The old saying goes, “Time is money.” Benjamin Franklin was supposed to have made up this aphorism. The provenance is not clear, but the sentiment has lasted centuries. Is it true?

Let’s look at what time really is.

An Investment–When we put time into learning new things so that we can grow in skill and ability, we make an investment in our future. It could be personal growth or even satisfaction in increased competence. Time is capital.

Productivity–Time spent working could be thought of as money, but that work is also support of relationships with co-workers and clients, creativity and innovation. A client or a company pays you for that time, but money is not all it represents.

Experience–Especially when you are on a job search, how much time you spent in different roles becomes a commodity of its own. You made a salary or were paid an hourly rate, but the time spent performing the tasks and completing the projects in your previous jobs made you the professional you are today and provides the stories you will tell at your next interview.

A Finite Resource–There is a point in our working lives when we realize that we have a limited amount of time left for work, for family, for learning, for growth. We start to think about how we want to spend that resource. Money could run out, but time is sure to.

For me, it comes down to this: Time is time. And it is more valuable than money will ever be. When I invest my time in a client, I am making a choice not just to use their resources, but also my own. When I learn something new, I am investing in my future. When I decide to spend years with a company, I am hoping that those years will lead to more challenging roles. And when I spend time giving back, I know that time has more value to the organizations I volunteer with because their resources can go to the cause which is our shared passion.

Time is more than money. Time is the most valuable, most precious thing we have. How will you spend yours?

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

P.S. If you would like to get a glimpse of where I spent 30+ hours giving back last week, check out jbhsvma.com!