Am I Wasting My Time? How to Conserve Your Most Valuable Resource

I would like to start off today’s post with a quote from Will Rogers, American cowboy, performer and humorist, who said “Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.”  In other words, don’t waste your valuable time by dwelling unnecessarily on the past.

pic of a clock

We have all been guilty of wasting time.  When we are young, we believe that we have an unlimited amount of time, and feel no remorse whatsoever about wasting time.  As we become older, we realize that we have a finite amount of time on this earth, and start to treat our time a bit differently.  Realizing that time is a precious asset, we attempt to fill our time with things that are of value.  Unfortunately, we often spend too much time on things that are of little to no benefit to us, especially in our professional life.  Changing our ways, in regard to wasting time, can have tremendous benefits to us personally, professionally and monetarily.

I recently spend (too much) time at a quarterly meeting of our state board of home inspectors.  The vast majority of the meeting was reserved for hearing complaints levied against home inspectors by unhappy clients.  While I am certainly in favor of having a legitimate avenue for clients to air their grievances when they feel that they have not received a service that they paid for, the colossal amount of time that was wasted during these proceedings was incredibly frustrating.

One such case involved a couple that had purchased a house after having it inspected, only to find out that their inspector had missed several major deficiencies during his inspection.  These deficiencies will end up costing these buyers a good bit of money.  They were (understandably) quite angry and filed a complaint with the state board against their inspector as a precursor to their (eventual) lawsuit.  While I am not privy to all of the information about this inspection, from the evidence presented at the board meeting, it appeared to me that the inspector did not do a thorough inspection nor did he document in his report anything that may have limited his ability to fully perform his job.  However, there he was at the meeting, attempting to defend his (indefensible) position.

Looking at his situation from a business perspective, we can clearly see that what he was doing was a big waste of time, and will have little positive impact on his future.  He (invariably) spent some of his valuable time preparing his statement of defense for the board meeting.  He lost a full day of inspection work by having to appear at the board meeting.  He probably spent valuable time on the phone and computer “discussing” the situation ahead of time with his disgruntled clients and their agent.  It is highly likely he spent valuable mental energy thinking about and fretting over this situation.  He was penalized by the state board with a considerable fine, as well as directed to attend an additional remedial training course (another lost day of work).  And ultimately, this ruling against him by the state board will have a detrimental effect on the subsequent lawsuit he will be facing.

A more effective route would have certainly been to settle the complaint long before it reached this point.  While most of us are far from independently wealthy, and any refunds/money that we are paying out to placate a disgruntled client hurts us in the pocketbook, it is often the path of least resistance and may help to keep things from escalating to a much costlier situation.  Once the financial impact of the multiple days of lost work, payments to attorneys and insurance companies, mental anguish and negative publicity are added up, that refund/payment to a problem client starts to look pretty good to the average inspector.

pic of a path to horizon

Writer April Mae Monterrosa said “Don’t waste time chasing things that will never be beneficial to your future.”  Be sure to weigh all of your decisions against their impact on your future, and make the best decision based on all of the facts, not just on the immediate financial impact.  Your time is much more valuable than you realize.

I welcome all feedback (positive and negative) about my take on this subject.  Please leave your comments below.  Thank you!

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Thanks, Joe