Paying For Time

Published on 12 October 2005 in , , , , , , , ,

Here’s a question. How much is your time worth?

A discussion in the canteen recently involved around one of my colleagues saying about how he is less inclined to do DIY and more inclined to get someone in to do things – it’s about balancing up how much your free time is worth in comparison to the cost of getting someone in.

And that was a thought going through my mind this morning. Rather than doing my increasingly torturous route of changing onto an overcrowded train at Balham, then changing onto an overcrowded train at Clapham Junction (cursing Southern trains at every available opportunity for their incompetence) and walking the mile and a half from Kensington Olympia to the office, I simply decided just to stay on.

The Northern Line was overcrowded, but I had a seat. At Stockwell I let one train go by, then a minute later got on another and got a seat. At Oxford Circus, a few minutes walk to the platform, but hey, I got a seat. I arrived at the office 10 minutes early feeling more refreshed.

Of course it cost me £1.70 extra to go that way – for a 10 minute saving, is it worth it? Well okay maybe not for ten minutes, but on the other side, I got almost triple the reading time I normally have. I did lose the 30 minute walk which is part of my exercise routine, but on the flip side, I joined the gym on Monday so that I’d be able to start swimming again – an exercise I enjoy a lot more.

And added to that, I had a far more comfortable journey. I didn’t stand once – I usually get a seat at Colliers Wood anyway, at Stockwell the Victoria Line has only just started so is usually reasonably empty, and loads of people get off the westbound Central Line at Oxford Circus too, so seats aren’t a huge problem. Plus I get in ten minutes earlier, so I can leave ten minutes earlier.

Time is relative to money, but sometimes perhaps time is worth paying for.