What value do you place on your time?
You will find different methods to reach this value but ultimately the only valuation that matters is the absolute minimum you are willing to accept and perhaps more importantly, how you live up to this valuation 24 hours a day (and not just when you are getting paid for working).
Step 1: Stop worrying and start doing.
Step 2: Do more in less time.
That’s it. Get on the right track and stay on it. Value yourself and your time – not only where others are concerned but where you yourself are concerned. Where are you spending most of your time? Why? How does this help you do what you want in life? It doesn’t? Then why are you doing it?
To thine own self be true. Value yourself and remember, you will die.
Bonus link: Get the Zen To Done ebook and apply it to your daily life – a lifesaver if there was ever one to be found online.
From the 4 hour workweek to freelanceswitch and probably every productivity / make money online resource you’ll see will tell you one way or another to ‘calculate’ how much money you need (expenses plus savings plus emergency funds), then divide it by the hours you’re willing to put in to give you a ‘per hour’ number.
Try this once – if nothing else, it is an excellent first step to prudent financial management. But getting a grasp on the numbers in your life is just the first step – the whole process takes a bit more time and effort.
Step 1: Get a grip on the numbers – your expenses and what your time needs to be worth (at a minimum) for you to meet those expenses.
Step 2: Track your time – what exactly are you doing all day? Keep a time sheet and keep track of every hour spent. Do this for a week and you’ll have a good picture of where 80% of your time is being wasted.
Frankly, this is a pain to do at the beginning, and it doesn’t get any easier after a week of doing this. On the other hand, if you can gain an extra couple of hours each day by the end of the week and maintain that advantage for the rest of the month, that’s almost an extra 2 days you have to put into work. When you calculate what your time is worth, do the match and figure out much more money you can earn per month like this.
Then tell yourself if it’s worth it or not.
Step 3: Slash your expenses to the absolute minimum. Yes, it is possible. No, not everything is necessary, or even desirable. Easy question – will you need this in 15 years? No? Will you die if you don’t buy it? No? Throw it out.
Most people don’t like this step. They like to horde, they like to define themselves by what they own. Fair enough. You can still use this action plan to your advantage, but when your expenses keep rising proportionally to your income, all the hard work you’re putting in will go to waste.
Enough planning, it’s time for action.
Step 4: Do something you’ve always wanted to. Rack your brain and pull out that list of things you’ve always wanted to do, pick the first that is remotely feasible (traveling the world with $20 in your wallet is one thing, but working out every morning or reading a particular book or even making out in a restaurant, all that is doable right now) and just do it.
If you stop here, you’re toast. Done for. Finished. It’s back to the starting line if you fail at this step, so make it a point to succeed. Pick something simple if you’re daunted by the thought of change, but for your own sake, do it.
Step 5: Zen to Done. Buy it. Read it. Apply it.
Step 6: Find your strengths. I’m convinced, despite the nagging voice in my head telling me to do 20 things at the same time, that there are a few simple things that we are really good at. What you do – write, manage accounts, sell candy, etc etc. – is not what you’re good at. All those jobs (or job descriptions, as it were) are just labels for services that are a means to an end, a means to what you’re really good at doing.
This is better explained through examples. I’ll stick to people I know, and you can use this identification process on people you know as well.
Ryan is a doer and a fantastic mobilizer of resources. The fact that he’s built a successful online empire and charges $1000 / hour in consulting has nothing to do with what he knows about online marketing and monetization (he could learn all that over again in a few months) and everything to do with what he’s good at – getting results.
Tim is a master at the art of selling, and perhaps more importantly, at the art of selling himself. Call it charisma if you wish. The man knows how to present ideas in a way that they get accepted and he’s done that fantastically well through his life (and you can see it in action in his book).
Scott has, as he himself says, the knack of picking the right opportunities. It sounds ridiculously simple but then again, that’s what your calling is supposed to be – simple, profound and flexible enough to apply to a number of situations.
One of my strengths is problem solving – knowing what to do when presented with a sticky situation, how to get from A to B, how to translate goals into actionable steps.
I’m not the best at doing – but tell me what you want in life and I’ll tell you how to get it.
Find out what your strengths are – the StrengthsFinder is one good resource (here’s the book) but the way to do this is through long-term introspection and understanding what you’re good at and what you’re not. You need to be strong enough to admit when you’re not good at something but at the same time, perceptive enough to know when you’re better than others at something.
Step 7: Do work that maximizes your strengths. There’s no point in you designing logos in Photoshop all day long if that’s not something you’re good at. Similarly, there’s every reason for you to do work that helps you maximise your strengths. If you’re good at selling yourself, you can use that skill to your advantage in any walk of life, from getting a promotion to landing better-paying projects to writing and promoting a bestselling how-to book.
If you’re good at getting things done, you can use that skill to overdeliver in your projects (and let the results speak for you), you can use that skill to implement someone else’s clear-cut strategy to build a million-dollar online business. If you know how to get things done, the only thing you need is to be pointed in the right direction.
Step 8: Outsource everything else. Surround yourself with people who have strengths that
compliment complement yours. If you’re a doer, get sellers and thinkers on board. If you’re a thinker, ally yourself with a doer as quickly as possible. If you’re good at selling, you can be the front man while the doers and thinkers do the hard work behind the scenes. In any case, you’ll get more out of concentrating on your strengths and allying with others than you will by trying to do everything yourself.
Reminder: In all this seriousness, remember to have some fun. When you want to get the maximum possible out of your life, part of it means having a good time as well.
To wrap it up – value yourself, value your time, and get busy living.