The ROI of Time

Would you immediately think of money if I asked about your spending habits? I would wager that most would. Yet, what if I asked about another currency you spend each day? Maybe it’s a currency that you spend now while reading this article? It is a currency coined in words of ancient texts; crafted through tales of eras long since gone; and carries value unique to each individual. It has no stock market but its value is priceless. What is this ancient, present, and future commodity? Time.

What is time?

Time. We all have time. It is a measurement and, according to the Google Dictionary, it is:

The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.

Time for someone working in HR sometimes feels like a spinning clock rather than one that ticks second-by-second.

How we spend our time impacts our performance, productivity, and health. To illustrate this, let’s take a look at our past, present, and (yes) future.

Our PastThe ROI of TIME

As is time, each person possesses a unique past. Label it as you wish, but only you can claim it. We cannot change our past – once spent, there are no refunds or exchanges. So, what can we do? We CAN learn lessons from the good and the bad for application in our present.

HR Roles may vary, but we all carry the banners of our organizations’ policies and values. In the meantime, we strive for success as we hope to never rest upon our past accomplishments.

Our Present

How many of us wish there were more hours in a day? Maybe just an extra hour for completion of a non-work project? Or, maybe you would go to the gym if only you had one extra hour? There are a lot of maybe moments and are unique to all – a maybe for you may not be the same for me.

Robin Schooling recently stated in an article, Masters of Fundamentals:

Working in human resources takes a lot of knowledge and a unique ability to apply it when the world seems to be crashing down; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

It’s important to make wise choices on how we choose to spend our time – regardless of your profession…HR or other. I encourage you to take a look within and evaluate how you spend your time. You can do this by doing the following (It works – I completed this task just recently!):

Using pen and paper or online, create a log of your general daily activities for one week. (Don’t review them – just log them. NOTE: The log only needs the general activity…..going to work…went to store…watched TV.)

Once the week concludes, it is time to review. Place the items into the following categories:

  • Self
  • Family
  • Work
  • Social
  • Professional Dev
  • Projects

Evaluate the item’s ROI as it regards to your time and energy.  

Remember, YOUR time is your currency.

Our Future

In a previous post, Are you a 20 or an 80?, I quoted the following:

“It doesn’t work like that. Some people live more in twenty years than others do in eighty. It’s not the time that matters, it’s the person.”

Most of my ROI “Ah-Ha” moments were attributed to activities outside of work. Those items ranking the highest seemed to have repeating characteristics:

  • Personal enjoyment resulting from participation
  • A feeling of appreciation
  • A feeling of excitement
  • Consistency & Quality


Find what matters to you and invest with care. Not seeing the necessary performance to meet YOUR standards? Make a withdrawal and invest where the chronal interest rate maximizes your return. After all, you only live once!

I would expect that anyone reviewing their own list – reviewing it to quantify the ROI on their own time – might find things that don’t carry the ROI needed to sustain continuation. Maybe that book club is taking too much time? Maybe you watch too much weekend TV? Maybe….

We all change. We grow. We learn to appreciate this finite currency and can then make wiser choices in the manner in which we spend it.

How did you spend your time today?

How will you spend it tomorrow?

Remember, your time is your currency.  


Leave a Reply