“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” – Theophrastus
“Time is free, but it’s 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
Is there anything more valuable than our time? Is there anything we undervalue more than our time? I was thinking about this after a meeting with a client of mine this morning, let’s call him Michael. Michael is a brilliant branding expert (let me know if you need the introduction to him) and we were talking about the fact that he had a customer that wanted to save a $3 unit plus delivery charge that would cost to drop ship a gift for a client. His customer was doing this so they could “save” on shipping and handling costs. The problem now, is that they are going to spend a couple of days repackaging everything, it will take up space at their office, plus the shipping material costs and the turmoil of taking up his and his team’s time that is not being spent on the core business. I see this as penny wise investment but in the end, pound foolish.
How often do we do what this business owner did in our own lives? Why do we rob from our personal time to engage in activities that we get no enjoyment out of? The largest companies in the world outsource all the time so they can concentrate on their core mission. Why do we not do that more often? If you enjoy something, if you find joy or solace in an activity, then you should do more of it. If you find things a grind, do less of those things. It sounds easy, but why aren’t we doing it?
One of the best investments my wife and I make every month is to hire a cleaning lady. We have done this for several years because I like things clean, but my wife likes things CLEAN! When we moved in together, my wife would spend hours on the weekend getting things to her desired level and it would take from time we could spend together. Not to mention, how I would get recruited for tasks I couldn’t care less about.
When we hired our cleaning lady my wife would relax more on the weekend and she would know that the house would be sparkling clean every other week. We just had to keep things in shape between the visits. It gave us that time to be together again and so far, that is still a good thing, haha!
Now that we have our 18-month-old running around, my wife gladly states that Maggie makes her a better mother because she doesn’t have to be distracted by the need to do the big cleans around the house. She can focus more on the joy of our child than the need to clean up so rigorously after him.
You will notice, I said investment when I referred to what we pay Maggie. We really do view it that way. It is an investment to give us our time back and remove the stress of having to spend so much time cleaning.
What price can we put on our time and happiness? What are we doing with our money if not doing things that increase our time together as a family and our level of happiness? I personally look to outsource anything I don’t enjoy doing and anything that can be done for less than $200 an hour. If I can outsource that which I don’t enjoy, and probably don’t do as well as a professional, I have more time to spend on my career. Which, is something that does make me money. In the end, I am able to be more present with my family which is the ultimate goal.
What are you still doing that you could outsource? If you are a business owner, is it your marketing, accounting, or order fulfillment? Around the house is it the cleaning, cooking, or shopping? We live in a world that allows us to outsource so much of our lives if we chose to. Of course, you know I’m a proponent of outsourcing your financial planning, but only if you don’t enjoy it, find it tedious or outside of your area of expertise.
How much time could you reclaim and how could you increase your happiness by paying someone else to do the tasks you do not enjoy? How much more money could your business make if you were focused on the core competencies of your business?
I still do all the grocery shopping and cooking for our family. I do this because I find enjoyment in the cooking process, and generally, most cooks prefer to do their own shopping. Not to mention, my son loves pushing the cart at Costco now! I still do some of the home repairs because I take pride in not being totally helpless when it comes to fixing stuff. I mean, how else will I be ready when the zombie apocalypse happens? I do try and be judicious with my time as there are only 24 hours of it every day. How can I invest my resources to get as much time as I want in return?
I value putting my son to bed 6 nights a week, spending one on one time with my wife, going to gym 4 days a week, 7 -8 hours of sleep every night, taking my son to parks, museums, etc. on the weekends, and hanging out with my friends. If I can’t spend my capital to give myself the time to do those things, what am I really doing? How smart is my asset allocation if I don’t get to enjoy the journey?
As with most things, there is a limit to what you might be comfortable with or can afford to outsource. My challenge to you is to ask the following few questions.
- What is it that you value that you are not doing enough of?
- Can you spend a little more of your money to get your time back for what brings you joy?
- How much would it cost to outsource a task you don’t like? How much time would you get back by outsourcing it?
- Would it be worth spending that X amount of dollars to get back that Y amount of time?
Sitting down and asking yourself these questions will bring real value to your life.