It is easy to rattle off old proverbs in an attempt to sum up what is a very real-life situation faced by many contractors and small business owners today. But phrases like ‘time is money’ really only serve to belittle the pressure of having too little time. Just ‘saying it’ doesn’t help!
The fact remains, however, that time is money!
Rather than clichés, what busy people really need is a way to maximise the earning opportunities of their time. So let’s start with the basics and establish the fundamental rules about time. We each have 1440 minutes a day to spend as we see fit. Whether you are the CEO of a large corporation, an independent contractor or an apprentice electrician – we all get the same.
It is how you value your time, not how you use it!
Most people, at this point, would tell you that it is how you use your time that counts. They would talk about efficiencies, processes, focus, time management methodologies and setting goals. All of that is valid and if you are interested in maximising your earning potential, I would encourage you to study these things. My message today, though, is a little simpler and a bit more practical. And it is an idea that you can employ immediately.
(Note: the next paragraph contains some mathematics. If that is not your thing, then please read on anyway – the important point is to recognise that your time at work has financial value.)
Start to think of your time as currency that you have to spend. You could go as far as working out exactly what each minute or hour is worth in line with your larger goals. As a very simple example, imagine you want to earn £100k this year. You plan to work 46 weeks, 5 days per week, plus about 20 Saturdays, meaning that you will be working 250 days in total. That adds up to (based on an eight hour day) 2000 hours. In reality, however, only around 50% of the hours that you are at work are chargeable. So, to hit your target, you need to earn (£100k divided by 1000 hours) £100 per hour. Clearly, I kept the numbers simple for this example, but I’m sure you get my point.
The way you think can determine the way that you act!
If you valued your time as you would cash – then you would automatically begin to use it more effectively. Perhaps, you would stop wasting time by trying to manage you paperwork, your diary and your other administration yourself. Especially where there are free ‘online’ solutions or reasonably priced outsourced support options available. Maybe you might manage other, potentially time-wasting or mind-distracting scenarios a little better too.
You see, making the link in your mind between time and money can be very powerful. Simply by understanding and appreciating your time’s value, you will start to use it better. The other sobering thing to remember about time is that once it is gone, you cannot spend it again.
So that is even more of a reason to value and use what you have available to you today.