If you own a business, then you’re no stranger to work. Unfortunately, it’s easy to be busy for 60 hours a week without making much progress. The reason many owners find themselves on this unprofitable treadmill is because success is not simply a matter of working hard, it’s a matter of doing the right kind of work. You need to be doing work that will leverage your efforts and get you closer to your goals. This starts when you learn to recognize the real value of your time.
Benjamin Franklin said that “time is money". It’s a great analogy because it highlights the tremendous value of time, though I’m sure he would have agreed that when it gets right down to it, time is infinitely more valuable than money. After all, unlike money, once it’s gone you can never get time back.
If you want to ensure you are maximizing the value of your time, consider the following.
First, ask yourself what your “working” time is worth. For example, if you have the potential to generate an annual income of $200,000, then your time is worth about $100 per hour, based on a typical workweek. If you find yourself spending time doing work in your shop that’s worth $10 per hour, like washing your storefront windows, then you are essentially wasting the equivalent of $90 per hour of your time.
Now don’t get me wrong. If your business is still in its early stages I fully understand that you likely need to spend some of your time on this type of work in order to preserve cash flow. But in the long run “spending time” on work of minimal value will cost you more than it will save you. Not just financially, but physically, mentally, and emotionally as well.
So ask yourself, is the work you are currently doing is paying you less than you are truly worth? If it is, what kind of work should you be doing? If you are like most small business owners, the key to increasing the value of your time is in knowing how to invest it. For example, instead of cleaning your windows for an hour, you could invest that hour into designing a more efficient system for cleaning your windows. If your new system saved you ten minutes per day, then over the course of a year you would have saved an entire week’s worth of time. That’s a pretty good return on your one hour investment.
By investing your time now, not only will you significantly improve your business, but you will free up more of your time for your future. That means more time for your family, more time for your friends, more time for yourself, and even more time for your business. This small, yet significant shift in your thinking, will allow you to achieve more, with less effort, and in less time than anything else.