This is the median income for men in the United States.

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A few weeks before I began writing this article, I was shopping for a small travel bag.

Tradeoffs and Opportunistic Addition — Bill Gates has been named the richest person in the world more than a dozen times.

For example, let's say you spend 2, hours per year earning money: This is the poverty line for an individual in the United States. This is the median income for women in the United States.

This is the median income for men in the United States. Again, all of these numbers assume that you are working 2, hours per year. Obviously, the numbers will shift if you work more hours or fewer hours. Are These Numbers Accurate? When I first calculated these numbers I was surprised.

The value of an hour of my time was much lower than what I thought it would be. How can this be? When we divide their total income by the total time spent working, the value of each hour is much less than what they charge for a given hour of work with a client. Furthermore, although we might know what we would charge per hour, we rarely calculate how much time goes into earning money outside of our working hours.

By accounting for all of the time we invest to earn money, we get a clearer picture of what our time is actually worth—and it is usually much less than what you would charge for an hour of work on your job.

Now, if you're like me, you'd like to verify the accuracy of this first calculation. There are a few quick ways to check to see if your hourly value is accurate. Let's cover them now. Checks and Balances The method we just used to calculate the value of your time is called the Take-Home Pay Method because it is based on your take-home pay. I'll explain them briefly below, but I think the easiest way to understand them is to look at the examples in Step 3 of the Time-Value Spreadsheet.

The Market Rate Method is the rate you could expect to earn if you were hired by another company for a job you were qualified to perform. For example, I spend a lot of my time writing, so I could be hired for a Content Creator position. I also spend time growing the business, so I could probably be hired for a Business Development role.

I looked up the salary for each role I was qualified for and then divided by the amount of hours I work to get another estimate for the value of my time. You can think of this method as what your time is worth on the job market. The Cost-Based Method is the rate you would pay someone else to do the work that you do. In other words, imagine you are the boss and you have to hire someone to do your job. I started by dividing my job into specific tasks writing, marketing, etc.

Then, I plugged in what I would be willing to pay someone to do that task full-time. Then, I calculated a weighted average of all of the tasks to come up with an overall rate that I would be willing to pay someone to do the work that I do each day.

Finally, I divided what I was willing to pay by the total number of hours worked. Once I have numbers for all three methods, I calculate the average value of my time. I figure that I might be estimating high for one method or low for another, but the value of my time is probably accurate when we take the average across all three methods. Again, you can see each method in the Time-Value Spreadsheet. With the calculations above, we were able to determine a quick and accurate estimate of what your time is worth.

Now we can narrow the zone of uncertainty and make better decisions. Once you know, in dollars and cents, how much an hour of your time is truly worth you can make better decisions on a daily basis.

At this point, we know your time is worth at least the number you calculated in Part I because Realized Income Methods only account for income you have already earned. Ready to see if your time is actually worth more? Let's dive into Part II. Expected Value Methods This brings us to the second way to calculate the value of your time: These calculations are based on the value you expect a given hour of work to create in the long-run. Expected Value Methods can help you make big, strategic decisions about where to spend your time.

What projects should your business focus on this year? Which uses of time aren't effective and should be eliminated from your daily work routine? Should you start a business that could payoff big time in ten years, but won't make any money right away or work a stable job with a reliable income?

What is the best way to manage these tradeoffs? Let's start with the simplest type of Expected Value Method. The Growth Multiple Method There is a simple way to account for the expected value of your decisions. Take your net income from the previous year and multiply it by a reasonable growth multiple. The key, of course, is selecting a reasonable growth multiple.

For example, my business doubled from last year to this year, so I chose 2x as the growth multiple. For that, we need to use the full Expected Value Method. The Expected Value Method Here's the basic logic: Start by breaking your time out by task. The more detailed you can be about each use of time, the better you can distinguish which areas drive the most value. Find a unit of measurement that connects the tasks you work on with the income you earn. In my particular case, I use email subscribers because I know the average lifetime value of a new email subscriber and most of my tasks can be linked to getting more email subscribers in some way.

Estimate the value of each task. Let's say I spend one hour working on a task that results in 50 new email subscribers. Repeat this type of expected value estimate for every task you work on. Add all of the expected values together to determine the total expected value of your time. Add extra variables as desired. Expected Value Methods can be as complex as you want to make them. You can account for factors like how much happiness a particular task brings to your life or how likely it is for this hour of work to continue to payoff years from now.

Expected Value calculations are highly individualized and you'll probably have to wrestle with the equations for awhile to get them to work for you. Again, I think it's easiest to see this worked out in numerical form. You can see all of the factors involved in this calculation in Step 4 of the Time-Value Spreadsheet. Additional Notes There are a lot of extra thoughts that go on behind the scenes of these calculations.

Here are some additional factors I keep in mind when considering the value of my time. Misguided Success — Don't waste your time becoming successful at the wrong thing. Simply understanding the value of your time is helpful, but you need to know what you want out of life to get the most accurate idea of the value of your time. Too many people chase money or power or approval because everyone around them does the same.

What if that's not what you really want? Sure, you can find ways to increase the value of your time, but what if you'd rather have more free time than more cash? This is where knowing your core values, doing an Integrity Report, and getting clear about what is most important to you is useful. Tradeoffs and Opportunistic Addition — Bill Gates has been named the richest person in the world more than a dozen times.

It is an opportunistic addition on top of the money he is already earning. Opportunistic Addition refers to choices that would decrease the value of your time if you spent all of your time on them, but increase the value of your time if you do them at opportunistic moments.

For example, consider an author who also does speaking engagements. If they spent all of their time speaking, then they would decrease the value of their time because they wouldn't write any new books, they would gradually become irrelevant and their speaking rate would decrease.

However, by doing speaking engagements every now and then—say, once or twice per month—many authors can add thousands of dollars to their bottom line while still having plenty of time to write new books.

Those who are encouraged to focus solely on the dollar value of time tend to feel impatient and pressured, says Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

They work more and spend less time in rewarding activities such as volunteering or enjoying music. Instead, I elected to say that my free time was non-negotiable.

Having free hours where I could relax and decompress made it possible for me to be effective during the working hours that remained. You need to value your free time, down time, and leisurely activities that provide whole health and wellness to your life. Should you work another hour?

Here's a good rule-of-thumb I learned from Sebastian Marshall: Consider each hour of your day. On average, do you make net positive or net negative decisions during that hour? For example, if you work late, does the hour between 9PM and 10PM lead to positive outcomes on average? Snapchat is an image sharing application for iOS and Android where images are only viewable for a certain amount of time. Make sure that your posts title follows the format below; or else it will be automatically removed by a bot: Rule 1 - Keep it clean.

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