- Call me a spendthrift, but I’ve noticed a disturbing tendency in these uncertain economic times, as otherwise savvy business people focus on measly economizing steps of dubious value. See whether you recognize yourself in any of these scenarios:
- Do you live with chaos caused by bags of un-filed paper, because your rusted, second-hand filing cabinets are too hard to open and the supporting rails keep breaking?
- Do you fret over wasting a half page of printed labels, preferring a process that will use a lot more of your time but save the stationery?
- Have you spent 10 minutes looking for the “Harris Account” file, then realized at last that it was there all the time? You had reused a file folder by putting an adhesive label over the old label on the tab. When the adhesive on the “Harris Account” label gave out and the label fell off (which will happen over time), it appeared that the “Harris Account” file contained “2002 Travel Receipts”.
It’s not that I don’t like to save money, paper, and other resources; who doesn’t? Nothing makes me happier than finding ways to re-purpose what my clients already have so they get all the benefits without any additional expense.
But the rule of thrift cannot be absolute. It needs counter-weights.
Anything you use every day should be in excellent condition. Putting up with rickety tools that don’t work well is like trying to walk miles a day with a stone in your shoe: it will slow your progress and make the journey agonizing.
Any process you adopt should yield more benefit than the time it requires. Do not squander your time on low-value activities.
Ben Franklin wrote, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Keep in mind the difference between genuine thrift and foolish economy. A penny earned is also a penny earned.
Money spent to help you work better and smarter is always good economics.