THE VALUE OF TIME
We all have 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. Why is it that some people are able to achieve more with theirs than others? We also know that some people get paid more than others for their time. Is it just a game of chance, or is there more to it? It is easy to agree that a professional earns lots more per hour than a less skilled worker because of the years of training the professional has had, and considering the amount of responsibility they carry, especially where, for example, their decisions can mean the difference between life and death. It is a bit more difficult to understand when we try to rationalise this in terms of sportsmen and business people, for example, who sometimes do not even need any qualifications to do what they do. We could say then that maybe they are valued more for their talent and ability, which they may or may not have done anything to gain. I personally believe that not everything can be valued in terms of money. Just because an office worker gets paid more than a janitor does not mean that his time is more precious. There are many office workers that could take two days off work without being noticed, but most of us would notice if a place has not been cleaned for that long. Stay-at-home parents do not get paid for their time, but the time they spend with their children is priceless to the children themselves and any partner they may be supporting to go to work. The question then is, what makes time valuable? Is it what we do in that time or how we do it? I recently watched an animated family movie about a mummy pig with 25 piglets that wanted to go for a singing audition, but could not get childcare. Her husband was too busy and engrossed in his own work to notice that she needed help. She spent one night creating an invention with recorded clips of her voice to tell the family all the things she usually said in the morning and give them all the help they needed, so she could escape for her audition the next day. It was clearly an invention only movie mums can create - in one night! It was great that it all worked to plan as she expected, but it was sad that the husband and children did not even notice that she was not there, as long as they all got their breakfast and packed lunches, with the recorded clip bidding them goodbye. What that mummy pig achieved in one hour of every morning, like many mothers today, most people do not get done in their whole day. The challenge comes with putting in the extra factor into whatever we do, so that we cannot easily be replaced by machines! I think the value of time is neither derived from what we do or how we do it, but by who actually has the time. Give a surgeon one hour with an inflamed appendix and he will have sorted it. Give him ten hours with business accounts, and he may still be scratching his head at the end of the day. The same one hour that two office workers get for lunch break can be used to write a life-changing article, or complain over coffee about bosses. We all have different skills and talents, interests and strengths, but it is possible to make everyday count when we realise that time is precious and cannot be recovered once lost. We can invest time into developing ourselves so that we can be more able to achieve our goals, or we can sit back and watch others do so. Whether we want to get paid more for our time or get more done with it, we will need to improve ourselves and our attitudes daily. Some things that may seem like a waste of time today, if done as part of a greater vision for your life, could produce rewards you never even imagined. Even the daily routines of life can be done with purpose and precision, to make time more valuable in our hands and make success more likely. This can sometimes mean rearranging schedules, planning better, getting help, learning new skills, partnering with others or dropping unhelpful habits. Whether you are thinking of the years you have to raise your children, or the months before your exams or the days before your important presentation - only you can make that time of real value, when you choose to make the most of every hour and be the best you everyday.