In Chris Brogan’s latest email newsletter he talks some good stuff about the value of time, trust, and attention. There have been a few times when I replied to these and he has always been kind enough to reply back. But in this one he discusses the value of time and the transactional/opportunity costs of attention:
So, my ATTENTION is at a premium. Where I focus my efforts is more important to me. Time is more valuable to me because of this. This one is tricky. Because on the other side of this equation, people who seek my time feel like “it’s only five minutes,” but 5 x 100 requests is 8.4 hours, and I get more than 100 requests for something a day. Attention, in this measure becomes more valuable.
Now, there’s a lot of other good stuff just in this one newsletter about other topics, but this one bit stuck with me, because it made me think about how I value my own time. More specifically, how can I get more value out of not only my own time, but everyone else’s time, too? Well, one way that occurred to me immediately was instead of replying back to Chris’s email, I could write this post. Why? Because for the time taken, it benefits a much wider group of people besides me and Chris. I like that kind of leverage. Sure, private communications are nice, but there’s no reason I can think of why this shouldn’t benefit you, too.
Another way this is an effective use of everyone’s time (and not just mine) is that I don’t have to make this kind of public “reply” every time Chris sends his newsletter. I only have to do this once. Benefits? Chris gets more subscribers, you get another great free resource from me, the public discussion is good for everyone, and from a purely selfish point of view maybe I’ll get more subscribers too.
If Chris wants to comment here, it would take him the same amount of time as replying back to private email I could have sent, but again, others besides me benefit from a public reply if he wants to make one. It’s a more effective use of his time, too (not that I simply expect him to reply—I’m not baiting him and it’s totally his prerogative).
Can you take these ideas about attention & time effectiveness and apply them yourself? I hope so. If so, then I know the time I took to write this (and for you to read it) has truly been worth it.