I've been doing the consulting thing for about 5 years now and I’ve started to notice that over the last 6 months or so I’ve been looking at my time that I spend in a completely different fashion.
For example, last night my furnace broke. Normally this is something I can fix myself being somewhat handy (in fact the problem with it this time is something I most likely could fix). However, while debating whether to cancel my appointments for the morning (at least) and get to work on the furnace I realized that by trying to perform the work myself, saving myself a service fee for a repairman to come out, it was actually more expensive than just bringing in a serviceman and going to work. With the billable hours, I would make more than what it was going to save me to do the repair myself.
Another example, a few months back I’m sitting in the dentist office waiting to be taken in for my appointment. They were running behind and I ended up sitting there for 30 minutes or so past my appointment time. The thought running through my mind was “This appointment is costing me X.XX amount, plus the extra 30 minutes of billable time.”
I guess now that I’m working for myself, billing by the hour, I’m more aware of where my time goes and I make a conscious effort to minimize wasted time.