Know your mechanical prime time

Latest posts by Sam Carpenter (see all)

Most people have jobs, and as of this writing, there is not a general revolt against the concept. In any society, it is a revered position – one that carries a certain “it’s a good feeling to be part of the team” camaraderie. Whether a democratic or a socialistic state, it is understood that the people who are out there working jobs are the bedrock of the society. They keep the wheels turning.

For you, having a traditional job rather than operating a business is ideal if any one or more of the following are of ultimate importance: 

  • Freedom: It is a luxury to be able to leave the job at the end of the day and not have a single work-related worry on your mind.
  • You abhor the idea of managing the extra degree of financial risk, uncertainty, and headaches that can come with a business.
  • In your job, you are doing what you love, feel a high sense of self-esteem, and simply don’t want things to change.
  • You are building something of value in your job, and the future looks bright.
  • The job situation is the only way you can obtain the necessary resources to do the thing you love (flying a jet, or politics, for example).
  • You value the social aspect of being surrounded by peer employees.
  • For the moment, you must survive as you prepare for independence down the line.
  • You are making more money than you require, creating a future of freedom just from the assets you are stashing away.
  • With your skill set, because of your physical location, or for whatever reason, there is no opportunity elsewhere.
  • You crave the security of insurance, retirement fund, savings plan, etc. 

In your job, Mechanical Prime Time (MPT) is the time spent on improving sub-systems. In other words, in step-by-step fashion, you create self-sufficient primary systems (your department, for example). Presuming you wish to advance in your career, it is critical you expend your MPT in the proper activities.

Understand this: Producing the service or product is not MPT! “Doing the work” is a distraction from what must be done to ascend the corporate ladder – or, for that matter, to achieve independence in a small business. Your focus must be on perfecting the systems that DO the work, not the work itself.

Note: The book Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Working Less and Making More describes how to determine your MPT. To order your copy of the book, or to receive a free download of Sam Carpenter’s “Six Steps to Working Less and Making More,” see

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