How much is it worth?

4 minute read

How much do we value our time? Each moment, we are literally walking towards our death. And the fun part is, we don’t know when we’ll die. While the older people constantly think and fear death, the young people are too busy living their life that they don’t ever think about death. BUT that’s a joke. Anyone can die anytime. Ideally we all should be terrified of this fact and live our lives to the full each moment.

But very few get this.

Derek Sivers, in his /about page says he values his time at $500/hr. That’s ₹35,000.

I hate to waste a single hour. I feel the precious value of time, most of the time. I imagine my time as worth $500 an hour, and ask myself what’s worth $500. Watching a TV show? Absolutely not. (“Game of Thrones” at 63 hours so far = $31,500 to watch.) Social media? Absolutely not. Focused learning or creating? Yep! Being with my kid? Always.

And Naval Ravikant values his time much more, at $5000/hr! That’s ₹347,000!

Set a very high hourly aspirational rate for yourself and stick to it. It should seem and feel absurdly high. If it doesn’t, it’s not high enough. Whatever you picked, my advice to you would be to raise it. Like I said, for myself, even before I had money, for the longest time I used $5,000 an hour.

The hourly rate I get paid in my day job is several orders of magnitude lower than these guys. Sigh. But that’s not the problem. I’m not going to blame my employer. But what free time I have, do I use it with utmost care?

Today I spent 4.5 hours preparing lunch, eating it and then cleaning it all up!

And I spend a lot of time up in my head thinking about anxiety-causing things…like the future.

I now remember some quote from somebody about rich and poor people.

Poor people have a precious thing in abundance that the rich people desire very much but don’t have.

It is time.

I’ve seen this to be true in multiple occasions. I’ve been fortunate to see some very rich people from up close for a long time. I’ve seen their day-to-day routine, thoughts, and priorities. They are ruthless with their time. They don’t involve in petty family dramas. They have high control of their emotions and only get upset rarely. They wake up early, don’t watch movies and don’t get lost in the never-ending scroll-pit of facebook, twitter or youtube. They spend their limited time on projects that matter the most to them. And they always have many projects going on and so they need more time to take care of them.

And I myself being poor, I know how people of my kind treat their time (eg: 4.5 hours for lunch, huh). They just sit and squander their time over silly family dramas. More often, they are paralyzed by the fear of the future and just stay still, talking the same things and circling around the same thoughts. They have time, but they don’t use it judiciously.

Ok, from now on, I too need to treat each hour of my life with utmost care. I need to guard it from others, and at times, from myself too. The best use of time is not to spend it thinking too much, but to do something - like create some side-projects, learn and blog about a new technology, try always to find a better job etc.

And wait, I can’t sign this off without setting up as aspirational rate for myself. How much? HOW MUCH? I can’t even comprehend Naval’s $5000/hr (₹347,000). Ok, I can. Here’s what it should mean then: Any task that takes an hour of my time, it better be worth 3 months of my salary an year ago. That is instantly depressing because I just spent an entire year of my past self’s time on cooking. What do you have me do Naval?!

That won’t work. I’ll take it down a tenth, to Siver’s reasonable, but still very aspirational rate of $500/hr (₹35,000). That means, a low-end lenova/dell laptop’s cost. I can comprehend that. An hour of my time is worth a standard laptop! So, what are the things don’t feel like it’s worth a laptop?

  • spending time on twitter/youtube, watching movies
  • playing that occasional games
  • ‘learning’ by reading blogs or tutorials or watching videos

And what’s really worth a laptop an hour?

  • writing this blog post, and anything to my blog in general (totally. I somehow need to justify writing this post right? Otherwise, I’ll die of cognitive dissonance.)
  • building my side-projects
  • reading meaningful books
  • spending quality time with loved ones
  • and generally just creating things or learning about the world instead of consuming.