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October 24, 2005


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I've always been puzzled by articles that discuss the value of one's time. They all cite the same formula: if you make $20/hour at work, then it is worth it for you to hire someone else to do something for you if they can do it cheaper than your $20/hour cost.

But that really isn't right. Your $20/hour wage is based on 2080 work hours per year. But you're not paid for your free time, and there are 6680 of those in a year. So to truly represent your value per hour, you need to spread your earnings out over work AND personal time, not just work time.

Some might think that's not fair either - an hour spent mowing your lawn is an hour you aren't making money somewhere else. But how many people really use their personal time to earn more? For many of us who are salaried, we couldn't pick up additional hours (for pay) even if we wanted to.

In my mind, what it really comes down to is the value that you yourself place on your time. Hire a housekeeper if you want, but realize that the benefits you receive from it will likely be more psychic than financial.

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