FEATURE: Time Is Money

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Acclaimed poet and rapper Solomon OB has some wise words about how valuing your time can help you earn more from your creativity.

‘One day I stopped and thought about it. An hour of my life is worth more than £7. That’s insulting isn’t it?’

‘One day I stopped and thought about it. An hour of my life is worth more than £7. That’s insulting isn’t it?’

The above is a snippet of a conversation between myself and a bandmate as we drove to a show. He proceeded to vent his frustrations about his job, his salary that barely poked it’s nose above minimum wage and the lack of value inherently felt by those who make the wheels of any business turn, whilst their higher ups fail to treat them with the respect this deserves.

This short conversation proved influential on my mind state. Like most of us, I’d always thought the minimum wage was never really minimum enough, but I’d never really thought about it in these terms before. An actual hour of my life being worth just £7. It made me reassess the value I put on my own time. I knew an hour of my life was surely worth more than than this, but how much more? Surely the value I placed on my time should be reflected in how I spent it?

So often I hear the same cry ring out… ‘I really want to do (insert creative endeavour) but I just don’t have the time’ or ‘When I get home from work I’m just so tired’. And here lies the dilemma for so many of us. We obviously have to work in order to pay the bills but this can often drain us of the energy we would love to invest in something creatively fulfilling. So how do we overcome this? How do we break the cycle of feeling like we are slaving from Monday to Friday, to only then need the weekend to relax, unwind and get pissed before we enter back into the daily grind?

‘When I get home from work I’m just so tired’

The answer, somewhat unsurprisingly, lies in our time management and choice of recreation. If we complain about our lack of free time but come home and kill hours endlessly flicking through Instagram or devouring a whole series of (insert shit tv here – and  yeah, we’ve all done it) then therein lies the problem. The reality is that most of us have some free time each day, but how are we using it?

HOW ARE WE SPENDING OUR TIME?

Examine the language we use in relation to time. We SPEND time, we INVEST time, we WASTE time. We speak about time in the same fashion we do money, yet we seem to view them differently. Both are precious resources and how wisely we use them determines so much of our circumstance, our happiness. How often do we complain of time wasted?

With that in mind, let’s look at what we’re actually doing when we come home from work, glue ourselves to the sofa for the evening and indulge in a session of social media and Netflix binges. We engage in these activities in an attempt to relax when, in reality, we all know of that nagging restlessness that comes when we feel we are wasting time. In contrast, we can easily view our creative passions as simply being more ‘work’ in our minds and as a result, we fall into the familiar pattern of coming home from a long day and struggling to find the motivation to start what we know we want to do deep down. Frustration inevitably follows as our creative urges go unfulfilled.

This is a key aspect in tackling a problem that pertains to so many of us. Switching the lens through which we view our creative goals. We need to be able to see them as time that allows us to nourish ourselves whilst also facilitating the unwinding and alleviating of the day’s acquired stresses.

Let’s face it, in the beginning, starting up a new project or getting back to an old one will feel a bit like work. There is a level of energy, focus and commitment required to get things off the ground. But what slowly starts to happen is that your passion projects BECOME your downtime, your way to relax. Rather than draining you of your energy in the same way your 9-5 does, your hobby begins to energise you. It becomes work and play simultaneously. Enjoying yourself whilst also investing in your own goals, as opposed to someone else’s.

By investing your time in yourself to pursue your passions, you are consciously making decisions that are simultaneously of benefit to you in the present, by making you happier, whilst also providing consideration to your future self.

THE PAYOFF

The well worn maxim of ‘time is money’ may be stained by its association to a ruthless Wall Street banker-esque mindset, but the heart of the expression rings true for us all. The investment of time in yourself may at first seem fruitless when there is no money coming in from it, but it’s important to always hold the understanding that eventually, if you keep going, someone will pay you. Not just for your current time either, but for all the previous hours, months and years you’ve invested into your craft. The level of technical skill, knowledge, and expertise you hold and are developing is worth a lot to the right people and it should be to you too, so start building it now. Even if you’re not 100% sure what your real passion is, pursuing what you enjoy can never steer you far wrong.

The return of money for my investment of time is now more immediate than ever.

When I’m being paid to perform live, it’s not merely that performance that is being paid for. It’s the years of stagecraft that have slowly been developed, it’s every interview watched and absorbed, it’s every performer I’ve seen live who’s left an impression on me, it’s every piece of advice received from those more experienced. Every show that left me feeling Iike a master of my craft and, even more so, those that left me feeling like I was back at square one. It’s my time invested.

In being paid to write this article, the time invested drafting the notes for this idea long before it was even commissioned, weeks before I even saw the November features advertised, is now paying for itself. This is the most tangible way for me to express this idea because I can now clearly chart it in time (notes for this article were jotted in August. It was commissioned in October). The return of money for my investment of time is now more immediate than ever. It’s ‘all paying off’ so to speak, but it took years of dedicated writing for the sheer love of it to get here. Many evenings of coming home from work and investing in myself, my art.

When I thought about writing this article getting paid wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. What drove that action was the passion for expressing the idea, for writing, for getting it out. When the opportunity presented itself, I was ready.

For the majority of us, we are at work getting paid to do things we would otherwise choose not to. With your passions, you are doing them because you get a genuine sense of enjoyment out of them. Through loving what you do you get so good that eventually someone will want to pay you for it.

So yes, the money may not come in immediately, it may not come ever, but what better investment to make than on something that has no expiry and brings real joy. Something that will not degrade over time as objects do, but something that can actually develop with age. The sharpening of intellect, the refining of process, skills and taste, the more astute application of knowledge and experience. These are tools that will serve us a lifetime. Our society makes it easy for people to believe that making money is paramount and self-fulfilment can often be neglected as a result, but placing more value on time, as opposed to money, could have a great impact on the way we perceive every aspect of our lives.

Time is money, spend it well.

Check out Cashpointers, a finance and money management service for young people in social housing

This article was made possible with funding from Cashpointers.

What are your money-saving tips? Let us know @rifemag