Oct 24, 2009

Time management is important

There's a nice blog post on Avlor's Imprints that talks about how people with small businesses can use and track their time better. One of the most important ideas I think some budding small-business owners don't always remember is that their time is valuable. And since a small-business owner's hourly rate is literally set by the amount of work they do in an hour, efficiency is extremely relevant.

That's one of the ideas that drove me to quit my office job. Because at an office job? HA! Efficiency just means you work harder than the people around you, care more, and burn out faster. You don't get paid more to work harder. At least, that's my experience; I'm sure there are office jobs out there that aren't like that. If only I had had one of them. ;)

I wasn't the only one who had trouble using my time efficiently at that company, either. Some people just work fast. Those people officially still had to work exactly 40 hours a week. When there's a limited range of things you're allowed to do, that just means that you either break the rules and do things you aren't tasked to do, or you learn to work more slowly.

If I meant that in a Zen, "slow down the mad rush, learn to relax, and find a natural pace" sort of way, working more slowly would actually be good. But when it's more "read grammar blogs for three hours straight every day and call it job research, then when you run out of blogs, train your brain to work more slowly and don't dare come up with better uses of your time, at risk of getting impatient and fiddly and sneaking non-work activities that could get you in trouble" — that's the opposite of good. That's slowing down your natural pace to force yourself into someone else's schedule.

And that's not a good use of my life. Hey, even if I were to get reincarnated, I still have a limited amount of time in this life, and that means every minute has immediate personal value.

Thankfully, as a small-business owner, efficiency is a positive skill. It's useful to finish faster than expected, then come up with something else that needs to be done in the "bonus" time. Being ahead of schedule means I can actually stay ahead — no getting ahead, then waiting for co-workers to catch up so the project can proceed. No getting ahead and then feeling pressured to take on other people's jobs to get the entire project ahead of schedule. As a small-business owner, all the jobs are already mine, and I'm happy to do them.

That is, if I can get my brain working at full speed again, so I can fit a comfortably crazy amount of work into a short period of time. ;) Send good vibes for my brainpower, 'kay?
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