Do You Value Your Time?
In this episode of WEtv, Co-founder Sarah Riegelhuth and Financial Coach Rebecca Pritchard talk about actually valuing our time. It’s the one resource we all have the same amount of. We all have the same number of hours in the day as Beyonce, after all! But do you value your time the same way Beyonce does?
Watch the full WEtv episode here:
Sarah Riegelhuth: If we look at our time more often and say, Well, this is today, what am I going to do? Are we being intentional with our time the way that we are with other parts of our lives? The way that we talk about being with money and how we’re spending our money, are we being intentional with how we’re spending all of that time in a day?
Rebecca Pritchard: This is why we’re talking about it because it is so closely related to the way that we spend our money. Right now, for most of us, for myself, I am still at a point in my career where I am working. The majority of my income comes from personal services and not from investments, so I am exchanging my time for money. I’m making choices with that, so if I’m disrespecting my money, I’m disrespecting my time. It’s so circular in this sense around then:
Am I making good use of my time? Is it giving me that other return?
SR: You still have a choice. I’m also still working to get to that point where I have my passive income, I’m not there yet. But I made a decision very early on in my life that I only want to work on things I care about and things that I’m passionate about. Things that make me feel alive.
It’s not to say that some days things aren’t stressful or annoying, but the overarching feeling is that I care about this. I care about Wealth Enhancers, I care about where we’re going. I’m passionate. Yeah, I do have the odd day that’s stressful but I know why I’m there. I enjoy it and even the challenges I enjoy because I’m working towards something that I care about. I’m not counting down the hours watching a clock. I don’t even think of the work that I do in terms of-
RP: Well that’s also because as we don’t work in the sense of-
SR: Turning up at an office from 9:00 to 5:00 and all that, no that’s right. Which I’m glad about!
I remember those days working in the video store and it was tough! Look, there’s nothing wrong with it and many, many people do it and I did it when I needed to, but I made a decision that that’s not what I wanted to do. I wanted to work on things that I cared about and ultimately I wanted to start my own business.
Work is such a big part of our day, so I definitely think that millennials, in particular, are far less inclined to… you know the Baby Boomer generation and even Gen X a little bit, was sort of like work and then life. I think definitely for the baby boomers, work was seen as something that they just had to do, so it didn’t really matter. It was more about just getting the paycheque for the time put in.
RP: It was going through the motions.
SR: I think millennials are just not like that. There are so many of us that would rather even take less money to do something that we really enjoy.
RP: This is a really interesting point in the sense that, we have an opportunity as millennials. If we start with our goals and we have good visibility around our goals and our ‘why‘ to really understand how to then connect the way that we use our time, be strategic with that time in the same way that we’re helping people to become strategic with their money but to actually grow, is it worth it? Is this get getting good value with my time?
What’s the point?
SR: What am I spending my time on and in pursuit of what? It’s not just, what am I setting my time on today, but what over a year, two years, five years, 10 years, 20, 50? What is that adding up to?
RP: I think the challenge is, people are sitting there going,
How do I do this?
Just ask yourself that why question again and again and again around whether what you’re doing valuable. Actually strip back the assumption that progress is a good thing, that being busy is a good thing.
The example that we commonly use is around promotions. Understanding,
Okay, I’m gonna bust my ass and I’m gonna get to this level and it means I’m going to get a $20,000 pay rise, that’s great.
You get to that point but you’re working an extra 15 hours a week, more stress, will that $20,000 compensate you A, for the additional work that you’re doing, B, will it get you closer towards your goals, or C, did you even need it in the first place?
It is an interesting shift because there are a lot of people in that millennial demographic where if you work through these whys, you might identify that you’re very happy at middle management or a different level of an organisation because you don’t actually need the extra money.
SR: It’s like progress for the sake of progress. That’s not what it should be about, right?
RP: If I can actually identify that I can earn this amount, which I know is enough to get me towards my goals, and now I can spend my time getting better at doing all of that which means I can now do it in 20 hours a week instead of 40 hours a week and now I’ve got enough financial resources to reach my goals and I have all this additional time. Is that a good outcome? That’s not to say it is for everyone, but these are the questions we need to ask ourselves.
SR: Everyone’s a bit different but there’s definitely something in the whole progress for the sake of progress. It should be progress for the sake of whatever your end state is, whatever your goal is.
RP: Isn’t it, the pursuit of happiness?
SR: Progress is great if it’s getting you closer toward or getting you to spend more time doing things you love. Not if it’s just because everyone else is doing that and that’s the ladder.
RP: Because you go through the ladder, absolutely. The other one is education. It’s really interesting in terms of constantly working towards a higher qualification or higher status. Is that helpful?
SR: Yeah, I did my Bachelor of Business with a major in Financial Planning. It was quite important to me. I didn’t go to university straight after school, I did it while I was working, and a lot of it was for me to prove to myself that I could do it.
There was definitely a bit of insecurity around the fact that I hadn’t followed that traditional path and gone to university like everyone else, but once I’d done that, now I just think… I suffered through that degree.
I learnt some great stuff on the business side and but honestly, I have learnt so much through being in business. There were some things I took away from my degree but most of it, I probably learnt about commitment and dedication and sticking to something more so than I did specifically about business.
But ever since then, I’ve thought I’ll never study something again unless I’m going to enjoy the process of learning. I certainly wouldn’t be doing it for the qualification to put on my LinkedIn or whatever. That to me would be progress to the sake of progress if it’s not something that’s actually taking me closer to what I want to know, what I want to learn. If I’m not going to enjoy learning it then I’m not interested.
RP: And with education more so than some of these other areas, there are two elements: one is a shitload of time and energy that goes into it, the second is money.
SR: Yeah, totally.
RP: These courses aren’t cheap! I spent close to $30k on my undergraduate at Melbourne Uni and I only just paid that off, thank the Lord!
To use another example of one of my members, who for so long was really wanting to do a Masters and he was looking at Harvard and Oxford, some of these overseas institutions. He realised when he was going through the curriculum of these courses that he was more interested in the concept of doing it, not the nitty-gritty details. He identified there were a bunch of smaller courses instead. He’s probably going to end up spending a similar amount of money-
SR: But he’ll probably enjoy the process more.
And learn exactly what he wants.
RP: Really specialised in the areas that he wants.
SR: That’s definitely where I’m at with study. I’ve done the Entrepreneurial Master’s program at MIT and it’s been one week a year for three years. There’s the OPM, the Owner President Manager course at Harvard I’d love to do as well. But these are short exec ed type courses where I’m super interested in what they’re teaching and I can see a direct correlation between how it’s going to help me in business or career or passion.
I can see throughout my life doing things like that because I love learning. But I made a deal with myself after I finally finished my degree that I would never just suffer through study again. I won’t feel obligated to do anything ever again.
RP: And this is the exercise we want people to actually take on for themselves. Not saying don’t do it, just ask the questions, go through the process of asking,
What is this going to give me? How is it going to add value to my life?
You’re not getting that time back. We can always earn more money, but we can’t get that time back.
SR: I remember the first time I ever said really said No to something.
I used to be a big yes person. I was doing everything, on every committee and every board and everything and um-
RP: and now you’re wearing a Zero Fucks Given t-shirt!
SR: Now I do what I want to do and that’s it!
No, it was really stressful for me though. I’d been approached to be the President of Women in Finance here in Victoria. I was very honoured that they asked me. I obviously believe in gender equality and I certainly believed in progressing women in finance. I’d been involved in the organisation for a while, so I started going on their committee meetings and sort of gearing up to take on this presidency because I thought would be an amazing opportunity and I believed in it all.
I was already on the board of the AFA, the Association of Financial Advisers, doing a bunch of other stuff, running a company, and I just started to feel a lot of anxiety about it. A lot of like pressure and it felt very heavy but it was so foreign to me to step away from something like that.
It took me a little while to work out that I didn’t want to do this. I was purely doing this out of obligation and arguably ego. Yeah, I’m passionate about what they do which is great, but I wasn’t seeking this out right now. I was having these conversations myself and I realised I just didn’t want to do it. I was willing to walk away from the opportunity and the obligation. And I felt terrible because I sort of already said I would, and then I backed out. It was a really, really hard thing for me to say ‘no’ and walk away.
But ten years later, I don’t regret that decision. I know it was the right decision for me at the time.
It taught me then to start saying no to things that weren’t necessary, that were making me feel heavy versus making me feel light. If something’s right for me then I’ll feel alive and I’ll feel happy and I’ll feel gravitating toward it but if something’s heavy on me and weighing me down I don’t want to be doing this right now.
Luckily for most of us, there’s not that many things that we have to be doing. I think we take on that obligation that we we can’t get out of it, but it’s usually not true. We can usually find a way to.
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Disclaimer: Information contained within this article is of a general nature. Do not be rely upon it when making financial decisions. Please consult a professional financial advisor or planner (like us!) before acting.