Types of time

In business school several years ago, I attended various forms of sales training. The most valuable one was when the presenter explained different ways to classify the ways we spent our time. They’d given us two categories: pay time and no pay time.

Most of us are familiar with the concept of billable versus non-billable hours. This, however, is subtly different. “Pay time” isn’t necessarily billable.

Think of it this way.  A billable hour is an hour of your time for which you can directly bill a client.  At the same time, some of your client work might translate to non-billable hours.  Think of proposal creation and new client meetings.  Most consultants provide this time as a free service.

Pay time is a different concept all together.  If you double the amount of pay time involved in your job, you double the amount of pay coming in the door.  On the same note, if you double your no pay time, your wallet doesn’t seem any heavier.

If you were to double the amount of time you spend in new client meetings, you will increase your bottom line (more new business meetings = more new business in most industries).  But many of us ignore this simple fact so we can focus on optimizing our billable time.  When you think of these non-billable hours as pay time, though, it changes the dynamic drastically.

How many hours do you commit to each week?  How many are billable?  How much of that is pay time?  Is your focus in the right place?