By Scott Johnston – 2/13/2017

I believe we all need help recognizing the value of our own time. Sometimes these reminders can be in the form of the tools we use (ChronoBeans), and at other times it’s those we keep close that help us recognize that value. I was again reminded of this recently when working on a frustrating e-mail issue.

I recently undertook a slew of technology changes, from updating my aging laptop, to switching personal e-mail web hosting providers. Like most independent professionals, I manage multiple e-mail addresses, and with my migration to a new laptop I’d finally decided to switch from OpenOffice, back into the Microsoft fold with Office 365. This of course allowed me to use Outlook for e-mail management.

My problem was that one of my e-mail accounts was a POP account, whereas to successfully manage e-mail on my PC and phone (in sync) I needed it to function like an IMAP account. As I am incredibly frugal when it comes to technology, including bootstrapping my own startup, I felt sure I could make this work. I tried various approaches and settings, intermittently interrupting my Marketing Consultant wife with elaborate explanations of what I was trying and the successes and fails. Finally, she had had enough.

“How much time have you spent trying to get this to work?”, my wife inquired.

“Oh, only a few hours”, I replied.

“And how much would it cost you to just upgrade the email account?”, she asked.

“But that’s not the point!”, I retorted. “This is a challenge.”.

But that was the point. In the questions my wife had asked lay the wisdom of the value of time. Not only had I spent more time trying to work around a problem, it was I who had created it by not valuing my own time. As independent professionals, sometimes if we don’t have billable work at hand we can undervalue our own time in a way that we would never do if working for a client.

This was another reason I developed our Billable Time Manager product – ChronoBeans. Using any time management tool will help independent professionals keep track of how they are spending their time, even the non-billable hours. Spotting trends in advance and taking corrective action.

So next time you are working on a ‘challenge’ determine if it’s worth getting help, or paying a little more, for a more expeditious solution. And above all else trust in the wisdom of your spouse. Often, they will be there to help save us from ourselves. I know I’m truly grateful for mine, not only this Valentines, but each and every day.