The Value of an Hour

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about the value of an hour. By the value of an hour I do not solely mean what your employer and you have decided is a fair compensation per hour, although that certainly is encompassed within. I mean a more broad concept:

how much is each hour of your day worth?


Let’s say you work 40-50 hours a week, and you have roughly 40-50 hours of discretionary time besides that. This time can be spent with kids, with loved ones, golfing, playing poker or Blackjack, perhaps even building toy boats. In the simplest of terms, those latter hours are worth at least more than what a part-time job would pay. To put it another way, your discretionary time is worth at least 15-35 bucks an hour depending on your skill and job availability.

But money is not even the primary reason you don’t work during those discretionary hours. You primarily don’t work those hours because you value the things you do during those discretionary hours. Even if you do nothing productive; you may find watching endless crime show re-runs on TNT or looking at YouTube until 4:00 am is more valuable than working. Even if you work an exorbitant amount, you do so to obtain the things you value. And some people simply value working and being productive – such a weird concept.

The reality is that every hour of your day has value. The hours you sleep have value, the hours you eat have value, as do work, play and so on.

Each hour of my day has value because it is a chance to enjoy something or someone that has value to me. Perhaps the greatest travesty of all is spending one’s time on something one does not value.

Now you cannot accidentally achieve the greatest value possible out of your relationships and endeavors. You can place a value on them flippantly, but you cannot consistently achieve the maximum amount of value from them flippantly.

In response to these thoughts I have sought to list out the things that have value to me. List out the amount of time I have to work towards achieving said value. To identify the ways that I spend my hours not achieving the enjoyment of the things I value. And intentionally seeking ways to increase my enjoyment of the things I value by spending my time wisely. In essence, increasing the value I expect to enjoy every hour of every day.

“Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.”
– Ecclesiastes 9:9-10



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