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May 18, 2017

Don’t Waste Your Time Helping Strangers

I just spent 2 hours trying to help a stranger find a job. That was a waste of time. Let me explain why.

We Like To Help

It’s in our blood. Without help, survival would be impossible. How can you defend against mountain lions if you don’t have help? In modern terms – one person can’t do everything. So we’ve learned to lookout for each other.

99/100 that’s a great idea.

Unfortunately, it can distract from your core focus.

Time Is Finite

We only get 24 hours in a day. That will never change. How we spend that time is up to us. Unfortunately, we waste a large amount of it. We get dragged into things and next thing you know, you’re 2 hours into a project you didn’t want to spend 5 minutes on.

A stranger messaged me on LinkedIn looking for help finding a job. I spent 2 hours working on it before I realized something. I was wasting my time.

David Kelly Says

A couple of months ago, I attended an event that featured David Kelly. David is a master at teaching proper time-management. One of the tips he brought up was to rank clients and contacts. By ranking how useful each contact is, you can figure out where to spend your time.

For me, spending time with a graphic designer who has sent me business in the past is far more productive than hanging out with a painter who doesn’t care about what I do. That’s why I spend more time with designers than painters.

Find where your business comes from and figure out who sends you the most. They’re the ones you want to hang out with.

Helping Strangers

Do it. But don’t sacrifice what you value most. I value growing my contacts (potential business) more than I value helping people find jobs. Sorry job-seekers but those are my priorities right now. It’s perfectly fine to spend time helping others. Just make sure it’s what you value.

Otherwise, it’s a waste of time.