I hear people say the value of your time increases as you get older and advance in your career. It often does but hearing that makes it sound like you don’t have to work for it. It makes it sound like a given outcome.

As long as you are learning, the value of your time will increase, but you actively control how quickly or slowly it increases.

I’ve noticed that many of the tasks I’ve been assigning myself are mentally intensive. These tasks are major things that directly move the business forward, but there is only enough mental energy in a day to complete one or two of these tasks. Because of this, it seems like my days are divided into halves. I only have the capacity to do two major things in a day. There are still minor things to keep up with at small points during the day, like emails and meetings, but most of the mental energy is focused on things that directly result in whatever the business needs most at the moment.

Most of the time that ends up being sales.

A bottleneck right now is getting proposals out the door. We have had quite a few very strong leads come in recently, but our sales cycle is very drawn out and disorganized. We need to tighten it up so that we can collect payments faster.

There is A LOT that goes into a video project. First, we have to understand the business and their customers so we create a compelling story for their video. Then, we coordinate and execute the filming. Finally, the team organizes all the footage and goes through multiple rounds of edits until the video fits the vision. Just like a lot goes into figuring out an entire video project, a lot goes into creating an in depth proposal good enough to convince someone to pay you for that project.

The proposal includes all the specifics of the customer’s project, from storyboarding to filming to editing, along with price, dates, specific shots, equipment, and more. In its core form, the proposal is a direct ask for money in exchange for work. It needs to clearly justify exactly why the video (and everything that goes into it) is worth paying X thousand dollars.

With a lot of these strong leads we took good notes about their vision and story but we didn’t have a good system for turning our notes into a compelling sales pitch (which is an intensive task in itself!). In order to fix this bottleneck, we need to ship out proposals for the existing leads as quickly as possible, then build a detailed process and template that turns notes into a polished proposal during the initial call.

Each of these proposals takes up one of those half-day slots. The sales process itself will take up a couple. High value tasks are often mentally intensive. We will grow faster at this, but before the process is dialed in they remain intensive. When there are 10+ to get out, among everything else that is going on, I am really pressed to find the highest possible value task to spend my time on. Raising the value of the things you do raises the value of the time you use to do them.