We Can’t Talk About Productivity Without Talking About Personal Finance

The overlap between personal finance and productivity can be a little surprising, but it’s certainly there. Look at any productivity blog and you’ll see at least a few posts about how to save money. Look at any personal finance blog and you’ll see some posts on how to save time. It’s because, in the end, time and money are virtually the same thing.

If you’ve got money, you can trade it for time — just think about the ideas surrounding hiring a virtual assistant. The opposite is just as true, otherwise no one would ever work at a job. We might do things that interested us, but it would be a lot harder to convince your average office drone to come into work every morning without financial incentive.

But Why Should We Talk About Them Together?

While there’s no denying the overlap between productivity and personal finance, it’s still a little bit rare to see advice about both topics in the same paragraph. A lot of advice about productivity focuses on finding a balance between working (spending our time in pursuit of money) and using our time for something more enjoyable. There’s one solution that doesn’t get quite the attention of others: make more money. If, after all, you can make more money each hour you work, you will have to work fewer hours in order to spare some time for enjoyment.

Take it a step beyond that and earn even more money, and all of a sudden you’re in a position where you can truly afford to buy some time. That can mean that you can afford to have someone else mow the lawn while you relax or it might mean that you can afford a full-time assistant to make your life incredibly easy. Of course, you can make things work in the other direction, as well: you can spend time on increasing your income to the point that you can afford other things. If you really get things going, you can actually use the combination of time and money to start reducing the overall number of hours you work while still earning money — that’s due to the fact that, at a certain point, it becomes possible to buy other people’s time for less than your own is worth.

Paying for Productivity: Is it Good?

Personally, I feel like this topic doesn’t get enough attention. Maybe it’s because, on some levels, it feels wrong. I’ve heard plenty of discussions about the rights and wrongs of hiring someone inexpensively, whether we’re talking about freelancers, virtual assistants based on the other side of the globe and so on. It seems like, on some levels, we should feel bad about paying money to have someone be productive for us.

But I think it’s something we should be talking about. If all the variations on how a person can wind up working for another person are any kind of indication, this is one of the biggest discussions that is possible in both productivity and personal finance. It’s something we need to be talking about, especially if we’re concerned that some aspects may feel like exploitation. It’s hard to tell from a cursory glance, but the more we talk about such subjects, I feel, the more we’ll be able to understand what’s fair and what isn’t.

I’m perfectly content to hire someone to help me up my personal productivity by taking some of the more basic work off my shoulders. I’m willing to pay for my productivity.

Add Productivity to Personal Finance

Of course, we need to make sure things go the other direction, as well: we need to use the skills we hone by getting ourselves organized and productive to make sure our personal finance are in order. I’m talking about more than making sure that box of receipts in the closet is in good order.

It’s a question of seeing where we can make our own individual personal finances better. They’re personal for a reason — my finances don’t match yours because I have different priorities and different needs. You may not find it necessary to have a separate category for ‘books’ in your budget, but I’d probably go crazy if I didn’t. Just as productivity advice isn’t universal, personal finance advice can’t help everybody.

But there’s an easy entry point into personal finance if you already know what methods and approaches help you stay productive in other areas of your life. If you can integrate personal finance with the rest of your systems, you can make your life a lot easier.

Flickr image by emdot

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2 Responses to “ We Can’t Talk About Productivity Without Talking About Personal Finance ”

  1. DIY Investor says:

    I agree. There is a lot written about how to be more frugal but another way to do it is to make more money. Productivity and finance are definitely related! Another related concept is economies of scale. That is one way to get really productive! You can explain your ideas one on one or you can blog and reach hundreds with the same effort. Technology offers us great economies of scale opportunities,
    Nice site.

  2. John Soares says:

    Thursday, you’ve explored several very important points in this post. Some thoughts:

    1. Having extra money gives me the capital for starting new businesses.

    2. It’s important to manage effectively the money we have. This includes setting a budget and paying strict attention to income and outgo, but also watching any other investments we have — stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.

    3. It’s important to pay others to do things for us when we either make more money per hour doing what we do than we pay them, or they are so much better at it than we are (like web design, for example).

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