EVER HEARD OF The Law of Triviality? Recently, I was reading “Fanatical Prospecting” by Jeb Blount and came across this concept.

Blount is a master sales coach. He tells the story of how, when he was in his 20s, a mentor of his a “man worth millions (who) ran several successful companies, asked him what he did over the weekend and he proudly proclaimed he spent the weekend doing home repairs himself, specifically, fixing a plumbing issue.

Plumb Dumb

His boss asked him how long it took him and he said he worked on it over both Saturday and Sunday–about 12 hours total. The boss then asked him: How long would it have taken an experienced plumber (about 2 hours) and how much it would have cost ($150). Here’s an excerpt:

“Well, why didn’t you hire a specialist to do the work?”

“Plumbers are expensive! Why pay them when I can do it myself?”

The boss then pulled out a pen and paper an started doing some math, to wit:

Annual salary of Blount (at the time): $75,000.

Weeks worked a year (exclusive of vacations, meetings, holidays, sick days): 48 weeks. (“6 hours a day times 5 days is 30 hours of selling time; $75,000 divided by 48 is $1,563 divided by 30 equals $52/hour.

“So, you are worth $52 an hour when you are working. Repairs you did on your days off took you 12 hours. You did them yourself because you felt paying $150 was too expensive. But, based on your math, it cost you $624 to do them yourself–had you been at the office selling rather than at home pretending to be a plumber. Don’t you think your time would have been more wisely spent selling? Can you see why paying a specialist $150 was actually a bargain?”

Know Your Worth

Blount says: “He went on to explain that most people don’t take the time to calculate their worth, and because they don’t understand what they are worth, they spend their time on activities that are far below their pay grade, and this holds them back….It was one of the most poignant lessons I ever learned and one I have never forgotten. KNOW YOUR WORTH.

“When you know what you are worth, you become acutely aware of the damage that doing $10-an-hour work (like data entry) during $50-an-hour prime selling time has on your business.

“The Law of Triviality describes the human tendency to waste time on unimportant activities while mission-critical tasks are ignored.”

‘Busy’ is B.S.

Too often I encounter people who boast about how “busy” they are, as though it were some gold medal they’d earned. Being worn down from “busy” is not a prize, though, it’s a misstep and a mistake. It’s also an indicator of arrogance, the belief that “No one can do this as well as I can. I am that special. I am irreplaceable.” However, the most successful among us learn to focus on the highest and best use of our time and to delegate the rest. As best selling author David Allen says: “While you can do anything, you cannot do everything.”

Do yourself a favor: Release the trivial, free your mind and your time. Not only will you benefit from it, but most likely, your friends, colleagues and loved ones will, too.

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