My friend Jay and I had a brief twitter conversation about being guilty https://twitter.com/wjhuie/status/283748389278056448 of wasting time on little things.
I read this article awhile back (How should a startup founder value her time? | A Smart Bear) and have been meaning to come up with some sort of relevant equation that can apply to everyone. Not just for “business/work” time, but also “free time”?
Prime example: Most recently I found myself researching a SOHO NAS and becoming a victim of wasting too much time. I was debating the small differences of model numbers, brands, processors, in the effort to find the best fit. Of course as I read more… it just delayed my decision making by adding in more factors. I wavered back and for starting at a price point of $300 and all the way up to $1000 trying to justify the features in my mind. I won’t admit how much time I wasted just to end up where I started, but I’ll it was WAY TOO MUCH.
In the end, I would like to find a way to have a quick check to realize I’m wasting my time. Here are some of the questions I would like to easily answer:
- When should I hire someone to do this instead? (Maid, contractor, consultant, personal assistant?)
- At what point, any time spent on this will have diminishing returns?
An easy way is trying to calculate “what is my time worth in $$?” It’s easily quantifiable and easy to compare to the task at hand but I don’t feel like it’s always THAT easy. Here are some other factors:
- What is the total time loss/gained doing this activity? – Often there is more time vs. the activity itself.
- What is the opportunity cost of this activity? – What am I missing out by doing this?
- Are their longer term benefits that are worth more than the $$ amount or direct time spent today – Is this some sort of investment where it will take less time in the future? Do you gain a skill or a networking contact?
- There is only so much space in your RAM / context to be concerned about is it worth that? – It’s not all about how much time things take, I’ve found it all takes space in your head… and you can only worry about so much at a given time.
- Can your time to $$ calculation work past a certain $$ or hour count? – At some point the “$$/hour” ratio of your time breaks down where you can work more hours to make up the $$.
What does everyone else to do to make these decisions quickly? What factors have I not considered? Does what I want exist, or is it all just part of refining the decision making process?