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Taking Control of Your Time (Part 2)

Jan 29, 2021

Following on from last week’s episode, Bertie and Debbie are back to share even more of the tools and tricks that they use to keep focused and to help them manage their time.

Join them as they discuss what you can do to get more focus in your life, and ultimately Get Shit Done!


Bertie: Debbie

Debbie: it's Friday. It's like sunny. It's not snowing. I can see blue skies. It makes all the difference. Isn't it.

So tight.

Bertie: Time. Yes. So yesterday we're at yesterday last week, we were talking about time management. How many run at a time? Irony?

Debbie: 10 minutes is a short amount of time

Bertie: though. Isn't it? Yes, it is. And we've got, we've got, we've got big mouths that move. We've got lots to say.

Debbie: We have, we've got lots of good advice.

We got lots of good advice. So we wanted to kind of carry on talking about it because we didn't get into some of the nitty gritty. And today we wanted to talk about the tool. That we both use kind of daily in our business that helps us manage our time and do all of the things that we have to do to keep our business running.

Bertie: Yes, absolutely. I think we've got a question last week. Did we answer it about how do we keep focused to be covered that one or not? Was that the one that you jumped in at the end? I think,

Debbie: I think we use shared the story. That's really good if the Olympic team, the Olympic rowers and how they were asking the question of will there.

Action. Make the boat go faster and having that like really clear focus and just asking yourself, is this going to help my businesses? This is going to help my business. Is that going to help my end goal? I don't know if we quite answered the thing about focus, but I think it is understanding where you're going.

Isn't it? What's what's the end point. What's the destiny. Where do you want to get to? And then we really tailoring everything to make sure that it's working towards getting you to that.

Bertie: Exactly. And you can, what you can also do is break that. So, you know, with that, will it make the boat go faster? You know, that's a really good thing for just shooting for your main goal.

You can really like stay focused. Like that's almost like questioning your daily task, all these tasks working towards that bigger goal. Yeah. But on a daily basis, what you can find is that you will have different. Metrics. I'm not gonna get too much into data and stuff like that, but it's yeah, it's it's what do you want to achieve today?

And just make sure the stuff that you're doing is is working towards that. So if you need more customers, for example, are you doing things that are focusing on more customers or are you wasting time tweaking about your website and thinking, oh, well actually ever customer lands on it. We'll make it look better.

It's no, no, no, no. You haven't got any customers landing there yet. Let's focus on the front bit first. So that will Metro, the map has changed. So we can talk about that in more detail later, but that's, that's how I keep focused. That helps be done as in, what do I need to achieve today? What is my metric that matters?

Debbie: Yeah, I think that's really key. It's having that intention. Isn't it. And going right. I'm going to sit down today. W w what's my intention, what do I want to achieve? And what are the tasks that are going to get me there? The fastest. And like you said, we can spend a lot of time being busy fools. Can't we thinking, well, I'll just tweak my website or I'll just change the landing page or just change these photos.

And maybe actually, if you want to get customers, the number one thing to do is to reach out to people. Who've contacted you to connect with those people, to send out an email to everybody in your email list and think about what are the tasks that might actually get me, those customers. So having that focus, and I think because we were.

Just before we went live about these ideas of what are the tools that we use to manage our time. And I think for me, it's about keeping it really

Bertie: simple. Absolutely. Always simplicity,

Debbie: not over-complicating things and thinking I'm going to try all these different things, but just thinking what's the simplest tool I can use to manage my time.

And I think we're both a big fan of kind of online calendars. I use. The Gmail suite of tools. And I literally put everything in the diary from putting my daughter to bed, to writing my blog posts as a diary entry, to doing my morning journaling to my client's stuff, to having lunch, like every single thing has a diary entry.

And if it didn't have a diary entry, I wouldn't do it. And I think just being. A bit anal, I think really with that calendar and thinking if you've got a task, put it in your diary, you know, rather than put it on a, to do list, even if you put it in the diary in two weeks time, you've created space and time to get that stuff done.

And that really helps me.

Bertie: Yes, absolutely. And I, yeah, I do something similar as well. So I almost have a flow. I have a, a note pad on my desk. That's an old fill my belly note Padlet from years ago. So I have a note, but on there, like if we're talking now, then I'll quickly jot something down in handwriting that occasionally I can read.

But then that's that will either go into a to-do list of things and the are prioritize and they then get put like time blocks into the county. So during like a daily planning session, which takes like minutes, it's just like, okay, I've got all of this stuff in here. If it's in a long list, almost like the ex-pat, you're putting this false expectation that that list has to be done straight away.

It's a stress. Whereas actually, as soon as you start putting things in your diary, you probably realize you can do 20% of the stuff that's on your list, which is okay, but it's setting the correct expectations. So then when you finish your day, you're feeling that you've achieved rather than looking at.

20% of a list that you may or may not have ticked off, or you might have just got bored and start getting distracted. You're thinking I'm never going to get through all this. But by time-blocking it just having it scheduled, that's the first sense of achievement you've got there is that actually it's in there.

And actually if it's scheduled. The chances are it's going to get done, obviously then it's your own individual discipline on the diarrhea, which we can talk about if anyone's got any problems on that, but doing those, doing those things once they're scheduled just makes so much more difference because I think a lot of the time we can see.

High expectations as your more thing. Oh yeah, that's fine. That'll take 10 minutes. And it doesn't does it like 10 minute jobs takes an hour, an hour job takes to putting it in the diary as well. Is it Parkinson's law? It's called where it's like, you you've filled the tub. There's there's, there's a, I'm sure it's Parkinson's law.

I'll have to Google it now and check, but the, the thing behind it is that the task will take the amount of time that you allot. Yeah. So you say like my daily email, for example, if I say right, okay. I need to do that this morning. It will probably take me all morning, whereas I generally leave it till the end of the day or I'll try and do bits between meetings, like a matter of 15 minutes.

And I can just bang it out really quickly because I have that a lot at the time. So if you allow yourself too much time, you'll always find a way to fill it.

Debbie: I, I really agree with that. It is true because yeah, we're great procrastinators and we use lots of time and we think about lots of things of the ways that we can do.

You know, the thing that we can do. I agree. I'm like a big deadline person as well. If I have a deadline, I will make sure it's done by that deadline. And if the deadline gives me two weeks, it will take me two weeks to do that task. And if the deadline is an hour, it'll take me an hour to do the task. So I think that's really interesting, isn't it like psychologically how we just get on with stuff when we've got to do it.

And I think also with that time blocking, there'll be certain things that we do each week. We can just have scheduled it and like writing a blog post or doing our admin or doing our finances. And if those stuff are in repeatedly, they start to build really good habits as well. And we make sure that that stuff gets done.

So I think using that calendar also gets us into these habitual kind of ritual routines of first, the morning I write my blog

Bertie: post. Exactly. I mean, yeah, of course. It's just that as well, that long lists are daunting and the artist is exactly what we were saying. If you've just got a huge list of things, it's like, well, what actually do I do first?

And then just start picking out the little easy tasks, just so you can get a few more tips on the list, but getting back to the point I was making earlier, all those, the things they're going to. Focused on the metrics that are important to your business. And they're probably not, they're probably just things that need to be done.

And maybe, whereas you're not doing the important stuff because you're putting the half. And then by the end of the day, you run out of time because you've not scheduled it in.

Debbie: Oh, the thing that I love, which you mentioned last week is the Pomodoro technique. And that's like using that tomato timer, like if I'm in between clients, I'm thinking, right.

I'm going to spend some time answering emails. I'll set a timer for 20 minutes and I'll just answer as many emails as I can within that 20 minutes. And once the timer goes off, I get up and move around and do something else. And having that timer helps me become laser focused on the task at hand. So I'm not comparing, you got 20 minutes.

I can't start drifting off and looking at other things or, you know, answering social media posts. So. Doing the time-blocking and then actually getting your phone out or getting an egg time or however you do it. And just setting that timer that helps you be laser focused as well. And I think that really works on just getting the thing done that you've agreed that you're going to do.

Bertie: And that's great. I use that that method is just that just setting a timer, exactly the same issue for email. I also use it for my accounts as well. So yeah, 20 minutes a week just keeps on top, just put those receipts in and just make sure that that otherwise I'm just then constantly being chased for things and something that should just take 20 minutes actually ends up taking a lot longer.

So, yeah, that that's, it's really good for those tasks that can just suck an entire day. If you allow them to,

Debbie: yeah, I could spend days answering my emails. Are you still an inbox, email, a zero inbox email guy.

Bertie: Do I get down to zero? Probably about once a week, but I do manage it in the same way that I was talking about before.

So if it's unread, it's something that I have to do, but I don't going back in and clicking in emails and things like that. So I did it made a video on that a while ago, which I'll probably redo. Can probably explain a little bit

Debbie: better. Yeah. When you expect, when you said that to me, I was like, oh my God, inbox, Syrah.

This feels like the Nirvana of the business world. And I, even if you can do that once a week, because there's so much pressure and knowing that they're sat there waiting for you to do that. And if you just set that time of the 20 minutes and just get them done, you'll be amazed at how Fastly you just whipped through them.

If you're like, all I'm doing is just getting rid of these emails. So yeah. Use your calendar and use your timer. Maybe they're the only tools we've talked about, but actually they're the kind of main ones aren't they? That time block. And timing of staff and getting this stuff. Yeah,

Bertie: exactly. There's Trello as well, which is great for project management, probably a session in itself.

Really. So whether we do that next week, or we do it a little bit further because we had something for next week didn't we? But maybe we'll speak about Trello and actually that rod jet managing mindset. Moving things to a project is actually really useful for certain types of tasks, not for everything, but for certain projects, certainly.

But the, the point with these tools is a lot of the time that I see productivity tools and stuff all the time, there's always different software that's coming out and you think, oh great, this is going to solve my problem. Actually, you can put so much time into learning a new tool and process is probably what you could have done anyway.

Pen and paper going into notes, managing your email, using something like Trello and the calendar, and more than good enough. That's five tools already. So things that say we'll replace all those tools with one you'll still end it. Can't replace your pen and paper. So straight away you've got to, you'll still need your calendar anyway.

So it's, it's not as as, as clear as what. Yeah, it's not.

Debbie: Yeah. It's yeah. It's kind of like snake oil, isn't it it's like replace all of this stuff with another whole system that you've got to use and yeah. Pen and paper and a good calendar works every time. And that's what people would have used in the eighties.

Isn't it? Like the time management really systems haven't changed. They've just become digitized over time.

Bertie: Exactly and Porsche has got a 10,000 email inbox that would apps. I wouldn't be able to sleep Porsche with. That is to work with somebody at six. I used to look at a screening at 16,000 emails that on rat is like, oh, it just yeah, it just, just used to go through me.

So yeah, I think the best thing for you control a highlight or delete, and they're going to start again tomorrow. Don't you don't need them except keep beating them up.

Debbie: Yeah, they'll email you again, if it's important. I won't know. So just maybe just stitch them all and start again. Well, that's enough.

We've you run out of time. This morning, Porsche has giving us some smiley faces that you just deleted. Porsche. Give it a go and we'll see you next.

Bertie: Yeah. Yeah. Whenever it you is holding the little bit and stuff. Yeah, Friday 10 o'clock we'll be back. You'll be watching the replay. Thanks a lot. Hit the light button and stuff. Right. See you later. Bye.

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