Chad Everett Harris on Understanding the Value of Time in Relation to Money
Everyone knows that time is money, but when it comes to putting dollar signs on the hours of our lives it’s not so easy to nail down the exact scale. Of course, our time is valuable — but exactly how valuable is it really?
According to serial entrepreneur and marketing specialist Chad Everett Harris, it’s worth more than you likely think. While some may find it confusing or abstract to put exact dollar amounts on the hours of our lives, he argues that it’s helpful (even essential) in optimizing our own happiness. After all, how can we effectively value something if we’re unwilling to assign a specific worth to it?
Research on time and happiness
Recent years saw a rise in the “hustle culture,” a fast-paced, all-in mentality that prioritized hard work with next to zero regard for rest and relaxation. Advocates of this mentality advised waking up early, pushing yourself incessantly, and sacrificing everything in the name of entrepreneurial success.
In the wake of the hustle culture’s rise, psychologists saw a harrowing spike in burnout rates. Entrepreneurs like Chad Everett Harris weren’t shocked. The shift represented an overarching disregard for the worth of one’s time. It also confirmed one of the business world’s most common misconceptions: grinding harder in the hopes of making more money won’t always make you happier.
Groundbreaking new studies back this hypothesis by using precise data to prove that people who value their time more than money are consistently happier. Interestingly, these individuals also generally more productive and successful — a conclusion which Chad Everett Harris believes should have strong implications for how entrepreneurs choose to operate.
Reprogramming our brains
The data consistently shows that entrepreneurs who prioritize their time are consistently happier and more successful than those who do not. So, it makes perfect sense that entrepreneurs should shift from profit-centered success metrics to those which focus on leisure time and satisfaction. Sadly, making the switch isn’t so easy.
The bottom line is this: our brains are programmed to focus on material gain. This unfortunate trait is attributed largely to evolutionary factors which instinctively prompt us to stockpile resources in today’s modern world, those instincts may be outdated — but the impulses and desires they created are still at work. Even now, it is our natural inclination to prioritize money even when it forces us to sacrifice our overall quality of life.
The proposed alternative, according to Chad Everett Harris, is to circumnavigate this evolutionary programming by assigning value to our time itself. In the last several years, that’s exactly what researchers have sought to do.
Assigning value to time
The popular saying states, “Money can’t buy you happiness,” but that isn’t entirely true. Data shows that the acquisition of wealth is positively correlated with higher levels of happiness — but only to a certain degree. Studies show that once individuals reach average annual salaries of around $50,000, more money won’t make you happier — but more time likely will.
To help us understand how our time and money impact our happiness, researches set out to assign value to hours well-spent. While the data is accurate, the research results aren’t exactly precise. Even still, they’re demonstrative nature sheds light on how we should be living.
Once an individual reaches an average median salary of approximately $50,000 per year, their time-value calculations are as follows:
● Shifting your mindset to prioritize your time rather than money brings a happiness boost equivalent to a $2,200 raise in your annual income
● Making time to regularly enjoy your meals (and with whom you spend them) may represent a happiness boost comparable to a $3,600 bump
● Spending more quality time with your significant other by outsourcing housecleaning or refraining from expensive gifts may represent a happiness increase equivalent to $4,000
Buying back your time
Given the data, Chad Everett Harris recommends all entrepreneurs seek out ways to actively buy back their own time in order to increase their happiness. This might include outsourcing disliked chores and refraining from time-consuming efforts to save cash (such as couponing and shopping around for small purchases).
Instead, that time could be better spent phoning your partner, playing with your pet, or savoring a few moments of relaxation. Even if it comes at a cost, your time is valuable and certainly well worth it.