We all have things that we are good at. In our personal lives and our professional careers we naturally gravitate towards performing the tasks that we are better at or can do more efficiently. Economist Adam Smith first mentioned the idea of comparative advantage in his book The Wealth of Nations. Later, David Ricardo described the idea in further detail using the example of England and Portugal trading wine and cloth.
Without getting into lots of details, the basic idea is that if each country can produce something that they specialize in, and then trade it, every country will benefit. The same principles apply today in business. For example, Red Egg Marketing is not good at writing computer code. So when we build websites for clients, we use a content management system called WordPress. WordPress is an amazing open source platform that saves us lots of time. Many talented coders have contributed to WordPress which makes it a very powerful website building tool. Red Egg Marketing is great at using the tools to build professional and attractive websites that function great for our clients. Thus, we build websites for our clients and use the tools provided by talented coders. Everyone wins!
Now to my point. Every once in a while, I like to think about what I am doing that is not a good use of my time. What shouldn’t I be doing because someone could do it better, and/or cheaper? I encourage you all to do the same. Take a step back and think about how you could be using your time more efficiently. Are you wasting time mowing the lawn when you could be working? Are you spending hours trying to build a website when you could be finding new customers or working on a new product?
Here are my suggestions to help you determine what is a good use of your time.
- Determine What Your Time is Worth – Figure out what you value your time at. If you could be producing something better in the time it takes you to do something else, consider letting someone else do it.
- Consider Happiness – Is it really worth it struggling through something just to “save” a few bucks? Maybe not…
- Could Someone Be Producing More? – If you give a task to someone else, could it take him or her less time and could it earn your more money? The answer is yes more often than not.
Next time you are struggling with a task or are overloaded with items on your ‘to do list’, consider taking a deep breath and weighing your options. You’ll be glad you did.