Even though I’m now a bit of city slicker, that wasn’t always the case.
I grew up in a small farm town in southern Indiana called Lanesville.
There were literally no stoplights, no buildings over two stories, and you could run through the entire downtown end to end in about 8 minutes.
My graduating class barely had 40 people.
In this town, there is a massive festival every year where people come to look at old farm equipment, watch tractors pulling ridiculously heavy loads, and of course, drink beer – lots of beer.
I won’t lie. It’s kind of fun, and I’ve attended it on several occasions – but that’s not the point of this back story.
The point of this story is the ridicule I (still) get for electing to… wait for it… NOT cut my own grass.
As I write this I’m 32 years old, and I haven’t cut my own grass in about five years.
Where I’m from, this is pretty much blasphemy. I can almost hear the murmurs, mumbling, and voices of disapproval from where I currently sit 40 miles away.
Oh well. Man card lost I guess.
It’s a decision I would make time and time again, and I’m about to show you exactly why.
People still make fun of me for this. They say things like:
- “You write about time management and you can’t cut your own grass?”
- “What are you doing with all of that time you save?”
- “That’s dumb! I would never pay someone to do something so easy. You can save so much money doing it yourself.”
- “Isn’t that expensive?”
I used to think the same way. I grew up in a pretty frugal family, so I always thought that I should do absolutely everything myself. I still actually fight this tendency.
But after reading a few books, graduating college, and being more and more pressed for time every day, I eventually I started to think a little bit differently. I started to realize how valuable my time could be, and how I could be spending it on better things that weren’t just recurring chores to no real end.
What I’m about to show you proves, without a doubt, that this was the right decision for me.
Below you will see three images.
- The first is an invoice for $185
- The second is a check to me for $637.50
- The third is a check to me for $387.50
The $185 invoice represents two months of my lawn being taken care of by a professional service, plus an extra job of clearing out a huge flowerbed full of old thorny shrubs for me.
If I had done all of that myself, I estimate it would have taken me about 12 hours of my time factoring in everything involved.
It also would have been a pain in the ass, I probably would have had to buy a few tools, and it also would have required hauling things away, etc.
By paying someone, it took exactly zero hours of my time, it got done in a very professional manner, and I was also absolved of all of that mental anguish :).
The two checks you see below totaling $1,025 were earned during that same time period, as you can see by the dates on them. I was able to have the time and energy to spend on these projects as a direct result of hiring someone else to do my yard work.
$1025 – $185 = $840 profit
This same situation has happened on a number of different occasions with a number of different things (not always my grass).
Your time is incredibly valuable. Make it count.
I don’t show you this to boast or shove it in the face of my naysayers (although you can’t argue with facts).
I say it to show you that there is a direct relationship between time and the value you get from your life. Your time is incredibly valuable, especially if you use time that you save to do other things that can earn you extra money, or allow you to spend time doing other things you truly love and enjoy.
Every minute you spend on something has an opportunity cost. Time is a non-renewable resource. You will never get it back. So make sure you are spending it on things that provide a high amount of value to your life.
In this case, I am actually talking literally about my grass, but of course “grass” can mean anything. Don’t let that narrow your focus.
I think you get the metaphor here. Freeing up your own time to achieve a higher value from your own life can pay you back several times what you put into it.
You don’t even have to outsource things. You can just be more efficient with your life and get the same benefits.
- Of course you have time to do low value things, but it’s more economically beneficial to pay someone else, and then spend that saved time on more valuable tasks.
- By using strategic time management, every minute you save by not doing low value tasks is a minute you can be spending on something else more valuable
- It might be tempting to save money by doing easy tasks on your own, but the more time you spend on them, the less time you have to spend on higher value items.
- Yes. Outsourcing costs money, but the time saved and quality gained can often result in a nice profit.
The list of benefits continues, but I think you get the picture.
The point here is to think a little bit differently about the habits and routines you’ve established in your life.
- Do they make sense economically and emotionally?
- Do the things you spend your time on bring a high amount of value and happiness to your life?
- Could you save more time, make more money, spend more time with your loved ones, and be a happier person by re-evaluating where you spend your precious hours?
Take some time to ask yourself these questions, and just like it did mine, it might change your life in a very positive way.