What is your time worth?

I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to what my time is worth. I would guess that the majority of people work something like a 40 hour work week. How much of that time is actually productive? How much of it is spent “putting in your time”? How much work are you getting done compared to others in the same position?

The reason I’ve been thinking about this is because I work in the IT field. In almost every IT position, tracking your time is involved. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is usually for billing your clients. The other is for tracking how much time has been spent on a project to determine if the estimates were correct.

If you’re paid for your time, you are making the assumption that your time is as valuable as other people being paid the same amount per hour. For example, lets say you’ve got a task and it takes most people 8 hours to complete it. However, you’re good at what you do and you can complete it in 4 hours. You can do the task twice in the same amount of time that it takes most people to do it in 8 hours. You’re essentially getting paid half what the other person is getting paid to do the same task. Another way to look at it is that you’re doing the twice the work as someone else but getting paid the same amount.

When it comes to keeping track of your time for a project, the same type of problem comes up. If you can get more of the project done in the same amount of time as someone else, then when you both record 8 hours towards the project, technically more work was completed by you than the other person. Eight hours is not a good indication of the amount of work involved. You could have a team of 3 highly effective people or 6 standard people. When the project is completed, the standard people will record more time towards the project than the highly effective people.

Why does any of this really matter? Well, it’s frustrating for one thing. It sure would be nice to leave after completing the standard amount of work that most people complete. You could even work a little extra to go above and beyond. However, sitting there the full day to collect a paycheck can be exhausting when you’ve got your work done.

Another big reason is because being paid for your time is what can keep you from being super successful. As author Dan Miller wrote, “Hourly pay will keep you poor“. If you’re good at what you do and you can get people to pay you by the project or task, you can significantly increase your income. Even if you decide to keep your day job, you could potentially do your “efficient” work on the side and make a ton of extra cash.

To put it simply, being paid for what you do and not how long it takes you to do it opens doors to time freedom and more money! Think about it.

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