What Is Your Value Towards Time

Routine or practicing a similar habit everyday may sound mundane or boring to most people. Practicing a same routine daily doesn’t necessarily make you successful but almost every successful people that I know have a routine.

I am honoured to be invited by the Lions Club of Ipoh Athes to their inaugural Self Enrichment Series Talk to share my thoughts about utilising time effectively at home.

Ooi Zhi Yi speaking through Zoom
Photo by @mxkwang

Many thought that I will be sharing about the tools, techniques and methods in scheduling our time, but to me, that is a secondary topic. Once you discover the primary or more important idea about time, then the secondary part comes easy.

Before I share what I think about using your time, let’s look at the routine of some famous and successful people that I found in Google.


Note: There are slightly different versions of each person’s routine, but it is roughly as referenced below.

Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

6.45am: Works out, read the news, breakfast with the family
8.50am: Begins work just before 9.00am
6.30pm: Have dinner with family, hangout with the children
8.30pm: Read briefing papers, paperworks and writing

Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

7.30am: Wakes up but stays in bed until about 11.00am while having his breakfast, reading newspapers and dictating to secretaries
11.00am: Take his bath and have a walk in the garden
1.00pm: Multi-course lunch with family and guests
3.30pm: Return to work
5.00pm: Nap for an hour and half
6.30pm: Work, bath and prepare himself for dinner
8.00pm: Dinner with guests, where drinks and cigars accompanied the meal. Often they would stay up past midnight. Afterward, Churchill would return to his study and work for an hour before bed.

Steve Jobs, Founder of Apple Inc.

He reminds and reevaluates himself every morning. Looked in the mirror and asks himself, “If today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am doing today?”

Benjamin Franklin, Inventor

4:00 AM: Wake, wash, eat breakfast, think about what he wants to accomplish for the day.
8:00AM – 12:00PM: Work.
12:00PM–1:00PM: Lunch while reading or looking over accounts.
5:00PM: Conclude work, finish the day with dinner, cleaning, music and conversation, reflect on the day.
10:00PM: Bed.

The reason I am sharing the routines of these people is to show how different individuals uses their time.

We cannot deny that each of them are successful people, but their success is not determined by how early they wakes up. Benjamin Franklin wakes up at 4am; Winston Churchill stays in his bed until 11.00am.

Spending time effectively is not necessarily all about work. President Obama still puts importance to his family in his daily routine but still performs in his work.

If it is not about maximising your time and making sure you use the time effectively every second, then what it is?


I think we should be clear that nobody in this world waste their time. I believe that all of us, every single person in this world uses our time effectively. The matter is, what do we use it for?

A person who sleeps 12 hours a day uses half of his time to sleep, effectively.

A teenager might be playing online games 16 hours a day, and another might be studying 16 hours a day as well. Both of them are using their time effectively, it’s just using it for a different purpose.

During the sharing session, the audience was asking how can they avoid procrastination and focus in their study or work. My answer is that procrastination does not exist, we only decide to put our value of time towards some other tasks over studying/working.


When we talk about utilising time effectively, many starts to discuss about what tools to use, how do we track our habits and time, and many more technical methods.

But I think what is more important is our value towards time; what tasks do we think our time is worth for.

I’ll use lunch time as an analogy as different people spend different hours for their lunch.

James has an extremely heavy workload in his job that he cannot afford to waste his time for lunch. So he ordered his lunch to be send to his desk, and have it while he is working.

Melissa might be as workaholic as James, but she doesn’t want to get distracted during working on her tasks, so she gets a quick 15-minute lunch break alone, and continue with her work.

Jennifer is a productive person, but he also wants to spend quality time for his lifestyle. He spends a good one hour for lunch with his colleagues or friends while chatting about different topics that are not related to work.

Zack, the entrepreneur, takes a very long lunch, ranging from one to three hours. But she always invites other entrepreneurs, her managers, business partners and influential people over for lunch. During that lunch, they talk about business, plans and the future.

Four of them, James, Melissa, Jennifer and Zack values their lunch time differently, but you can’t say that they are unproductive. Each of them are spending their lunch productively. Whether it is a 15 minute or a three hour lunch, they just value it differently.

It is the same with all parts of our lives, and how we value each of our time.

An adult who is in the rat race may value his or her time to work more than for leisure. But three year old kids thinks that their time is worth playing and have fun all day long.

Once we have identified what our values for time are, it will then be easy for us to put it into utilisation.

Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t think that his time is worth to decide on small matters like what to wear each morning. So he eliminates the time to do that by wearing identical clothes every day.


To summarise all, there is no perfect way in utilising your time. You’ve got to first identify your values, and put priority over scheduling the values into your time.

Find what is important to you, decide what actions and tasks that will help you to achieve your goals and objectives. then prioritise those actions and tasks in your schedule.