Which struggle bogs you down the most? Time management versus task management is an epic battle for lost productivity. As we head into the new year, we take a few minutes to talk about the difference between time management versus task management and how to reach your goals.
Brenda Ster: Hey, hey, everybody! Welcome to another episode of Social Marketing with Sassy Suite. I’m Brenda Ster and joining me as always is our jingle flamingle over in Florida, Windy Lawson.
Windy Lawson: Hey, hey friends!
Brenda: Hey, Windy! So you guys, we’re heading into the busiest time of the year and we wanted to talk today about time management. Because, girl, we see you out there, decorating, crafting, shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, and oh, oh, hey maybe on the side, maybe trying to run a business. Trying to keep yourself from going crazy. We see you. We know you’re crazy busy right now.
Windy: We see you. That’s right and you know Brenda if you’re in any sort of sales capacity this could really be one of the most profitable times of the year for you, but it’s also so easy to become overwhelmed, in this time of busyness, right? Because, can we be honest for a second?
I don’t get any more hours a day. Do you Brenda?
Brenda: Well, no.
Windy: We get 24. That’s it.
Brenda: I know. I know.
Windy: We don’t get extra.
Brenda: And I’ve sacrificed sleep to try to squeeze more out but it doesn’t work at all.
Windy: That’s right. That’s right. So instead of you know skipping sleep today, let’s talk about how we can make the most of those hours. You can kinda keep your sanity. Right?
Windy: And before we get into all that, can we just address the big lie that we all tell ourselves? Brenda, I know that we hear this in our communities, all the time. If I just had the right planner.
Windy: If I could just get the right planner everything would be better.
Brenda: My entire business would change,
Windy: Right. If I just…
Brenda: if I get this planner.
Windy: Right. It’s all about the planner. But, guys, friends, I’m here to tell you if you are drowning in those tasks that don’t serve your goals, that aren’t getting you closer to the finish line, there ain’t no planner on the planet that’s gonna be able to help you because you don’t have a time management struggle. What you really have is a task management struggle.If you are drowning in those tasks that don't serve your goals, that aren't getting you closer to the finish line, there ain't no planner on the planet that's gonna be able to help.Click To Tweet
Brenda: Right. Now, I will tell you. I am. I’m a big fan of a really good planner. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about. I’m personally a Plum Planner fan. We have a partnership with Plum Planner. I love a good Day Designer. I use my planner every single day. But, a planner is only a tool. It’s just a tactic. It’s not a strategy. So it’s not helping you organize your time in a strategic way. It’s not helping you prioritize those tasks in some way. So, we end up really getting stuck by saying I have this really, really great planner and I’m still not getting anything done. If anything else, I’m making it worse because I’m putting all this stuff in my planner and I still don’t have any methodology to organize and strategize my work.
Windy: That’s right.
Brenda: So, we have a little bit of a challenge here. Right. So, what we want to talk about today is a few ideas on how we can start to approach better time management knowing that we only have a finite number of hours in the day. Unless, we’re you know Beyonce, who apparently has more. But, you know we only get 24, us mortals, only get 24, so…
Windy: Right, right.
Brenda: We don’t get any more hours in the day. So, the concept we want to introduce to everybody is the idea of 100 and 1000 dollar tasks, thinking about how you quantify the value of your task coupled with the urgency of that task. So, let’s talk about the dollar value first. When you think about 100 and 1000 dollar tasks, the idea here is, $1 tasks are things that are highly repeatable, probably could be delegated, are low cost, low return tasks. And for us in small business, those are going to be things in our business life that might be counting inventory, shipping, dealing with administration. In our personal life it might be things like house cleaning. It might be things like babysitting. I’m not saying that childcare is not important and it’s not high value. But, hiring a babysitter for a couple of hours on a Monday morning might be worth it so you could actually turn around and work on a higher value return task. So $1 tasks are the things, that as we really try to organize our business, we look at, and go… Okay, is this going to be a high value return task for me? Let me do a $1000 task next. Because the hundred’s are where everyone gets stuck. A $1000 task are those tasks that only you can do. You cannot delegate them. It has to be your face on video, your vision behind your strategy, your…
Windy: Your voice on the podcast.
Brenda: Your voice on the podcast, your face in the party. A $1000 task is a task that only you can do and you can’t delegate it. So, theoretically, we have to be looking at our task list and going… Okay, well, what are the things that only I can do versus I should never do because I could delegate it or outsource it? $100 tasks are where everybody gets stuck. And $100 tasks are those tasks that require some skill. They require some degree of confidence and quality. And a lot of us, pointing at both me and Windy… I’m not new here. Pointing at both of us. We’ll say, “Well, if it’s going to get done right I’d better just do it myself,” or it’s faster for me to do it myself then it is to train someone else.” Because I don’t trust them to make it the way I want. $100 tasks are things like creating graphics, social media postings, customer service, potentially. They may be customer facing, They may have a degree of a creative element but, they also have a degree of skill and quality behind them that you don’t want to give up control for.
Brenda: The challenge is when you look at your days’ worth of work, what are the majority of your tasks? Are they things that are tactical and administrative? Are they things that are required but have a degree of skill or quality control behind them? Or are they things that are truly strategic, or visionary? Because if your entire day is consumed in $1 tasks and it might be shipping, administration, answering emails, hosting, creating graphics. Are you really creating capacity in your schedule to work on thousand dollar opportunities? Which is going to be things like sourcing vendor events, doing hostess coaching, party delivery, creating social content that it has to be your face on the video or your voice on the audio. So $1000 tasks is where we really want to try to get at least a portion of your time allocated so we can spend time creating capacity for the things that are higher value return. So that’s our challenge. It’s thinking about, okay, well, where’s my breakpoint? How much of my time am I spending on these things? And what you’ll find is those of you that are in newer direct sales or small business roles, you’re newer in your business, you spend the majority of your time in 100 and 1 dollar tasks. As you move into leadership, you’ll start to spend your time in 100 and 1000 dollar tasks because you maybe could afford to hire an assistant at that point. And an assistant. What’s an assistant’s job? It’s for you to delegate down those lower return tasks. They don’t have a long range value return for you. I’m not saying they’re not important. I never want someone to say, “oh well, I’m delegating things that aren’t important.” No, they’re, they’re still important tasks.
Brenda: But they’re things that don’t necessarily have to have your face on them.
Brenda: So, it could be someone else answering the messages in your email box. It could be somebody else creating graphics once you give them some thousand dollar strategy on your branding guidelines. So, where I got stuck when we started the Suite of three-and-a-half years ago is I was spending all day on client calls, creating content and client calls, which was truly $1000 tasks, and all-night following up with email. So what was I really doing? I was spending most of my day on $1000 tasks. And then all night on the $100 tasks. So the very first person I officially hired to help in the office was Julie and I said Julie, I need you just to manage my email. If I give you all kinds of business rules and guidelines and things that you can answer without me getting involved. Here’s some standard answers. We started creating FAQ’S. I delegated out email. That was the very first thing we delegated in the Suite before we delegated anything else. Because I had to get email, that was my biggest time suck, off of my plate. I was still doing all the graphics and I was still doing all the social content. But customer service email was the very first thing I delegated and it was not that it wasn’t important, but it was something I could delegate because it didn’t require me to personally touch it. But, that’s our big challenge, right? Is, I’ve got this laundry list of things in my planner and I have no idea what the quantified value of those tasks are.
Windy: Right. You know, Brenda, you were talking about the $1000 tasks and strategy, and vision, and when you are in the weeds, when you’re in the weeds, you feel like you don’t have… You can’t even think about strategy. I always say, you know, “sometimes we get so busy working in the business that we can’t work on the business.” Right.
Windy: Like we’re so stuck in the business we can’t work on the business. But I want to pivot for one second because I want to have a little bestie real talk as we’re talking about things like creating graphics and sort of big picture. You know if you have 15 minutes, and I don’t mean you, Brenda, but to our listener, if you had 15 minutes to work on your business, say this afternoon, say all of a sudden you magically had 15 minutes open wide up, what would you do? And now be honest because some things that you could do, lay out your content arc for the next week’s promotional content. Right? If you’re building up a content arc, you could follow up with your customers, or you could you know make one graphic to post on Facebook this afternoon.
Brenda: Mmm huh.
Windy: And if we’re being honest, if we had 15 minutes, where all of a sudden nobody needed us. The house was quiet. What would we probably do? We’d probably just mindlessly scroll Facebook or if we were feeling super productive we’d go ahead and make that one graphic, post it on Facebook and then give ourselves a little pat on the back because we worked our business. Right? But, for…
Brenda: Right. That’s exactly right. What we really spent our time in is sort of a 1 and a 100 dollar task.
Windy: Right. Because did we really work our business? Did we — are we making money on that graphic?
Brenda: Without an income-producing activity, right?
Brenda: And the challenge is, you know we’ve talked about this in the Suite before in various different conversations and threads. We talk about the idea of feeling lazy busy or being lazy busy. That you know we scroll Facebook for hours a day and then feel like we got nothing done and we have no idea why.
Brenda: Now, here’s the other idea, something else I would challenge everybody to think about. And I think everyone probably is aware of this, especially those of you that have full-time jobs and full-time families and you’re trying to work a business on the side. If you want to get something done, you know who you give it to?
Windy: A busy person. Right.
Brenda: You know why that is? Because they will maximize that time because they have to.
Brenda: So, right before we started recording this podcast, true story, excuse me, true story, I literally just showed Windy. I had about a 20-minute window. I had a 20-minute window. That’s all I had between my last call and when we started recording today and I popped Windy a message and I said, “I have an idea for a new printable that we’re going to launch in 2019 and here’s a quick image of my idea. What do you think?” And she said, “Yeah, great idea.” And I made it. In 20 minutes. Because I had a window of time that was about this big.
Brenda: So I had to make it in this window or it wouldn’t get made until like you know February. So, who do you give stuff too, when you’re super busy? A busy person.
Brenda: Because they’re going to figure out how to get stuff done. Now, if I had had all day today. If I had nothing else planned today…
Windy: Oh, Brenda.
Brenda: If I just had 20 minutes to make that printable, probably not.
Windy: How long, how long would that, if you had all day to make that printable? How long would that printable take you to make?
Brenda: Three hours.
Windy: All day. All day.
Brenda: It would take me all day. I would be fussing with it all afternoon. Graphic’s not right. The font is not right. So, there’s a little bit of quantifying how much time tasks should take versus they actually take. There’s a little bit of quantifying the urgency of the task. There was a little bit of quantifying the return opportunity of the task. Meaning if I spend 20 minutes now making this document. What’s my return long-term value on this task? Or what’s the long-term value of this opportunity that I’m spending this time on? And you know the challenge is how we put those strategic elements together and then lay that against our planner and say, “Well, what the heck should I do?”
Windy: Right. Right.
Brenda: I have 20 minutes. Should I go in the house and watch 20 minutes of daytime TV? Which I have done on occasion. I didn’t today. But I have done that on occasion. But today I was like, “Gosh I have to get this done. I need it. I need it like eminently. So, I’ve got a 20 minute window. I’ll make it now.” And it really was a $1000 task because I’m the one who makes the printables and only I could do it. So if it didn’t get done today, it wasn’t going to get done.
Brenda: It wasn’t something that I could delegate. So, we tend to feel good when we fully execute a task. Right? We tend to feel good about those things, but we also have to evaluate: did that task make us money? Was it something that was income-producing? Was it something that was valuable to the long range of our business? Or was it something that just simply moved the ball five feet forward today?
Windy: Right. Because we spend a lot of time moving the ball 5 feet forward without ever looking at where our goal is and our goal is 4 million feet ahead and five feet a day ain’t going to…We spend a lot of time moving the ball 5 feet forward without ever looking at where our goal is and our goal is 4 million feet ahead and five feet a day ain’t going to cut it.Click To Tweet
Brenda: Did you lapse into like football metaphors? Oh! Oh my gosh!
Windy: I don’t know, something.
Brenda: Are we like at the 40 yard line and have no idea where the end zone is? I am totally down with the football metaphors, although my team this year, don’t even get me started on what my team is doing. I can’t even imagine. I can’t even with the Packers this year.
Windy: Okay. Well, we can’t even talk about football at all because, come on, you know where I live and you know who I support and it’s not good this year.
Brenda: Oh no! You and I are totally on the same side then because our teams both suck. I just can’t even with my team this year.
Windy: I know. It’s awful.
Brenda: So yeah. That’s really our, that’s really our challenge is to figure out how do we approach the lazy busy parts of our day. How do we manage them better?
Brenda: So, how do we not get consumed where we look down and be like, oh two hours has passed and I have absolutely nothing to show for that two hours other than I made one graphic that took me two hours versus could that graphic have taken you 10 minutes.
Brenda: So I think there’s some elements here that we really have to analyze and spend some thought time on. On where are we spending our time and if we are randomly or minutely scrolling Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or Pinterest. Now, I know you will fall down the black hole of Pinterest. You poor thing. Value-added work. Clearly I am on Pinterest for a reason. But no, there is — there’s some thought provoking discussion there and some reflective analysis there on really, Where are you spending your time for urgency, for higher value return opportunities. How much time you’re allocating to a task versus how much time it’s actually taking you. And I think everybody would agree. Yeah, this task should take me 10 minutes. I let it take me three hours.
Windy: Right, right.
Brenda: This task should have taken me 20 minutes. I let it take me all day because some of it’s self-discipline. Because at the end of the day who manages your task list? You.
Windy: Yeah, exactly. So when you’re a solopreneur there’s no boss standing over your shoulder right, saying “you have to get that done today.”
Brenda: Yes. And I will tell you and let’s just, let me veer just a little bit off of our topic. This is one of the things that I hear a lot from people in our Suite community who’ve moved into a small business or a direct selling opportunity and one of the things people have said over and over and over again, that’s the hardest thing to get used to is being self-directed. Because there is nobody, one, setting your goals for you.
Brenda: Number two, managing your time, and number three managing your performance. Because if you ever worked in any type of job where you know your time is boxed in, your goals are boxed in, and your incentives and your performance is — are boxed in. Your pay, your compensation is dictated by somebody else. So you, you know, in a self directed solopreneur opportunity, a lot of people struggle with… “well, who’s going to give me permission?” Uhh. Nobody.
Brenda: Really, nobody.
Windy: You, you are going to give yourself permission.
Brenda: Right. Who’s going to set my goals for me? Uhh, you. Who’s going to determine how much value or what my time is worth? Umm, you. Who’s going to reward me at year end. Uh, you. Those are really, really… That’s a mindset shift for a lot of people that’s really difficult.
Brenda: If your, you know, your career you’ve always worked for someone else and now you’re working for yourself and your first challenge is well, where do I, how do I do that? How do I set goals that incentivize me? How do I manage my own time? How do I measure my performance? How do I create the sense of urgency when I’m the only one who knows whether I did or didn’t meet that goal? That’s really challenging. I’m sure some people are probably nodding right now while they’re listening going, “yeah, that sounds like me. I really struggle with that.”
Windy: Yeah, yeah.
Brenda: And we’ve had a…there’s been times where in the Suite or in the Elite Suite in our private coaching group where people have said, “I feel like I just need someone to give me permission to do this.” And so what do I respond with every time? “I, Brenda, give you Windy permission to go do the thing.”
Windy: Right. Yeah, you have permission, go.
Brenda: You have my unilateral, universal, forever permission to go figure out what your goals, your vision, and your self-directed passion is…
Brenda: to pursue with wild abandon, whatever it is that truly drives you. And that is a really, really big mind shift for people who have always had tasks, time, or value defined by somebody else.
Brenda: That’s a really big mindset shift. So our challenge then and our goal and our opportunity Windy is: how do we help everybody with that shift?
Windy: Well, Brenda wouldn’t it be great if there was a free resource that could help our listeners with their time management struggles?
Brenda: What? A free resource, you say? Tell me more.
Windy: Wouldn’t that be amazing! That would be so amazing. You guys!
Brenda: Oh my gosh! It’s like we guided them right to this point. I don’t even know.
Windy: It’s like we’ve been reading your minds or your emails. I don’t know. We’re everywhere. We know all the things.
Brenda: We read the Suite. We hear what you guys are talking about. We know our goal is to try to listen to what people are talking about and where some struggle points might be to help provide some guidance, coaching, and structure to help both with mindset and strategy, as well as the tactical aspects of execution.
Windy: That’s right. So we are thrilled to share with you. We have a new free-fifty-free, you know that’s my favorite dollar amount, free, fifty, free, time management mini-course.
Brenda: Mini course!
Windy: So it’s a little mini course. It’s a mini course that you can grab it now at sassysuite.com/time and we will send you daily tasks that will help you squeeze every last minute out of each and every day. That is sassysuite.com/time.
Brenda: I think it’s worth noting this is a free mini course that’s delivered via email. So it’s not that you have to log into a course platform or anything like that. It just going to land in your inbox. It’s… Windy’s guiding you down the time management path in her very Windy like way of being a little bit sassy and a little bit flamingly.
Brenda: And there’s some printables and some tasks and a daily challenge to challenge you to think through what is the opportunity of where you might have time leakage. Isn’t that a weird word? But time leakage, right? Where do I, or how much time should something take versus how much it takes? Or the stops and starts of how much I stop and start tasks and all that leakage in between those stops and starts.
Brenda: That it all adds up. That all adds us fast and suddenly you got two hours lost just on stops and starts.
Brenda: So, our free mini course is brand new. We are launching it now. Sassysuite.com/time and you can opt in and you’ll get your first email like, uh, right now. So hey, go grab it. Our goal as we head into 2019 and into a new year and as always we are full of vision and excitement and passion and re-energized about our goals and our opportunity and our teams and our businesses. Our goal is to give some tools and structure right at the beginning of the year to help people with that time management and with that goal setting so that you can kick off the year as strong as possible. Because we all know that by the end of the year, you’re totally burned out, totally like, “oh my god, I’m so exhausted, I need…
Windy: Right, right.
Brenda: so we know that by December we’re all just trying to get over the end of the line.
Windy: Right, that’s right.
Brenda: But coming into a new year and we need to do something to kick start everyone’s excitement again. So, you guys thanks for tuning in as always to social marketing with Sassy Suite. If you are not yet over in the Socialite Suite on Facebook, come on over and join us. It’s our free private training group for direct sellers and solopreneurs. It’s all about social marketing tips and ideas. So we have free weekly trainings, tips and tricks to rock your business and… Well, Windy and I hang out there too, so it’s pretty awesome. So, hey guys, we will see you next time right here on the podcast. And then as always see you around the Suite.
Windy: Thanks. Bye.