January 17, 2013, 6:00 am

Is it Worth Trading Time For Money?

by: MD    Category: Alternative Income
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“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?” — Henry David Thoreau

Before I started reading entrepreneurship books, like The 4-Hour Workweek or Career Renegade, I always believed that in order to make more money you had to work longer hours. I thought that you couldn’t make good money unless you put in the 12 hour days and always worked like an animal. There are just so many hours in a day, and so much work to do.

While it makes sense to work harder than the competition, it seems to me that it’s not always the best options to work longer hours. This is what I wanted to write about today. The idea of working longer hours and trading your time in for money.

Does the hourly rate model make sense?

It’s effective. You know how many hours you have to work to earn X amount of money. There’s nothing up in the air. You know that you’re going to get paid for the work that you do. In the sense of getting steady pay, the hourly rate is ideal.

The flaw with the hourly rate model is that you likely won’t get compensated fairly for the work that you put in.

For example, I have a friend that sells photocopiers. He earns a commission on every machine that he sells. He makes good money sometimes. The only problem is that he has to put in 12 hour days and hustle. He doesn’t earn a salary. Straight commission. I believe that he would earn much more money if he worked for himself and sold his own products, instead of trying to convince an office to buy a photocopier.

The hourly rate model doesn’t make sense for everyone. Some of us would be far better off working on commission or a salary.

“An indispensable person, someone with a rare asset, has few substitutes and an hourly rate makes a lot less sense.” — Seth Godin

Should you increase your hours to increase your output?

Nope. More output isn’t just about more hours.

There’s more to getting work done. It’s not all about the time involved. You know what I mean. Think of all of those days at your day job where you spend 80% of the time doing nothing/wasting time. Then finally you get a flash of brilliance and you get lots of work done or you make progress on something that has been bothering you.

What does this mean? I believe that it’s more important to get in the zone. You don’t have to spend all day trying to work. You just have to leverage your energy/creativity when it hits so that it lasts and you take advantage of it. More time doesn’t always equal more work. Less time often means that you don’t have any time to waste.

Should you trade time for money?

It’s not always worth trading in your time for money. Not only is there more to life, but you can easily burnout. When you burnout you can totally fall behind.  This is where the law of diminishing returns comes into play. It’s like working out. You can get maximum results from three workouts per week. Logically, you figure that working out more is better. Then you try to go every single day and you burnout.

It’s better to spend less time on work so that you can create a balance that’s sustainable for the long term. This isn’t a sprint.

There are also only 24 hours in a day. You can’t spend all of those hours trying to work.

How many hours of work are you willing to put in? Does more work always equal more money?

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My personal opinion, time is way more value. Always will be in my life.

I completely agree with the message of this post. Comparing work to fitness is a good analogy in that it makes more sense to work out harder for a shorter period of time, than longer and with less intensity. It inevitably leads to burnout, and you’re more likely to see success (in any are of life) if you maintain balance with all areas.

I have debt so it doesn’t matter how much I want to work I just have to work as many hours as I can squeeze from my employer.

I am at the top wage of my low paid health care field and it is not enough. I am trying to develop a side hustle to eliminate my debt so I can afford to slow down in a few years.

Hoping to slow down in the years to come. Don’t want to come to a crashing halt of burnout, exhaustion or body failure.

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Right now it is, as I have my eye on some savings targets. The balance will be tipping the other way, though, in a few months…

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