How much time are you really losing with menial tasks?


Probably the most difficult position in which you could be is that of a small business owner guided into entrepreneurship by his profession, not just the drive to make a profit, especially if you did so after years and years of chasing perfection. After so much time perfecting one’s craft, becoming an expert, you are going to struggle to do only what it is required by your clients, not going above and beyond like you used to do when you were someone’s employee.

The issue here is that you can’t be both the owner and manager of your business and your most dedicated employee. There aren’t enough hours in the day for that. When you’re someone else’s employee, you can focus on your tasks, when you’re the boss, there are a lot more things that you need to take care of and every single of those tiny tasks are chipping away at your productivity.

When you are under so much stress, your understanding of time transforms. Suddenly, wasting 30 minutes on something that doesn’t advance the business or doesn’t help you get earlier back home to your family isn’t something you can take lightly. Now that you’re expected to fulfil more roles you have a different relationship with your to-do list, how much time a task takes you can save or break your entire business.

Can you imagine spending 6 hours of your workday answering and sifting through emails? Doing that doesn’t drive any revenue. That means you’d only have 2-4 hours/day to make the money your business depends on.

The same goes for all the tasks on your to-do list, they either make you money or lose you money and time and, as an entrepreneur, you really can’t ignore the mathematics of time. You know how much time your recurring tasks are taking and now we will show you what to do about those 10, 20, 30-minute tasks that keep piling up and draining your time and energy.

How much time are you really losing with menial tasks?


Let’s say you use HARO to get the name of your business in the press. Reading just one single email containing requests from editors and reporters can take you up to 36 minutes. If you do this every day, Monday through Friday, for a year, that adds to 144 hours/year.

Sounds crazy, right? What we did was to use the average reading speed and see how much time it would take people to read this past Tuesday’s HARO email [Tuesday Afternoon Queries “Peso Model” Edition]. If you don’t like the example, think of it this way – your workday is made of 8 hours, if you spend 30 minutes every day posting content on your Facebook page, in a year, that will add to 120 hours.

For a daily 5 minute task, you spend 20 hours/year.

For a daily 10 minute task, you spend 40 hours/year.

For a daily 15 minute task, you spend 60 hours/year.

For a daily 1 hour task, you spend 240 hours/year.

A full-time work week is 40 hours long.

In 3 years, you’re wasting 3 weeks of your life on one single 10-minute task that needs completed every day. How many 10-minute tasks are you actually completing in a day? How many weeks or even years of your life are you wasting this way?

The case for time investments with a fantastic ROI.

Look at this graph. Don’t worry if it’s a bit confusing. We’ll explain.

Is it worth the time? by xkcd

Is it worth the time? by xkcd

In most cases, you will not be able to just get rid of the 5-10 minute time-sapping tasks we’ve been talking about, but there are two things you can do to take back your time (and money):

I. Optimise the tasks so you could shave off some of the needed time to complete them.

This is what the graph is about – how much time you can invest in shaving off some task-completion minutes/hours to be worth it. For example, if you spend 3 hours to optimise your process to shave off 2 minutes of your daily 5-minute task, at the end of one year, you’ve made a good deal. Why? Because the original 5-minute task takes you 20 hours/year, while an optimised 3-minute task will take you 12 hours/year. If you save those 2 minutes per day, you’ll save 8 hours/year, enough to “pay” for the 3 hours invested in the optimisation and still have 5 hours extra. It’s a good return on your time investment.

II. Train staff and delegate the tasks altogether.

If your own time is worth $25-$30-$40-$50 per hour, why on Earth would you waste your time (and money) working on tasks that aren’t bringing you any revenue? It makes no sense, but millions of entrepreneurs do it still. This time and money wasting behaviour it’s undetected by our own mind because it’s always disguised into those 5-10-30-minute daily tasks. Why would you hire someone for something that only takes 10 minutes? And here’s the thing, the time and money you’re wasting represents far more than what a virtual assistant would cost you.

Let’s say you make $40/hour every time you work on revenue generating tasks. That’s $83,200 per year.
If all your tiny tasks make up just 1 hour per day, you’re losing $10,400 per year. If all your menial tasks make up 4 hours per day, you’re losing $41,600. That’s just bad business.

No amount of time invested in recruiting and training a virtual assistant will be a bad deal. You’ll free more of your own time and spend it on revenue generating tasks. A Philippines virtual assistant costs $6 to $9 per hour, depending on experience and profession, (a mobile developer is more expensive than a real estate VA) so if you’re making more than that per hour, delegating the menial tasks to a virtual assistant is saving you money.

Life’s short anyways, so see what time mathematics have to say for you!

If you can hire a part-time or full-time Philippine-based virtual assistant, you’ll soon discover it’s one of the shortest routes toward business growth.

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