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Time vs. Money: Measuring Your ROI

I recently shared a time lapse video of my daughter and I creating my temporary studio backdrop. When I decided I wanted to create an at-home studio space, I began to contemplate the look and what I would need to purchase. In my effort to constantly stretch my mental and physical abilities, the idea came to me. "What do we have around the house that I can use?" I presented the idea to my very creative daughter, and she came up with this great idea. But there was both a reward and cost to this decision.

There are two ways we pay for everything; we either pay with our time or we pay with our money. Whether we realize it or not, we have all been in scenarios in which we had to choose if we had enough time to spare or enough money. A number of sources state that the average adult makes approximately 35,000 decisions per day and at least one of those decisions require the choice between time or money.

The Value of Your Decision

Value is tied to both time and money, but here's the difference - you can make back money that is lost, but time can never be returned. I am sure you have heard at least one story of the financially successful entrepreneur who lost everything but was able to rebuild and produce an even greater fortune. However, when was the last time you heard about someone who lost her time and was able to make a comeback with more? The best you can do is reclaim your time.

Estimate your Return on Investment

When I need to decide whether I will spend time or money, I first estimated the potential return on investment. I do this by asking myself the following questions:

What do I hope to gain by using (money/time) versus the other?

When you use time, you save money and when you use money, you save time so the question is, which one gives you the greater return? In other words,

How will this ROI improve my life?

In my case, I determined that using my time to work with my daughter to create my studio wall yielded a higher return on investment because quality time with my family holds great value to me. Plus, when I share in ways that bring my family joy (my daughter is an artist/designer), it is an added benefit. #DoubleWin

Does the ROI tap into any of my values?

The value of your return should directly correlate to your core values. Values are the boundaries in which we choose to live our lives. When we are clear on our values, the decision-making process around time and money become substantially clearer.

Determine Your Risk/Reward Scenarios

Once I estimate my ROI, I then determine the risk/reward scenario. Since estimating my ROI provided the potential reward, I now focus on counting the cost of the amount of time versus money I will be losing and why it is worth or not worth the loss. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

What will I lose by using (money/time)?

If there's one thing we all have to come to grips with, it's that sometimes, something's gotta give. We can't have our cake and eat it too when it comes to money vs time decisions. In my case, as I stood outside in the dead of winter painting those boards (I'm so grateful it was a 50-degree day!), thinking about all the things I needed to get done, I felt the loss of time. But at the end, it cost me some sleep, catching up with my work.

How will the loss of (money/time) impact me?

Calculating the risk is an important measure. Every decision we make has an impact, some are immediate, and others are long-term. Before I decided to invest my time into this project, I had to be clear on the impact of the tasks I would be putting off.

There are days when you simply need the time because the risk is too great or vice versa. In either case, be clear on the risk/reward scenarios and decide accordingly.

At the end of the day, the time I invested in my studio project greatly out measured the time lost. The loss of time was an amount I was willing to part with for the opportunity to create a memorable experience with my family that saved me hundreds of dollars, expanded my creative abilities and provided positive reinforcement for my physical fitness journey.

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