Personal Finance

Time Is a Valuable Commodity

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.

11 replies on “Time Is a Valuable Commodity”

Keep in mind that “it is what it is” isn’t real. It’s “it is what you choose/create”.

I agree with you Jay – you spend too much time in transit. Are there ESL clients closer to home? Is there a possibility of being an ESL teacher somewhere, preferably closer to home? Or an afternoon job near your evening job? More clients to help just before your evening job?

20 hours in transit is awful! I average about 3.5 to 4 hours per week myself.

That definitely has to change, although if you get into freelancing then you can consider buying a laptop or netbook which would allow you to do some writing during that time.

Have you read “The 7 Habits of Successful People”? I like the habits “Begin with the end in mind” and “Sharpening the saw”

Back in 2000 I learned from Robert K. “Poor and Middle Class work for the money, and Rich People make the money work for them”

I gave up my Freelancing back in the 90s and just focus on making what I called “Automated Money Machine”. The concept is simple. All you need to do is focus on is create Machines (Assets) that produces on going multiple income be it Stocks, Mutual Funds, Business, MLM, Real Estate and etc…

That way, money chase you instead of you chasing the money.

I agree that the transit is killer. I’d either find work closer to home (McDonald’s perhaps) or move closer to your tutoring / telemarketing gigs.

I think you have the right perspective incorporating the travel time in what you earn and figuring out the real salary based on that.

Wow, your spreadsheet is very organized and meticulous!

That’s good that you devote time for soccer, despite having to commute an hour to get there.

I guess you could either try to be productive while you’re in transit too (like write up posts for this blog!)

If you find a job closer to where you live, you would save time AND money on transit (you wouldn’t have to buy a 2-3 zone bus pass- especially since they raised the prices April 1!)

Definitely way too much time in transit.
I am wondering though, do you enjoy having the same schedule each week? Is it easier or you to plan things, when you know exactly what you need to do, even 2 weeks in the future? I noticed I get tired of revolving schedules..

I see you live in vancouver? We have great transit system here, but it isnt cheap (not by my standards). Do you claim for Transit deductions on your Income Tax? You definitely qualify.

My schedule is basically I work 5 days a week at F/T job. The time before and after my job are spent on my business. The remainder time is with friends and commuting. The F/T job is under 10mins away by bus, and I work from home (and travel to see clients).

If I recall, you live in Surrey? Would it be possible to relocate to a closer area near work, or possible relocate your work closer to home? I am not suggesting moving D/T, but there are several areas.

That’s a boatload of time in transit but that doesn’t mean you have to stop doing things you enjoy and work at McDonald’s (that is if McD’s is a less favorable preference of course). As Mr. Cheap mentioned, maybe looking at a strategy whereby you’re closer to everything it is you do instead of spending so much time getting there may be worth looking into it. It might be a pain and require some extra leg work but in the long-run it may be a solid plan for your sanity as it relates to the constant use of transit.

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