Why non-billable activities are important

We are constantly given reminders to produce results, record our time, always be closing, and how important billable hours are.  While being productive and working on billable activities is clearly important, they aren’t the only things that matter nor are they the only measure of a successful day.  So how can non-billable activities help you?  Now, I’m not saying that you should pull out a book or start watching YouTube at 11am while you have a big project deadline looming. But I do think they should be apart of your normal daily activities.  How you manage your time is everything.

So, what is it about non-billable activities?

I wake up everyday and spend the first 30 minutes to an hour (after I make coffee and grab a quick bite to eat) reading up on some of my favorite blogs, magazines, and writers. Moz, AdAge, Inc. are just a few of my favorites. I do this before I even start digging through my emails. I read things that I know have the potential to teach me something. I look for something that interests me and relates to what I do. Not only do articles from your favorite sources have the potential to teach you about how to better your business, they can also provide you or your team with valuable information when going after a lead. You might see an article on a prospect’s personal achievement or maybe read about a new Google rule or software trend.  Maybe it’s about a competitor. Read up. Stay up-to-date. Learn more.

What about new tools?

My company, Brain Bytes Creative, recently invested in an amazing lead-gen tool called Redbooks.  This stage of my morning usually happens at coffee number 2 or…maybe 3. Redbooks has everything from email addresses for the biggest fortune 500 C-suite execs to information about the company such as which agencies they use, media spend, and more. This is invaluable, to say the least. I get live updates on saved contacts and any time they have been mentioned in the media. Again, as I said above, this is a great way to start a dialogue. Regardless, it’s a great way to open up a door and say “hello,” “congrats,” or “we can help!”  I spend a lot of time on these updates and learning about my clients and prospects.

Learn from your mentors

Another non-billable, yet helpful activity is to learn from those you look up to in the business world. Maybe it’s Steve Jobs or Richard Branson. Maybe it’s some of my favorites like Gary Vaynerchuck or Oren Klaff. Who ever it is, spend time reading their blog, books, and articles.  Watch them on YouTube. Learn from what they do and what they have done to get to the point they are at. More importantly, learn from their mistakes. Most people who have enjoyed a high level of business success are often very open and honest about what they did wrong on their journey and lessons they learned from those mistakes. There is a reason you respect them. Apply it to your own life.

So, do these non-billable activities directly generate revenue? Maybe not. But they do get your mind ready to work. For me, these daily activities are a dose of inspiration. They help me find new ways to think and do my job better. They show me new perspectives and help open doors to become a better person. So spend time preparing for your day. Start a routine that works for you and stick to it. Learn to make good habits and take the time to better yourself and your work. Trust me, your boss will definitely appreciate it.

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