What’s your time worth?
May 24, 2012
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What’s your time worth?

This project is going to take a large amount of my time if it’s to be successful. That’s time away from other things; kids, reading, friends, writing, and that woman I sleep next too. I’ve given myself a deadline to have this project completed by, so I realize that I need to make the best use of the time that I have.

But how do I measure it? How do I determine what is and isn’t the best use of my time?

I’ve decided that there’s three ways I can classify the work.

1-Things I’ll do myself.

2-Things I’ll have to pay other people to do.

3-Things I could do myself but are better off paying others to do.

The way I’ll decide what task gets what category is to measure my time spent doing it vs. an hourly rate. I’ve decided that my time on this project is worth $30/hour.

How did I come to this figure? It varies by task.

I consider myself a fairly handy guy. I can hang drywall. I can roof a house. I can even fix your transmission if you’re not in a big hurry. For myself and a few good friends, I’m willing to do these things.

But I don’t consider them a good way to spend my time. I don’t enjoy doing any of them and would gladly pay someone else to do them for me.

So when I completed the to-do list and measured it against the deadline I didn’t see enough time to get it all done. Rushing would lead to mistakes, and since you can’t un-publish an e-book, that meant I would have to get it right the first time.

When I downloaded and printed out the Lightning Source formatting guidelines it was about a half-inch thick. I read it and determined that it would take me a full day to apply it to my 400 page manuscript. Even if I checked it twice, it would most likely get rejected as this is not the kind of thing I’m proficient at. Then I’d have to do it again for each of the other formats that I planed to publish in. I applied my hourly rate and quickly determined that it would be better for me to have it done by someone else. It would get done quicker, certainly have better quality, and I would be able to apply that time toward another item on the list.

With the $30/hour rate I’ve assigned myself this was an easy decision. I still plan to teach myself to format (no, really!), but right now my time is better spent somewhere else.

Since I have three books that need formatting I was able to negotiate a good deal for all three. I haven’t received book one (Closure) back yet, so I’ll keep the source and the price to myself for now. I’ll post it when I have it and we’ll see if I made the right choice.

Will formatting ever be worth my time? I don’t know. But I’ll learn someday and then hold the yardstick up to it. It would be nice to someday say that the writing was so successful that this question of formatting became a silly one.

But I’m not there yet.

So I’m wondering, what’s your time worth when it comes to these things? How do you measure it?

About author


Randall Wood is the author of the popular Jack Randall series of thrillers as well as several short stories surrounding the main characters.

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