Let’s consider the flipside of this issue: what are the activities that are worth spending your time on? What are the activities that offer the highest return on investment?
Before we answer that, I need to address one thing: have you ever thought of your time as an investment?
Of course, when we hear investment we immediately think of its traditional monetary form; you spend money to purchase a resource in the hopes that it will grow in value and net a positive gain.
But if we look at the actual definition of investment, we see that it also applies to things other than money: “an act of devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result.”. So, an investment is any resource spent in hopes of receiving a worthwhile result.
Granted, you probably know this already.
However, I think most of us (myself included) fail to enact this reality in our day-to-day lives. In other words, we fail to see time as a resource and fail to see that it creates results. All we have to do is look around us: people are always complaining about not having enough time (yet spend much of it on ‘insignificant’ things), are constantly trying to become more “efficient” and “productive” (yet aren’t really), etc.
Do you see your time as an investment?
Time as Investment
So, what does it mean to see your time as an investment? It means a couple of things:
- If time is an investment, we are all investors. Since we can’t stop the progress of time, we are always investing, whether we realize it or not. So, time is always being spent and it’s always creating results, whether good or bad.
- Since the quality of our investments largely determines the quality of our life, we should look to make the best possible investments.
- Since our time on Earth is finite, we should look to make the best possible investments.
- The way we use our time determines the quality and quantity of the result.
- Since we choose how to use our time, we are responsible for the results.
So, how do we make wise investments? What makes an investment good?
There are different answers to this question, but I’ll outline some basic principles.
- A good investment is one that is in line with your goals/priorities.
- A good investment is one that contributes to your goals in a positive way.
- A good investment is one that makes use of your skills/aptitudes.
- A good investment is focused on the long-term.
Now, let’s tweak these slightly to be more appropriate for the business context.
- A good investment is one that is in line with your business’ goals/priorities.
- A good investment is one that contributes to your business’ goals in a positive way.
- A good investment is one that makes use of your skills/aptitudes, and those of your employees.
- A good investment is focused on the long-term well-being of your business.
- A good investment is one that could not produce the same quality or quantity of result with less amount of resource.
For example, if you have the choice between performing a task which takes you 2 hours to finish and delegating that task to someone else who can perform the task in 15 minutes, it would be wiser to allow the other person to perform the task while you work on something else.
High ROI activities for your business
With these guidelines in mind, we can finally get into the list of high ROI activities for businesses.
1) Caring for your employees
We’ve talked previously about how employee engagement is tied to revenue, a point I cannot stress enough.
Caring for your employees includes:
Training them adequately:
The better you train your employees, the better they will perform, the more satisfied they’ll be, and the less time you’ll spend monitoring them. Win-win!
Making sure your employee’s needs are being met
Asking them for feedback
Keeping them aware of what’s happening in your business
Including them in company decisions
2) Caring for your customers
Making sure your customers’ needs are being met, which may include:
Ensuring product quality
Providing an optimal customer experience
Providing a reasonable price/quality ratio
3) Searching for and hiring the right people
We’ve already talked about the immense cost of high employee turnover, which not only affects your bottom line, but also your work culture (and by association, everyone in your company). It’s well worth to spend some time making sure that the people you hire are the right fit for your business.
4) Eliminating low ROI activities
Ironically, one of the highest ROI activities is eliminating low ROI activities . Examples include:
Delegating tasks (when possible) to people who are more suited to them
Automating tasks (where possible) like scheduling, time and attendance tracking, payroll, etc.
5) Intelligent marketing
So, next time you’re about to commit to spending time on something, stop, reflect and ask yourself: “Is this the best use of my time?”, “Is what I’m about to do in line with my goals/priorities?”, “Am I treating my time as an investment right now?”, I guarantee you’ll see a marked positive difference in the results that come from it. Let us know how it goes in the comments!