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Lane Service Sharing Network

How to use the Time Bank to have more time


So you may feel like you don't have enough time in your life. You are not alone! Time poverty is an epidemic in America. By time poverty we mean not having the time to do all the things you need to maintain your life, much less really relax, take moments to actually be with yourself, or spend quality time with loved ones.

So if you feel like you have no time, how can a time bank work for you? You need to pay attention to how the services you give and receive affect your abundance or lack of time, and offer services that take little extra time for you, but create significant savings for others, and receive services that actually save you time.

For instance, offer a service that you are going to do anyways, and can do it for 2 or more almost as easily as doing it for one. Examples – child care, grocery shopping (especially at a store that many people would have to drive to), driving kids to activities, canning fruits and vegetables. Cook a huge meal once or twice a week and offer to folks in LSSN from your neighborhood, you can ask for a monetary pass through cost for the ingredients.

Look at something at which you are skilled, that you do quickly and well, and would take more time for someone else, and offer that.

Being both money and time poor can be the most challenging situation. Many people in that situation have become experts at ways to get things cheaply. Share that knowledge! For instance if were an expert at finding the lowest food prices, you could publish a list of the best deals of the week, and you could ask that if anyone get benefit from your listings, they credit you with ¼ or ½ hour. That could add up.

Folks who are time poor but have decent amount of resources have other options. We allow people to include goods and resources in exchanges. While we don't want to recreate the capitalist system with folks who are resource rich receiving lots of time, and balancing that by just giving away resources. If there are exchanges where you can share some of your resources for a reasonable amount of time, you can create something that enriches both people involved, go for it. You might let someone use storage space, let someone use your washer and dryer, borrow your car, etc. For more details check out Goods and Resources

Now what can you receive that will be time positive? Think of all the things you do in your life that take time. Which give you no inherent satisfaction, and may even cause you stress? Ask people to do those for you. Driving, shopping, cleaning, taxes, etc. You may think, how can I ask someone else to do this activity that is pure drudgery? This task is pure drudgery for YOU, but chances are there is someone who does not mind that task and may even enjoy it. Ask for folks to do tasks you are not skilled at and so they often take a long time for you, but might not for others. And ask for services you would have pay for. Eventually if you save enough money, you can work less. 

Some tips for making exchanges that are time efficient:

  • Look for folks with whom you can have ongoing exchanges so you do not have to renegotiate, explain, and develop trust every single time

  • Driving and other forms of transportation cost time, give and receive with people who live close to you or are right on your transportation route whenever possible

  • Exchanges involving care or supervision of children often take time to develop trust. It can be worth it. A good child care person or family can be a great benefit over a long period of time