Time Is a Valuable Commodity

by Mike Holman

Jay is a new writer here at Four Pillars – read his introduction post here.

Time is a valuable commodity.  Every day, I spend 8 hours preparing myself to spend the remaining 16 ones as richly and as fully as possible – and make no mistake, I do spend time. For as Benjamin Franklin once said: Time is Money.

Today we’re going to look at how I divvy up my time and help you visualize a bit better how I live and what my priorities are.

  • Sleep – I need at least 8 hours a day to be fully functioning
  • Exercise – I currently get about four and a half hours of soccer in a week, plus an hour of Ultimate Frisbee. I wish it were more, but it is what it is.
  • Social life – I am by no means a social butterfly, but I do enjoy spending time with my friends and I make that a priority on the weekends.

Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, here’s a look at my schedule which is in Google docs.  You don’t need a Google account or anything – just click on the link and my schedule spreadsheet will appear.

Thoughts on my schedule

My first thought when I looked at my schedule: I spend way too much time in transit. I was tracking how I spent my time this week, and I spent close to 20 hours in transit just getting to work and back. To put that into perspective, I work 30 hours a week.

To me, that seems a little disproportionate.

The simple solution would seem to be to work more hours so that I get more bang for my transit (time) buck, but it’s not quite that simple.

Right now, my only viable source for increasing my income is through gaining additional tutoring clients, or doing more freelance journalism.

Here’s the problem: most, if not all, of my potential tutoring clients live downtown. This would be fine, except that it takes me about an hour and a half to get downtown, and I charge $20 an hour. Right now this doesn’t affect me too much, because I meet my clients in a coffee shop near where I work, and therefore I’m not losing any additional time in transit. However, if I (hopefully) find a job closer to where I live. I’m now only getting paid $20 for 4 hours of time (3 hours transit, 1 hour tutoring).

Just to clarify, that would amount to a measly 5 bucks an hour. For a little perspective, the McDonalds down the road pays at least 8 an hour. In theory, I would make $12 more by working at McDonalds that I would tutoring one client.

I did the math, and I break even with McDonalds at 2 clients, and only start to become more profitable than McDonalds after 3 clients. Now I may not have grand ambitions at this point, but I would hope to be shooting for a little more than slightly-more-profitable-than-a-McDonalds-job.

On the plus side, I’ve found that having friends come over and help me cook on Sunday has really helped me economize on my time and money. Cooking every day is very tedious, and I find it much more enjoyable when I know I’m only doing it once a week, and that I’m also spending the time with my friends.

In a future post, I’ll look a lot more in depth into the actual costs and benefits of cooking only once a week. However, next week will be my budget report where I let you know how fiscally responsible I was in the month of March.

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