Value your time, and the time of your team.

How do you value your time? Naval Ravikant, the entrepreneur and investor co-founder of AngelList, took this literally and put a mental hourly rate on his time, so he could have more clarity when deciding where to spend it:

“Value your time at an hourly rate, and ruthlessly spend to save time at that rate. You will never be worth more than you think you’re worth. No one is going to value you more than you value yourself. You just have to set a very high personal hourly rate and you have to stick to it. Even when I was young, I just decided I was worth a lot more than the market thought I was worth, and I started treating myself that way. Always factor your time into every decision. How much time does it take? It’s going to take you an hour to get across town to get something. If you value yourself at one hundred dollars an hour, that’s basically throwing one hundred dollars out of your pocket. Are you going to do that?”

“Fast-forward to your wealthy self and pick some intermediate hourly rate. For me, believe it or not, back when you could have hired me…Which now obviously you can’t, but back when you could have hired me…this was true a decade ago or even two decades ago, before I had any real money. My hourly rate, I used to say to myself over and over, is $5,000 an hour. Today when I look back, really it was about $1,000 an hour.”

– Naval Ravikant, from Eric Jorgenson’s The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

The idea is easy to grasp and appealing, and effective. But let’s take it a step further.

How do you value the time of your team and the people that work for you? If you had to assign an hourly rate to their work, what would be it? Not the cost in salary terms, but the cost in terms of value added. Think in terms of company profits, if you want.

When you schedule a 1-hour weekly meeting with your team of five just for follow-up, you are not spending one hour. You are spending five hours, at the rate you’ve just estimated above1. Does the outcome of the meeting match that number?

  1. Don’t get me started about people that schedule Zoom meetings just to verify that everyone on their team is working. ↩︎

productivity creating value Naval Ravikant

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