Prioritise top three 20160802

Prioritising (and why it doesn’t matter what you do first)

You’ve got so many things on your list to do, and sometimes it seems really hard to decide where to start, right? And even when you get some of them done, the list doesn’t seem to get shorter, does it? You just wish there was an easy way of prioritising, but you don’t know how to find it!

Prioritising

Well, let me make this really easy for you. It really doesn’t matter which tasks you choose to do first! Let me explain.

But first let me tell you that this is one of the tips and techniques that makes most sense and gets the best responses from all the people I train and mentor. Some of the reasons for this are because it is simple, yet powerful. It helps you get to the end of each day knowing how much you have achieved, and makes it much easier to achieve your longer term goals (you’ve got those written down already, right?).

You’ve probably heard about prioritising your top 3-5 most important tasks for each day. I recommend sticking with your top three. You get those three done in the day (maybe even in the morning), and can finish your day with the satisfaction of knowing you ticked off your three most important tasks. But it never seems quite that easy in reality, does it? The biggest problem people have with that is prioritising which are the top three in the first place.

Now remember that nobody ever gets done everything on their list. You may have loads of high priority tasks, and you may also have loads of tasks that can be put off. And maybe there is not much in the middle. So if it is not really about getting a shorter list, then maybe it is really about achieving what you want to achieve. Reaching those goals, and enjoying the journey along the way.

prioritising

Prioritise your top three

So instead of trying to get it right, today you just choose three tasks that are probably pretty important to you right now (they may or may not be urgent as well). Fast forward two weeks from now, where you have been prioritising by choosing three tasks each day. Assuming you work five days a week, that means you have chosen 30 tasks in the two weeks. And those 30 tasks are generally helping you to move towards your goals. So it really doesn’t matter which tasks you did on day one or day three or day seven. Right?

It’s like when a plane takes off from New York to fly south to Rio for the Olympics. The plane will be off course more than 90% of the time, and may have even take off heading north along the runway, but as long as the plane adjusts its course to be heading in generally the right direction, it will arrive at the destination on time. The same goes for your top three tasks. When you are prioritising, instead of trying to get it exactly right, you just choose three that seem to be important to achieving your goals; important to you right now. Do those, then at the end of each day, acknowledge what you have achieved, and choose what is most important for you to do tomorrow (rather than doing this at the start of your day, it really is much better to do this before you finish each work day). That’s you doing your course corrections, just like the plane does.

And after a month or two or three of doing this, you will have completed loads of the tasks that are important for you. Your prioritising is really working well, and you know you are making really good progress towards your goals. And that’s what we all want.

So it doesn’t really matter what you do first, as long as you do something that will help you move towards your goals. Now, off you go and do something!

 

empty_room

Empty your day – Fill your business

Your days are full, but there’s more you wish you had time for. Sleeping less just sucks. There must be a better way. These are the questions that so many people ask themselves in this 21st Century. They have become so good at filling their day, but they have missed the key point. If you want time to do something, you have to empty your day. Just like an empty room has so many possibilities, so does your day.

So many possibilities when you empty your room or empty your day

Typical Employee Mindset

Do all the work the boss tells you, and when you are done, you can ask the boss if there is anything else you can help with. But you’ve got to be careful, because if you get your stuff done too much quicker than your co-workers, they may gang up on you because you are making them look bad (in Australia this is part of what we call the tall poppy syndrome). You might offer to help others. Or maybe get a start on your future tasks. Or spend time learning a new skill. Or maybe just goof off and waste time while no-one is looking. Basically, you will find ways to fill you day, so you will look busy. Because if there is not enough work to keep you fully occupied, they may cut your hours or fire you or someone else in your team (even if you are the most productive person because you know how to get a whole day of work done in less than half a day!). Or if the business has loads of work on, the “reward” for you getting all your stuff done quickly is more of the same work, when maybe you’d prefer something a little different. What kind of reward is that! If you knew how to get a whole day of work done in a few short hours, you’d run the risk of reprisals from other employees and the boss. Is it any wonder that employees who can get all their work done quickly would be really good at hiding that fact, so they get to choose how they fill up all their spare time.

Typical Boss Mindset

Keep the employees busy. If you see them idle, “reward” them with more work. But don’t teach them you to do your job, or you’ll have nothing left to do. “I’ll make much more money if I do it all myself” said Sir Richard Branson never! And if there isn’t much work around right now, look out for the employees who look idle and fire them. The ones who are staying back late and barely finish their tasks on time must be the good ones, right?

And if the business could run without you for more than a few days, you wont feel needed, so you better make yourself indispensable. Take on extra responsibilities, but don’t let anyone else know how you do it, so the business can’t survive for long without you. Then complain to anyone who will listen, about how many hours you are working and how you can’t take any time off because your are such an important part of the business (as if working 60+ hours per week was the mark of success that you aspired to when you were in school dreaming about your career).

Empty Your Day

The key to successfully growing your business or your team’s contribution is to get really good at emptying your day. When you look back at the two typical cases above, you can really see how that type of “leadership” in the business will steer it down a dead end, rewarding those who are slowest at doing their work, firing those who are the best, and placing a hard limit on the size the business can grow to (after all there are only 168 hours in a week. Everyone can fill their days, and always have. But when you can empty your day really well, that is rare and powerful!

So be a different type of leader. Look at all the stuff you spend time on, and find ways to give as much of that work as possible to people in your team. But give it as a reward to those people who want to step up, want to have a go at the trickier stuff, those who’d love to have your job one day. And teach them how to empty their days too. Instead of paying for their attendance, reward them for the Results they deliver. Find those who can do the work quicker, and get them to teach others and incorporate their best practices in how the whole team works (your systems). They’ve got great ideas, so go hunting for them, and reward them with something that they will truly appreciate.

They all get better at doing their jobs in less time, and they get to do more of the fun stuff in the business that they always wanted to have a chance to do. And maybe you will find that your team can do all of their work AND most or all of your work without you doing anything. So you get to go to your boss knowing all your targets have been achieved and get to ask them what it would take for you to get the great reward that would be meaningful for you (whatever that may be for you).

Because when you are great at emptying your day, it makes your team much more satisfied with what they are achieving and how they are doing it. It means that when you go home at a reasonable time each day, you know you had a good day and got all the stuff done that you intended. And you know that you are good at what you do, and the business is fortunate to have you.

And share if any of this resonated with you. Now off you go, and find ways to empty your day, because you’ve got better things to do with your time.

Making time clock

Time is Money (but not for everyone)

We’ve all heard the saying that ‘Time is Money’. But so few people actually appreciate the true power of this. You see, time and money are not interchangeable. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, you can never buy back yesterday. But if you spend your time wisely, you can always get more money. Which brings me to the whole point of this post.

Time is money

Making time clock

So many business people think that spending money to free up time is a ‘cost’, an ‘expense’. If they pay $50 so they can have an hour watching the kids play basketball, where’s the profit in that? Something that will take away money, without a financial return. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Time is valuable

Just think if that was the hour that their kids first scored a goal, first made that great pass, or showed some great sportsmanship? And instead of hearing about it late that night when they are sitting exhausted on the coach after a long day at work, they are sharing the memories of it first hand with their children. And the children know that their parent was actually there to see it (unlike most other parents stuck at a job they don’t enjoy). Of course, there is value in that. And it’s worth way more than $50! But that’s only a part of it.

We’ve all seen or heard of it. People who spend hours and hours travelling all across town to save a few bucks on something they want to buy. How little they value their time.

Poor people spend time to save money; Successful people spend money to save time!

Time is Money

The extension to the quote above is the game changer. When those successful people have spent some money to save time, they invest some of that time into ways to make more money, and they get back way more money than they spent at the start. Their time is money, and much more of it, because of how they spend it. How they invest it.

So then they can spend more money to save more time, and so on. They know that if they had an extra day every week, they could spend half a day with their family or doing things they value and enjoy. And they can spend the other half a day getting new clients, putting new deals together, developing that thing that people will value highly and be prepared to pay well for. It’s an upward spiral, and there’s no real limit to how far you can take it.

So next time get an hour or a day of free time (even if it is because someone cancelled on you), you could fill it with the average stuff that most people would do. Or instead, you could invest it in high value activities. Have a serious think about what you could really achieve, if you have an extra hour every day and an extra day every week of free time. Just imagine how much money you could make with even just half of that time AND how much better your lifestyle could be with the other half of the time.

It gets you thinking, doesn’t it?

Related articles

 

McDonald's and McCafe

Always on time with McDonald’s

Let me tell you why I love McDonald’s (and it is nothing to do with the food).

I like to be always on time (no surprises there), and for me ‘on time’ means arriving at least five minutes early.

Many people arrive just on time and flustered, or late and even more stressed. And for some, that happens often. But how does McDonald’s have anything to do with being on time? Let me explain.

What most people do

How most people operate, when they need to travel more than a few minutes to a meeting, is that they work out how long it should take to get to the meeting, and deduct that from the meeting start time, to work out when they should leave. Then they stay in their office or workplace until that time doing tasks, many of which could be done away from the office, especially when you have all your business files stored in the cloud (for the benefits of doing this, read what Boston University says here).

But here’s the rub. The tasks they were doing may take longer, or it takes them longer to pack up after stopping those tasks, or someone comes to ask them for help, or traffic delays their trip, or they can’t find a parking spot, or, or, or… There are so many things that can delay them, resulting in frustration and lateness. And nobody enjoys being the last arrival who wasted all the time of the other people in the room, who, for all you know, all arrived on time and have been waiting just for you. Good thing they can’t send you a bill for the time they were held up (or maybe if they are lawyers or some other professions, they can send you the bill!).

And it only takes one such meeting near the start of your day, to cause a tidal wave of distraction for the rest of the day and sometimes beyond. You can’t catch up for today, so you don’t get prepared for tomorrow, and when you turn up for tomorrow’s first meeting, you realise that you were supposed to do some things before coming, and you didn’t bring your notes that you need. Snowball leads to an avalanche!

How to be always on time

Whether I am going somewhere in a city or country areas, there is usually a McDonald’s somewhere close to my destination. And to make sure that I will be always on time, I decide to leave my office well in advance. An added benefit of this is often that I am travelling outside of peak hour. I could even leave a couple of hours early, and I make sure I have at least that couple of hours of important work that I can do away from the office (this is where cloud storage and my Microsoft Surface Pro weighing under 1kg (2lb) comes in really handy). So I head off to the locale of the meeting and stop at the closest McDonald’s restaurant. There I find somewhere to sit down, some food options that are healthier than they offered a decade ago, and I do enjoy their McCafe coffee. Many McDonald’s also offer free WiFi access (as many teenagers know!). And I get down to work.

Always on time with McDonald's

McDonald’s and McCafe

Interestingly, when you do work away from your office, there are normally less distractions and interruptions, so you can get more done in those couple of hours than if you stayed at work.

And when the time comes for the meeting, I am just a few short minutes away. I can arrive a little early, fresh, relaxed and fully prepared for what is to come.

So you too can be always on time. Next time you need to travel more than a few minutes to a meeting, find a McDonald’s close to where you are going. Choose the best time for you to travel there (eg. outside of peak hour). Grab what you need for the meeting as well as some other important work you can do while you are out, and off you go. Chances are your travel time will be less than the alternative, you’ll be more productive on the work you took with you, the meeting will go better and you will be much more relaxed, with time left to prepare for the next day as per our End of Day Review process.

Have a great year.

 

Productivity

The Science of Productivity

Here are some great productivity tips in this short three minute clip.

Overcome the Biggest Barrier to Productivity

I especially like the Zeigarnik Effect (0:32) to help you overcome the biggest barrier to productivity.

Also instead of practising MORE to get better (sounds like hard work), check out a smarter way to practice (1:02)

Sticking to your plans

My favourite, how to develop the discipline to stick to new and better habits, even when they are unfamiliar at the start (1:42)

Multi-tasking #!*?

And for all those people who want to get better at multi-tasking, you’ve got to check out (2:15)

The video was brought to you by Gregory Ciotti from sparringmind.com and the folks at asapScience. Thanks guys.

Have a great week

 

2C growth cycle 600 wide 20151211

The three Cs of highly profitable business growth

If I could show you a really simple and powerful construct for diagnosing what’s holding your business back right now and how to double your business without working any more hours, would that be of high value to you?

So many businesses seem to hit a barrier that stops them growing any further. They get loads of sales without needing to do advertising or marketing, and the business owners would love to grow even more, but they have no spare time.

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” ~ Bruce Lee

Well, the reason they are stuck is because they don’t know how to progress on the three Cs of highly profitable business growth. But rather than explain, let me show you in this short six minute video.

This simple and powerful construct makes it easy to identify what has to happen to get your business unstuck and moving up to the next level. And when you add the third C, you can significantly improve your profits and the reach of your business.

Most business owners will eventually get the customer side sorted out, and they get there fast with the help of a good marketing specialist. But…

A very successful mentor of mine once said that referrals wont grow your business. Doing a great job and getting great referrals can only FILL your business. It gets you customers and moves you from right to left. That’s when so many businesses and their owners get stuck, because the strategies to get you from left to right, from needing Capacity to needing Customers are totally different.

2C growth cycle 600 wide 20151211

And when you take care of both sides of the cycle in turn, then you can easily and effortlessly flow upwards in the growth of your customer base, business and profits, which is what we all want.

So let us know where your business is stuck or about to get stuck on the cycle right now, and we will let you know the fastest ways to get you going again. Email us now.

And from the team at Business Time Lord, we wish a very happy and safe Christmas and New Year to you and yours.

Have a great week.

The Business Time Lord team

P.S.

Three-Point-Estimation-2 darts 20151109

How to avoid Christmas Burn-out in your business

Have you noticed how a lot of businesses want stuff done before Christmas, and that causes a mad rush, long days and exhaustion? So much so that many business owners work so hard in the lead up to Christmas, that they are too tired to enjoy the break. They lack the energy to play with the kids and enjoy the BBQs. And by the time they’ve had a rest and got their energy back, they realise they missed most of the break.

And because they were so busy before Christmas, they did very little advertising or marketing, so they don’t have much work lined up for the new year.

We hear that a lot, and there are a few simple things you can do to set yourself up for a successful Christmas, a great break, and a positive start to next year.

But first, if you don’t have time to learn this stuff, and just want someone to do it for you, at a ‘one time only’ price that is irresistible, then book in for a complimentary 30 minute strategy session here before 27 Nov 15.

Here are the things that you can do:

1.    Remind people Christmas is coming

Christmas has been in the calendar all year. But it is important to tell people how you will be working over the Christmas period. A colleague of mine runs a printing business and communicates really well around the Christmas period. He tells his customers when they will be shut down, the deadlines for submitting new jobs in order to get them delivered before Christmas, and when they will re-open in the new year.

And the key benefits of doing this are:

·         receiving more orders in November and December

·         avoiding last minute orders that have to be rushed through

·         helping your clients to be better organised and less rushed in their lead-up to Christmas

2.    The “Need It Now” premium

Imagine this. You are well organised and proactive. You ordered some items from one of your suppliers, well in advance. Someone else less well organised places a similar order at the last minute. Yours should get priority, right? And if the supplier has to pay overtime and do additional tasks to juggle the workload in order to complete both orders, that should not affect your price; the other less organised person should pay the premium, right? Yet so many businesses just say ‘yes’ to new orders, and absorb the extra costs. And this eats into more than just the profit margin. It also makes the Christmas burnout worse.

‘For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned’ Benjamin Franklin

Instead of this, give them options. When someone wants to buy from you in the lead up to Christmas, you look at your existing workload and capacity (if you don’t have a clear view of this, we can help) and determine when you can complete their work, taking into account your existing workload and the amount of time until Christmas. You then let them know your normal price for the work to be completed within existing capacity (and this may be for completion after Christmas). You also tell them the additional price if they want it quicker (you tell them the date you can do it by). And we can show you how to come up with appropriate prices and dates.

But what if they won’t pay the extra? That’s easy. They either don’t need it earlier, or they don’t really value your stuff all that highly. For the former, that helps to fill your order book for next year. And for the latter, if they don’t see the value in what you do, or recognise the extra effort you would be putting in to fit them in before Christmas, then maybe you should consider whether you fire them as a client and make room for other clients who do value and really appreciate what you do. Customers who don’t expect you to do just absorb the extra costs.

Another great benefit of this is that you can use it all year round to make sure you don’t commit beyond your capacity. And this can only help to build a better reputation with your market.

3.    Capacity management and the three-point estimate

Three-Point-Estimation-2 darts 20151109

We all know that when everything goes right, we can get stuff done quicker and cheaper. And we also know that when Murphy’s Law kicks in, things will take longer and cost more to do. But most businesses don’t take these two fundamental planning issues into consideration with their estimating of costs and delivery dates. From my 15+ years of project management, three-point estimation is one of the most powerful and under-used techniques for meeting or exceeding expectations AND for saving costs. So here is how you do it.

Firstly, this can be done simply, without fancy tools. In fact, a spreadsheet can be a good start for many small businesses. When you normally estimate tasks, you come up with your best estimate (or guess) of the time and materials costs, think about the people who will do the work, how much work they already have on, and then come up with an estimated finish date. Then you tell the customer what it will cost and when it should be finished, right?

The is one point of the three. In three-point estimation, instead of just one cost and schedule, you have a best case, worst case and most likely estimate. For example, a builder is going to build a house. For the best case, the permits are approved really fast, the weather is great and the sub-contractors all do their stuff on time. That results in a cost and schedule estimate for the job of three months to completion and $100,000. But you know it will never go that smoothly.

The worst case is that the permits take a long time, the weather delays works a lot, and the sub-contractors keep getting other, more profitable work and seem to only work on the house a couple of days per week. That results in a cost and schedule estimate for the job of six months to completion and $160,000. But from experience, you know it is not likely to that bad. So your most likely estimate for the job is 4.5 months to completion and $125,000.

Now these are just numbers, so are you ready to learn the most powerful bit? The commitment you make to customer is based on the six months and $160,000, and you let them know you will do your best to finish earlier. And you get your team and the sub-contractors working towards the three months and $100,000 target. When you do that, then you are likely to land somewhere in between. And every time it looks like you are going to finish later than three months and over the $100,000 target, it can be reported, and you can take action to finish as close to that as possible to the best case.

Contrast that to how most businesses operate, with just one point (and noting that for many businesses, the one point is usually a conservative estimate closer to the worst case). Nobody is trying to finish in just three months, and they may not tell the bosses about a problem until a delay beyond six months is inevitable, or they have spent the $160,000 and need more money (or both).

So what are you going to do from now onwards? Use one point or three-point estimation for your work? Because that can get your work done quicker, save you money, and give you more control over work-load and commitments, as well as making for a much better Christmas. And that’s what we all want. And if you just wish that someone could implement this in your business, at a ‘one time only’ price that is irresistible, then book in for a complimentary 30 minute strategy session here.

I trust that you found this useful, and maybe you can see that if you did these three things, you could have a successful Christmas, a great break, and a positive start to next year. So go and do them now. Schedule time in your calendar for when you will action these things.

If you know this sounds sensible, but you are not sure how you would find the time to implement this in your business, we can do it for you. But we have a limit on how many new clients we are taking on with this one-time offer, and the offer will expire by 27 Nov 15 or earlier, so book your complimentary 30 minute strategy session now.

Have a great week.

Russell and the Business Time Lord team

For more information visit www.BusinessTimeLord.com.au

Big rock

Are you making time for your big rocks?

If you’ve ever got to the end of your working day (yes there is such a thing) and realised that even though you have been busy all day and are exhausted, you have made little or no progress on the things on your list, then watch this two minute video.

So many business owners are flat out busy, but spend too much time on the wrong stuff. The stuff that may help others, but doesn’t move the business in the right direction.

The time has come to stop that, and to start making time for the things that will move your business fast towards your goals (you’ve got those written down, right?).

And if you know you should, but don’t know HOW, contact us to find out about our next training events, or book a complimentary 30 minute strategy session to find out whether we are a fit to work together to boost your productivity and help you get your lifestyle the way you deserve it to be.

Book your strategy session here.

Have a great day,

Russell and the Business Time Lord team

For more information visit www.BusinessTimeLord.com.au

DSC_0791

How Parkinson’s Law is impacting your profits and time

In this video, I explain why you have to be considering Parkinson’s Law if your business is providing services and you want to make more profit (and avoid losses), finish tasks quicker for your clients, and ensure you can deliver on your customer commitments.

Want to find out how you can use Parkinson’s Law to make more profit and get more done in less time, download our Cash For Time Calculator to see for yourself how much money you are leaving on the table, then book in for a complimentary 30 minute strategy session.

Parkinson’s Law – ‘Work expands to fill the time available’

 

Download the Cash For Time Calculator here

Have a great day,

Russell and the Business Time Lord team

For more information visit www.BusinessTimeLord.com.au

information-overload

How to empty your inbox in three easy steps

So many people struggle in the 21st Century with managing their emails. I often come across people with 5,000 or more emails in their inbox! Seriously. Maybe you can relate to that?

They go home at the end of each day knowing that there is stuff they should have done, but don’t really know what it all is or how to get it back in control. They dread looking at the huge mountain of emails that awaits them. Their days often feel like a stream of email distractions (and maybe phone calls from the people that were expecting a response to an email), with barely any time left to do stuff on their list. Something has got to give, but what?

Three Simple Steps
If you can relate to any of these challenges, here are three simple steps that can help you to get back control of your inbox.

1.   Create folders for emails requiring Action and for emails received that relate to the various aspects of your business (eg. clients, projects, products, etc).
2.   Set up rules to automatically move particular types of emails that you want to keep, but don’t need to read right now (eg. like the one I received today from that real estate list I signed up to, about the latest interest rate announcement)
3.   Move all of the emails in your inbox to either the Action folder or one of the other received item folders. And you do this at designated times each day; just 15 minutes or less each time.

It is so important to realise that when YOU choose where you invest your time, instead of letting the email senders choose what you are going to work on today, then you have taken back control and can start to make better progress.

If you do that, it sets you up so much better to stay on top of your emails, regardless of how many you receive in a day. And every day when you finish work you know that you are on top of your emails. And that’s what we all want.

Often people say that it can’t be that simple, can it? Well, these are the fundamentals, and of course you would need to set up the folders and rules to suit your way of working. And you may have a range of questions, depending on your email program, etc. So if you have had enough of email overwhelm and want a little help to get it all sorted out, then you might be interested in out upcoming event How to empty your inbox in three easy steps.

Now we all know that managing emails is not sexy, but boy it is great to end the day on a high.
Whether you:

  • have more than 1,000 emails in your inbox (or you wish it was so few!),
  • are continuously distracted by emails you receive, or
  • are worried about the things in those emails that you should have done already (and which customers you have let down).


Either way, you’ve got better things to do with your time, which is why we put together this short 30 minute training that:
– gives you the tools to empty your inbox in less than 15 minutes twice per day,
avoids the distractions emails so often bring,
– enables you to get more done each day, and
– you can finish work know that you are on top of things

This ‘How to empty your inbox in three easy steps’ event is COMPLETELY FREE and can be accessed from the comfort of your own computer. It is at 10am on Friday 17 Jul 15

And if you are too busy at that time, you can get a copy of the recording, just by registering. We’ve allowed 30 minutes, but the education will be quicker than that, and there will be time for you to ask your questions.

By the end of the webinar, you will know exactly what you should do to empty your inbox and finish work on Friday knowing that you are on top of things. And we will also be sharing some great bonuses for those on the call.

Here’s to the time of your life,

Russ 
Business Time Lord

P.S.  Here is the LINK TO REGISTER once again…