms. Sometimes, you have more potential to achieve and do things with a day off than you can with a day spent working. What you do with this time is truly only limited by your own abilities and desires.
5. When you choose never to trade time for money, it promotes more long-term happiness.
For me, the most poignant reason to prioritize time over money is the overwhelming personal benefits to your mental health and long-term happiness. In a recent study, researchers conducted a study to examine the relationship between time and overall happiness. It should come as no surprise that 80% of respondents said they wish they had more time with their families.
Many of us feel that we are constantly pressed for time or don’t have enough hours in the day. When you experience this ‘time famine,’ there is overwhelming pressure. It creates an expectation that you have to get it all done, yet sets impossible standards and time frames. It also makes you more prone to bouts of depression and anxiety. If you focus on spending time with those you love instead of on money, it can relieve this stress and lead to long-term happiness. Although these stresses will always be there, managing your time and pausing to spend it with those you love can alleviate this pressure.
Change the Way You View Time and Money
Instead of constantly correlating time and money, think of it in terms of value. Consider what value you bring to others, how you deliver, and the most effective way to use your skills and resources. If you feel that your time is not being valued highly enough by your employer or others in your life, it may provide the right motivation to look for more profitable ways to spend it.
While hard work and ambition are important, there is more to life than just money. You also need to make time for your passions, interests, loved ones, and of course, yourself. However, it can be difficult to “unlearn” these trained ideas, break old habits, and retrain our brains. There is no reason to feel guilty if you clock out and take time to recharge or reconnect with people. At the end of the day, it is your life. What’s the use of money if you never take the time to enjoy it?
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Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.