Why Devaluing Your Time is a Crucial Mistake

Why Devaluing Your Time is a Crucial Mistake

You know how people tell you, wait until you have kids, and your life will turn upside-down? I always hated those people. And I made it my mission to prove them wrong.

I failed miserably.

Not because my life actually turned upside-down. My life actually got better. Well, apart from the sleep deprivation, the "living with a toddler hell" and the fact that now I have two girls I have to wait while they are shopping for clothes (wife + our daughter).

But there is a very interesting, say valuable, lesson you learn once your child is born. You realize that "I ain't got time for that shit" is a very accurate sentence. It's real. It's a thing.

It brought me ways to get more organised and more productive, and also to the whole "how are You wasting Your time?" philosophy. When you need to chose between changing smelly diapers and finishing the project without any delay, it feels like you are walkin' on a razors edge.

So lately I've been thinking about how different people understand, perceive and use time. Some have very strict rules about time, especially when it concerns their "working" time.

For example two of my colleagues wait until it's 5:00PM, not a minute more, and "the pen falls out of their hand". The business day is over, and regardless if there was still something to be done, it will have to wait until tomorrow (with some exceptions).

Others don't mind staying late in the office, or doing overtime, late hours, even from home and finishing stuff even couple of days in advance. But maybe they're just avoiding home because of all the unwashed dishes that awaits.

Some of my friends who are in a similar business work 10-12 hours a day. Not sure if they are happy, or have no choice. Or they think they don't have a choice.

Which team are you on?

Many will agree that the Western culture (USA and Europe alike) have a completely different interpretation of time than, for example, people from the Mediterraneans or even more so from the Asian countries.

I'm not totally sure that the American overly obsessed approach is the best - if You work for Americans you probably have heard expressions like:

  • "I don't have time for this",
  • "Stop wasting my time",
  • "Time is money",
  • ...

Well, in general yes, they are right. But their obsession goes deeper, when they start to calculate everything by their own "hourly rate" and it's probably sick if they say that playing with their kids just "cost" them 300 bucks or something.

Those people are the ones who would constantly repeat that the time is the most valuable asset you possess. Or that you should "stop selling time" (translated to translation business: selling hourly services for money) and "start buying time" (invest in things that would make a 3 hour job done in 15 minutes).

Many say that lazy people are for some business much more efficient than others (in programming, for example), because they will find a way to automate things, or to do thinks differently which might bring the same results faster.

That idea is pretty awesome. If you could do something in 2 hours today, but it only took you half of that tomorrow, especially if it's a daily repeated task, it could make a world of difference.

Is time really that important?

To some people it is.

Personally, I'm a big fan of doing things on my own terms. Play with my kid when I want to (scratch that... when SHE wants to!), or go grocery shopping in the middle of the day while my blue collar buddies are down in the mines, minin' for their gold (ok, it's a metaphor, you get it).

Of course, in the Translation Industry you are always bound by the deadline, but until that deadline approaches, you do things when you want, the way you want it.

And if you can "steal" another hour every day, that's at least 1 more hour reading your favourite blog, 1 more hour on the treadmill, one more hour watching Breaking Bed re-run, or the precious time you can spend with your kids. Or ignore all that and get some sleep. Sometimes it's the only sane choice.

Still, it's amazing how many of us don't really care. You ask them what if you could work 1 hour less a day, and they look you in the eye and slap you with their cool, Humphrey Bogart's line: "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn".

Where I'm going with this?

Well, maybe if You said to all Your colleagues that the workday starts at 10AM instead of 9AM, they would be much happier. Or if they could "drop the pen" at 4PM instead of 5PM.

Maybe that's not possible because Your clients still work late hours, small hours, and they are spread across three continents.

But what if You could finally spare yourself from working 12 hours a day as a Translation Project Manager, or you could spare your colleagues from doing overtime when they would rather be with their families? Who you gonna be? James Bond or Pablo Escobar? The sexy, or the dum beast? You want to be the Bond. Right?

Wouldn't that be a blast.

I know it's hard to wrap your mind around this maybe it's hard to accept the truth, but apart from organizing your business better, minitpms is saving you effective time. Actual time.

It's like it forces you to work less.

The nightmare of workaholics - The lazy man's dream.

Maybe at this point I should emphasize that I use the term lazy in context of "working smarter", not "not working at all". But you already knew that.

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