“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A French woman, upon seeing Picasso in a Parisian restaurant, approached the great master and insisted that he put down his coffee and make a quick sketch of her. Graciously, Picasso obliged. When he was done, she took the drawing, put it in her handbag, and then pulled out her billfold.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked.

“5,000” was Picasso’s reply.

“$5,000? But it took you only three minutes!” she exclaimed.

“No,” Picasso answered. “It took me all my life.”

That’s how I feel about the work I do. My skills — as a marketer and small-business builder — are very valuable. If you want me to help you sell your products or grow your business, you can expect to pay me at least $2,000 an hour. And that’s only if I have the time … the work time … left in my schedule. If you want me to work evenings or weekends … or during my vacation … how much would it cost you to take up my personal time? You don’t want to ask.

Now, let’s talk about you.

If you are making $10 or $20 or even $50 an hour now, you are not practicing a financially valuable skill. I’ve told you how to solve that problem. And I’ve given you plenty of ideas about what kinds of skills bring in the big bucks (and where to go to learn them).

But let’s go back and review the whole process right now.

First, let’s talk about how to figure out what you are worth. On Wednesday, in Message #895 (“Use Your Time Productively by Knowing Your Hourly Rate”) , I told you how to figure out how valuable your time is: Take your yearly income and divide it by 50 weeks and then by 40 hours.

Now you know your dollar value per hour — today. If that number is less than $50 or less than you want it to be, go back and reread past ETR messages on (1) learning a financially valuable skill and (2) creating a second, part-time income.

The next thing you have to do … and you need to start this now … is make yourself as valuable as you can be at your present job. The point of Wednesday’s message was to give you a good idea how to do that. By delegating tasks that someone who is paid less than you are can do, you give yourself free time to focus on the really important, wealth-creating jobs that will propel your business forward and put you at the center of the action.

Today, I think we should apply this same formula — with a twist — to your non-working life.

In a nutshell: Figure your hourly value and then double it. From then on, make sure that every personal task you engage in is “worth” that amount of money to you.

Let’s say, for example, that you are currently worth $25 per hour. Your personal time would then be valued at $50 per hour. Let’s also say that you spend eight hours every weekend watching football on television. Ask yourself if you think the pleasure you get from watching football is worth $400 ($50 times eight hours) of your working time. If you feel it is, enjoy it. If it’s not, consider cutting down on the time you spend watching the boob tube. And when it comes to sitting down and spending time with the kids, do it as if you were a professional getting paid $50 an hour to do so.

We all have the same amount of hours in the day. How much you get paid for your hours of work and how much pleasure you get from the hours you don’t are both up to you.