The Value of Time

“You can buy more things but you can’t buy more time.”

Rich or poor, young or old, we all have 24 hours in any given day and with a huge pressure on our work schedules, social calendar, and of course travel around this wonderful continent of ours, how do we make our waking hours work for us instead of against?

When was the last time you sat in traffic in Central and kept thinking how much better that time could be used for something else? Time is irreplaceable and its why a new study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that people of all income levels would choose to purchase services that save them time, instead of items and disposables, to make them happy.

Over 6,000 adults, around 800 of them millionaires, chose to spend money, notably small sums, on services that gave them more time to do the things they enjoyed and remove stress, instead of consumer goods. Why? It made them happier. Paying for someone to do your dry cleaning may afford you the time to go for a hike with your kids. Or paying for an Uber may get you to your meeting earlier which allows your more time to read the paper and enjoy a coffee when you arrive instead of the MTR elbow battles.

It is certainly understandable to expect the more wealthy amongst society to spend money on services to make their lives ‘easier’. But can the rest of us learn something from that? What value do we put on our time, and therefore how much would you spend to get some back each day?

Read on for  Pinnacle’s top 5, happiness creating, time saving tips for life in Hong Kong.

1. Lunch Delivery 

Without removing the education and understanding of how to make a balanced and healthy meal, we have found great success in the ease, the time saved, and the resulting enjoyment of having our lunches brought to us. Whether it allows us to get out of the office earlier that day, or enjoy a Sunday afternoon without having to shop and cook, we believe that a qualified chef making us lunch and sending it to our desks is money well spent.



2. Airline Loyalty

A top executive once told me he never queues. Wow. Imagine that. So I took the bait and purchased the lowest tier Cathay loyalty membership I could get for my meagre miles. This now means I can arrive 30 minutes later and jump into that long lusted for shorter boarding line. The odd upgrade is a perk, but the time I save has certainly made the USD$80 per year money well spent.



3. Supermarket Delivery

Don’t get me wrong, somethings you just cant trust to someone else. Picking your own fruit and vegetables, or eyeballing that especially juicy steak in the display fridge is a personal choice. However would we be more relaxed if we selected an hour that we were at home with our family instead and let a delivery driver bring us our tinned goods, bathroom toiletries, and dry ingredients? We think so. So we do…



4. Home Help

You may think this is outside the normal household budget but hear me out. Hiring someone for 2 hours per week to clean your kitchen, bathroom and do some ironing will cost you about $150HKD. That’s the cost of 2 pints. In a society like Hong Kong you are also creating jobs and stimulating the multiplier effect in our economy. So don’t feel guilty. Just do it.



5. Furniture Assembly

Unless you are some kind of zen master who actually enjoys putting together Ikea furniture, just pay the extra for someone else to do it. They usually charge 10% of the item for delivery and assembly. It will save you so much time, frustration and quite possibly your relationship!



By Tom Summers, Director and Senior Strength and Conditioning Coach.


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