How valuable is your time? Turns out it’s priceless.
Whether you’re comparing yourself to your little brother, your next door neighbor, your company’s CEO, Oprah Winfrey, or Warren Buffett…TIME is the only thing we all have in the EXACT same quantity. No matter how much they could afford to pay, the world’s billionaires could never extract more time than the same 24 hours that YOU have per day.
Humanity posseses a spectrum of skills, abilities, bank balances, resources, connections, and personalities. As wide ranging as those categories can be, there is only one commonality those of us lucky enough to live in free countries share: the ability to CHOOSE how we spend our time.
We have the unique ability to shape our lives, and even the lives of future generations, through the decisions we make. Humans are the only organism on the planet with the ability to ORDER their lives. It’s depressing then, how many millions of people do not.
You have an amazing ability in your hands. Don’t squander it.
So if you only have this finite amount, how can you make sure the time you have is well spent?
Let me digress for a moment. I believe time spent with family and good friends is just about the most priceless thing there is, but because this is a blog about advancing your sales career, we’re going to talk about learning to make your working hours worth more money.
Side benefit of making more money: If you live a balanced life, you have even more resources and opportunities to do amazing things with the aforementioned family and friends.
The cost breakdown
In my industry, a top performer can earn $250,000 a year or more.
Let’s break that down into a per hour figure. I think we can all agree someone making 250K is likely putting in more working hours than the average bee. So let’s say they work 50 hours a week, take 2 weeks off per year for vacation/personal use, and let’s give them that week between Christmas and New Year’s off as well, for reorganization and housecleaning purposes. Finally, factor in a few federal holidays and that gives us about 235 working days per year.
250K / 235 working days = $1,063 per day. To keep the math easy let’s say 50 hours weekly is done in 5 days for a 10 hour workday. $1063 / 10 = $106.30 per hour.
Ok, so we can all agree that a $250K earner is making about 100 bucks for every hour of effort, give or take a few bucks. So the secret to increasing the value of your time is this: You MUST understand that all of your activity choices are either pushing that dollar per hour figure number up, or dragging it down. Ergo, if you want to make $250K, and you spend too much of your time servicing accounts that don’t pay you at least $100 an hour, you’ll never make your number.
A few months ago I had scheduled an afternoon ride along with a sales rep. We met up for lunch before our ride along. When we left lunch I asked about his day. I’ll save you the long, albeit entertaining story. Basically, he expended 6 hours of effort to earn $23 commission. I am NOT kidding. He was earning less than $4/hour. This is an extreme case to be sure, but let’s say you have a goal to earn $50/hour….have you ever devoted time to activities worth FAR less than that? Of course you have. We all have. It’s important going forward that you become aware of these moments and try to limit them.
Continuing with this philosophy of action will never yield a $250,000 earner. A salesperson at that level would have calculated that the $23 commission effort would take longer than 15 minutes…by about 6 hours…and they would have delegated the effort, or simply turned down the order!
So here is the simple rule for increasing the value of your time: Devise ways to devote MORE of your time to activities that yield rewards at or above the dollars per hour you want to earn. Devote less time to activities that yield lower dollars per hour than you want to earn. It as simple as that.
Things that grow your income:
Following your company sales process if they have a time tested, proven plan.
Cold calling high value target clients.
Calling on high value prospects.
Doing anything in the service of a current account that yields dollars/hour that exceeds your yearly income expectation.
Things that reduce your income:
Calling on accounts that could never yield the dollars/hour that match your yearly income expectation.
Clerical work for said accounts.
Conducting any kind of non selling activities during prime selling hours. (For most people, this is 8am-12pm and 1-5pm)
Breaking your schedule or route plan, sacrificing your next 5 opportunities to go chase 1 because they called you.
…and basically anything else where the value yield is lower than what you need to accomplish the goals you have set.
Assess your actions at regular intervals
If you recall the post about becoming a gold mining tycoon, this understanding of the value of your time is basically the impetus for that entire 3 step process.
I encourage you to look at your daily activities regularly and determine if the majority of them are worthy of the income goals you’ve set. One of my mentors told me his strategy for getting this done. He had an alarm go off hourly on his watch for weeks. Every hour he would hear the beep and ask himself in that moment, “Is what I am doing right now the best use of my time?” It took several weeks, but he developed better habits with this simple reminder, and it paid him dividends for years.
My final note on time management is this: you need to start making wise time management decisions BEFORE you can get rich….NOT AFTER. So many people say, “Oh I’ll be much better at X or Y when I’m making that much, when it actually matters.” I’m telling you it matters MORE now than it will when you’ve gotten there. In fact, its the ONLY way TO get there.