At various points in my career, I have tasked with running reports that would take from 20 to 60 minutes to put together. Many times, the process for running the report would have been passed down from persons who previously held my position, so it would be expected that it would take me the same amount of time to run the reports.
I hate the monotony of doing the same report day after day, so after learning how the reports are constructed, I will spend eight to twelve hours building a new spreadsheet or database that generates the reports in less than five minutes.
When a boss or coworker wonders why I am rebuilding the reports, I will often get asked, “Why are you wasting your time redoing the report when it only takes 20 to 60 minutes of your day to run?”
I want to say, “Because the monotony of this report is sucking the life out of my body!” but normally I would respond, “it just makes sense for me to do it this way.”
People that see the report as a daily task to do are in a certain mindset.
Most are Task Not Value Focused
What I realized, is that many of the people I encounter in corporate America are task focused and not value focused. They see a report as one of a series of tasks they have to perform in order to get paid, so they don’t care about how long it takes to get completed. These people expect to come to work, perform a series of tasks, and get paid for their tasks. This mindset applies to hourly employees, salaried employees, and trained professionals such as Doctors and Lawyers.
The result is a mindset that you have a certain number of tasks you have to do in order to get paid. I equate this to a rat in a maze having to run a certain path in order to get a standardized food pellet. Remember, “The cake is a lie” and you need to focus on the value you produce and not the tasks that get you the same pellet week after week.
Creating a Value Mindset
Looking at the example of my reports, spending ten to twelve hours making the reports more efficient frees up 15 to 50 minutes a day for me to do other activities. The time I spent creating the new report is made up in two months and the process for teaching others how to create the reports is greatly reduced, making it easier to move the reports from employee to employee. One day of work gives me hundreds of additional hours a year to work on higher value tasks.
Anyone that is looking to start a business should adopt a value not task mindset. What are you going to do for your customer that adds value to their business or life? How are you going to create a system, a product, or a service that reduces their workload so they can focus on value added activities?
Exchange Value for Money not Time for Money
When you are working for money by the hour, you always have to press the task bar to get paid. When you create value for your clients, you are able to trade money for value instead of time for money. This has the opportunity to increase your future earning potential dramatically.
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