Jan 21, 2021
How to Get Stuff Done in Your Business With Les Watson
Do You Need More Time?
Who has this problem where you think you've got enough time to do something, and at the end of the day, your list is hardly touched. I think we've all been there, and we’ve got Les here from Get More Time and he's going to be telling us about how to do exactly that. Les, what's the number one thing that you see business owners just failing to do?
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Les: Josh, great to be here. The biggest thing is procrastination. If you're taking longer than five seconds to do something, you're procrastinating. So I break it into two things. One is leadership. The other one is discipline. Leadership as a person to lead your own life, to get shit done, and the discipline to follow through on what you said you were going to do.
Shorten Your List
So a lot of people that I've come across will say they’ve got a list, but it's way too long, and I never get to finish it. This is a problem there. If your list is too long, you've got to lighten the load of the list for one. You should choose the top five things you want to get done today and stick with that. When you've done them, if you want to put a six, do it But apart from that, go easy on yourself.
So a lot of people don't live their life, they put it off to somebody else. The boss is doing it to me, or the clients are doing it to me. First of all, take responsibility for your life, lead your own life, and then have the discipline to follow through on what you said you're going to do.
A lot of people as you pointed out are they are their own worst enemy. I started monitoring what I spent my time on a couple of years ago, and I thought I hardly ever look at Facebook. I saw this piece of software called Rescue Time, and it came back and told me a whole bunch of cool data. I was spending a few hours on Facebook every week that I thought, I don't get that much value out of it. So if people are complaining they don't have enough time, what would be the way that you can have your ongoing recurring tasks as well as your milestone tasks to get you in front and start really pushing forward on that list?
Find a System That Works for You
Les: Do you have a trusted system? I always say it doesn't matter if it's a paper-based system or an app-based system. But if you've got shit to do, where does it live? Does it live in front of you, does it live in your pocket? Does it live in a planner? So, where's your trusted system? You need a place where you can take it out of your head and put it somewhere.
So what is your trusted system? For a paper-based system, you can pick them up from your general stationery shop. I have a six-ring binder with dividers. The front half has a calendar section and the back half as my areas of responsibility. These include my leadership roles, finances, and even fitness. It becomes a part of your system.
I became very particular with the way that I put everything into my calendar. I made sure to have a scheduling time and several different categories so I could see where things worked for me. Once I had that, I could see my work schedule and that balance of life, personal, business, and health. Are there any pillars that you would say people should focus on as an overall arching goal before they start looking at the macro and microtasks?
Les: You're across is. If you're doing that allocation of tasks, you don't get to the end of the week and think, I didn't go to the gym again. So allocating tasks is the major thing to think about.
One area that many ignore is are you taking time with your own personal finances? Schedule it. If you do that on a weekly basis, it doesn't have to be hard. But as long as you're actually dipping into that area to make sure you're across it, that's what matters.
Schedule a Check-in For Services You Pay For
I've got things I'll have scheduled to have a look at to see if there are any way I can be saving money and making sure I’m not paying too much for services. That might be a commodity type service, it could be an investment property, but just scheduling those things into your life to check up on can save you $1000s of dollars.
A provider that I was with was charging me $1400 a month, and I did a look around 12 months later where I could get it for $330 a month. That's a lot of money saved. I love having an overarching calendar and then diving further into it from there. But like you were saying, make sure you're using a primary system where there's clearly defined rules and roles.
Les: Absolutely. I'll come across people gathering notes on the back of an envelope. You could put it in Evernote, you can put in a Google key, you can put it in OneNote. So the opportunity to have a digital version of it is at your fingertips if you want that. You don’t need to go digital, just have a system in place and stick to it.
Moving Between Digital and Physical is Possible
I couldn't agree with you more. My general process for any hosted notes I have is simple. I put them into Google Keep and link them into Google Docs if there's something that needs to be linked there. For our appointment today, it’s in the calendar on Google Keep but interestingly, I still go back to paper, when I'm brainstorming, I find that there's too much distraction with digital. Then it gets transcribed across into the digital world once there's a defined process or something has been made of it, but exactly what you said, you can do it whatever way works for you.
Les: I've been coaching people for many, many years. Recently I went, what's the best method that I can take these notes? What I do is I take the notes on a piece of paper with a pen, and I take a photo of it. From there, it goes straight into Trello under a tab called coaching. It's under their name, I put a date on it, and close it. That happens in all of 60 seconds. When I go to meet with them in a week's time, guess what happens? I pull up Trello in their name and I can see what we covered last time. It's paper-based, but done in the cloud.
When it comes down to a productive use of your time, how do you make sure that what you think is an important task is actually an important task. As someone who is an engineer, I will spend 95% of the time planning and 5% of the time executing. How can you make sure that you're spending the time on the right things?
Les: Great question. I love doing a weekly review. It gives you an opportunity to get to the end of the week and you can ask yourself the questions, what worked this week? What didn't work this week? What can I do differently? If you're working in a team, you can do the same thing. But you can look over your diary and go, what are the actions that have happened this week that I may have missed or that slipped between the cracks. Then on the opposite, you can think about what are the actions going forward that I need to focus on.
So that weekly review is something that a lot of people that I work with, when they do it changes their productivity. Aim to do these three things:
If you can do them, you are absolutely perfect. For the prioritisation of tasks, it is slightly different, but the same on a day-to-day basis. If you were to slot them in, which are “A” priorities and which of them are “B” priorities? Don't put 30 things on your list. Put for tomorrow, what five are A priorities and which would be B.
How do you tell what is an A priority? If it doesn't get done, the brown smelly stuff will hit the round twirly thing. No one wants to shit hit the fan. So A's must get done and do the A's early in the day. From there, if you've got other things that are Bs and you get a chance to do them, great. If you don't get a chance to do them, then you can put them on to tomorrow, or some of the B’s going into tomorrow become an A. That's okay. Why? Because deal with what you need to do today. Let tomorrow be tomorrow.
That's great advice. On the weekly review, would you suggest that it should be a self-assessment? Or should you have an accountability buddy? How do you make sure that you're being true to yourself?
For me, I'll bring it to the gym example. I had a membership to one of those 24-hour gyms. It didn’t have any classes, and I thought I'm going to get fit. Guess what, it didn't happen. After this, I went to a gym that had classes. I started going to the classes and it was awkward to start off with. But then I started talking to people, so when I missed one, people were holding me responsible and I felt kind of like I'd let the team down by missing one. I found that this has been a drive for me to continue to stay fit. Should you use yourself and self assess or bring someone else into the mix?
Les: I totally agree, accountability goes a long way to getting shit done. It really does. If you are beholden to someone to get something done and they are waiting for you, then you're more likely to do it. Whether it's fitness, whether it's getting a task done, or whatever. Accountability is great.
If you go to my website, getmoretime.com.au/bbf I will have a KPI or a dashboard that you can have. It really does give people an idea of how I structure my KPI’s in my small business. My general manager (who is my wife), and we come together at the end of the week to going through the work we did. I am accountable to her for the things on that list, as opposed to just trying to sweep things under the rug.
I have my Sunday beer in the spa and that is the time that I go through and reflect. What are your thoughts on Parkinson's Law? For anyone out there that's not sure of what that is, Parkinson's Law is that work expands to fill the time allotted. So you say it's going to take a year, it will take a year. So it's going to take a month, it'll probably take a month. Remember nights before you crammed in for the exam the next day, or the assignment that was due the next day? And for some reason, you delayed for six weeks, and then it all got finished the night before. What have you found with Parkinson's Law? And how much truth is there in it?
Les: Absolutely. I totally concur. I want to go on holidays, and I need to get all this shit done. Therefore, I need to get all this shit done. What do you do? You get it down. Now how is that you can do it prior to going in the holidays? But you meander through life in the other times? Can you set yourself to get stuff done in a timeframe that you actually choose for yourself?
For me, this is my book. which is available on the website. It was created because I was in a mentoring session and the woman said, you won't have enough to write a book. My wife said, “yes, you do”. So I said, in the next 12 months time I will have a manuscript. 12 months later, I had a manuscript and six months after that, I had a fully-fledged book. I ended up on the Today Show with Carl and Georgie. You go, how did that happen? I set myself a deadline, and I made myself accountable. The timeframe worked. Otherwise, you daydream and think someday I'll write a book. How many of us have ever said that? Someday I'll write a book. Well, I didn't, I put a date on it.
Make Some Changes and Make a Difference
Make sure you check out Les’s book, it’s called Get Back an Hour In Every Day and I can say that I have purchased myself a copy and it's great. Is there anything else you want to cover up on the last before we head off?
Les: It's been great, Josh. Hopefully, the listeners have gotten value because there's so much we can do, but rather than just to hear it, I'd really encourage you to do something with it and go to getmoretime.com.au/bff and put your details in. I'll make sure that I get you that dashboard so that you can take control and be accountable either to yourself or to somebody else.
Check it out and let us know what you think. As always, stay healthy, stay good and try to get more time back in your life.