Episode 363: Show Notes
Today on the podcast we are joined by the fabulous Lauren Goldstein, CEO and founder of Golden Key Partnership, a strategy consulting firm that helps businesses to scale smart in order to be more sustainable. There is a ton to learn from her seasoned and scientifically-backed approach, so today she will be dishing out straightforward facts, particularly as it pertains to productivity and how it relates to your profit. She shares time-wasting tactics that many of us are skilled at and pulls up some new studies that illuminate what distraction does to our day. A question we often think about is what we need to be doing to move our business forward, and it can be stressful to decide which of the dozens of things to take or leave. Lauren weighs in on the matter with some simple, no-nonsense advice.
Being overwhelmed with tasks can lead to decision fatigue, which prevents us from effectively prioritizing tasks that are most important. Productivity and processes can make or break an entrepreneur because of burnout or be the demise of a business due to revenue and profit leaks. According to the IDC, companies lose 20 to 30% in revenue every year as a result of inefficiencies. This is a staggering statistic! Therefore, we bring you this episode that is guaranteed to help you improve your productivity, so be sure to join in the conversation!
Differentiate Between A Goal and A Project
A goal is a target that has a financial component but is concerned with something you cannot control because of the many variables involved, for example, saying that you want to have a six-figure launch. A project, on the other hand, is something that, when effectively completed, will help you to get to that goal, such as a pre-launch marketing plan. Your projects should steer you in the right direction, not sink you. As entrepreneurs, we sometimes experience a sense of failure when we don’t reach our goals, but there are so many factors that can potentially disrupt you from getting there. What is important is to view the obstacles as feedback rather than failure. Todd Herman talks about setting good, better and best goals. A good goal might be a five-figure launch, a better goal a multi five-figure and your best, that six-figure launch goal. In this way, you give yourself several opportunities to be successful. There’s a caveat here, however: it might not be wise to share the good and better options with your team while in the process of trying to hit that goal because it is only human to want to make the least possible effort. Also, when you are nearly at the point of reaching that goal, don’t relax and celebrate prematurely, otherwise it might yet escape you.
The Compounding Effect and Avoiding Low-Value Activities
Consistency might not be sexy, but there is a compounding effect that happens every day with the choices we make as entrepreneurs. Often the things that are easy to do are not going to move your business forward, for example, checking your social media or writing that blog post. We’ve spoken about blog posts before and why you should think carefully before spending so much time on something that might contribute zero to your profits. The same goes for podcasts. For product-based businesses, this might translate into buying new supplies to make a new product, convincing yourself this new thing will be the game-changer. Most people who are creating new products are simply throwing a bunch of things at the wall with the hope that one of them will stick instead of doing the right thing which is doubling down on the clarity of who their audience is, the problems that they are solving and the value associated with that solution. If your core business is already thriving, by all means, introduce new products if they fit – but don’t do it for traction. For those of you in the digital space it is important to use the feedback you get and to validate what you are doing. It is advisable to launch a minimum of three times before you ever turn something evergreen because you’ve got to work through the little tweaks.
Making Use of The Eisenhower Matrix
If you are always doing the low-value stuff, your business will decline, while doing the high-impact tasks will give you the traction and propel your business forward. You will begin to see that exponential momentum increase. Here are the steps to employing the decision matrix: 1) Make a list of everything you need to do, big and small tasks. 2) Break the list down into four quadrants. The first row is for important and the second for unimportant tasks. The first column is urgent, and the second is not urgent. Everything in the first and second quadrant at the top row is green. They break into “do” on the left and “defer” on the right. On the bottom row, you have “delegate” on the left and “delete” on the right. Therefore, “do” is both urgent and important, something that will directly impact your business. These should really be activities that only you can do. “Defer” are things that you can easily do later, for example, responding to emails sent only to you. “Delegate” is for tasks that somebody else can do and, more importantly, are going to bring in less profit than your ideal hourly number. These types of jobs can typically be given to assistants. Here you can automate a great deal with the right software. The “delete” quadrant is applicable for items that have been in “defer” for longer than a week. It should also be activities such as watching television, which is a distraction more than anything. Always be aware of that fine line between self-care and unhealthy indulgence.
The Death of Productivity: Distractions and Interruptions
What is important in the execution of these tasks is to do similar tasks together, because no one is good at multitasking. There are other eye-opening statistics about interruptions: it takes about 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus after being distracted. But distractions also derail your mental progress for up to half an hour afterward. So those 30 seconds to check your social media end up costing you far more! The average person gets interrupted once every eight minutes and half of those are self-interruptions. We end up spending four hours of each day being interrupted, 80% of which are unimportant interruptions. Out of every eight minutes, only three of those will be productive. When you are in an open office space, these distractions can be frequent and really take its toll on workplace productivity. Instead of having unproductive hours during your work day, you could focus on being more productive and save those extra hours for doing something you love like reading a book or not having lunch at your desk.
Power Hours and Optimizing NET time
Another helpful tactic is to have focused times or power hours for certain tasks, for example, to block out time when you are only doing emails or working only on your website. This gives you greater focus and momentum. Another tip is to make use of NET (no extra time) time, which involves doing two things at once – not to be confused with multitasking. This is, for example, driving and listening to a podcast or making a sales call. Walking and driving are two activities that use a different part of the brain, so you can do other things while doing them. A caveat to the productivity discussion is that you don’t have to fill every second with something productive. A lot of times, the best thing you can do is to do nothing. Sometimes it’s necessary to just sit and think and this might require rewiring your brain if you struggle to do nothing. The more technologically plugged-in we become, the more we need to learn to unplug and to take a break.
The Benefits of Incorporating Daily Themes
Daily themes are those navigational beacons that help you to refocus your day. You may designate certain tasks to certain days, for example, Mondays are marketing and current clients, Tuesdays are new connections and new clients, Wednesdays are admin days, et cetera. Why this is important is because we easily get overbooked if we don’t set up proper boundaries. This might offend some people who really want to get your attention, but this is a great way to filter out the clients who will take over your business given the opportunity. These daily themes also help you to remain consistent. Planning your week every Sunday, for example, sets the right tone for the week and gives your activities much more structure and purpose. Steph Crowder does the 15-minute planner method which includes categorizing tasks according to the rocks, pebbles and sand analogy. This is especially useful if you are new at this and are wondering what you can do to grow your business.
Differentiate Between A Goal and A Project. [0:06:58.1]
The Compounding Effect and Avoiding Low-Value Activities. [0:13:03]
Making Use of The Eisenhower Matrix. [0:20:43.1]
The Death of Productivity: Distractions and Interruptions. [0:34:13.1]
Power Hours and Optimizing NET time. [0:39:02.1]
The Benefits of Incorporating Daily Themes. [0:44:07.1]
Turn off notifications and stop answering your phone.
Be intentional about how you spend your day.
Put goals into projects.
Consult Google, Google Drive and or a colleague first.