The Best Use of Your Time

Published on January 15, 2010 by Tracey Fieber

Many times this week I've had a discussion with clients on what specifically is the best use of their time. It seems a popular topic lately, and I'm guessing it's partially because of the economy right now.

When I first started my own business, I felt a dilemma between outsourcing (and paying) for things vs doing or creating it myself. I've always been a big do-it-yourselfer, so to pay someone for something I could do myself seemed silly. I had learned growing up, "why pay someone when you can do it for free?".

PlanningWhat happened, though is that I felt I HAD to do it myself, and I found myself feeling like I was running ragged trying to keep up with everything in building my business. I quickly figured out that even though I could do many things, it wasn't always the best use of my time.

Basically, this is how I judge these things: Is it something I love to do; Does it seem well-worth the pay (either because there's a lot of potential work or if it's high-paying). And if I were to use that time to get more clients or work with existing clients, would the payoff of doing it (which is not always financial) be worth it?

Let me give you an example: Last summer I had quit my job in corporate and naturally thought I should only invest in necessities until I had money coming in. I have a natural technical ability, and knew how to set products up in the online shopping cart. I'd set things up in other shopping carts a few years ago when I worked for two online real estate companies. As I reviewed my list of 'To Do' items, I noticed there were things that only I could do. Things like building relationships with potential and existing clients, networking, and even spending time with my family. I realized that although I could set up products for my business, doing so would postpone other items on my list and may even affect my family. Right then I decided sacrificing time with my family was not something I was prepared to do! Instead, I looked at the 'To Do' list again from a different perspective, and started to highlight all of the items I could outsource to others. Now I just needed to figure out how to generate enough money to cover the investment in outsourcing.

I realized the question "why pay someone when you can do it for free?" wasn't really true. I wasn't doing it for free, and by me doing these items that are not the best use of my time, it was actually costing me. When you are determining the best use of your time, consider whether you thoroughly enjoy doing it. If you do, great, continue. If you don't enjoy the activity, calculate what it's costing you to be doing it (it usually takes you much longer to do something you aren't enjoying).

If outsourcing is not an option right now, there may be ways to reduce the amount of time it takes you, so it's not so labour-intensive. Determine the price of a program to automate or systematize the activity to determine if it makes sense.

Your Assignment:

Go through your 'To Do' List to see which items only you can do and which items you can outsource or automate. Determine the amount of new income you would need to pay for someone to do these. You'll soon discover exactly what you love to be doing, and ways to grow your business.

If you'd like to discover more ways to grow your business through marketing, book a 25-minute 'Attract More Boomers Strategy Session' with me: Together, we'll come up with some ways to change your thought process so your business allows you to start living the life you've always looked forward to.

Published in Blog, Time Mangement