The Six-Step Method to Stop Wasting Time and Focus on What Really Matters:
- List out my high value offerings. What are the things that I bring to the table that brings the most value to Sprout?
- Schedule out my high value offerings when I feel at my best. For me it’s the early morning hours before things get going and there aren’t too many interruptions.
- List out my “meh” list of things to do. What are daily, weekly and monthly things that I have to do but aren’t my favorite things or don’t come as easily?
- Look for delegation opportunities within the team. Are there things on my “meh” list that are on someone else’s “high value” list? If so, can I delegate some of those items to them or even offer to trade?
- Look for vendor partnership opportunities that can make life easier and fill in the holes. These can be professional and personal.
- Personal Example: I enjoy cooking, but during the week, it doesn’t always make sense for me to cook an elaborate meal and then have to worry about the clean up. There is a nearby food service that offers healthy meals and delivers them to your door. Yes, it costs more than if I cook, but in the end, it may be worthwhile if it frees up time and mental energy for me to be more effective in my other pursuits. This is an example of a personal service that makes every area of my life more enjoyable and effective.
- Professional Example: For you, it might be your marketing and retention efforts. You know it’s something you need to do consistently but don’t want to spend hours and hours on it each week or maybe even each month. So you partner with Sprout to deliver these items consistently. You work with your Sprout Strategist to create a quarterly plan for your entire portfolio, and then you watch everything else fall into place without ever having to touch it. You no longer worry about your marketing being consistent, branded, or top-notch. Now you focus on other things that require your full attention.
6. Take inventory and make minor tweaks. After a week of trying to spend my time on the right stuff, I then take inventory and make minor adjustments. Some of the things that I thought I could delegate might not have worked out as I thought they would. So I modify and move on. I look at my list of to-dos and ask myself, “Am I the best person for this job?” If so, it gets added to my “peak time” on my calendar. If not, I look for another option.
Why I started implementing the six-step method:
Sometimes I work on something that I’m not really that good at for hours and hours and stubbornly continue to work on it even though I’m getting nowhere (for example: formatting a spreadsheet). And then in a massive state of frustration, I’ll call my BFF and business partner Lauren to complain (insert martyr voice). Her response is usually the same, “Why did you waste your day on that? Send it to me, and I’ll knock it out real quick.” Then I sit there and I think: Wow! What is wrong with me? Why didn’t I just send it to Lauren in the first place? This is so much more her thing than mine!
I’m not sure what it is.
It’s like this stubborn side of me comes out, and I convince myself that I WILL be good at this! Or maybe it’s a form of pride, like I get an extra badge of honor for fighting through the struggle. Regardless, it’s dumb. When I sit back and think about it, I realize I don’t do it with everything—only some random things. I would never assume that I could replace a catalytic converter in my car. (Heck, I don’t even freaking know what that is! I’ve only heard Russell mention it in conversation.) I would obviously take my car to a mechanic and not think twice about it—or not feel like a failure because I don’t know how to replace a catalytic converter. But when it comes to certain things in business, this weird little, control-freak person comes out.
So it got me thinking. Who else out there does stuff like that? I’m sure a ton of people. Am I right?! Case in point:
When Lauren and I visit communities together, it never fails… a manager will tell us that she stayed late at work and spent 3-4 hours creating her marketing flyers. You know what Lauren and I are thinking, right? Why didn’t she just call Sprout? Is that really the best use of her time? Wouldn’t she rather be at home with her family or at happy hour with friends? But there it is…a perfect example of that weird little, controlling person in all of us.
Anyway, I’m always saying that there is never enough time. It’s this nonrenewable resource that when it’s gone, it’s gone.
In the last few months, I’ve been really working on changing that bad habit with a SIX-STEP method listed above.
So far it’s been working out great! I find myself using the best hours of the day to focus on things that are most important. The best part is that it has now started to bleed into the way the entire team operates. For example, our support department has recently created processes that are now virtually seamless. They carefully reviewed and monitored systems that created little bottlenecks or hiccups for some team members and then began tackling them one by one. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some “meh” things that I have to do, but there are fewer of them. Most importantly, they aren’t robbing me of my “peak time.
So what about you?
Are there things that are robbing you of your “peak time?” Could you focus more on your highest value offerings and delegate some of the “meh?”
I’d love for you to email me and share three things you are going to keep on your peak productive time calendar and three of your “meh” items that you are going to delegate to someone fit for the task.