One of the great virtues of technology is its ability to make us more personally productive. Yet in a world with more and more paid apps and software-as-a-service solutions, it’s easy to quickly spend a lot of money on technology tools. Even though many solutions are really built to solve problems so minor, it may save you no more than a minute or two a day.
In this week’s #OfficeHours with @MichaelKitces, my Tuesday 1PM EST broadcast via Periscope, I discuss why it is that despite the miniscule improvement in efficiency, I will still happily spend $100 for a technology tool that saves me as little as one minute a day.
The key is making such investments in personal productivity is to recognize that saving as little as one minute a day is actually 5 minutes a week, or 20 minutes a month, or a non-trivial 4 hours a year. That’s a half a day’s additional productivity, eeked out a minute at a time.
And the real opportunity is not just to spend money to save a minute a day, but the cumulative impact of buying multiple tools, that each save a minute or two a day. A handful of software solutions and smartphone apps that save 15 minutes a day is suddenly 75 minutes a week, or 5 hours a month, or more than a week per year. That’s an entire extra week that could be a family vacation, or taking on an extra client, or for me a chance to accept another speaking engagement or two.
Of course, the reality is that save a minute (or 15) a day doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily bill a client (or more generally, get paid) for that extra 15 minutes of work. But the time savings mean that all the little things that grind down our daily productivity are a little less cumbersome. It’s a little more time to answer emails, check in with a team member, or follow up on a client or prospect. And it makes it easier to take full days to get big projects done.
As a result, I personally spend money on a wide range of “minor” personal productivity tools, from social media management tools including Buffer, MeetEdgar, and CoSchedule, to notetaking app Evernote, autotext software PhraseExpress, Feedly Pro, Zapier, and more.
The bottom line, though, is simply to recognize that often the biggest breakthrough for being more productive is not about making a “big” change that frees up a lot of time, but the cumulative impact of little changes that add up to a lot over time. Which in the end means that even spending $100/year to save 1 minute a day can actually have a 900% Return On Investment for a successful professional!