It´s pretty easy to waste a minute here and two minutes there. We can justify to ourselves that we´re just taking a break and that it won´t hurt if we play a game of solitaire or surf around for fun instead of working once in a while. Taking breaks once in a while is important, but all those minutes can add up and cost you more than you can know. Here´s a simple exercise to get an idea of just how much that game of minesweeper is costing you.
Take your annual salary and divide it by 120,000. That comes from taking 60 minutes in an hour, multiplying it by 40 hours in a week, and 50 weeks in a year. In other words, there are 120,000 minutes in a standard work year. By dividing your salary by 120,000 you have come up with your per-minute wage. Now dig into your piggy bank, find the amount that you make every minute and stick it on your desk.
The change on your desk may not be very much by itself — in most cases it won´t even buy you a cup of coffee — but it very quickly adds up into a larger amount. If you waste ten minutes, you have burned 10 times the amount on your desk, and so on. By breaking it down into minute units, you come up with a tangible impact for every wasted minute. Once something is tangible it is much easier to come to terms with it in your mind. That, in turn, makes it easier for you to do something about it.
The impact of this exercise is even stronger if you are self employed. Instead of calculating the amount that you are being paid but not earning, you are able to calculate how much money you are forgoing every minute you waste, and how that adds up over time. Money is a pretty good motivator for most people, and putting your wasted time into monetary terms, or the impact on your wallet, makes it much easier to plug the leaks in your day. Those few cents on your desk can be a surprisingly powerful motivator.