The Value Of Time
The Value Of Time : They say that “time and tide waits for no man” (that was Geoffrey Chaucer actually) It was a pretty smart thing to say and nothing’s changed since he said it way back in the 14th Century! Bringing us bang up to date here in the 21st Century let’s talk about the value of time today and in particular how it applies to life as an entrepreneur since that’s our thing
Just the other day our mentor (he’s only in his 30’s but he knows what he’s talking about) shared as story that began with his laptop needing to be repaired and ended in a valuable lesson about the value of time for business owners
Here’s the story “The Value Of Time – My Most Prized Possession
“Time is free, but its priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” ~ Harvey MacKay
“So about 2 weeks back while in Fiji, my fancy new Macbook Pro started playing up. Literally every 10-15 minutes, it would just shut off. And it was annoying as hell, because I’d be halfway through writing an email thinking, “wow this is pure gold” – then I’d lose it all!
Or I’d be uploading a video episode to dropbox on painfully slow hotel wifi, be 2 mins away from it being fully uploaded… and then lose it all.
The touch bar at the top of my keyboard (which Apple started putting on all new Macbook Pro laptops recently) also stopped working completely.
This shouldn’t have happened. I treat my laptop like a newborn baby. I never drop it, spill drinks on it, or any of that. It’s meant to be top of the line – you can’t even buy it at most stores, you have to order it from the Apple website and then get it delivered a few weeks later.
You see, my usual working style is to have 100+ tabs in my browser open, and a whole bunch of different programs running at the same time… so when buying this laptop, I didn’t care about the cost – I just wanted something super fast. They gave me this 500 gb laptop with 16 RAM (no idea what that means, but it’s supposed to be able to handle my working style).
So $3,500 usd later, the laptop arrived. This was just 6 months ago. And now it was not working.
I walked into the Apple store to see if they can fix it. They told me I needed to wait 4 hours for my turn, or book an appointment for the next day.
Fine. 3pm the next day it is.
When I showed up, they told me to wait for one of their technicians. 30 minutes later, the guy shows up. He starts typing on the keyboard doing all kinds of technical wizardry to see what’s going on… and then explains it ‘seems’ my hardware is the problem.
Which I thought was good news – they were saying it was not my fault, and I assumed they would replace it for a new one. Right?
But instead he says he’ll need to send in the laptop to the repair team… where they’ll replace the entire keyboard. And that will take 5 days.
I ask, “will that fix both the touchbar issue AND the problem of the laptop shutting down every 10 minutes?”
“It will fix the touchbar for sure. And ‘maybe’ the shutting down problem. But if it doesn’t, then you’ll need to send the laptop in again for repairs. Which could take another 5 days.”
By this point I’m annoyed. My life is lived on this laptop. Its my constant companion, from the moment I wake, till the moment I close my eyes at night.
The only time I’m without my laptop, is when I’m in the shower, or running on the treadmill at the gym.
So not having a laptop for up to 10 days is not an option for me – especially since I’m in a different city every week.
The guy just shrugs his shoulders and gives me customer service line he was trained to give angry customers like me “I understand your frustration, blah blah blah.” And then goes to check with his manager on something.
All of this has taken an hour, which is my breaking point. I value 1 hour of my time to be worth in excess of $10,000+. I’m extremely impatient when I feel my time is being wasted, because I know the high opportunity cost associated with losing my focus and attention on what really matters.
So I just walk off, go down the stairs to the bottom floor of this Apple store, go and find a similar laptop, and buy a new one for about $3,000.
Here’s why I share this story with you;
First, it has nothing to do with me being annoyed with Apple. I will still happily use their products.
Economically, it has far more value than most other people’s time. While you may partially understand the value of time, most others around you won’t. And the more successful your business becomes, the greater the premium you will need to put on your time if you wish to continue scaling.
You must constantly be vigilant about defending and protecting your time.
Waiting in queues, being stuck on hold on the phone, driving to the grocery store to do your own shopping, or being in scenarios like the one I described above can add up to a lot of wasted time. You could easily be wasting 25% of your waking hours on these things.
Every task always has an opportunity cost. Time spent on one thing robs you of time spent of another activity with a high pay off.
So you must draw the line. For me in this case, wasting any more than 1 hour of my time and all the time with a malfunctioning laptop was easily worth more than 3k.
You must look at what your time is currently worth based on your business’s output, AND, look at what you want your time to be worth in the near future.
If your business is making 50K a year, and you work 8 hours a day, 6 days a week, then your time is worth about $20 / hour.
If your goal is to rapidly grow your income to 100K a year in the next 3 months… then an hour of your time will need to be worth $40 / hour.
If you can start buying back your time for close to $20 / hour today (eg. paying someone else to run errands for you, clean your house, do your shopping, etc) then you should start immediately doing this.
Even if you had to pay $25 / hour to someone to do these things, then it’s ok to make a short term loss giving them work to do, so you can get your hourly value to $40 / hour faster.
And as your business scales from 100k / year… to 200k / year… to 500k / year… and beyond, the value of your time must continue to raise.
If you continue to do things in your day which are worth less than the value you place on your time, your overall business’s output will suffer. Don’t expect it to grow.
[I may offend some people saying this… but if you look at how most people making minimum wage squander away their time in their everyday life, it’s no wonder they are making so little.]
And don’t expect anyone else around you to value your time if YOU don’t value it first.
You need to make it very clear to other people they must respect your time (and hopefully you respect theirs).”
Thanks for reading and hope you found the advice good. It certainly made us think more about what we can pay someone else do do (like the gardening and the chores)
Who Are We
We’re former accountants of a certain age (60+) with 5 great kids and 4 grandchildren. We love skiing and traveling the world and have achieved a fabulous life helping others to start and build a successful business online and now speak on international stages following that passion and helping transform lives. We started an online education and training business helping entrepreneurs in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s create their ultimate retirement breakthrough and find a way to fund their retirement and fulfil their passion and purpose as midlife entrepreneurs. Our worldwide educational business is centered on online marketing business education, financial literacy and wealth creation and a desire to help you create financial freedom through online entrepreneurship whatever your age or experience.
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