How Much is Your Time Worth?

Wow, a Lot More Than I Thought

Over the past several weeks either I or my assistant, on several occasions, have been late to our regularly scheduled daily meetings. Most of the time it’s just a few minutes. But there were a couple of times that it was closer to 30 minutes.

It’s not like either of us were just being lazy and chose to be late. In every case there were some miscalculations of the schedule prior or some unexpected situations that came up. We all know that life happens.

Being on time comes down to prioritizing and making decisions accordingly.

I’ve always struggled with giving my time the same level of importance as other peoples. I wouldn’t be late to meetings with customers, committees at church, or in the community. The lack of importance of my own time oozes over to the time of my assistant’s. This is unacceptable.

As I was thinking about this and considering ways to give my time a greater level of importance I came up with an idea. What if there was a monetary penalty for every minute that we were late. Let’s say $1.00 per minute. If I’m late I pay her a dollar and if she’s late she pays me. This caused me to consider…

What each minute of my time is really worth?

So, I did some calculations –

  • There are 60 minutes every hour
  • There is an average of 12 hours per my workday
  • There are 6 workdays per my work week
  • There are 52 work weeks per year
  • This means there are 224,640 minutes available to work each year
  • My gross revenue target for this year is $500,000.00
  • $500,000.00 divided by 224640 minutes means that each minute of the workday is worth $2.23

$2.23 for each minute doesn’t seem like that much, until I did some more calculations –

  • $2.23 x 5 minutes = $11.15
  • $2.23 x 15 minutes = #33.45
  • $2.23 x 30 minutes = $66.90
  • $2.23 x 60 minutes = $133.80

Who new that my time was that valuable?

It’s amazing how much the little things can change the big picture. This gave me a whole new sense of urgency. It has caused me to evaluate decisions differently. Which of these things on the list is worth spending that much time/money on?

It has caused me to focus more intensely on which actions I need to take to accomplish my mission.

I’ve never been one to give my time the value its worth. Working for myself it’s always hard to give it a monetary value. This new discovery changed that. This weekly solution has cost me $267.60 so far and by the time I find some pictures and get it uploaded it’s going to be closer to $350.00.

I sure hope you find that much value in it. 😊

Of course, everybody’s level of importance is going to be different based on individual preferences. But this new awareness of the value of my time has given me a new focused intensity to spend my time wisely.

So…it looks like the penalty for being late to the meeting is going to be $2.23 per minute.

How to Watch the Clock

Finding a Balance of Looking to the Future and Being in the Present

Time is the most valuable commodity we have at our discretion. You’ve heard the saying “time is money”. I would argue that time is MORE than money. Money is a form of exchange for a service or product. We have some control over how fast our money goes…not so with time.

There is no limit to money. I know this sounds a little over the top, but as long as money can be printed there’s no limit. Even if we ran out of the resources needed to make money, we could find something to trade or barter with.

There is a limited amount of time.

Time is continually moving. There is no stopping or slowing it to get more done. If we spend a dollar, we can go make two more. Once time is spent…there’s no getting any more.

I never wanted to be a clock watcher.

When I was younger and saw people looking at their watch, I felt they were being selfish. They appeared more concerned about their time than the person(s) they were engaging with. This bothered me.

I then took this perspective too far. I often ran behind because I didn’t want to cut off a person that I was visiting with. (It didn’t help that by nature I’m a talker.) I wanted my customers to feel that they were more than just time blocked out on the calendar or a dollar in the bank.

Watching the clock made me feel selfish.

It made me feel that my schedule was more important than finding out what the customer hoped to accomplish with their project. It put my needs above theirs.

High quality, attention to detail and not being satisfied with mediocrity all take time. By nature, these are a part of who I am. Watching the clock is counter to that. My best work is never accomplished when I cut corners.

The flip side of this is…when I’m late to my next appointment or don’t get that thing done that I promised it is no different. I’m saying to someone else, you’re not as important as what I was doing.

There is a balance to be achieved.

How do we accomplish the things we need/want to? Too often we let others make these decisions for us. It starts with a clear understanding of what our priorities are. What is our purpose? What has God put us here to accomplish? From this we can align our actions with these priorities.

Next comes figuring out how to get control of these actions. This is where action lists, scheduling and calendaring come in. It’s up to you to be intentional with how you spend that limited amount of time that you have. (For more information and tools for scheduling and planning see the list at the end of this post)

As this year comes to an end I’m beginning to think about planning for the new year. What should I do? Where should I spend my time?

It has been said, “You can do anything you want; you just can’t do everything you want.” This perspective is critical to our spending of time. What are we going to spend our time doing? Plan wisely and don’t be afraid to watch the clock.

Align your desires with God’s and be your most productive self.

Do You Have Your Affairs in Order?

 

 

Having Your Priorities in The Right Place

 

 

“The love of money causes all kinds of evil. Some people have left the faith, because they wanted to get more money, but they have caused themselves much sorrow.”, 1 Timothy 6:10 NCV. Money and wealth are often seen as evil and wrong.


The problem isn’t the money, the problem is the heart.

 


The Leo Tolstoy story, “How Much Land Does a Man Need” is a classic tale of greed. In this story Pahom, a hardworking farmer with a small piece of land. After a series of events he has managed to purchase more and more land, but it’s still not enough. He is then presented with the opportunity to buy some land for a fixed price. He can have as much as he wants but must be able to walk around it in a day. He starts walking quickly around the property as the day goes on, he keeps getting further and further from the starting point. He looks up and realizes the day is coming to an end and he still has a long way to go. He runs hard to get back and just as the sun sets, he collapses at the starting point. Exhausted from his effort he dies. He is buried in a 3’x6’ plot, thus the question is answered.


The rich man who had a great harvest and tears down his barn to build a bigger one in Luke 12:13-41 experiences the same fate. He thinks he can have good things for many years and can “eat, drink and be merry”. This doesn’t work out so well.


Both men are dealing with four of the same issues.

 


1st – Full barns and empty hearts. They both were looking at themselves from man’s perspective rather than God’s. They saw their worth only from a worldly view.


2nd – Overestimation of their own worth. They saw what they had as being from the work of their own hands. They gave none of the credit to God.


3rd – They forgot what their real business was. Like in the Christmas Carole when Jacob Marley come back as a ghost and warns Scrooge. “I wear the chain I forged in life…I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”…”Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were my business.”


4th – They forgot about time. They thought they had all the time they wanted…but they didn’t.

 


We all have a limited amount of time and only God knows what that is.


We need to use the time we’re given here to prepare for the eternal. We have a limited amount of time in this life and we need to use it wisely. Pastor Lee pointed out how digital clocks show time as fixed and unmoving and analog clocks with second hands are constantly moving, time is continuously moving.


A very sick man was sitting, with his family. His doctor told him that he didn’t have long to live and that he should get his affairs in order. The man put his arms around his family and said to the doctor, “Sir, my affairs ARE in order.

 

 


Make sure that your affairs are in order.

The Cost of Change Can Be More Than Time and Money

It Can Be Reputation and Loyalty, and To Me These Are More Important

Change happens for all kinds of reasons, some needed, some not. Some people love change, it excites them. These people are the ones pushing the envelope and coming up with new ways of doing things. Others on the opposite side never want to change anything. It’s scary to change. What if it doesn’t work? It’s warm and comfortable a lot like being in the bottom of a rut. It’s been said that a rut is just a grave with both ends kicked out.

So, which of these positions should a business take?

I think it depends on the situation, the people or person and the reason(s). As is the case most times, the right answer is somewhere in the middle.

Let me preface this next portion with the fact that I have been a longtime supporter and user of Pella products, for more than 30 years. I have enthusiastically advocated and installed their products throughout that time.

I AM NOW RETHINKING THIS. I was informed yesterday of some product changes that have been implemented at Pella and one of those changes may just be the straw that will break this camel’s back.

Pella has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to innovation. (A part of what gained my admiration and loyalty.) One of these innovations is…was…one of my favorite products. Double or single hung windows with blinds or shades behind a removable pane of glass has been discontinued. This would have been the window I would have recommended above all others, short of some specific design parameters. This is the very window that I planned to put in my home in the next few years. I never imagined that this window would not be available.

I don’t profess to be a Pella historical authority, but I do remember some things that happened in the late 1990’s or early 2000’s. This is not about specific times or details, but about a decided trajectory that began and seems to be continuing.

Prior to that point customers would talk about the exceptional quality of Pella windows. The first straw was the question that I began getting about the ProLine Series “builder’s” windows. People wondered why Pella was making a lower quality builder’s window. It seemed to be counter to what Pella stood for. I assured them the quality was as good as ever, there were just less options and fixed sizes in this series.

The next straw came with the introduction of vinyl windows. More questions about what was going on. Why is Pella selling “cheap vinyl windows”? I would tell people that it was just a way to give the public more options. It was a way of helping more people and Pella quality was still available in the wood windows.

Then the next straw came. It was when there began to be problems with the bottom sash of the ProLine casement windows rotting. I continued to defend them. This was a fluke…just some bad sealant on one select style in one series. The straws continued to come, and I continued to defend Pella and my supplier. The service and support were great. We would do what was needed to help them through this freak incident.

Now, full circle back to yesterday’s straw. I can’t say why Pella made this change to no longer offer shades between the glass in hung windows. I assume it was monetary as I presume all these decisions were. I don’t have any of Pella’s internal decision-making criteria, but they are a company that needs and deserves to make a profit.

What Pella needs to remember is that dollars are certificates of appreciation and consider that my appreciation may go somewhere else.

I’m sure that as big a company as Pella is that they won’t even notice when I’m gone. What they may notice is the size of the snowball when more and more contractors and customers do the same.

These types of changes have become too common place over the last 20 – 30 years. Too many times companies have chosen to sell more for less rather than seeking to provide high quality at a high price. There’s nothing wrong with buying inexpensive projects for less. It’s about deciding who you want to be and who you want to serve.

Pella’s decisions are theirs just as my decisions are mine.

A Look in My Tool Box at the Tool I Use to Save Money

Having the Right Tool and Knowing How to Use It Can Make Life Much Better

Over the last couple of weeks, we have discussed why it’s critical to save money for those big irregular expenses and unexpected emergencies. Next, we began the process needed to start building a “Rainy Day” fund by determining how much and for what. The Savings Transfer Sheet is like any other tool, it doesn’t do you any good if you don’t use it.

As is the case with everything that’s worth doing, starting is the hard part. Saving money is no different. It’s like digging a hole.

What if there’s an underground water line leaking in your back yard. You can see that spot where the grass is green in an otherwise brown lawn. The water bill is more than ever before and getting bigger each month. That doesn’t matter, the prospect of getting your shovel out of the tool shed and digging is more than you can bear to think about. So, you put it off and pretend that it’s not a problem.

The green spot in the yard keeps getting bigger and greener. The water bill keeps getting bigger too. You decide to cover the spot in the back yard with an above ground swimming pool. That took care of it…no more green spot. You know what they say. Out of sight out of mind.

Then one day you get a water bill that is so big you decide that you’ve got to do something. So, you drain the pool, get a shovel and start digging. Then before you know it, you’ve uncovered the pipe, found the leak, made the repair and filled the hole.

That wasn’t near as bad as you thought it was going to be. Once again you are aware that this is one of those times when the overwhelming dread was way worse than the actual process. The next water bill is back where it used to be, and you wonder why you weren’t more proactive.

A shovel is a simple tool that’s easy to use. It can fix a problem before it gets too big, but only if you use it. If you don’t the outcome can be devastating.

The same thing is true about the Savings Transfer Sheet. If you will take the time to get it out of the tool box, spend some time learning how to use it and use it regularly, it will make a significant difference in stopping your financial leaks.

Wouldn’t you like to have your money filling up the pool rather than leak under it.

 

Here are links to the Savings Transfer Sheet template and the Savings Transfer Procedure, free for your use. (expected to be active week of 5/21/18)

How to Build A “Rainy Day” Fund for Your Business (part 1)

The Nuts and Bolts for Saving Money

 

Last week I wrote about the importance of having a savings, both individually and in business and the high percentage of people who don’t. This tendency to spend everything you have is a problem when the unexpected happens. This isn’t to say that you should put all your money, after paying the bills, in a savings account hoping to retire someday on that savings. What I’m talking about is having money ready for big planned purchases or unexpected emergencies. This way you can use your own money and don’t have to pay someone else to borrow theirs.

Last week I told you about the tool that I use for this, the “Savings Transfer Sheet”. This spreadsheet is easy to use and makes saving simple. What it doesn’t do, is force you save. Maybe I should figure out a way to hook peoples’ deposit tickets up to electricity so that they would get a shock when depositing money without saving.

The biggest problem with saving money is not having a plan to do so. It can be a bit overwhelming trying to figure out how much should be saved when depositing revenue. One of the things that makes it hard is inconsistent amounts. If every day or week you deposited the same exact amount, you could decide once and always put aside a set amount for savings.

It’s rare in business that every job or every customer pays you the same amount every time you do business with them. There are some businesses like lawn mowing, hair cutting, pet boarding, etc. that a preset recurring price has been established, even so the number of recurrences each day or week is going to vary.

The purpose of this spreadsheet is to provide a simple accurate way to know how much money the right amount to save is, regardless of the amount being deposited. The most difficult part is the initial set up. This part requires some research, thought and time.

First – look back through your financial records of the last several years. The more research you do the more accurate your understanding will be of your financial history. Even if you’ve only been in business for a short time it will give you a place to start. This will let you see areas of unexpected expenses as well as dollar amounts.

 

Second – determine what things or areas that need to be saved for. Some examples of what these could be are:

Repairing and/or replacing equipment

Equipment increases or upgrades

Repairing or replacing vehicles

Large building repairs or maintenance items (HVAC, new roof, etc.)

Building or facility upgrades, expansions or purchases

Taxes (income, property, sales, etc.)

Irregular payments (bi-monthly, quarterly, annually, etc.)

Retained earnings (emergency fund because they are going to happen)

 

Third – take the dollar amounts for the different areas that you have determined to be above or outside your normal operating costs and figure the percentage each one is of your net revenue. This will give you a place to start when setting up the “Savings Transfer Sheet” for the first time.

Building a “Rainy Day” savings is critical to the foundation of your business. It is one of the solid cornerstones that will help your business weather the storms of life.

Next week we will go into the “Savings Transfer Sheet” deeper still and see how the information we gathered fits in to it.

 

Why It’s Critical to Save Money in Business and How to Do It

Setting Up a “Rainy Day Fund” for Your Business

 

Currently it is common for people to spend everything they earn and not save anything for future investments or emergencies. For the most part, as a society here in America we have become comfortable. We have forgotten how important it is to save money.

There have been times through out history when things weren’t good financially, i.e. the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Enough time has passed since then, that for most people it’s become a distant memory. If you have ever talked with someone who went through the depression or a similar experience, saving money was more than something that needed to be done, it often was the difference between life and death.

As reported in a Market Watch post* from December 2015, approximately 62% of Americans personally have less than $1000 saved and 21% don’t have any savings. Businesses aren’t doing any better and it’s every bit as important. Part of a good business financial plan includes saving money for those irregular and unexpected expenses.

Just like in our personal lives, in business we get busy with the process of daily living. We work hard at the normal operation of the business and we neglect to intentionally plan for those “rainy days”. Things like; equipment maintenance and repairs, building maintenance and repairs, quarterly and annual taxes, irregular payments, etc.

When I started doing construction work I learned the skill of building from some of the best craftsmen. When later I went into business for myself I thought I knew everything that I needed to be successful. The problem is that while they taught me how to build a solid, well built structure, they neglected to teach me how to build a business that way.

Early on in my business career one of those business building lessons learned the hard way, was the importance of saving money.

I was working hard to keep construction moving forward. The material figured, ordered, and suppliers paid. The subcontractors and employees organized, having what they needed and paid. Things were going well and there was even some money left over. So, naturally I spent it. Then it happened…the accountant showed me how good my year was by telling me how much I owed in taxes. How was I going to pay them? I didn’t have that kind of money. What was I going to do? I was going to have to make payments. Just so you know, tuition to Hard Knocks University is high.

That’s why over the last 35 years of learning lessons the hard way I designed and developed a system to help me avoid pitfalls. I needed to find a way to separate money that would be needed later. How was I going to do it? Several years ago, my wife and I found out about Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace Program**. It is a program that teaches you to, “Live like no one else, so that later you can live like no one else.” The very first lesson he teaches is “Super Saving”. It is a common-sense approach to saving money and the reasons it is important to do so. This was great for my personal finances but wasn’t an exact fit for my business.

So, using the basic principles of Dave’s plan for personal savings I began working on a way to do the same thing in my business. The “Savings Transfer Sheet” is the result and a small piece of the bigger Business Blueprint puzzle. The “Savings Transfer Sheet” is a simple spreadsheet that with a few basic entries will give you the dollar amount that needs to be separated from any received gross dollar amount. That separated money can then be put into a different account or turned into cash and put in a safe. This way that saved money won’t accidentally be spent on the wrong thing.

After talking with a lot of different business owners I realized that every business could use a solution like this. That’s why in the next few weeks we will be making available a free downloadable “Savings Transfer Sheet” including instructions.

 

Next week I will go into more detail about the “Savings Transfer Sheet” and how it can help you solve your business money problems.

 

*https://www.marketwatch.com/story/most-americans-have-less-than-1000-in-savings-2015-10-06

**https://www.daveramsey.com/

Three Ways Heat Moves

If You’re Not Careful Your Money Will Go With It

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With the temperature on the thermometer hovering near the 100-degree mark over the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about the need for keeping the outside temperature out and the inside temperature in. This is more relevant if you live in a home that is 40 years old or older. A home built before the mid-seventies it more likely to be effected by the outside temperatures. Not enough insulation, single pane windows and air infiltration are all issues that may need some attention.

 

Understanding how heat moves in and out of your home can help you determine what projects to consider and which ones should be first. A basic misunderstanding is that heat flows upward. Although hot air rises because it is less dense than cool air, heat is unaffected by gravity and flows in all directions. For example, if you apply a heat source to the center of a metal block, the bottom will get just as hot as the top and sides. This heat spreads in all directions and at the same rate. When the air in an attic or fireplace gets hot it rises the air begins to rise. This creates a draft or natural up flow. This is why vented ridges on roofs work so well.

 

Heat moves through your home in three different ways. Each of them needs to be considered and each will require different methods or products to minimize this heat transfer.

 

  • First is conduction, which would apply to the metal block example above or the handle of a cast iron skillet on your stove. This is how most of the heat moves through the walls, ceiling and floors in your home. The temperature difference on either side of a wall determines how fast and which direction the heat will flow through it. The higher the R-value of insulation in that wall the slower the heat transfer.
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  • Convection transfer is similar to conduction, but occurs in fluids and gases. When it is windy outside, cold air increases the loss of heat from the wall more than if the air was still. This is the “wind chill” factor you hear weather forecasters talk about. Convection ovens use this form of heat transfer to cook by moving hot air. This is why they cook faster than conventional ovens.
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  • The last type of heat transfer is radiation, which is probably the most difficult to understand. Radiation does not need a transfer material to move heat. This is how the sun warms the earth though millions of miles of empty space or how the top of a steak gets seared in the broiler. Radiant heat transfer is generally more of an issue in the summer, but shouldn’t be ignored during the winter. Radiant heat is not blocked by standard insulation, but rather by reflectivity. An example of this would be the way dark colors of roofing, siding, etc. absorb heat and light colors reflect it.For example, if your home has a particularly cold wall on the northwest, there is likely both conductive and convective heat loss to blame. Adequate wall insulation and high quality windows and doors in the wall would be the best place to begin. Also wind breaks, i.e. evergreen trees or privacy fences, can help. There are several small ways to make improvements, including new weather stripping, filling voids in foundations with spray foam, sealing around electrical and plumbing openings, etc.NOW would be a good time to give some consideration to these issues. Investing in these kinds of home improvements can help keep you warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer, as well as provide an economic payback with lower utility bills. Do what you can to keep the money in your home and minimize transferring it with the heat.
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