Return on Time Invested (ROTI)

What do you value the most?

love, money, peace, travel, work…..

For me the one thing that I value most is the one thing that I never seem to have enough of – Time. Knowing that time is important and finite, I have taken a few moments out of my day to brainstorm ways to optimize return on time.

Return on Time Invested (ROTI), is not a concept that I coined first, so despite referring to the term frequently, I can not claim to be the pioneer or founding father. I also can not claim that the evaluation of ROTI is scientific, asymmetric, or unbiased. I can state, however, that everyone, including myself, evaluates time spent on activities both satisfying and unsatisfying or pleasurable and unpleasurable . In order to break down the concept of ROTI, I am going to evaluate 2 types of return on time spent: personal and professional. Personal activities by nature should measure overall pleasure and satisfaction while professional activities by nature should measure quantitative outputs per increment of time spent (second, minute, hour, day, year, etc.). The balance or relationship between the two should be gauged by each person depending on their life preferences and interests.

Personal Activities: Everyday we delegate time for routine activities, of which, most of us really do not derive much satisfaction or pleasure: eating, sleeping, hygiene, errands, chores, work, etc. In addition to these standard personal activities, each individual has a set of enjoyable activities that would most likely take precedent over the above items if they were unnecessary – snowboarding, skiing, drawing, writing, reading, listening to music, playing sports, etc. If it was really necessary, one could produce a quantitative scale to rank activities that are most and least gratifying and generate a score based on the time weighted results; however, the nature of a scoring system would change constantly and would not provide an effective approach. As an overall rule of thumb, people should reduce or eliminate the activities that do not produce satisfaction, optimize activities that are unavoidable and necessary, and eliminate those that are not pleasurable.

What is your Return on Time Invested?

Professional Activities:
Unlike personal returns on time, professional ROTI is somewhat easier to quantify. ROTI in the workplace is calculated as follows:

ROTI = Profit / Time Invested

Profit = Incremental Cost Savings or Net Profit
Time Invested = Time spent on value activity (hours)

This calculation seems relatively straightforward; however, there are implicit assumptions that lead to some level of subjectivity, thus prohibiting it from being a true performance indicator. Several functional assumptions are as follows:

1. All work is value add activity producing a measurable financial output
2. Activities are optional and not necessary
3. Activity based time is tracked at the individual level
4. Time is finite
5. Profit is realized

Clearly, we do not always have a choice in the activities in which we participate. Often times they are not enjoyable; however, the premise of professional ROTI is that employees should be optimally utilizing time to produce the highest return activities. From a comparative perspective, those utilizing the least amount of time and generating the most results have the most value.

For 2010 I am committed to optimizing my professional ROTI, freeing up more personal time, and pursuing activities that I thoroughly enjoy – with minimal consequence.*Fingers crossed*

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