In Praise of the Office Barber

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I'm kind of a time-management nut. I like to make the best use of every minute in the day -- with two daughters under the age of two at home, I want to spend as much quality time with them as possible.

I should first admit that for me, part of the appeal of saving time is the game of it. When I'm on hold, I put the phone on speaker so I can do things around my office. I have two computers on my desk, so I'm never waiting for programs to load or download files. I work hard to be efficient -- and I want to pass my favorite tip on to you.

The Marines taught me to love the simplicity of short hair. The big problem was getting it cut so often. After I met my wife, she told me that I couldn't cut it myself anymore (even though it's not hard when you keep it short). I spent a lot of time trying to find a barber that was good but not too expensive. Once I found the right one, I'd spend a few hours getting it done -- driving there, waiting, getting the cut, and then going back home or to the office. The wait was often long, and rarely was there a good barber nearby. Add to this the fact that I can't go more than three weeks without a cut, and I was wasting some serious time on some pretty short hair.

So, I figured out a better plan. During a haircut a few years ago, I asked my barber in Austin if she ever did house calls. She was open to the idea, but said that there are some regulations against hair cutting outside of barbershops. Seriously, no matter what your political leanings are, you have to agree that if the government is regulating who and where you can get your hair cut, regulation has gone amok. Despite the risk, she agreed to come to my office two weeks later to cut my hair. (Rest assured that my barber gave me permission to share this story.)

It was seamless. She came and set up in the men's room, brought all her own supplies, and cleaned up after she was done. I didn't need to stop working until she was ready for me, and as soon as I was done, I was back at my desk. I add a few bucks to her tip to cover travel costs and can schedule it when I have time.

I save at least an hour every few weeks between driving time and waiting time whenever I get my hair cut. Some of my employees, who would otherwise have to burn a lunch or spend time on the weekend, now also get their hair cut at the office. The benefits to me, to my staff, and to my barber are all easily measurable.

At a time when we all need to work harder than ever to help pay for the bailouts of companies much bigger and weaker than our own, an extra couple of hours a month can be really valuable. We should be constantly working to cut wasted time and increase our efficiency -- it's the best way to make more when your time is limited.

If you have great time savers, comment away. After all, every minute counts!

Last updated: Jan 15, 2009




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