Are You Working Below Your Pay Grade?

Guest Post by Mary Polsley Williams, owner of The Alternative Board in Northern VA

It is always easier to do something yourself than have somebody else do it, right?  All too often, business owners wear so many hats in their business they lose sight of the fact a number of these activities are well below the real value of their time.

Are you carrying out tasks that should be handled by someone paid considerably less?  If you answered yes, review the tips below for ways to help alleviate these situations:

  1. Establish the value of your time when you are working on the things that bring the greatest value to your business. These are called Platinum Activities.  Platinum Activities include areas such as new clients, products, and markets.  List your top five Platinum Activities and identify what your time is worth when you are doing them. This value has nothing to do with what you are paying yourself and should be calculated based on what value you believe these Platinum Activities bring to your business; no less than $450 per hour, please.
  2. Determine what working below your pay grade is costing you. To give yourself motivation identify how much time you currently spend on Platinum Activities and set a goal for how much additional time you want to spend working on them.  You will probably be surprised how little time you are currently spending on Platinum Activities.  For most people, there is an opportunity to gain ten hours a week of additional time to work on Platinum Activities.  At a $450 per hour rate, that is potentially worth over $200,000 per year.
  3. To realize your time value gain you have to find those extra hours somewhere. Develop a “To Don’t List”.  Every time you find yourself doing something that is below your pay grade, put it on the list.  Remember things won’t change overnight but by identifying these items you can determine how much it is costing you now and how much it might cost if you had someone else handle the task.
  4. Finally, rearrange your day to handle your Platinum Activities during your Prime Time; when you are at your peak. Identify your best time of day and start to think of this as your Prime Time.  For the most impact be sure to minimize interruptions during your Prime Time.

For more business tips and to learn more about improving your overall business, please contact Mary Polsley Williams, owner of The Alternative Board in Northern VA; 703-327-8000 or  For additional information, please visit our website at