The Value of Time

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what things are worth.

How often do you ask yourself “Is this worth my time?” when deciding to take on a project, volunteer, or do chores?

How often do you ask the same question when sitting down to read a book, cook a meal, or watch a movie?

I’m guessing the first set of circumstances leads you to ask the question a lot more often.

We’re used to thinking of our time as worth money.  Especially in relation to things like our jobs.  But what about the things we love to do?  How do we conceptualize the value of spending time on them when we aren’t earning any money doing them?

There are plenty of folks who love their jobs, and plenty more who make money off a hobby they love, and I applaud those who have found that amazing balance between enjoyment and earning money.

I hope to one day be one of those people.  Granted, I do enjoy my job quite a bit now, but there are still times when I have to do things I don’t like.  And I am earning money from the sale of my book, helping to support my loved writing habit.  However, I’m still in that place where I have to ask myself far too often, “Is this worth my time?”

The measures of worth vary widely for me.

When it comes to cooking, I tend to weight the cost of the foods plus the cost of my time before deciding if pre-made is cheap enough to warrant purchase even if it’s not as healthy for me.

When I was changing jobs, I researched the cost of my new commute, the cost of a better work wardrobe, the loss of certain benefits at my last job, the gaining of other benefits at my new job, and the change in salary.  I was probably going to take the job regardless of the monetary outcome though.  I wasn’t happy where I was.  The new job got me back in a field I wanted to be in, with great people, and room to grow.  Even at a pay cut, the job would have been worth it for so many intangible reasons.  (And luckily, six months in, I still love my job and am very glad I took it.)

My writing gets a whole different set of criteria for worth.

It’s about far more than any potential future book sales.  I know that the average writer is lucky to make $30k a year.  Millionaire best sellers are an aberration.  (Not that I don’t still dream…)  So my writing is about everything that isn’t money.

It’s about the joy I take in writing and discovering my characters along the way.

It’s the comradery of other writers (and readers) that I meet with once a week or more.

It’s the huge savings in therapy bills.  (Okay, that might technically have to do with money, but it’s also partly a joke.)

It’s about the sense of accomplishment when I complete a draft, the tears as I revise, and the even greater sense of accomplishment when I have a polished story ready to share with the world.

It’s about taking joy in what I do and doing what I love.

I may not always be able to have as much time to write as I want, but I always manage to carve out at least a little time each week if not each day, to set aside for writing.  I do it because it’s worth it.

What do you carve out time for because it’s worth it?

I’d also love to hear how you place value on your time for various things and reasons as I continue to contemplate time and its value.

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