92. Time Studies

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Smooth Operator/Podcast/92. Time Studies

92. Time Studies


Time is a limited and invaluable resource, yet it often feels like we don't have enough of it.

We've all been there: spending hours on unproductive tasks, procrastinating, or simply getting sidetracked.

But what if we could identify our time wasters and optimize our schedules for maximum productivity?

Enter the time study.

By tracking our daily activities for a couple of weeks, we can analyze how we're spending our time, where we're wasting it, and how we can make better use of it.

In this episode, we'll explore how a time study can help you prioritize your time, increase efficiency, and achieve your goals.

Learn more at https://www.adamliette.com

Discover how to work with me: https://www.adamliette.com/work-with-me

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Smooth operators how're you doing out there welcome to the start of the week. Brand new opportunity to take it to the next level to really feel are doing you know, really get after it. So I'm excited. Hope you're excited too. And I want to unpack the most important and elusive and most sought after resource that any of us have. Say to yourself what's the best most important resource you have? It's your time your time is valuable. Your time is important your time is by its very nature scarce we can't get more time. And even though we all know this about time you're all here and that one yeah, we know Adam, I've heard that before Baba blah it's one we waste the most. And I'm guilty of it too. This is not this one of those this is for me two episodes.

We get caught up in our to do lists Sprint's detail planning. And when it comes down to it, we're experts at wasting our own time. We're great at it. Do you ever notice there's like 4000 books on Amazon about time management? There is not a single book about wasting your time. We don't need to teach that. We're pretty good. Kind of a natural human thing. How are we wasting our time? Well, there's like the obvious time wasters spent three hours on the tiki talks spent an hour on social media just kind of noodled around from a bit like we all know the obvious ones, right. There's also the the the the aspect that we're spending time in either irrelevant parts of the business. Or even worse is places where we aren't in our highest area of contribution. So this is where we get into one of my favorite tools, the time study, and how to go about a time study and just how revealing they they can be. So what is the time study? I mean, if I ask any of you what you do last week, break it down for me. What you're going to do for me is you're going to give me your ideal, what last week really looked like you're going to tell me where you put your time out time into. You're telling me all the important projects you worked on. And what you're going to omit is where we are wasting our time. And that's not your fault. Let's be clear about that. I don't blame you. I will admit that too, because we're not looking at things through reality when we're looking at them ex post, we're looking at them in the way that we want them to be. Which is where the time study comes into play. Because the time said he's a deal detailed analysis that is done in real time. Not after the fact.

It's while we're working, we're marking down what we're doing. So what I recommend is actually writing it down, get out of your computer for a little bit and get some paper copies of just a breakdown of the time of the day and write down every little thing you do in 15 minute increments every 15 minutes of the day 24/7 for two full weeks, 14 consecutive days of marking down everything that you're doing and the time you're spending on it. We're going to do this by task orientation. So for example, if you spend an hour prospecting on social media, two hours recording a podcast, three hours doing YouTube videos, editing, I'd even break it down like with something like that. Well I spent an hour scripting, 30 minutes filming an hour editing, that kind of breakdown of what you're doing by task orientation. But it's very important to note that this is on duty and off duty 24 hours a day mark down what you're doing. If you're spending time with family, right that if you're sleeping, right that go into the gym, right that right reading, you know what to do. We're documenting absolutely everything. So I recommend starting this on a Monday, it's a, it's the best time of the week to start it. And we go Monday to Sunday, for 14 days straight. Because of the way you're doing this, because you're marking it in real time, we're taking off those rose colored glasses, aren't we we're putting things down as we do them, we get that constant reminder of that written document right in front of us, reminding us to write it down. So we can break it down later.

After those two weeks are done, now we're going to look at where our time was going. Start to actually organize this. And again, by task orientation, the task and how many how long you spent working on it. Obviously, this can get to be a lot of time to actually analyze it, it's worth it. Just trust me on this, your it's going to be worth it in the end. Because what you're going to see, when you look at things from a task orientation perspective, you're gonna see Monday, you spent this time working on this Tuesday, this Wednesday, this and over a week, you spent this much time on that one particular task. And now you're gonna have to face it. You're gonna have to ask yourself that hard question, Is that the best use of my time? Is this something I want to be doing? Or should be doing to actually grow the business and achieve the results that we're striving for? Could you be more productive? Could you find ways to optimize your task utilization, either through stop stopping certain tasks, or delegating other tasks, you're going to see a lot within only two weeks. And if this is the first time you're doing something like this, save all of your results. Because they're paper copies, I tell you, I have a drawer in my office, I just put time studies in at the end of the, the two weeks, I stapled them together, mark the date, and then drop them in the drawer. Because when you go back and look at them as you make adjustments, off your baseline, you're going to see where you're improving your time utilization, you're gonna be able to look back two years from now, at a time said you're doing now and go man has my life changed.

As my business changes my role in the business change. I used to be really not good at time management. And it's crazy, because I didn't even read a book about how to waste my time. I just knew, again, because we all know how to do that. But this is all about making adjustments. It's all about becoming better. And I don't know about you, I prefer to become better through data. I want data to inform my decisions. And then I want to be able to judge my progress off of data. I think we do that for most of our team members, as we've talked about, how do we really judge someone's performance? Well, we have a KPI like you must have KPIs. You must you're you're establishing KPIs for yourself here. So obviously, this is not fun. As you can imagine writing down everything you do for two weeks that does not found some fun. I didn't say it was fun. It's not. I'll just be outright honest with you. This is not fun. That's like the worst sales pitch ever, isn't it? But we're professionals and we have to get past that we have to embrace things that aren't fun to get us there. You know, Steven Pressfield, in the War of Art said that the amateur does things when they're inspired. They work from just passion. The professional does the work. So if you're facing a lot of resistance to this, that might be part of the reason you're still approaching your business like an amateur.

And again, I am fully guilty of this as well. So this is not meant to be a slight upon you. But just that nice Look in the mirror moment that we all need from time to time.

So we talked about how the first time you do it's a baseline, when should you do it otherwise? So if you haven't started it, when should you start it? Well, you can't start it now, because we need to wait for a Monday. But now, like the first Monday that you have the opportunity to start. Here's the key, do not wait for a quote unquote, normal week. Don't tell yourself Well, next week really busy, because we have this going on. I started the next week, here's the thing in small businesses that are dynamic, we don't have a normal week, and we definitely don't have two in a row. So stop waiting for a normal week, it doesn't exist anyway. Another area I really recommend doing this is before and after periods of transition, hiring or delegating. If you're getting ready to delegate part of your job, do a time study before, onboard that person, Delegate what you're doing, and then do a time study afterwards, you're going to see the immediate differences. And that's partially done. So you can see the opportunity that's in front of you and partially done because it puts a nice cap and on that delegation, which will actually make you less likely to backslide, and start taking it over again. Another area that we really should utilize the time study is when you feel stressed, or overwhelmed when you feel like you can't quite get the business, your arms around the business and it's taking over life do a time study.

There's no magical answer to this. But I'm telling you and I've done this myself, when I do a time city gives me a lot of clarity actually helps ease my apprehension. Because I see I'm doing things right, it might even present the answer for why you're feeling overwhelmed. You're gonna see it clear as day on where your time utilization is going and know that that's where the overwhelm is coming from. Gives you now something to fix based on data. And the final thing, final area to use time studies is any period of uncertainty, when you just don't know what's next time CD is a great tool to uncover that for us. So again, this is probably probably the least sexy tool I've ever pitched on this show of things that can help your business move forward. It's definitely the one that causes the most internal angst and agitation and frustration. But I had to talk about it for a reason, because it does work. Anytime I feel like I'm not quite getting there on my business, this is a cool tool, which gives me clarity in a really short period of time. Especially if I'm doing it in conjunction with another person. So doing a time city by yourself is fine and dandy. What happens when you do it with another person and you're comparing each other's results in discussing that. Huge things open. So who else should be doing this, you should you should be doing it as the operator if you're the CEO, you should be doing a time study.

For the rest of your team. Really, I recommend any one over 30 hours a week. We don't really got to get to the part timers just for various reasons. But that's what's worked the best for me make this part of your business. Do it together. You'll see the results you'll see the clarity that it brings. And this is this is a secret weapon that I teach to my students in depth. And they do as part of my program is to break down their time and time studies bring them to the coaching calls and we unpack them together. It's a beautiful thing. I hope this episode helped. I hope it at the minimum inspired you to consider this as an option. You won't regret it. I can tell you that. It's so revealing. And it gives you so much to work off of. But there's no way to regret it. Thank you so much for joining.

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© Adam Liette Marketing