#39 Time Value

This is post #39 of my #365 day series.
Photo by Thomas Bormans on Unsplash

I had a few folks ask for my time today. I said no, because it was time that I already didn’t have. My friend Edmund Wang likes to refer to it as me taking out a loan against my youth to meet the demands of my current life. I won’t do it anymore. Why? I’ve invested enough in people to know when to stop and see whether the returns are worth it. I’ll spend time on people less fortunate, not those who are plenty fine but still want something from me. Every turn I make it feels like I’m about to get another ask from a person. The funny (or ironic) thing is that sometimes people ask for my time and tell me how much time they are going to save me. Funny how that works, you eat an hour or two of my time to sell me on how I can save an hour or two. I think this mentality falls in line with the concept of folks falling into one of two buckets — the givers and the takers. I’ve already written about this (see: Givers and Takers), but the givers usually wait for you to engage and ask how they can help. The takers either just take unabashedly or feign giving by talking about how much they can help you. I suppose it’s naïve for me to assume people would have read my previous work.

To take a bit of a tangent, this is another reason that I write, so folks can get my thinking down and can understand where I’m coming from. Isn’t that we all want? Someone to understand us? I don’t naturally interface well with others. This is a learned skill. I’m a happy person, but not necessarily a friendly person, so it takes energy to meet with one more person. I used to think there was something wrong with me. Most of my friends seemed to get along with others so easily, and yet here I was being a misanthrope. (It was probably a red flag that I read the dictionary at an early age just to find a word that I could relate to and misanthrope was the word I went with). Maybe it speaks volumes that Larry David is pretty much my spirit animal and the stuff he does in Curb Your Enthusiasm is pretty much straight out of my life.

Ok, back to the topic at hand. When we chat about “time value” in business, the first thing our minds jump to is the “time value of money” (TMV). The time value of money encapsulates the principle that the receipt of a dollar today is worth more than the receipt of that same dollar tomorrow. Why? Because time has value. Now, instead of money, I think about the value of time these days, because it’s the only resource I search for actively in my day. I don’t have enough hours, minutes, or seconds in the day. I’m constantly in a struggle to find more time. I typically wake up at 5:30am and go about my day until around 12am or 1am before I start to nod off. Then I repeat the cycle. As you can tell from the schedule I keep, I value my time higher than pretty much anything else in life. Money? I’m very fortunate that I’m in a position where I can always make money. I can’t, however, come up with more time. Sometimes I even trade money for more time (like when I pay someone else to wash my car…even though that hurts me a little inside because I really want to clean the car myself).

With that understanding, by asking for my time, you’re asking for the most precious and scarce resource I have. I’m a bit sorry I don’t have more time to give, and you didn’t catch me when my time was bountiful. Hopefully I’ll have more of it one day.




CEO / Chief Engineer of HyperDraft, Inc.

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Tony Thai

Tony Thai

CEO / Chief Engineer of HyperDraft, Inc.

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