Times They are A-changin’

Want to become a millionaire? Figure out a way to create time for others. You read that right. Time, not money, is the need of the hour. It’s always been. We just didn’t know it.

Published: 08th July 2018 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th July 2018 09:02 AM   |  A+A-

A cashier displays the new 2000 Indian rupee banknotes inside a bank in Jammu, November 15, 2016. (Photo | Reuters)

Reuters file image used for representational purposes.

Want to become a millionaire? Figure out a way to create time for others. You read that right. Time, not money, is the need of the hour. It’s always been. We just didn’t know it. The idea that time is more precious than money can take a little, er, time to get used to, especially for those with little money or those who think they have time on their side (aka, the young). The truth is nobody really knows how much time one’s got; it’s highly unreliable. No one tells you when to run, you miss the starting gun.

It is also limited. A day, for everyone, has only a fixed number of hours, minutes, seconds, to fill. Once used up, it can’t be regained, not by the prince, nor the pauper.That’s what makes it so valuable. Money can be replaced, time can’t. In fact, you can use your time well and make more money. But no matter how adroitly you use your funds, there’s no way to buy more time.

We didn’t always understand that. Once, we focused only on money to figure out how much we could save or allocate to a pet project after we’d met our expenses. We laboured day and night on jobs and chores we didn’t like just to save money, giving little thought to the fact that they kept us away from doing the things we actually liked. Cost-effective was the buzz of the day, no one gave a flying fish about time-effective.

That’s changed now. With more funds going around than before, once they’ve built up what they consider a healthy bank account, people today put the most stock in making meaningful use of their hours. They value time over money and experiences over acquisitions. They know they can’t create more time so they try and extract as much as they can from what they have, each moment, each day. They free up their existing hours by outsourcing chores and investing in time-saving devices and services. This is not just convenient, it is also good for  health: Psychologists say prioritising time over money makes for greater happiness.

You could argue that these are indulgences of the rich; that only those with money can talk about the higher value of time. I’d say you’re wrong. Poor or rich, everyone wants more time—with the family, with friends, with the hobbies they hold close to their heart. Yes, the rich can hire help, but today the middle-class can tap technology—which accounts for the popularity of time-saving apps like Hotstar (for when people want entertainment but don’t want to venture out), Zomato (for when they don’t want to cook at home), Paytm (when they don’t want to go to the bank), Saavn (when they’re feeling musical) and Dunzo (when they need their veggies picked up).

Consumer experts call this spending on premium services to regain time for the things one loves the ‘DIFM’ (do it for me) phenomenon. While DIY (do it yourself) businesses have been popular worldwide, DIFM has always existed in India. But only for a certain class of people. Technology and the new appreciation of time have widened the constituency.

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