We've all heard it. Many of us have said it. Some have even bemoaned it. Who among us, though, has dared to challenge the long-standing declaration that time is money?
While it's true time wasted can be equated to an opportunity lost, does that really mean time you don't spend tending to your business amounts to revenue lost?
If time is money, you might find that too much time spent could cause you to lose money and your valuable time
In this high-tech, always on, ever-ready age of commerce, it has become more difficult to break away from our profitable pursuits.
But as we hover over our businesses day and night, we need to ask ourselves if we're always getting our time's worth (if equated to dollars gained), or if we're slowly slipping into a blank-eyed state of just putting in time.
Here are a few things to consider if you can't take your eyes off your business—not even for a minute—for fear of losing sales. If time is money, you might find that too much time spent could cause you to lose money and, more important, your valuable time.
A promise broken?
The promise of the technological age was that we could get more done in less time, thereby gaining more result for each minute spent. Somewhere along the line, though, that promise may have fallen short.
For many people who manage online businesses, it's becoming difficult to unleash themselves from the electronic tether that compels them to keep working whenever and wherever possible. This has become the making of a burnout situation where businesspeople simply can't break away.
Some even feel guilty if they're not "minding the store" at all times.
Good business is done best in a sustainable cycle that combines productivity with creativity, but creativity takes time. If you're constantly tending to your business, the time you're spending might not be as fruitful than if you stepped away from it to gain perspective and insight—two very valuable elements that don't necessarily present themselves "on demand."
It's important to set achievable goals for you and your business then stick to them until they're fully realized. Only then might you consider taking on the next challenge
Immediacy can create impatience
“If I could only get what I need right this minute and get done what I need to get done in a fraction of the time, I’ll be so much happier.”
The unintended consequence of being able to achieve so much in less time is that it creates an expectation that everything can be—and should be—immediate. When tasks and results take longer to achieve, you get frustrated.
This is usually the result of overloading your day with too many goals, expectations that are too high and leaving no wiggle room for things to take longer than you've planned. That's called "reality."
Despite all technology can do for us, it can work against us and our businesses when we become over-dependent upon it and insistent that it continue to serve us in an endless capacity. That's when we wind up being servants to the technology, babysitting it constantly to ensure it's still doing for us what it promised to do. That takes time.
What's more valuable, time or money?
As you might guess, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for this question. It depends on the person. For some, the result of their time spent toiling over their business is payment in itself (and so it should be for those truly passionate in their endeavors).
For others, seemingly endless days and tasks become a drain. If left unchecked, it can sap that very passion that motivated them to go into business.
In true black-and-white analysis, though, money is a device whereby each of us can acquire those things we believe will make our lives better. No argument there. The rub, though, is that it requires time to enjoy those fruits of our labors and, if we don't take time to enjoy what our efforts yield, then we never get to appreciate what our money can give to us.
Money is a renewable resource. We can usually get more. Time, however, is finite. We can't work for or bargain to get more. This isn't to argue that time is more valuable than money, but it does clarify that time isn’t money. How we choose to spend either is solely up to us.
Money is a renewable resource. We can usually get more. Time, however, is finite
What's the answer?
If you find yourself admitting you, too, have been caught up in this time versus money trap, take heart—you can free yourself.
It begins with a reassessment of your expectations, for you and your business, and the establishment of achievable yet reasonable goals and boundaries. Consider these key points:
Do you have measurable goals? When you endeavor to achieve something, for yourself or for your business, you need to be clear about where your finish line will be and how you'll know when you've reached it.
All too often, we set off to achieve but by the time we've succeeded, we've redefined the goal or have chosen to take on more than we intended. For your business, this can equate to added debt or risk. It's important to set achievable goals for you and your business then stick to them until they're fully realized. Only then might you consider taking on the next challenge.
Can you define what "done" looks like? You need to be able to clearly and consistently describe what the outcome of your endeavors will be. If you can't, you'll never know if you're "done," and you might even wander aimlessly if you haven't defined a clear direction and anticipated outcome for yourself.
Are you flexible in you expectations? This gets to the matter of balancing your use of time against your aspirations for money. Despite our best planning, situations change; sometimes for the better but sometimes not. Be prepared for change, but take time to consider your options and weigh the cost of putting in more time today.
If you're always in work-work-work mode, you'll probably be missing out on the joy of triumph
You might come to a better response to the situation if you take a break and let the matter percolate in the back of your mind. In the meantime, you can be enjoying a bit of much-deserved rest.
Do you generally feel restful or restless? To clarify, there is a healthy restlessness for those who crave achievement. It's what drives them to greet each day and make the most of it. On the other hand, there are those who feel restless and can't seem to put their business endeavors aside to rejuvenate themselves; that's not healthy.
It's important that you can define your goals, achieve them and then take time to enjoy those accomplishments. If you're always in work-work-work mode, you'll probably be missing out on the joy of triumph. Take time to soak up what you achieve since that's the elixir that satiates your desires for success without sapping all of your time and energy.
Like everything in business, balance is essential: purchases versus sales, debits versus credits, time versus money.
When you can put time and money into perspective, aligning both to your intended goals, you'll stand the best chance to make both work for you. And, when you make time to play, that's when you stand to gain more than any amount of money might offer.