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Productivity / Business Productivity

Billable hours: Back to basics

Have you ever recorded just how much of your day’s work is billable hours and how much is non-billable hours? I did, and the results were scary.

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As a soloist, I’ve always been clear about the value of my time. Inspired in part by Stacey Barr’s succinct business dashboard checklist (my base-line productivity barometer) I’d already set daily and weekly targets and goals as well as more long-term ones.

Then I checked my actual activity using a time-billing program. Without going into the gory details, let’s just say that I was shocked by what I learned.

Over a year, those 15-minute chunks of admin and email time that I was peppering my days with to break up the intense concentration of actually working really added up. Several weeks later, I’m still shaking my head in consternation at how much time I spent on that stuff last financial year.

Like many of you, I chose soloism because I love the flexibility and freedom it offers. So how did I get into the habit of wasting so many hours a week doing the busy work, rather than the important work?

Drastic action was required. The idea for my 8-billable-hours-a-day bootcamp was born.

"Those 15-minute chunks of admin and email time that I was peppering my days with to break up the intense concentration of actually working really added up."

Have you ever signed up for a fitness bootcamp? If this is a form of pain you haven’t yet had the pleasure of, let me tell you, it’s flipping hard. But you quickly develop endurance and strength – and you surprise yourself with what you can achieve.

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When the assigned period of intensive training is over, you’ve developed a new level of fitness that you’d be very reluctant to let slide. After all, you’ve literally worked your butt off for it.

That kind of shake-up was exactly what I needed for my workday, so I based my 8-billable-hours-a-day bootcamp on similar principles, including setting goals that were a BIG stretch (but still achievable), and incorporating an end date so I’d always remember that things won’t be this intense forever.

Halfway through my training, my endurance and focus are definitely stronger than they were a month ago, and my flexibility has improved too.

I’ll share the results of my experiment when it’s over, but meanwhile, if you’ve got any more tips on shaking things up for me, I’m all ears!

Oh, and thank you to everyone who got in touch with me after my first contribution to Flying Solo. Your comments and support were lovely to receive.

Jayne Tancred

is a copywriter and marketing consultant and copywriter specialising in natural health and wellness. She’s also co-founder of Tribe of the Tree flower essences. Connect with her on LinkedIn or her Natural Health Marketing or Tribe of the Tree Facebook pages.

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