We say, ‘Time is money.’ Very soon, we may also start saying ‘Money is time.’
Realizing or not, the perception of time changes when someone transfers from a full-time FTE job to a paid-by-hour income style. It promotes one to start asking him/herself if it’s worthwhile to do one thing vs. the other at a certain time. One may not want to waste their energy on tasks which can be done by others with fewer hours or lower hourly rate. However one’s money earned is directly proportional to the number of hours spent on the job specified.
One step further, if a man moves from a paid-by-hour job to a paid-by-completed-job income style, then he will likely think harder about how he can finish the same job with more efficiency – same amount of money earned but less time. He can then use the freed-up time to accomplish other things in life, either with family or on leisure. A happier and more productive individual may be in the making.
However in today’s business practices, we often project budget estimate or cost accounting by calculating resource man-hours, with very little consideration on the deeper meaning of productivity. Primarily out of the money-saving consideration, the money-value of a task is calculated by the average time of an average skill-level resource, which often yield mediocre results in terms of either the productivity or the morale. In these practices, the definition of “productivity” is often misplaced, as well as the understanding of the relationship of time and money. As a result, the society also moves backward in the value and meaning of a productive individual’s lifetime. With the new-age waves, these practice needs to be carefully re-evaluated.
In the new age (call it Disruptive Innovation Age, the Second Machine Age or any other catchy names), with the progress of today’s disrupted society where every past structure, social norm, business model is being challenged, the century-old concept of Time vs. Money should have no exceptions. For both individuals and businesses, calculating “Time Used” may take less significance than calculating “Time Freed”. Once that mindset is shifted, the concept of money, or cost , will in turn change dramatically.
A business is made up of individuals. The value of an individual is the hardest to calculate in money terms. There is no best formula. If a life can indeed be tracked by a sequential timeline in our scale of the world, then a few flashes of moments in life or career can prove a lot more valuable than any other period combined. Those most creative and productive moments can yield the largest values to the individual, to the business or to the society.
How to capture and calculate the money-value of those time moments will be one of most challenging questions to the future-minded leaders of any business. For an individual, how to free up oneself from endless money concerns in favor of more favorable conditions, e.g., more free time, relaxed mind, balanced life style, constant learning, etc., to create those precious moments, and to master the time-value of money instead, can be the toughest challenge in pursuing a truly productive life.