Achievement Principle No. 2 – How much time do you waste?

Before I had my son Luke, I was busy ‘being busy‘ that I missed opportunities and quite often mis-managed my time. It’s hard to admit it but I share this fact with you today just so that you’ll realise that I know what it’s like to struggle to balance time and work.

It’s amazing that since he came along, I started being productive rather than busy and that has made a huge difference. In short, I began to truly manage my time. (Admittedly I write this on a Sunday rather than last Thursday but sometimes, you get busy being productive and that’s fine.)

And I’m certainly not advocating that you go out and have a baby to manage your time. They bring their own time balancing challenges!!

But I am asking you to honestly ask yourself how wisely are you spending your time? How much time so you spend productively and how much time do you spend being busy?

You have 168 hours a week. Assuming you sleep for 7 hours a night, eat over 1.5 hours (15 minute breakfast, 30 minute lunch and 45 minute dinner) and enjoy a coffee break for 30 minutes, that leaves you with 105 hours in the week.

It sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But when you break it down, that’s just over 100 hours to work, relax, get some exercise in, travel to/from work and spend time with the family/charity/friends.

How do you squeeze everything in?

Lots of business owners start the day with a list of the day’s tasks & activities. Yet somehow along the line, by 11am, you’ll have digressed from the list because other tasks become more important. Now, I’m not a four-quadrant person. I’ve been to lots of time management courses and have decided that the ‘important/urgent’ matrix is not for me.

But today, I want you to look at time in two ways. Firstly, how much is your time worth to you and secondly how does time help you achieve your goals.

Firstly, put a value on your time.

Lets say you make €50,000 a year (before taxes). You take a two week holiday (unpaid) so that leaves you with 50 working weeks in the year.

€50,000/50 = €1,000 a week

So assuming you work 40 hours (although as entrepreneurs I know that number is upward!),

you earn

€1,000/40 = €25 an hour

(And that’s not what you charge your clients as you’ll have to take into account overheads, taxes etc…this is purely for you).

So this means your minimum hourly worth is €25 an hour.

Action for tomorrow: Jot down the hours and tasks that you’ve completed.

How many hours did you spend working on client facing activities – lead generation, marketing, meetings – all at €25 an hour? And how many hours did you spend on say, €12.5 an hour jobs such as organising, admin, running errands such as going to the post office or bank?

If this is the first time you’ve looked at your time like this, then you’ll begin to see that you need to spend more time on the €25 an hour client facing jobs or activities. This will help you raise your prices but it will also point out that spending time on jobs that don’t help you grow your business isn’t really useful for you.

From tomorrow onwards, now that you know how much your time is worth, you need to work on tasks that help you truly grow your business.

Secondly, work toward your goals.

If putting a value on your time doesn’t work for you, then putting a value on your goals is another way to look at your time.

If you don’t know where you’re going, then passing hours is easy. They’ll come, they’ll go. But you can make hours work harder for you by making sure hours are spent working toward your goals – short and long term.

If your short term goal is to get 5 new customers by the end of the month, then your time should be spent on activities relating to that goal. It shouldn’t be spent getting distracted on other things such as re-arranging the filing cabinet.

If your long term goal is to make a turnover of €250,000 by the end of the year, then your time should be spent on activities which attain that goal for you.

Balancing short and long term goals is an obvious challenge but hopefully short-term will compliment the long term goal.

In summary, spending time being busy is not a good use of your time. Spending time productively is a much better use of your time as a business owner. Often times, us business owners end up wearing a number of hats, but wear the hat that will achieve the most for you. Outsource the rest. Ultimately, you’ll end up achieving better results in a quicker time frame.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me at denise @ or leave a comment below.

Take care,

About Denise Fay

Denise Fay is an author, speaker and international marketing consultant and copywriter. She set up the marketing agency, Achieve Marketing in 2006 working with SMEs. She became an authority on copywriting when she wrote her first book, the award-winning ‘31 days to write better copy‘ in 2011.

Denise has been featured as an expert in the Irish Independent, Sunday Business Post, Evening Herald and Irish Sun, on radio with the John Murray show on RTE Radio and on TV including TV3’s IrelandAM.

Her company, Achieve Marketing, provides business, marketing, copywriting and success advice to SMEs and multi-nationals.

If you liked this principle, you’ll love Denise’s approach to marketing and copywriting to help you start, market, and grow your business. Learn more at and