Tips | January 27, 2012

Six tips for making the most of time

How much do you think your spare time is worth?

The answer might help answer tricky questions, such as choosing whether to eat in or dine out, spend the day with family or stay late at work.


1. Take time to… work out your hourly rate: Workers can get a happy-effect by knowing much they get paid an hour, according to research cited in Time is money. It may be that knowing the number increases the connection between time spent and rewards gained.

2. Take time to … discover how much you value spare time: How much is an hour of your time worth? When making choices, such as if you are making the most of your time by travelling for an hour to go to a particular sale, consider the value of your time and the opportunity cost of not doing something else. For someone with a lot of spare time and relatively low earnings, it might make good economic sense to cycle an hour to get a €20 discount – but it might not make sense for a time-poor, cash rich individual. The same principle can hold true when choosing whether to take time to cook at home or eat out.

3. Take time to … see friends and family: Time with friends and family has been shown to boost happiness and wellbeing. Research by academic Nattavudh Powdthavee estimates that for the average English person, seeing friends or family on most days rather than once or twice a week increases happiness by the same amount as a pay rise of £15,000 (€18,000) a year. If time for loved ones means hiring help to complete chores, it can be money well spent.

4. Take time to … use seconds wisely: Instead of rushing into buying a new appliance, holiday or house, pause and consider wants versus needs to cut impulse spending, blogs ING Canada CEO Peter Aceto. He recommends the seven second rule before small purchases to ask “Do I really need this thing?”. Before bigger buys, take longer.

5. Take time to … limit commuting: Time spent travelling to and from work can be stressful and expensive. University of Zurich researchers estimated that the average person who spends 46 minutes a day travelling to and from work would need a pay rise of 19% to be as happy as the average person who doesn't commute. And a 2008 study put the cost of commuting at €17 per hour.

6. Take time to … cut procrastination: We know that putting off tasks – or procrastination – can waste time and be the enemy of successful personal finances. But it can be difficult to cut it out. Setting deadlines, making agreements with friends and family and other simple tips can help

eZonomics team
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