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Buying Time In Your Day

There is a lot to pack into a busy life, and for some of us, we've decided to pack more than the average person. I have a lot of little tricks that I employ to keep it all balanced, but you can only squeeze so much juice out of those tricks. At the end of the day, pun definitely intended, there are only twenty-four hours in a day, and you have to deal with all the same minutia as everyone else. When all your tricks are spent, you have to start paying in either time or money.

In a portfolio career, one of the most important pieces of advice that I can give you is that your time and your money are equally valuable. If you are not doing something to expand your empire, spending time with a client or creating a product for sale, you're doing non-revenue-generating activities. These necessary evils or pleasures, like cleaning the toilet or spending time with your family, need to happen. In accomplishing them, you are paying with your time.

In some cases, it may be more advantageous to pay with your money. If you like math, here's a ratio for you:

If X is greater than 1, it's more financially advantageous for you to outsource the chore. The greater the number, the better the deal.

On the other side of this coin, I am almost maniacal about being unwilling to pay someone to do something I can do myself if I think I'm being overcharged. I'm willing to pay someone to save me time, but I'm not a bottomless well. As Ben Franklin did not ever actually say, a penny saved is a penny earned. For example, I bought a clothes dryer once, and for an extra hundred dollars, I could have it professionally installed. I'm often overconfident and stupid, so I immediately googled whether it was really very complicated to install a dryer, and as it turns out, it's almost numbingly easy. I did it myself, pocketed the hundred, and felt quite smug about the whole affair.

However, I caution you not to let overconfidence be your downfall. Find out if you really can do something yourself. Otherwise, you will end up looking quite stupid to your husband after tossing a "how hard could it be?" at him as you march off with the lawn mower because you didn't think you needed a landscaper. Let's just say the lawn ended up with several mohawks. Learn from my fail, folks.

Now it's your turn - what do you outsource? What do you save? Let me know in the comments.


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