We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s fixed. It’s inflexible, so earning more in less time is less about managing time, and more about managing ourselves.
David: Hi and welcome to the podcast today co-host Chris Templeton and I will be talking about a subject that is near and dear to many of our hearts, how to earn more money in less time. Welcome Chris.
Chris: Hi David. In the interest of time, I suppose we should get right down to it. It seems to me that most people struggle with how to get it all done in the time they have available. How do you recommend our listeners get around this really big issue, and common issue frankly?
David: Yes, many people do struggle with how to get it all done in the time they have available, and so one of the first things we need to look at is what exactly is it that we’re doing? What are the activities that we are engaged in on a daily basis and how many of them really need to happen? How many of them are absolutely critical to our mission, to our success, to everything that we’re doing on a day to day basis. Because if you examine the activities you’re engaged in, what you will very likely find is that there are things you’re doing right now that simply don’t move the needle. And so by identifying those things up front as quickly as possible, you can start to adapt and change the things that you’re doing so that you’re going to be able to better monetize the hours that you’re putting into your work week.
Chris: So, when you look at this and identifying your time, what you’re doing with it, I think it’s a tough one for people to see. What are the solutions? Is it just getting a to do list together to start to understand that? What do you recommend?
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David: Well, a lot of people use to do lists and you're far better off having one than not having one. But if you're like most people with to do lists, you've got way too many things to do and not enough time to do them all.
David: Which goes back to what we were talking about a moment ago, which is identifying which of the things on the to do list actually need to get done. Because if there are things on there that are simply taking up time and taking up space and that aren't going to accomplish what it is that you're looking to have happen, then you're better off not having them on there. So, what I would say is if you've got a to do list, probably one of the first things that will help you is if you're able to begin to turn your to do list into calendar items. So, I'm moving it from something that maybe should be done at some future point in time to something that I'm actually going to be working on today. And so if I identify the top two or three or at most five things, that I really feel like I need to accomplish today and I turn them into calendar items, then those five items out of the thirty, fifty or a hundred that are on my to do list all of a sudden become actionable. They become a lot more valuable to me because I've chosen them out of all the others to take action on today.
Chris: That's a great approach and it really gets you to lock yourself in because you've got a little reminder that says, "Hey, it's time to do this project and let's get going." And if you follow that, you really are kind of prioritizing and focusing on what's the most important thing I can be doing today.
David: Right. Priorities are always more important than activities.
Chris: Well talk about that. What do you mean by that?
David: Well, activities are just things that we do. So I'm doing different things. I'm going to go pour a glass of water or I'm going to type a note to a friend. I'm going to send an email, I'm going to take a phone call. They're all activities, priorities are the activities that we've decided are the things that we really want to do today that we've decided we are going to do today. And simply prioritizing them and saying, “Okay, rather than just engaging in fifty random actions, I'm going to engage in four or five strategic actions that are going to help me move closer to my goals.” I believe the book 4DX, the Four Disciplines of Execution talks about the difference between lead measures and lag measures. So, if I'm looking to accomplish a goal, let's say I want to bring in five new clients by the end of the week, that's a lag measure. I'm only going to be able to measure it after it's happened, so I can't really act on that. What I have to act on instead are the lead measures, what are the things that I need to do now before the end of the week to bring those five customers in. So it might be identifying who those customers are, it might be reaching out to them, what's the first contact I'm going to do to engage with them and then letting them know who I am and then trying to schedule a time to talk with them or get with them on the phone or whatever it is. So there are specific activities that are the lead measures and we need to focus on those. We look at the things that we know that if we do them, they're going to be more likely to help us achieve the outcomes or the goals that we're looking for. And by focusing on the things we need to do now that will help us to identify our priorities instead of just engaging in activities.
Chris: And the other thing that's really important about that, I hadn't heard these two terms, but it fits very well with, my dad was an insurance guy and had a prospecting system and his whole thing was - get two appointments a day. And that's a lead measure and it's something that's actionable that I can do. And his whole thing was, if you focus your success on those things, two appointments a day, everything else follows the lag measures, how many sales did I get and how well did I do - all kind of fall into place, don't they?
David: They do. And then when you refine those things and you say, okay, I'm going to identify and I'm going to approach two prospects today that meet certain criteria, you can start raising the bar on your lead measures and so you can start attracting a higher quality of client. You can start attracting the types of people that you really want to have as ongoing customers and so it becomes even more specific. It becomes more finely tuned to get you the results you're looking for
Chris: And you're in a position where you're having successes, you're enjoying the process along the way as opposed to what we all have a common tendency to do is to say “Well, it'll be great when I get those two sales” or that, you know, whatever the case may be, but having something really that's more process oriented also makes little successes along the way much more meaningful, doesn't it?
David: Yeah, and when you're focused on the goal, the outcome, Oh, I need to get these customers. I have to get customers. What am I going to do to do to get customers? Those types of questions, they're not helpful. What you need to be doing is taking action on the things that you know are going to work and if you don't know what those things are, then that's the first thing you have to learn it. Now, one of the things that we've talked about a lot with our clients is the difference between knowing and doing. Do I know exactly what I need to do to generate the levels of success I want? For a lot of people, the answer to that question, if they were really to ask it to themselves, the answer is no, because if they did know exactly what to do, they would very likely be doing it. One of the reasons that people tend to get stuck in business, they tend to get to a certain point in sales and then their sales plateau, or they get to a certain point and they're bringing customers in and then they're no longer bringing customers in; is that they lose sight of this fact. They have to look at how am I going to consistently keep things going and what is it that I don't know that I need to know? What do I need to know about the types of prospects that I want to attract? What do I need to know about the ways that I'm going to do that and make it happen consistently. If there's stuff you don't know, you need to learn it. If you already know it all, then it's really a matter of implementing. But very few people know at all. I don't know anyone who knows it all. And the smartest people I believe are the ones who recognize that fact. I always say, if I can't learn something from every person I interact with today, that is my fault, not theirs. Right? Cause I can learn from good example. I can learn from bad example. So if I'm not learning, I blame myself for that.
Chris: Boy oh boy, is that the truth. So, let's just talk about the guy who says, “You know, I get all of this, but there are things that I just need to do in my business that I can't justify a high hourly rate.”
David: Yeah. Well, I think one of the things is to switch that around and instead of saying there are things I have to do in my business that don't justify a high hourly rate, maybe you can just switch that around slightly to say there are things that need to be done in my business that don't justify a high hourly rate. You don't necessarily have to be the one who does those things because if you want to earn a high hourly rate, if you want to be able to attract the types of clients who are going to be able to generate the revenue that you want, you're going to have to be engaged in higher dollar activity. If you're dusting your office, for example, right? If you decide that my office is dusty and it has to be dusted and I have to be the person to do that, don't expect to be paid $200, $300, $500-1000 dollars an hour to dust your desk. It's just not going to happen. And so you have to start looking at the activities that you're engaged in and ask yourself, is this the type of thing that I could outsource for whatever minimum wage or for you know, $15 an hour or you less than whatever it is that I would like to be able to make. And if the answer is yes, then you want to be able to do that as quickly as possible so that you can then focus on the work that's going to generate the type of money that you need to earn.
Chris: And there are more and more ways to find those low wage people to help you. And it's just a matter of looking for what you need to do, what you need to let go, and then letting it go. Finding somebody or some system to handle that makes all the difference in the world. So yes, you need to do, there are things you need to do in business. But thinking about it also, like you said earlier, as you know, this idea of what is it that's process oriented that's gonna get me results now? And it's those little things that prevent us from bigger results, isn't it?
David: Yes, and just identifying who can help me with this and you raised a great point. There are so many options nowadays. You can get virtual assistants, you can get temporary help, very lots of different ways to get the things done that need to get done. When we work at getting very good at things that are low dollar activities, we're not really doing ourselves any favors because you can perfect the art of printing out an invoice and you're still not going to be able to do it a hundred times better than somebody that you can hire off of Fiverr.
Chris: Right, exactly. Fiverr, Task Rabbit, Upwork. There's so many options out there. When you are looking to hire somebody to help, what are the things that you think they should be looking at? Especially when they feel like, “Oh gee, I can't afford it.”
David: Well, ask yourself if you can afford not to, or how long you can afford not to, because if you're doing it, you are paying someone to do that work. You're just paying yourself and when you're paying yourself a low dollar amount, you're earning a low dollar amount so you're not going to be able to grow your business under those circumstances. So if you look at the things that need to get done and ask yourself, okay, who would do this better than I do? Who would be better at this? I find for myself that a lot of the types of activities that I'm not good at are also the types of things that I don't like because we tend to like the things that we're good at, right? So if you identify areas where you're not good that are important and critical. Like for me, doing the books is something that is absolutely critical. I'm not good at it. I have a business partner who is good at it, right? So you have to find people who are complimentary, who have complimentary skills to you so that they can do the things that they like and they're good at. And you can do the things that you like and you're good at and you're not trying to do the things that they do. And they're not trying to do the things that you do. When you do this right what happens is that when something new needs to get done in a business, there is rarely any question about who has to do it; because you instinctively know it's either in my wheelhouse or it's in the other person's wheelhouse and you'll notice these things. So finding people with complimentary skills is what really works the best because the things that bore you to death get other people really excited. They know that they're good at if they know that they can do a great job at it and they love to do it. So by allowing people to work in the areas of expertise that they actually enjoy, everybody benefits and it ends up being far less expensive to pay people who are good at it. Then to try to do something that you're not good at badly
Chris: And simply focusing on the things that you don't like to do, which we tend to do anyway because “Oh, that's something that needs to be done”, that you can turn over to somebody that loves to do it is such a shift. And the other thing, David is now with all of these online services, like we mentioned, Fiverr or Upwork or any of those, Guru.com, Task Rabbit. The other thing that is so cool about those services is you get to see how they've been rated by other people that have used them. And so it's almost like a referral system at some level, whether this person is worthy of doing the thing and good at doing the thing that you want them to do for you. So looking at it from that standpoint also, you know, obviously you have people that you're working with that can do things, but also looking at people who are willing to do these things that love to do them and typically like to do them for less than you might expect.
David: Yeah. And you also get to try them out and you get to test them out on a project and you say, okay, well here's the project is a very small parameters are going to do something for a period of a week or two weeks. And if it goes well, then you can do it for another week or two weeks and then you can do it for a month and then you can do it for many months. And we've had people that we've worked with in various capacities like that. We've had some where they did something for a little while and it was okay and we didn't continue. We had other people who did a great job and we continue to work with them to this day. So to be able to do that and to be able to pay through an outsourcer like any of these organizations is also great because you're not taking on the risk of hiring someone full time and then being responsible for them before you know whether or not you have the type of fit that is going to work for both parties
Chris: Today more than ever, just like we talked about in the last podcast, it being easier to identify and to connect with people through things like LinkedIn; today more than ever, to find the resources to do those things that you don't like to do and aren't high value for you. It's just easier than ever and it's worth taking the time to identify the things that you don't want to do and aren't high value and seeing what you can come up with on the fabulous internet to help solve those problems.
David: No question.
Chris: Let's talk about the action steps our listeners should be taking if they want to earn more in less time.
How to Earn More in Less Time
- Identify the activities you're engaged in. Which move the needle for you and which can be delegated or eliminated?
- If You Can't Afford to Delegate: Ask "what am I doing wrong?"
- Convert To-Do List Items to Calendar Items. Decide your priorities proactively and work on those first.
- Focus on high dollar tasks.
- Delegate low dollar tasks, early and often.
David: Okay, well, I would start out by identifying what it is that you're doing. What are the activities that you're engaged in that move the needle and that are worth it and what are the activities you're engaged in that you need to get rid of, that you need to delegate and if you're thinking, I don't have the money to be able to have other people do it, then ask yourself, what am I doing wrong? Because the fact of the matter is that if you are doing the things that you're good at regularly, consistently, and at a rate that makes sense, then you should have enough money to be able to hire help. If you're not, then there's a bigger problem. If you didn't have the money to hire someone, whatever part-time to help you out starting with a few hours, then that's an indication that the things that you are doing are not serving you well. So, take a look at what you're doing, what you'd like to be doing, more of what you'd like to be doing less of. That's the first thing. Turn your to do lists into calendar items so that you're prioritizing, you're deciding what the most important tasks are that you will work on today and you are taking action on that proactively and ranking them in order of the first thing that needs to get done by the importance of it getting done. Then identifying the high dollar tasks and focusing your attention on those tasks. And then the next step after that is to delegate early and often; figure out what are the tasks that have to be done that I no longer want to do, and then figure out a way to delegate it, whether it's to a virtual assistant, whether it's to a temporary agency or any of the agencies that Chris mentioned online. Figure out a way to do that. And all of those things will combine to allow you to make more in less time.
Chris: So important. And the thing is, is when I'm making more in less time, I'm having a whole lot more fun and I'm doing a lot less of the things that I don't want to do. Isn't that the truth?
David: Very true indeed. In fact, if you're listening to this podcast and you would like to be able to move more toward a lifestyle like that, what I'd encourage you to do is to schedule a strategy session with us where we can look at what are some of the bottlenecks in your business? What are some of the things that are keeping you from being able to generate the kind of money that you need in order to operate the type of business that you want to work in? You can go to topsecrets.com/call we'd be happy to schedule that call with you, have that conversation, and see how we can help.
Chris: Outstanding. David, tell us what's coming up on our next podcast.
David: Okay, Chris, in our next podcast, we'll be talking about the difference between product buyers and solution buyers.
Chris: I bet I want to have solution buyers.
David: You forget to say, “Spoiler alert!”
Chris: (Laughing) Spoiler alert! Okay, perfect. Hey David, thank you so much and we'll see you on the next podcast.
David: Thanks, Chris.
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