In Search of Time Affluence: Part 2

Finding and Funding Time

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Welcome to part 2 of my time affluence series. If you missed part 1, here’s a recap: I’m reading Time Smart and documenting the process here as I try to become more time affluent. What is part 2 all about? Finding and funding time.

The author of Time Smart, Ashley Whillans, asks us to track our time on a typical Tuesday and categorize what we do into two categories: pleasurable or stressful, productive or unproductive.

The purpose of this exercise is to show you where you would most benefit from outsourcing your most negative tasks (like using a grocery delivery service) as well as where you can reframe your time (sure your commute sucks, but maybe you can use that time to listen to an audiobook you’ve been meaning to buy).

The basic premise of the chapter is that you can fund time. An important way of coming to terms with this idea is understanding what your time is worth in Happiness Dollars - the income equivalent of the amount of happiness produced by a time-related choice.

Based on Ashley’s research and analysis, here are some common activities and their happiness dollar equivalents (to someone who makes $50,000 a year).

  • Valuing Time: h$2,200

  • Savouring: h$3,600

  • Outsourcing: h$18,000

  • Chasing Deals: -h$3,300

  • Vacation: h$4,400

  • Socializing: h$5,800 or more

  • Active Leisure: h$1,800

If a person making $50,000 made the above positive time choices (not including chasing deals), they would earn the equivalent of a 72% salary increase (or $27,500/yr) (based on more advanced calculations than the above).

On a typical Tuesday, I tracked my time and here are the results:

What is most surprising to me about this chart is that by the time we get from home work, eat dinner and I spend 1-2 hours freelancing, I have less than 2 hours of ‘free time’ to spend with my partner. That is beyond suboptimal to me.

If you’re wondering why I don’t have any pain points during my workday, it’s probably because I’m still so new to my job that nothing really annoys me about it yet.

As you would expect, my results map onto the typical Tuesday matrix in a pretty predictable way.

I have more work to do in pinpointing the parts of an activity I do not enjoy, to be able to figure out what I can outsource. Is it the grocery shopping part of food prep? Or is it the cooking/meal planning aspect? I suspect it is a combination of both, which is what makes a meal delivery service very appealing to me right now.

Chapter 2 ends with a re-framing time worksheet. We can’t change, outsource or avoid every part of our day that we hate. But we can try to change the way we think about those parts of our day. '

In particular, I looked at activities in my Typical Tuesday Matrix that I marked as negative or unproductive and tried to re-frame them.

My time-consuming, undesirable activities (activities you must do):

  • commuting

  • making dinner

  • freelancing (ok, not a must do really, but it feels like it right now)

  • cleaning

These activities provide some value, such as:

  • time with my partner

  • nourishing my body, training a new skill

  • connection to my network, practicing old skills

  • tidy, organized space

Chapter 3 of Time Smart is all about building your time affluence habit - which is something I know I’m going to need a lot of help with.

Until next time, keep living that tiny life.

If you mapped out your time on a typical Tuesday - what would stand out as your most positive and negative experiences?

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Image Credit: Photo by Morgan Housel on Unsplash

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