"Time" Pennies May Be Costing You Dollars

In the February issue of Fast Company Magazine, the Numerology article states that the cost to produce a penny is 1.6 cents. Seems harmless enough, right? Maybe, until you read the next sentence which says the US Mint lost over 19.8 million dollars last year producing the pennies. That's a number that will get your attention!

Many of us are guilty of a similar dilemma in the use of our time on a daily basis. We reason that 3-5 minutes lost per day isn't that much. And flipping through TV channels or aimlessly web surfing for 30 minutes a day doesn't impact our ability to get other "more important" things done. But start allowing the numbers to accumulate over a period of time and things look quite different.

Let's look at what 5 minutes per day of "lost time" looks like:
In a week: 35 minutes
In a month: 150 minutes (2 hours 30 minutes)
In a year: 1825 minutes (Over 30 hours!)

Think about that the next time you are tempted to just aimlessly pass the time away (unless of course you need an intermission). Here are a few suggestions on how to make better use of that seemingly insignificant amount of time:

  • Have articles (electronic or hardcopy) you could read in 5 minutes or less
  • Review your task list and make appropriate changes and updates
  • Do some quick strategic planning by asking yourself questions like, "What is the one thing I need to work on tomorrow that would make the biggest difference?" "What are 3 things that will require more of my attention in 1-3 months? What could I do to prepare now to better address those issues/items?"

Most importantly, don't discount the "change" a few minutes well-spent could make for your circus.