“I know it hasn’t been two and a half weeks but I’m inserting myself,” Kristy announced as she came in to Caleb’s office. “Since we don’t have time for a meeting, ever, and this is about time, I made you this.”

“What’s this you’re showing me?” Caleb asked, the legal size packet landing on top of his keyboard.

“A spreadsheet,” Kristy answered. “A concise, hard-to-argue-with spreadsheet. Something that will make my point in the fewest seconds possible.”

“I’m in favor already,” Caleb answered. “Walk me through it so I can get back to work.”

Kristy sighed but continued undaunted. “This is a time study. For the past week, the three of us have been keeping track of exactly when we are stuck waiting for our computers and how long before we can work again. It felt like half the time, but when we did the math it was closer to two hours and forty five minutes a day on average, each.” Kristy paused. “That’s 41.25 hours a week that we’re wasting. That’s another full time position.”

Caleb looked at the chart. “I knew it wasn’t half but it still adds up. Yikes.”

“We talked about your idea, basically going back and forth between two different types of projects so we have something to work on when our computers are stuck, and when you factor in both the learning curve for the new thing and the drop in quality that will have to be fixed by the most qualified person anyway, it doesn’t help us.” She paused to see if he understood. “If it takes me twice as long as it takes Eddie to edit a scene because that’s not my usual job, and then Eddie has to go back and clean up my mistakes anyway, we’re still wasting the same amount of time.”

Caleb nodded slowly. “Alright, that makes sense. But let’s talk more about this in between projects—we’re way to busy to even think about this right now.”

“There’s no such thing as in between projects, Caleb.” Kristy looked at him intently. “The time to talk about time is sooner rather than later.”

That got his attention. “Ok. Fair, and good point,” Caleb said. “The cost?”

“If we spend as much on a new system as we would on one year’s salary for another team member, then we’d be in the black after the first year, which would mean that money could be diverted into actually hiring another team member the second year.”

“Slow down,” Caleb laughed. “You’re creating jobs using money we don’t have. Just because you found an equivalency doesn’t translate into cash on hand.”

Kristy actually giggled. “I knew you would say that. Turn the page.” She cleared her throat. “You’re paying us salary, not hourly, so it’s true that you aren’t directly paying for every hour we spend here and can’t just reallocate 40 hours worth. But we would be doing 33% more work than we’re doing now for that same amount of salary if we weren’t wasting so much time.”

Caleb sat up. “That’s significant. But getting more done means more projects can be done. It doesn’t guarantee that more customers will come in. You’re still spending money we don’t have.”

“We don’t need more customers, we’re barely keeping up with the ones we have,” Kristy laughed. “If it keeps going exactly as it has been, or even slows down a little, we would have enough to keep us very busy even with the increase in available time. I honestly don’t know how we plan to do it otherwise.” She paused. “It’s all there—I did the numbers with the assumption that we would have a steady flow of approximately 75% of our current trends, and conservatively we’re in the black in a year. If we finance it, technically we’ll be in the black immediately—we’d gain more in the time then we’d spend in the payment every month.” She chuckled. “It’s funny, but I actually had to follow your advice—work on a completely unrelated project while my computer was busy—to put this together.”

Caleb chuckled, too. “And after all the fuss about not being accountants.”

“You’re always looking for the shortest distance between us and the best possible outcome,” Kristy shrugged. “No subjective opinions, no flowery persuasion and no wasted time.” She cleared her throat, then stopped and waited for his reply.

The room went silent. Caleb looked over the spreadsheet, turning the pages intently, then his eyes lit up. He looked up at her and smiled. “This is good. This is really good. Kristy, you’ve brought me a miracle.”

Kristy laughed. “Why? Because I finally found a way to get a meeting with you?”

Caleb beamed. “You found a way to get me more hours in a day.”

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