How to Calculate the Exact Worth of Your Time: A Handy Guide

There’s an old adage that time is money, but this is America in the 21st century, so vague-ass statements like that don’t fly anymore. Everything needs to be super-specific now. You can’t just find out how many people are visiting your website, you need to know how long they spent there, what pictures they looked at and what their dog’s name is (Doggie Howser M.D., obviously). No longer can we settle for simply equating time with money, we need to figure out exactly how much money every second of our time is worth so we can bill accordingly. The fact that I’m adding a superfluous sentence to this paragraph has probably slightly enraged someone because it just took up a few seconds of their billable time.

But in all seriousness, knowing the worth of your time could at the very least help you make more informed decisions on how to spend it at any given moment, which of course is the same thing as spending your money. I know this because I passed algebra and have a vague understanding of what an equation is. So this is a useful skill, and because I’m all about providing valuable public services on this blog, I’ve devised an easy way to calculate the exact worth of your time.

Here’s what you do:

1. Start With Your Annual Salary

If you’re not on salary, calculate how much you’ll make in 2015 or whatever year you’re reading this (hello future people, please tell me the Eagles will win a Super Bowl before the zombie apocalypse!)—if you want to be more precise, you could even account for taxes, but you don’t really want to spend too much time on this step.

2. Divide Your Yearly Income by 365 Days and 24 Hours Per Day

You predicted this step, didn’t you? Damn, you’re smart! I promise it gets more interesting. But for now, you’ve calculated roughly what you’d be making per hour on a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week basis. Because your time happens 24/7, not just during a 40-hour work week. Even your sleep time has value. Got it? OK, the next steps are the most important!

3. Write Down the Number You Just Came Up With on a Piece of Paper

I mean like an actual, physical piece of paper. If you don’t have any, just grab an envelope from the junk mail you 100% definitely got today and write it on there. Or tear a page out of that book you keep saying you'll read but you and I both know you won't, and even if you do it'll just be on a Kindle anyway. Take that piece of paper and look at the number you just wrote down for a moment. Let it really sink in, this gloriously simple reduction of your personal value.

4. Fold the Paper in Half Several Times

Just f#$%king do it, OK?

5. Find a Lighter or Match and Set the Paper on Fire

You might want to be near a sink for this, because your general net worth will definitely decrease dramatically if you burn your home to the ground.

Remember to put down the paper after you light it on fire.

6. Watch the Paper Burn to an Ashy Crisp

Because anyone who calculates the worth of their time based on how much money they make, what they do for a living, what they’ve accomplished, or anything even remotely related to those criteria is dead f#$%ing wrong. Those people have used a meaningless exercise to determine their value when the truth requires no computation whatsoever. Have you been using a system like steps 1 and 2 above? Stop. Stop it right now. You're wasting your own valuable time. You've missed one of the main points of life, because you should:

7. Realize That Your Time is Extremely, Infinitely Valuable

Invaluable, actually. More priceless than a Billy Crudup MasterCard moment. It’s also equally as valuable as every single other person’s time. No more, no less. Some high-powered CEOs like to think their time is worth more than yours and determine its worth with their salaries like we did at first, but while that may be slightly handy in determining how cost-effective a new, time-saving service might be for their professional day, for every other practical application it’s complete bullshit. Outside of basic capitalism, it’s a completely useless benchmark.

Time isn't money because it’s spent earning an hourly or yearly wage. It isn’t money in dollars and cents. Time is money as the overarching concept; it exists as its own pure currency of eternal value. And every second is equal, whether it belongs to a homeless person or Bill Gates, whether you're researching a cure for cancer or shooting zombies in the face in a video game, or in real life somehow (hello again, future people).

So use it wisely, because when you waste time doing pointless things, you're wasting something valuable that could be used toward a constructive goal. Not that we all have to be productive all the time; there is definitely such a thing as time well-wasted.

Just remember that whenever you’re thinking about using more of your time in order to make yourself more money, you’re actually spending more to make less.

That’s the exact worth of your time.

What's infinity minus the cost of skin grafts?