How to stop others shoplifting your time.

Why is it that if we owned a shop and sold products, that if someone came in and tried to shoplift or steal something from us, we would call the police.

Yet if someone shoplifts our time, we do nothing?

In fact, we regularly give our time away for free, which is like someone coming into our shop and we stand back and say “help yourself to whatever you like, it’s on me”.

The reason is because we can’t touch or see time, like we can a product or a service, so it is difficult to put a value on it. Also, because when we sell products, we can see what other people and businesses (the marketplace) are charging for it, thus it becomes tangible (able to be touched).

As humans, our experience of life is based around our senses and the information we receive from the external world via sight, sound, smell, taste, and of course touch or feel.

Can you imagine what life would be like if we had no feeling input to our senses?

Touch in the human experience is twofold though.

Obviously, the sense of touch we are discussing, but probably more important is that of feelings and emotions which are inexorably linked to feelings, which is the ultimate driver of human behaviour in modern society.

That’s why it so important that for sales in non-tangible things like selling time, we must connect the emotional benefit of the service we provide, otherwise our sales conversion rate will be very low.

So how do we stop this theft of our time?

1. Put a dollar value on your time. If you normally charge your time out at a certain value, say $100 per hour, then that is your figure. If you are not sure, you need to work out how much you charged for a recent service and how long it took to deliver that service. Then just divide the dollar value by hours it took.

2. Next, we need to assign something tangible (touchable) to that dollar value. For example, if your hourly rate is $100, you could think of a trip to your supermarket and that value of groceries. Get a picture in your head of the bags full of items. Or maybe it could be a pair of shoes you have been wanting to buy or something similar. The more emotion (feeling) you can get about the item the better.

3. This next step is about conscious awareness and there are 2 parts.

a. Catch yourself giving your time away, either before, during or after you do it. But instead of doing nothing about it, we are going to add some feeling.

So, imagine you have just purchased that new pair of shoes you have been wanting for ages and are walking out of the shop super excited. Now give them to the next random stranger you see. How does that feel?

After enough recognition of doing this for a period of time to create a new habit, you will now be able to pause and make a decision about if you want to let someone shoplift your time or not.

What was your weekly tally of catching yourself giving your time away?

Here is a startling exercise to finish off and hopefully help you to really value your time

enough to stop giving it away.

Let’s say your weekly tally of catching yourself was 5.

Assuming 1 hour at $100, each time, for 40 weeks a year over the next 10 years and compounding interest of 5% you will give away… $258,720.28!

In fact, if you keep giving your time away at this rate for the next 25 years, with the interest being compounded the amount grows to over $1 million dollars!

Need help to stop giving your time away, email

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