When Tim began tallying the amount of time he spent on various tasks at work, he figured it would help him recapture thirty-or-so minutes a day. He would stop piddling so much and head home a little earlier and this was a small victory. He had no idea what he was talking about.
When Tim tallied the amount of time he stood at the fax machine over the course of three weeks and then multiplied that number over the course of a year, the figure he came up with was staggering and had to be wrong. He rechecked his log and punched in the numbers again. Same result. Unbelievable.
At his current pace, Tim found out he was spending approximately 336 hours at the fax machine every year. In eight-hour increments, this came to forty-two work days.The fax machine wasn’t that important.
He had intended this little exercise to be an encouragement but it had blown up in his face. Now he had to deal with the knowledge that he spent about one-fifth of his work time sending faxes, watching faxes be sent, waiting for confirmations, and refaxing misfaxes. He had to face up the fact that he was a major time waster. This wasn’t part of his plan—but now he had to do something about it.
Tim thought for a few days and then went to his boss and proposed a deal. He would hire an assistant with his own money in order to free up his time to invest in customer relations. If this move proved to increase his revenue enough to cover the assistant’s salary by the end of six months, the company would take over her salary and he would reap the additional profits. His boss agreed.
Two months into the deal, Tim’s refocused time was already generating enough additional revenue to cover his assistant’s salary. Four months later, his company took over the expense.
It had worked so well for Tim that he hired a second assistant, then a third. Today, Tim has a dozen assistants that run the business for him. He works eighty days a year and his business annually takes in between eighty to one hundred million dollars in revenue. Cleaning up your time can reap major rewards.
We all waste time at work—it’s just a matter of how much. Chances are good that if you’re in sales, you’re wasting about three-fourths of your working hours. Tally your time on daily tasks for a week to know for sure. If, like Tim, you find you are faxing your career away, delegate your tasks to an assistant; and if your company will not provide one, share an assistant with a co-worker until your increase in revenue pays for you to have your own. This will only be the beginning of freeing up your time.
Consider how things would be different if you were actually able to spend all of your time doing the few things that you enjoy most that produce the greatest impact on your business.