It’s About Time

We’ve all heard the phrase “time flies when you’re having fun” . We’ve heard about Father Time. We’ve heard about stitching in time and when the time comes and my personal favorite, once upon a time. But what does time cost us? Have you ever thought about it? Well now as an entrepreneur I do have to think about it. I’m trying to make up for the lost time spent working for other people who placed their value on my time and became time sucks. I’m also trying to remember that there’s no time like the present to start doing that.

No, that isn’t the last of the time references but yes, there won’t be quite so many in one paragraph.

The biggest lesson so far in this entrepreneurial journey has been about time. Is there enough time in the day to get all the work done and take care of my family? Am I managing my time effectively between all the projects I’ve got going on? Is it time to say no to more things that I used to say yes to? I thought I was doing a pretty good job of keeping track of my time until I checked in to my Freshbooks account yesterday. Turns out I’m not doing as good a job as I thought.

Each project I’m working has been budgeted for a certain amount of time. But it’s weird time. Now that I can set my own hours I’m working in the morning for a few hours, heading in to a clients office for a few hours and then working some more when I get home. More often than not, I’m spending time later at night on the things that are going to keep me up anyway so why not just get them done now? Then there is the list that starts as soon as my head hits the pillow which is supposed to be me time but turns in to 3am conference call time instead. Just to clarify – the con calls are with myself. My code for what the heck am I doing up at this hour anyway?

Crammed quite a bit of time in that paragraph didn’t I?

As I look to older, wiser and more experienced entrepreneurs the main lesson I keep hearing is place value on your time. It might just be one more thing or I’m almost done or I’ll just finish this up but it’s still time. And if, like me, you are knew to tracking your hours (time to switch up) then this is a lesson you need to learn sooner than later. My Freshbooks account clearly demonstrated that I’ve accomplished nothing in the past two weeks on any of my projects. Zip. Spent no time at all developing social media strategies, researching event venues, creating marketing material, answering emails, contacting people or anything like that. Nope. My time has been completely my own for the past two weeks. Yeah. Right.

So what’s my point? I’ve found the value of my time. I’ve realized that no tracking my time causes many issues. One: I don’t balance what I’ve budgeted for the project versus what I should be spending on other opportunities. Two: it diminishes my sense of accomplishment when I don’t look at my account calendar and see all the hours I’ve put in. Three: I’m negatively impacting my bottom line by not being able to back up what time I’ve spent. Four: it’s a pain in the butt to backtrack and try and remember what you did when even though you know you met the deadline and handed in the deliverable. I took a stand against this waste of my time and have now put a reminder in my calendar that will prompt me three times a week to reduce the PITA factor for time tracking. I know it should be daily but baby steps people. Baby steps.

In light of this epiphany which I’m sure most of you had a long time ago, I encourage those who haven’t to track your time. If nothing else, sit down and do an honest appraisal of what your time is worth. If that’s a challenge, do what I’m doing and invite a trusted mentor to lunch and ask for the help you need before it’s too late. That, my friends, is time well spent.

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