Contractor Tip Of The Month: Determining the Value of Your Time

Determining The Value Of Your Time

Damian Lang

I don’t consider myself a lazy person. However, I refuse to mow my own yard, maintain my own landscaping, change the oil in my vehicles or do any vehicle maintenance, fix any of my own equipment, go to the grocery store, buy clothes (unless I do it online), pick up materials or supplies, book my own flights or hotel rooms, cook, clean dishes, clean my own house, plant my own garden, or to do any tasks that I can pay someone to do who is willing to work for less than I earn.  

I look at this as a win-win situation. People win by getting employed to do these things for me. And I win as I earn extra money and get a work/life balance, since I don’t try to do every little task myself.  

I have a friend who is often mowing his yard when I pass his house on my way to play golf at the country club. I have always wondered why he would do that, when he could get someone to do it for him. Therefore, over a few beers one night, I asked him how he could possibly make sense of mowing his own yard, when he could be working on his business and generating many times over the income. Then, he could use a portion of his income to pay someone to mow his yard, and take more time off for himself.  

My friend told me that you can’t put a price on entertainment, and mowing the yard is what he enjoys, so he does it himself. I admire my friend for doing what he wants to do. If you are like my friend, and have no desire to grow in your profession beyond where you are now, you can stop reading this article at this point.  

Personally, I enjoy playing golf, fishing, hunting, going on trips and spending any spare time I have with my family. I can’t do these kinds of things if I am spending time on tasks I can pay someone to do for me, while I grow my businesses.   

The idea of not doing anything myself that someone is willing to do cheaper than I can came from a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) coach more than 20 years ago. The coach required me to do an exercise at the end of every year to determine the value of my time. 

My coach would have me write down the income I was earning at that point in my career, and divide it by 2,080 hours (52 work weeks in a year times the normal 40 hour per week). To grow my business, he forbade me to do any task myself that I could have done for below the dollar amount I earned. This would bring growth and freedom from being a slave to my own time, he explained.  

What I allow myself to do now has changed tremendously from what I could do then, as I earn more today than I did back then. In fact, as long as I can pay lawyers and accountants to do things for less than I earn today, I will do just that. Again, this frees up my time to do things of more importance or take time off to rejuvenate, which is just as important.  

Determining the value of one’s time is not limited to someone who owns a business, or those with high incomes. There will always be tasks that someone is willing to do for less than you can earn at work. Working overtime while having someone mow your yard can allow you to generate enough extra cash to make extra house or car payments. Or, you can use the extra cash to take a well-deserved vacation.  

Some of the best plans and ideas I have used to advance my career came when I was relaxing while reading a book or meditating. If I did not delegate tasks to create time for myself, precious personal time (thinking and strategizing) would be lost forever.   

In a popular writing entitled “The Value of Time,” the author asks us to imagine there is a bank account that credits our account each morning with $86,400. The balance is not carried over from day to day. Every evening, the bank deletes any unused balance. What would you do? Most people would draw out every cent. 

The writing explains that each of us has such a bank, and its name is TIME. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night, it writes off as lost whatever time you have failed to invest to a good purpose. 

It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no drawing against “tomorrow.” 

You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest your time, so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness and success. 

It doesn’t benefit others when you are doing things you can pay them to do. The clock is running! Make the most of today.  

Damian Lang is CEO at Lang Masonry Contractors, Wolf Creek Construction, Malta Dynamics, and EZG Manufacturing. To view the products and equipment his companies created to make jobsites more efficient, visit his websites at ezgmfg.com or maltadynamics.com. To receive his free e-newsletters or to speak with Damian on his management systems or products, email:dlang@watertownenterprises.com or call 740-749-3512.