If you ask any businessperson what the most valuable thing they can do, they all likely have the same answer: work on their billable hours. They're right--that is the most valuable thing you can do with your time. Think about if you're a lawyer who bills at $500 an hour. The most valuable thing you can do is spending more of your time billing hours. Pretty easy.
In the case of a senior businessperson, the value of their time in their best skill might be far higher than $500 an hour. One CEO I know recently completed negotiating a contract that could be worth $1 billion in revenue to his firm over the term. While he spend a ton of time, the value per hour is still stunning.
But what then is the second most valuable thing you can do with your time?
When you ask most business people this question, they tend to answer with a task that also generates money, but not at the same rate as their primary skill does. In or lawyer example, that might be doing some clerical work that might only generate $100 an hour.
And that's the mistake. As Dr. Gunther Klaus, the famed management speaker tells us, the second most valuable thing anyone can do with their time is to invest in marketing efforts that will generate more future billable hours related to their most valuable skill. Our lawyer shouldn't do clerical work--he or she should be engaged in marketing efforts like building a social media presence in their area of expertise, or going to networking events, or reaching out to current clients for referrals--anything that will generate more high-end billable hours in the future.
Dr, Klaus claimed that if you constantly applied this idea - of only doing your most valuable work and then spending time creating more of your most valuable work - you could double your income in a few years.
Even though engaging in some of these efforts might cost you some money, they are still more valuable to you because of the future billable hours they will create.
You can also think of this model similar to how Dan Sullivan of the Strategic Coach talks about how you need to spend most of your time doing the things you are best at and enjoy doing that you can also make money doing. Dan talks about the critical importance of creating "focus days," where your time is spent primarily on those things that do best and make money doing. This our lawyer with a highly productive day full of $500 an hour time.
Dan also talks about "buffer days," which is the time you spend after you have completed your focus days. My suggestion is that you should be spending your buffer days marketing yourself in a way that generates more of the high-value hours you'll spend your focus days working on.
So when it comes to making decisions about how to spend your time, it should all be laser-focused on either doing the things that deliver you the greatest return or investing in marketing efforts that will generate more demand for those high-return tasks.
If you can do that, you'll find that not only will you be happier because you're spending more time doing what you like, but you'll also make a lot more money--which is something I'll talk more about in a future post.