The value of your time = The value of your mental health

What is your time worth to you?

The value of your time and mental health

Good morning from Tenerife, the Canary Islands, off the coast of Spain. I snuck away with my daughter for a few days, a last vacation before she starts school and I start several new consulting projects and keynote speeches around the world.

My daughter is the Queen of asking questions, (as most nine-year-olds are, I assume,) but one of the questions she asked me as we got to Newark Airport to fly here stuck with me, and is the basis for this email.

"Dad, (she moved on from "Daddy" a few years ago) why do we go on this line with no people, instead of the line over there with all the people?"

I explained to her that because I travel as much as I do, I get some special perks that the airline only gives to those who travel like me, and she followed up asking why that was important to me. So we did some basic math together:

I travel about 200 days a year for work. Average wait time at TSA is 35 minutes. For me, it's closer to three minutes. 35 minutes minutes times 200 days a year is 350 hours, or 14.5 days. I'm saving almost HALF A MONTH just in the TSA lines alone. Add in the same amount for checking-in, half that time for international immigration, and I'm saving close to A MONTH of time where I can do more productive things, simply because of how much I travel. I think she understood that.

But here's the point I'm trying to make to you - You don't have to be a frequent flier to appreciate what saving time can do for you. All you have to do is understand how much your time is worth, and how it connects to your mental health.

READ MORE: Believe in yourself

Example: Yesterday, I took my daughter to Siam Park, a spectacular water park here in Tenerife. I've learned from previous experiences that when you have a kid, there's only one thing worth paying for at a water park: A cabana. The kid will always want water, will be too hot, too cold, too wet, will need a bathroom, will want a different swimsuit, be randomly hungry, you name it. A cabana makes all those problems disappear. At Siam Park, a cabana also comes with free food and drinks, plus - and here's the key - unlimited fast-pass for all the slides. Total cost of the cabana with fast pass and food/drink? $530. Total cost for two regular tickets plus lunch, drinks, snacks, locker rental, etc? About $320. So for $210 extra dollars, here's what happened:

Each time we went on a slide, our wait time went from 35-45 minutes to less than three minutes. She fell in love with one particular slide, and we went on it EIGHT TIMES. Even if we downplay the wait times to 30 minutes, that's FOUR HOURS OF WAITING that we cut to less than 24 minutes.

Assuming you have seven hours or so at a water park, would you rather spend four of those seven hours waiting on line, or just under 24 minutes? For parents: Can you handle waiting on line with a wet child for over four hours? I know I couldn't. Additionally, we didn't have to fight for a place to sit at the restaurants, or worry our stuff would be stolen. We didn't have to scavenge for a beach chair, or spend the entire day in the hot sun. (And hey, I didn't mind the unlimited ice cream, if we're being honest.)

Now: An argument could be made that not everyone can afford to spend an extra $210, and I get that - so I'll ask again - what is your time worth?

Maybe your time is worth an extra $10 for a nicer Uber to the airport, or an extra $4.95 delivery fee from Instacart or FreshDirect so you save a few hours shopping. Maybe it's worth $75 or $100 to hire a cleaning person once a week so you come home to a clean house or apartment?

Here's my point: Your mental health and your time are closely related. If you're constantly running around complaining that you don't have enough time, that has a negative effect on every aspect of your life. If there's an easy way to fix that, I can't imagine anything in the world more worth the spending of a few extra dollars.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and protect your brain as well as your heart.

Much love,


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