The Difference Between Being Busy and Being Successful

I recently did a search on and found 75,939 results related to time management, everything from books, videos, software, and journals.  Even with all of these resources available, time management still remains a challenge for so many people, especially small business owners.

It seems there is never a shortage of things that have to get done.  People seem busier than ever and often completely overwhelmed, and I have observed that many people seem to confuse being busy with being successful.  However, this is really a matter of choice and not a matter of time.

Can We Really Manage Time?

When you stop to think about it, can we really manage time?  We all have the same amount of minutes and hours in a day as everybody else, therefore we really can’t manage time.  What we can manage, however, are the decisions and choices we make with the time we have.

Have you ever heard somebody say “I don’t have any time?”  Nonsense!  That person has the same amount of time that I and everybody else has.  What they should be saying is “I made the choice to fill up my time with certain activities.”  So how can we start making better choices?

Busy Work Versus Productive Work

Being busy means you are filling up your time with activities that may seem important, but are not leading you towards your goals.  These often include doing mundane tasks, putting out fires, or dealing with interruptions.  Productive work are the tasks you do that are leading you one step closer towards achieving your goals.  Doing the things that you have decided are the highest priority in your life.

Your Time Has a Price Tag – Your Hourly Rate

Perhaps you never thought about it before, but your time has a price tag, your hourly rate.  If you work on average of 50 weeks per year, and 40 hours during each week, by multiplying the two together means you work roughly 2000 hours per year.  When you divide your yearly salary by 2000, you can determine your hourly rate.

$50,000 / 2000 = $25.00 per hour
$75,000 / 2000 = $37.50 per hour
$100,000 / 2000 = $50.00 per hour

Eliminate Mundane Tasks that Cost Less Than Your Hourly Rate

If you were to make a list of all the mundane tasks you do on a weekly basis, you can add up the number of hours it takes to complete them, times them by your hourly rate, and get a true reflection of what these tasks are really costing you to do each week.

If the cost to do a task is less than your hourly rate, you should hire somebody else to do the job.  Every hour spent doing a mundane task is one hour less you can spend doing productive work.  The natural tendency is often to do the work yourself in order to save money, but paying to have this work done is really an investment in your future, instead of an expense.  An investment in accomplishing your most important goals.

Time Is Our Most Precious Resource

Time is only resource you can’t get back.  It is far more valuable than money.  Once it is gone you can never get it back.  The choice is yours on how you use your time.

Make a list of all your mundane tasks, and take a minute to calculate your hourly rate.  Pay others to do things for you that cost less than it would for you to do.  Free up as much time to work on the activities that have the highest pay off, and lead you to your most important goals and the things you value most.  If your goals and spending time with people you value are truly the most important things in your life, why would you want to spend time on anything else?

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