If you’re like me, you’re in business to make a profit.
You get paid, you do the work you agreed to do, or ship the product you agreed to send.
But how you use your time isn’t anybody’s business but yours.
You’re not accountable to a client to be productive a full 8 hours a day. Customers don’t care if you slack off during the day so long as they get what they ordered in a timely manner.
Without any accountability (except perhaps meeting deadlines and fulfilling orders), it’s easy to waste 15 minutes here, another 15 there.
Over the course of a week, maybe you waste a few hours that could have been spent doing something productive — or even doing something you actually enjoy doing (instead of checking your news feeds and social media updates).
So what if you adopted a new framework from which to view your work time?
What if you viewed your business as a non-profit funded by donors?
And instead of thinking of all your work time as “yours,” what if you thought of it as “theirs.”
Here’s what I mean:
A non-profit usually has some sort of overarching vision or mission that drives its activity.
They’re funded entirely by individual donations from people who agree with the cause. These people want to see their dollars put to good use.
If you were running a non-profit, you might view your work time and financial resources differently.
You might be more conscientious and disciplined about maximizing donor dollars, eliminating waste, and operating lean.
For some reason, it’s easy to waste our own time and our own money.
But it’s much harder to waste somebody else’s time and money — especially somebody who has entrusted you to carry out the company’s mission and oversee the activities that will bring it to fruition.
By simply changing your frame of reference, you introduce accountability for your daily actions.
I don’t know if thinking about your business as a non-profit will help you stay more focused, but if you’re struggling with wasting work time, it’s certainly worth a try.
-Ryan M. Healy