Your relationship to time and money

I created this example to drive home a point and use this often in my speaking engagements. Remember, this is fictional

Imagine that one of your friends John asks you for a favor. John has a problem. He is supposed to receive an important packet at the local library on one of the saturdays in February. Unfortunately, he is traveling for the whole month on business and he needs help. He has three other friends who have signed up to wait for the packet on the first three saturdays. In case, the packet does not arrive in the first three days, he needs your help to wait for the same on the fourth saturday. John says there is a 75% chance that the packet will be delivered in the first three Saturdays – meaning there is only a slight chance that you may be required to spend the whole of 4th saturday in february waiting in the library for the packet. John wants to know whether you can help him. Most probably you would sign up to help John.

A couple of days later, John comes back to you and he wants to change the request for help. John apparently has found a company called “Packet Receivers LLC” who take up these kinds of jobs. John signed up for their service instead of causing inconvenience to all his friends. That’s the good news. The bad news is that John has to pay $400 to these folks. John wants to know whether you can pay $100 (your share) as you had offered to help him earlier. You politely decline.

Think about this for a second. You had offered to give him about ten hours of your time. Let’s say you would have productively used about five hours of those ten hours – meaning you would have sort of squandered five hours and instead of that you have to pay $100 – about $20 per hour. since most of us earn more than $20 per hour, it does look reasonable. Or, may be not.

I know your mind is now screaming with logic as to why this story does not make sense. You have your reasons and you may be right. However, the point I want to make is simple – most of us are willing to squander time but safeguard money at the expense of time. Money can be earned back but time once lost can never be earned back. This is our sorry state of our relationship with time and money.

Have a good time (pun intended) 🙂