If you recognize that more is never the solution to too much, then you can really start to think about what actually has to be done? What could potentially be eliminated so that I can focus my time and attention on the most important things that are actually going to move the needle for myself and my business?
David: Hi and welcome to the podcast. In today’s episode, cohost Jay McFarland and I will be discussing the topic more is never the solution to too much. Welcome back, Jay.
Jay: Thank you so much. I love the title of this podcast and I think it embodies something that we all do. Sometimes we think that because something’s not working, it means we’re not throwing enough at it.
So let’s just throw more and throw more and throw more, and that will solve the problem. And perhaps we’re making it worse. Or at the very least, we’re wasting a lot of time and money that could be used more effectively in other places.
David: Yeah, so often people talk about, and we’ve talked about in the past, time management. And time management is maybe not the best term to always think of. Because what it implies is that you have to do all these things and you have to manage it better, that maybe you’re messing things up there.
But if you recognize that more is never the solution to too much, then you can really start to think about what actually has to be done? What could potentially be eliminated so that I can focus my time and attention on the most important things that are actually going to move the needle for myself and my business? And I think for a lot of us, with COVID and people working from home, it probably caused a lot of people to start thinking about what is the most important aspect of what I do? And how many things that I used to do before, really don’t have to be done anymore?
And for anybody who’s watching this, if you haven’t gone through this exercise, I would really encourage you to consider this. Because it’s very likely there are things you’re doing that you’ve been doing for a long time, and it’s always the way we’ve done it. We think we have to keep doing it. But sometimes, that’s not the case.
So if you find yourself trying to figure out how you’re going to get it all done, maybe it’s time to start thinking in terms of “what could I potentially eliminate or what could I delegate so that I could really focus on the things that are going to generate the best results for myself?”
Jay: Yeah. You mentioned the pandemic and I know personally, it has changed my work style and time management so dramatically on both sides. On the one side, I don’t have the guy coming up to my cubicle every 10 minutes telling me the story about the movie he just watched, right? So I don’t have those interruptions anymore.
But on the other side, I have to now be self-efficient, self-productive. Nobody’s looking over my shoulder. Sometimes I don’t speak to other employees for days or weeks, and so…
Jay: I have to totally manage that time. So, I think the pandemic has changed work forever. And we’re all having to learn how to, manage that.
David: Yeah, it definitely changed things and that’s why I think this idea, this topic. Is so important. Because what I’ve found is that people are overwhelmed. A lot of people are overwhelmed. People are constantly busy, busy, busy. They’re doing different things all the time.
Some people wear “busy” as a badge of honor. I don’t really see it that way anymore. And there was a long period of time where I did. It’s like, “Oh yeah, I’m really busy. I’m really busy.” And then I realized, wait a second, what does that mean anyway? Does busy mean productive? Because if busy means productive, then okay, it’s good to be busy. But if you’re busy just for the sake of busy, it’s not.
So now I think of it in terms of, “is busy a badge of honor or is it actually an admission of failure?” And I think in a lot of cases, for a lot of people, it becomes an admission of failure even though they may not realize that that’s what’s happening.
And I have heard that term from some very high level, very important, impressive people. And when I’ve heard it from them, I thought, “Hmm, I wonder if they’re doing things as well as they could be doing them.”
Jay: Yeah. It’s a great question. And there’s a lot of videos on the internet about productivity, and a lot of them, they’re like, Elon Musk, you know, gets up at 3:00 am. He schedules every 30 minutes, whatever. And they compared that to another billionaire who spends a couple hours a day and seems to achieve a similar amount of work.
I think we have this tendency to think that there’s only one way to be. That we should all be that way. And when we’re not, we’re failing.
And the reality is, we’re all different. We all have different sleep schedules. We’re productive at different times of day. So I think comparing yourself to other people can be good. But I also think it can be a negative if you’re not careful.
David: Yeah, and if you look back over your life or your career, and no matter how old you are, if you’ve been in business for any length of time, you may be able to look back to periods in your life where you were working a lot more, but making a lot less.
And that’s not uncommon, right? Because as we do this longer and longer, and hopefully we get better at it, hopefully we also get smarter and we say, “okay, well I can eliminate this, but now I can do this instead.” And it doesn’t take as much time, but it generates a lot more in terms of results and revenue and whatever else.
So there’s not a direct correlation between the amount of work that we do, necessarily, and the results that we get. One of the things that I’ve heard over the years from a lot of people is “you get out of life what you put into it.” And I’ve never really found a direct correlation there, either.
What I’ve found is that you get out of life some multiple of what you put into it. And it may be a 2x, or it might be a point 5x. You might be putting in a lot and getting back a little. You might be putting in a little, getting back a lot. You may be putting in a whole lot and getting back nothing.
If you’re multiplying it by zero, then everything you’re doing is a zero. And so, for most people who are trying to master this sort of thing, it’s probably not a bad idea to ask yourself, what are the things that I’m doing that I could potentially eliminate? And, to the extent that I can eliminate as ruthlessly as possible.
If it’s stuff that doesn’t move the needle, and if you can stop doing it and either have someone else do it, or maybe it doesn’t need to be done at all. That can really save an enormous amount of time and it can get your average dollar amount, in terms of what you’re able to generate on an hourly basis, a lot higher if you’re not spending time doing things that don’t move the needle.
So if you eliminate ruthlessly and then you ask yourself, what can you eliminate or delegate? And that can mean either to people or to technology. Are there things that you can delegate to technology so that you’re not spending a lot of time doing it yourself?
Jay: Yeah, delegation. It can be so hard. It can be so difficult, especially in small businesses, they don’t want to let go.
But I found that even nowadays, maybe you don’t have a staff to delegate to at this point.
David: Mm-hmm. Right. True.
Jay: There are great services out there now like Fiverr, Upwork. If you’re producing videos like we’re doing, there are people out there who will do piece work. And if you identify, this is not the best use of my time, there’s somebody out there who will do it for you. And so then you can focus better on your own efforts.
One of the things I love about technology, I can have somebody in the UK working on editing my videos while I’m focusing on the more important part, writing them and putting them together, and those kind of things.
David: Yeah. And the advantage of that, too, is that generally those people are going to be a lot better at the skill than we are. Right?
Jay: Great point.
David: Because if it’s what they do, and it’s what they like, and they really love it, they’re going to be a lot better at it than if it’s something that we can’t stand doing, and it’s frustrating and we feel it’s time consuming and we feel it’s a waste of our time.
So it’s really a win-win, when you’re able to create those situations where you allow the people who are good at something to be good at something and to do the things that need to get done that you may not enjoy doing.
So I feel like growth really depends on being as selective as possible. And that could be growth in terms of your own personal development. It could be growth in terms of what you’re earning, growth in terms of business growth. It’s all about being selective and deciding, “okay, if I had to examine it, is there a $10 an hour work I’m doing? Is there a hundred dollars an hour? Is there a thousand dollars an hour work that I’m doing?
Because the more time I spend doing low dollar tasks, that’s what I’m going to generate. $10 an hour work is never going to generate thousand dollars an hour work results. Just doesn’t happen. So, selectivity is key.
Jay: Yeah, so true. There’s a law, I can’t remember who said it, and I hate not giving credit, but it’s the rule that a task will fill the time that has been allotted to it. You know what I’m talking about? So…
Jay: You scheduled eight hours for the task. It’s probably going to take eight hours. But if you scheduled an hour for it, then you could probably get it done in an hour.
And I think that is such a profound way of thinking. You know, are we creating too much time for certain tasks and could we get it done faster, basically?
David: Yeah. And in most cases the answer is probably yes to both questions. Yes, we’re creating too much to do and we could probably get it done in less time.
Dan Sullivan from Strategic Coach talks about a concept called unique ability. And he says that every one of us has certain things that we’re extremely good at, that we are exceptionally good at. And that that’s where we should really focus our time.
Now as long as it relates to our business, I think that is actually true. I think one of the mistakes that people make, particularly when we’re young and we’re told, “follow your heart,” I think you can follow your heart to some extent.
But if your heart is not going to lead you to something that will allow you to feed your family, then maybe you need to save that for a sideline or a hobby, and focus your time during the day on something that will create the results for you.
But the idea of having a unique ability, whether it’s creating content, whether it’s selling, whether it’s editing video, whether it’s selling promotional products, or managing a restaurant, or whatever it is, there are certain things that people are cut out for. And when everybody can function within their own unique ability, everything gets better. Because everybody enjoys what they’re doing and they create better results together.
Jay: Yeah, such a great point. One other thing I do want to add, when you do start delegating and offering, you know, pieces of your job to other people, if you’re just going to do that and micromanage them, then you’re going to make it worse.
It’s hard to delegate, but it’s even harder to trust. And if you create, I call it a no win scenario. If no matter what happens, once you’ve delegated, you’re going to swoop in and you’re going to take it over, or you’re going to get mad at them because it doesn’t ever meet your standard. They will slip into, I call it minimum expectation mode.
They will do the minimum amount possible in order to keep their job and they won’t do any more. Because they know no matter what they do, there’ll never be any satisfaction from it. Because you’re going to micromanage them to death.
And I’ve seen this happen in so many organizations and it’s sad to watch really good employees go into this mode where they’re like, “I’m just going to collect a check and that’s all I can do.”
David: Yeah, there are a lot of people who find themselves in that situation and there are a lot of business owners who just don’t even know how to address it.
I did a training on time management and that sort of thing, and one of the things that we talked about is what I refer to as “the last time method of delegation.” And that’s a situation where you do the task one last time. And you document each step along the way, and the person you’re delegating to, can actually watch you do it and can actually do the documentation.
Step one, do this, Step two, do that. Step three, do this. And they watch you do it. They document it (or you document it, as you’re doing it,) and then once you get to the end of it, then you have them do it. You step back and you say, “Okay, now you do it.”
Follow along, and do it based on the notes that you took or the notes that I wrote. And then they start doing it and they get to step three or step four, and they’re confused, so then we can clarify what point four should actually say, so that they can get through it.
Once you’ve done something like that, you’ve now empowered them to be able to have a basis for how to get that task done. And from there it becomes a lot easier to expand. Because once they’ve got that framework, they may come up with better ways to do it, faster ways to do it.
And when they do, I encourage them to modify the system to reflect that. So that if they’re out one day, they can pass it on to somebody else who can then pick up that task and do it nearly as well as they can.
And I think that’s another thing that’s important, is you need to look. What’s a realistic expectation? That you’re going to delegate something and they’re immediately going to do it better than you? Probably not.
Can they do it 80% as well as you can the first time? If so, can they get it to 85, 90 or a hundred down the line? And then at some point, can they get it to 110, 120, 130? And that’s likely to happen once they get the practice in, they get the reps in.
And then, at that point, they’ll be able to create results. They should be able to create results that are better than the ones you created yourself.
Jay: Yeah, and I really like defining the win. And I think that’s what you’re talking about. What should a coworker feel at the end of their day where they can say, “I won today!”
What is that? You’ve trained them well, and so whatever it is, they can say, I met the expectation or exceeded it today.
That feeling of winning every day will keep your employees coming back. It’ll reduce your attrition. All of those things. Defining the win, you know, what is it that they can say, Man, today I nailed it. Tomorrow I’m going to work harder. Or today I didn’t nail it. You know, those kind of things are important.
David: Yeah. And I think if you are able to create those frameworks and your employees are able to use them and modify them and adapt them and make them better, it just makes everybody feel better about the situation.
And if they go through the process and they find, “okay, something happened, it didn’t work here, what’s the situation?” Then you can add contingencies to that plan and you can continue to build it out.
So that way when things go wrong, it’s not like, “Oh, you messed it up.” It’s like, “Okay, let’s figure out where it went wrong. Let’s fix it.” And then going forward, we shouldn’t run into that issue again.
Jay: Yeah, I heard a long time ago that when a problem happens, 80% of the time, it’s a systems problem. 20% it’s a people problem. But a hundred percent of the time we make it a people problem. So we’re looking for the person to blame, instead of asking where our system broke down.
David: Yeah, and there are so many small hinges that swing big doors. I mean, you can change a few words of a presentation and you can have it improve conversion rates dramatically.
There are small things that you can do that, particularly once they’re documented and systematized, they can create consistent results going forward.
Jay: Absolutely. David, how can people find out more?
David: Well, you can go to TopSecrets.com/call and schedule a call with myself or my team to discuss where you are, what you’re struggling with, what you’re looking to accomplish. Again, that’s TopSecrets.com/call.
We’re happy to have a conversation. If it makes sense for us to work together, we will tell you so. If it doesn’t, we’ll tell you that, too. But either way, you should have great value from the conversation.
Jay: I love it. David, thank you so much.
David: Thank you, Jay.
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