Tracking Your Time Equals Money

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Once you have some track record, you can turn your time data into money data. When you finally know how much time you are working, and you know how much money you are making, you can attribute a monetary value to your time.

For example, in September 2022, I made $5,200 and worked about 148 hours. That makes my hour worth $35 – before taxes.

Once you establish such a metric, you can make some VERY informed decisions. For example, I sell my time for north of $100, at least three times more than the metric shows.

Why? Because I count toward my 148 hours several hours on calls with my team, about 15 hours of writing, admin stuff, managing my calendar, and so on. None of those activities directly produces revenue. Thus, I need to make much more for my billable hours.

Also, when someone asks me for a favor, for an hour of my time, I know they are asking me for a $35 gift. Sometimes, for someone, I may be inclined to be generous at this scale. But most often, especially for strangers with their agenda, the answer is NO.

And the best use of this metric: if I decide to waste my time instead of working, I can attach a price tag to reading news on the Internet, browsing on social media, watching YouTube or a series on Netflix.
A two-minute article about the latest craze of Putin costs me over a dollar.
One episode of a TV series costs me between $20 and $35.

One more application of this metric for me: if I don’t like doing something, I quote a very hefty multiple. For example, consulting on somebody else’s book ads is not my favorite thing. I name $140 and more for one hour of that. Writing a book description? I hate this! That’s $200.

If my prospects won’t accept my proposition, I’m totally fine with that. I didn’t want to do it anyway. If they will accept, the higher price tag will sweeten the deal for me – and I will be less likely to procrastinate on something I don’t like doing.

The Ultimate Competitive Advantage

Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova from Pexels.

However, the real value of tracking your time is not just increased awareness about how you spend your time, or getting to know how much your hour is worth.
Those benefits, and many others, are coming down to just one thing: you become more effective. You can squeeze more actions and value from your time.

This is the ultimate competitive advantage. You see, time is the ultimate currency. Every single human being on this planet has only 24 hours a day. If you can produce more in the same number of hours, you are gaining the advantage.

It doesn’t end with your personal productivity.

Giving an example is not the best management method… it is the only one.

– J.-Robert Ouimet

If you are more efficient and productive, if you know how to better leverage your time, your team will become more effective and productive. In my book advertising agency, everybody is tracking their time for the sake of their own productivity. Yes, I have the access to their timesheets, but I use it maybe several times a year, mostly out of pure curiosity.

There is nothing in business that leverages stronger than time efficiency. Even marginal gains translate into huge ones with scale. If you have 100 people in your company, and they are 2% better with their time than your competitors, you gain two additional “employees” – for free!

This is why small, nimble companies can compete with big and inefficient ones. When your people are much better than the competition in utilizing their time, they are working faster and better than an army of corporate almost-slaves.
I had been working in big companies for over 18 years. I know firsthand how much time is wasted there on red tape, useless meetings, and water cooler chats. Eliminate or limit those time-wasters, get several people who are good at managing themselves in time, and 10 people can easily work as much as 15 or 20 people in the corporate setup.

And your people will be good at time management, because they will be mimicking you. Remember Ouimet’s quote, your example is the ONLY management method you actually possess.

Principles #3&4 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business

3. Un-isolation.

We are social animals. We need others to excel. That’s the human nature.

Isolation is the enemy of excellence.” – Aaron Walker

However, being a solopreneur is a lonely occupation by definition. It doesn’t get much better when you start hiring people – you need to be the rock for them and keep your struggles to yourself.

Well, you can cooperate in other ways. Get involved in an online community (like SPI Pro), join a mastermind, hire a mentor or coach. Alone, you can never excel.

4. Time Management.

Or priority management. Or managing yourself in time. However you will call it, the efficient usage of one’s time makes the difference between successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs.

Time provides the only real equal opportunity in the world. Everybody has 24 hours a day. However, if you are one of those who “don’t know where my time goes,” you are in great danger as an entrepreneur.
Yet, it is pretty rare to find people who actually do know where their time goes.

Photo by cottonbro studio from Pexels.

One hack in this area: make your calendar a foundational piece. When I was starting my side hustle and was truly the only one who worked in and on my business, I didn’t understand the value of living by your calendar.

But now, when I have to coordinate several recurring weekly calls, get on the podcast interviews, have a team of several people, my calendar became crucial for my effectiveness.

Since I actually started using my calendar on a daily basis, it’s been a game-changer for me.

Nine Universal Business Principles
Principle #1 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business
Principle #2 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business
Principles #3&4 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business
Principles #5&6 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business
Principles #7&8 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business
Principle #9 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business

Originally published in Medium.

4 Things to Do when You Lost a Battle for Productivity

Photo by Keira Burton from Pexels

I’ve just had a strange week. I had perfect circumstances to be highly productive — I rested on a weekend at the PwC’s (my employer) getaway; my wife started a new job and she was away from home between 10 am and 7:20 pm (she is one huge distraction when at home); I had dealt with the urgent minutia of my business and had brain power to spare on the bigger-picture tasks.

Yet, I fumbled through the days barely doing anything. I took a couple of naps practically each day. I wasted my time on news websites and social media chasing a dopamine high. I did household chores. Basically, I distracted myself to oblivion.

I just didn’t feel like working, and I could do nothing about it. I felt helpless.

The Mental Struggle

To add insult to the injury, I totally failed to remedy the situation. In fact, I made it worse.

I wasn’t productive, so I tried to force myself to do something, usually to no avail. Then, I felt guilty about my actions and my inability to improve. The guilt trips sent me chasing after anything that could give me a dopamine high — reading books, reading news, and watching funny videos. But all those activities actually wasted my time, so I felt even less productive. I beat myself even more, my guilt increased, and I was chasing for another dopamine boost…

Have you ever been caught in such a vicious cycle? You are a human; I bet you have been.


I wasn’t my usual productive self, nicknamed Mr. Consistency. What the heck happened? Well…

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.

— James Clear

The above quote is from the Atomic Habits book, in which James Clear argues that our environment has much bigger influence on our behaviors than we care to give it credit. We overestimate the influence of our willpower and motivation and severely underestimate the influence of the external factors.

I examined my week and found several external factors dragging my productivity down.

Lack of accountability.

My daily accountability partner went for a 3-day vacation.

Change of a daily rhythm.

My wife stayed at home for the last few years. She usually was waking up between 9 and 10 am, when I was already engaged in work. This week, she was on her legs at 8 am, so when I finished my morning ritual, I engaged into interactions with her. It delayed the moment of starting my work. I’m the most productive in the morning. I felt like I was catching up with my workload for the rest of the days.


The older I’m getting, the more influence the weather has on my physical wellbeing. I don’t know if it has to do with my volatile circadian rhythm or with my ultra-low blood pressure (110/70 is my norm and it can get even lower). This week the weather was terrible, gloomy, dark, and we had a few rapid air pressure changes. It surely contributed to my aptitude for naps.

Random distractions.

One day, I had my car’s check-up in the morning. Then, I recalled I haven’t paid the tax for it yet, and I spent a couple of hours on chasing the IRS with all the legal mumbo-jumbo.

Bad habits.

Give me the good fiction book and I will sit down and read it to the end. Thus, I avoid them. However, my wife asked me to return her books to the library when she was at work. While packing them, I opened one of them — a Jack Reacher novel… and you know the rest of the story. Two hours were gone.

The same happened a few times a day with my favorite YouTube series and with reading news websites.

Feeling unwell.

Apart from the coma attacks, I suffered other symptoms — brain fog, mental exhaustion and unusual hunger pangs. It might have been my system fighting off COVID — I experienced similar symptoms in the recovery phase — or just the symptoms of overall exhaustion. I do try to take care of myself, but if I err, I err on the overworking side of things.

So, it appears a lot of external factors coalesced together, and their alliance went through all of my productivity routines like a hot knife through butter. I was caught off guard. I simply had no chances against my environment.

Avoid the Vicious Mental Cycle

I have several ideas, but the most important is this one. All the others practically come back to avoiding a mental meltdown and self-beating. I know it’s easy to say and much harder to do. So, let’s get over some things you actually can do.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

1. Summon Help.

Lack of my daily accountability was the crucial issue for me. And it is for most of us — well, it’s more crucial to most than me! As far as I know, I’m on the extreme side of the introversion spectrum. I like being alone, and I’m pretty good at dealing with a multitude of tasks with sheer willpower.

Yet, my productivity went down the drain without my accountability partner. And I know it’s not an accident because he was on a longer vacation at the end of August, and I experienced a drop of productivity as well.

We are social animals to the core, even the introverted ones. This is a fact. Accountability works for us, period.

I had a mastermind call on Thursday. My buddies asked me about my output, and I admitted my struggles. They asked me some follow-up questions. Thanks to that interrogation, I was able to logically think about my lack of productivity instead of being stuck at beating myself up. My accountability partner was back on Friday, and the last two days of the week were much better for me than the first four.

When you feel stuck, when you feel low, summon help. Talk to your spouse, friend, mastermind — anyone. Just get out of your head. When you are alone, it’s incredibly hard to get the perspective.

2. Be Gracious to Yourself.

Again, I’m in the extreme camp here. I judge myself very harshly. And I draw way too much self-value from my output, so when my productivity decreases, I tend to be even harsher.

Of course, giving yourself some grace works better when you are too harsh to yourself. If you have been a lazy bum for most of your life, it won’t do you much good. But for self-tormentors like me? It’s golden.

So what, I had a weaker day? There will be the next day? So what, I felt worse than usual and napped more? When you hit some real limits of your body, you’d better pause and take care of yourself. A breakdown, whether physical or mental, will have much more serious consequences than a lost day or week.

3. Plan.

I’m always, and I mean ALWAYS, more productive when I take five to fifteen minutes in the morning to go over the list of projects and tasks in my mind and write them down.

I haven’t done it in this ill-fated week. It is so powerful, I should do it even at 2 pm, or whenever I had realized I’m not my usual optimal self.

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

— Benjamin Franklin

Plan. Planning shaves off 20% of the time spent on long-term projects. If you set your intentions first, you are much more likely to follow up with them than when trying to just power through your day.

Planning doesn’t have to be very elaborate. What works best for me is just jotting down a few tasks in my notepad. Then, I cross them off as I’m going.

4. Be Humble.

Part of being gracious for yourself is a deep understanding — and accepting — that you are just imperfect, like all the human beings. Don’t believe in the curated reality of perfect Instagram photos. Nobody is perfect, it only looks like it.

If not my pride, I could recognize so much sooner that I was too weak to face my environment. Instead of self-beating, I could have engaged into self-compassion, or just give myself internal permission to indulge for a few hours. But I didn’t, and I simultaneously chased the dopamine and chastised myself for doing it.

You are a human being. You will have some weaker days. Prepare for that. Accept that.

Hide your pride in a pocket. Summon help. Plan. Cut yourself some slack, when it’s needed.

Just don’t beat yourself up into a pulp. That’s the least productive thing you can do.

Originally published at Medium.

4 Unproductive Thinking Habits that Suck Your Life Dry

Unproductive thinking habitsWhen you think about lack of productivity, think of its opposites. What connotes with them? Of course, organization, clarity, can-do attitude and a few others. Unproductive thinking habits are their alter egos.

Lack of productivity starts in your mind, so if you can target those nasty thinking habits that are coming your way, you can do something about them and improve your productivity.

1. Laziness.

It’s not an accident this habit took the ‘honorable’ #1 spot. I’m not talking about idleness per se, but about idleness in thinking. If you are a lazy thinker, nothing can help you. You cannot analyze what’s wrong, you cannot come up with better solution, because you don’t think at all. You let your life be led on autopilot.

The rule of thumb is this: if you consume more than you create, laziness in thinking creeps in. So, all of the modern, so-called entertainments – TV, video games, YT, social media – rob you of your productivity.

When you consume content, especially with close to no reflection about it (mindless browsing on YT, sitcoms and soap operas, arcane games) autopilot takes over your mind’s steering.
The magnificent organ you have between your ears is of no more use than your liver or anus. It’s as passive as those other organs.

2. I can’t.

This is easily the #2 enemy of productivity. His cousins – “It’s too difficult,” “I don’t know” and “I will not” are not far behind.

When you think you can’t do something, you abort productivity before it has even a chance to be born. If you can’t or you won’t, well, how can anything happen?

Listen to the wise grandma:

If anyone else has done it, you can do it, and if someone else hasn’t done it, you can do it first. — Jeremy Frandsen’s grandma

This unproductive thinking habit often comes from habit #1, laziness. It’s so much easier to say to yourself “I can’t” than to try doing anything.

3. Chaos.

When you run amok, don’t know your priorities nor tasks and let a back pile grow too much, it’s hard to be productive. You are overwhelmed, and in the end you do nothing.

I let my inbox grow once again and, as a result, I’ve been avoiding my email altogether. It’s not the best course of action to get things done, don’t you think?

Create plans, schedules and frameworks. If they don’t work for you, tweak them and improve, but don’t try to run your life by the seat of your pants.

4. Wrong questions.

If you ask yourself “Why does it always happen to me?” or “Why can I never be on time?” your brain will be busy finding answers to those questions, instead of being busy with the stuff you want to get done.

The human brain is a search engine. This is its primary function. Whenever you throw a question at your brain, it happily chases it. It loves it, this is what it was created for. And it always provide you answers.

If you give wrong questions, you will not be happy with the answers. But the worst damage is done by occupying your brain with something totally not constructive. It’s like asking a Senior IT Engineer in your company to clean a toilet with a toothbrush. The guy is totally capable of doing this job, but you’d have so much more value if he got busy with your IT stuff instead.

Change your questions into “How” questions:

-how did others do that?
-how I can learn this?
-where can I find resources?
-how can I amend my ways to achieve what I want?

Your brain will chase those questions, and it will bring you the answers. This time, however, the answers will be encouraging, not demotivating.

There are a whole lot more of unproductive thinking habits, but if you deal with the four above, you will get rid of 80% of the obstacles. Watch yourself especially for #1 (laziness). Stop mindlessly consuming, start creating.

Master Your Time in 10 Minutes a Day launches tomorrow!

I am so excited to announce that my latest book officially launches on Amazon Kindle tomorrow, Tuesday, January 28th! It will be on free promotion until Friday, January 31st! A lot of work has gone into writing the book and getting the word out, but it has all been worth it because I am so passionate about sharing this message. I just wanted to give you another brief look into the book and a reminder about the launch.

Why kill yourself in your daily life?

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Time Management – The Sand-Grains Method

The following post is a sneak peek into my latest book, Master Your Time in 10 Minutes a Day, which officially launched on Amazon Kindle Free Promotion on January 28th.

Master Your Time in 10 Minutes a Day
This post discusses content found in Chapter 11 – THE SAND GRAINS METHOD. This article is not an excerpt from the book, but rather, a brief discussion of the concept as Amazon is pretty stringent about content from books being published elsewhere online, even if it is your own content.

Please enjoy the following article. If you would like to sign up to receive updates on the launch and a reminder when it is available for FREE DOWNLOAD, sign up at the bottom of the article.

Increasing your “Productivity Density”

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My latest ebook, "Master Your Time in 10 Minutes A Day" launches soon!

Time management. Few concepts are so necessary, yet so dreaded. Volumes of information have been written about the topic, yet so many people still go through life scattered, stressed and stretched thin by the daily grind.
Too many of the books and courses on time management are full of vague advice and theory. That is why I set out to write a concise, specific book detailing how I reclaimed my time. Master Your Time in 10 Minutes a Day” outlines the actions and habits I undertook in my most productive and fulfilling year to date.
In just a few short weeks, the book will launch, and I am so excited for the life-changing potential that it has. I believe so strongly in its power, that I want you to have it for free! (More on that in just a bit)

Your dreams can coexist with your life!

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Stop Junk Mail! A simple method to get rid of spam using an email management system


In February 2013, nearly 70% of all email traffic around the world was spam and phishing. Sadly, this number remains fairly stable throughout the months and years.

There seems to be no pattern for the spammed mailboxes. You can have two mailboxes from the same provider, the same strategy for protecting your privacy and at the same time one of them is infected by spam and the other is not. So you can’t count on your privacy strategy alone.
I proactively fight off spam in my mailbox and I need just a couple of minutes each day to do that. Let me share my method and check out if it would work for you.
It’s not just an anti-spam strategy; it’s the whole mail management system as well.
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