We can sometimes forget that time is a currency on its own. You can always make more money, but unfortunately you don’t get that option with time. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.
We can, however, find ways to minimize the time spent on those annoying or painfully mundane things which then allows us more time for things like dinner out with loved ones, rest during busy weeks, or simple moments of doing nothing on a Saturday afternoon guilt-free.
What does buying back your time look like?
Buying back your time can happen in a variety of ways.
Using Amazon Fresh or Thrive Market for grocery shopping or using a meal prep/delivery service to deliver fresh meals (here’s the ad I put on Craigslist to find a chef to deliver meals twice a week)
Hiring a cleaning or landscaping service to come to your house on a regular cadence.
Finding an au pair or nanny instead of using a daycare. This not only can save on travel time, but the savings are significant with an au pair.
Hiring a virtual assistant for your business so you can have more downtime.
Paying for a Point.me subscription for easier travel planning with your credit card points and airline miles.
There are services, apps, and freelancers for just about everything you can think of. Every one of those things has the ability to free up your time so you can start scheduling regular date nights with your spouse again (especially for you parents) or be able to put an extra four or five hours a week into that SQL bootcamp you signed up for.
More importantly, what does it cost?
Price is not indicative of value because value looks different for everyone. When it comes to the costof buying back your time, it’s really a question of what is this convenience worth to you?
There are plenty of ways to buy back your time that actually don’t cost anything. It can be about finding ways to be more efficient with your time. As Laura Vanderkam states, “Being mindful allows you to seize the time that is there. And if we think about how we’d like to spend our time we vastly increase the chances that we use it for things that are meaningful for us.” This could look like:
Teaching children how to make their own snacks or do their own laundry so parents don’t have to stop one task to complete another. Laura Vanderkam details more of these in Episode7.
If you work from home, doing chores like laundry during the week so you don’t have to stay home and do it over the weekend.
Limiting time on social media or on your phone in general. Patrick McGinnis spoke directly about this and gives tips on how to avoid time wasted on your phone.
Learn how to become indistractable so you use your time efficiently in the first place. Nir Eyal shared his four steps to becoming indistractable in Episode 25.
Other things, like hiring a virtual assistant, have a significant cost. However, if hiring that VA means your workday is cut from 12 hours to 8 or even less, would gaining those hours back be worth the cost of their services? That trade-off between what you spend and what you gain is something only you can weigh and answer.
There’s no right or wrong way to save time. We all live very different lives and how each of us maximizes the hours in our days should look different. As long as whatever you’re doing works for you and gives you the desired results, I’d say it’s a successful hack.
Do you have hacks to buy back your time? I’d love to hear about them! Respond to this email with your favorite time-saving hacks and we’ll feature some in upcoming newsletters.
Need help finding ways to save time or steps to find out what you actually want to spend your time on? Check out these previous podcast episodes.
The Four Research-Backed Steps to Be Indistractable with Nir Eyal
The Science of Behavior Change with Kristen Berman
FOMO, FOBO and How To Make Great Decisions with Patrick McGinnis
Managing Your Time To Get More Done with Laura Vanderkam