Time Stylers founder Kate Christie is a time management specialist, speaker and the author of best selling book, Me Time – The Professional Woman’s Guide to Finding 30 Guilt-Free Hours a Month, which walks readers through a proven 5 step process to find and harness lost time.
When it comes to optimising how and where you spend your time, knowing what your time spend is costing you is key. In my last post I covered Financial Cost - thinking about your time in dollar terms is a great way to stress test whether you value your time.
But there are other cost layers to keep in mind. I like to think of these cost layers like cutting through a cake - the top layer of costs are financial and the next layer is your Opportunity Cost.
Opportunity Cost - the trade-offs
While we all have the same 24 hours a day - not all time is creat-ed equal. How you allocate, manage and then use your time in each of those hours will be very different.
Opportunity Cost is associated with anything of value (financial or otherwise, such as a lost benefit or lost pleasure) that you have to give up to acquire or achieve something else. Put simply - your trade-offs.
So, for example:
• If you choose to spend an hour of your time on Facebook each morning rather than going for a run, then in addition to what this costs you financially at your hourly rate, your Opportunity Cost is your workout;
• If you choose to spend 4 hours on a Sunday cleaning your home, then in addition to the financial cost, your Opportunity Cost is the 4 hours you could have spent having fun with your kids; a long lunch with your friends; or catching up with your family;
• If you choose to spend 10 hours a week working ‘in’ rather than ‘on’ your business, then your Opportunity Costs will include a myriad of strategic, partnership and client opportunities lost.
When it comes to choosing where to spend your time, ask your-self: ‘What is the trade-off?’ If the trade-off isn’t worth it and the Opportunity Cost is too great, make a better choice.
Next month: Emotional Costs