Don’t tie your income to your time

Dr Ehm Kannde

The cliche “Time is money” has had a literal effect on the majority of people which has resulted in mindsets that are doomed for a life of mediocrity and poverty. Our parents taught us that to make money, you need to push a wheelbarrow and for every hour you push, you make a certain amount. If you push hard and long enough, you make more money. That has been the mental model with which we approach everything even till now. In this article, I will try to help you see the need to discard this model.

There are many things that were impressed on us by our parents which limit our growth today. And this is not to suggest that your parents hated you or intentionally didn’t want your progress. They were simply doing the best they could given the information they had. The unfortunate thing is that their time is passed. And if you continue to live according to the outdated principles of life, you are sure to produce mediocre results over and over again.

Your duty now is to figure out what you need to do differently in today’s world. Which mental models work better in today’s context and how do you apply them to your life?

There are several reasons why you should not tie your income to your time. For starters, you only have so many hours in a day. They say every man has the same 24 hours and part of this has to be used for sleep and rest. In effect, you barely have 12 hours for productive work. What people usually do when they want more money is to look for an extra job to do. If you do this, it means you have tied your income to your time. You literally sell your time for money and since you have a limited time it means you have a limited amount of money you can make in a day.

Tying your income to your time also means that when you stop to work, you stop to eat. This is why governments all over the world have put up a compulsory saving scheme for workers. This is done in preparation to when one retires so they can have some money to survive on. But we all know the limitations that come with pension funds. Most people end up struggling for survival after long years of hard work. That system is broken, and you better move on as well.

What do you do then?

Instead of increasing the number of hours to push the wheelbarrow why not drop it completely? Or perhaps fill that wheelbarrow with gold so that you can increase the value of an hour rather increasing the number of hours.

Let’s say you make GH₵ 50 per hour, your goal should not be about increasing the number of hours you work to maximise your income. Even if you were able to work 24 hours each day you will be limited to GH₵ 1,200 a day which might still not be enough for you, not to talk of how unhealthy you will get. Instead, work on increasing the value of that one hour to GH₵ 100 and to GH₵ 500 and so on. That way you can increase your income while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The next question is, how can I do this? How do I raise the value of my time? Well, you can do that in many ways. For instance, by adding more value to yourself you actually increase the value of your time. When gold is dug from the mines it is usually laden with impurities and the value is not that much until it is refined. Instead of selling the impure gold why not put in homework to refine it?

Find out, the skills that are more valuable in your industry or profession. Develop yourself accordingly. When you have a skill that your company or profession needs, you can bargain the value of your time. But as long as you remain like everybody else, easily and completely replaceable, then you are doomed to the dictates of some other people. They sit to decide how much your time is worth and you have no say on that.

There are many things you can do to improve the value of your time and we will continue to discuss some of these approaches, strategies and tactics in later articles. Please consider subscribing so that you don’t miss other interesting and educative articles like this one.

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