AskPat 643 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up everybody. Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 643 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week.
We have an awesome question today from Cathy but before we get to her question I do want to thank today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks. FreshBooks is an awesome company, one of the best I've worked with and one of the most helpful, too. Because they can help you manage your business finances and what's really cool is if you invoice anybody, for any reason, you do any billing, for example: you have students or your coaching some people or you have companies that you're consulting for or whatever, clients. If you bill, FreshBooks is definitely the easiest way to bill people. In 30 seconds you can just have things sent over and it's done in a very professional manner, and on the receiving end as somebody who is going to pay; when you get a FreshBooks bills it's really easy to do that. So you can get paid much faster, it looks more professional, and it's just so stress free. So if you want to check out FreshBooks to help you manage your business finances they can also automatically keep track of your expenses too, just so that it's all there in the charts. You see what's going on, very very automated. Go ahead and go to freshbooks.com/askpat and then make sure you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?”, section. Again, that's freshbooks.com/askpat.
All right, now here's today's question from, Cathy. Here we go.
Cathy: Hi Pat, this is Cathy Servatka. I've been working on being very goal-oriented this year and working out my project, and education goals as well as my financial goals. I figured out what I need to accomplish to achieve the financial goals I've set. But now I'm trying to break those achievements, or those activities, down into monthly, weekly, daily, hourly chunks. And it's starting to feel overwhelming to try and organize it, I feel like there's more . . . I don't know how to . . . It just feels like there's more to do than I have time. I don't think that my goals are unreasonable or even the activities. I just don't know how to break them into daily, hourly chunks and I know that you're into batch processing your activities, which is something I'd like to try but I really don't know how to apply it. So I was wondering if you could help me, maybe tell me how as you started growing, you started applying your scheduling, and getting yourself organized that way. Thanks a lot, love you, and that's it. Bye.
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up Cathy? Thank you so much for the question, love you too. Thank you so much for your honesty and sharing that. You know, this is getting a little bit difficult because time management, I think, is the number one struggle that all people have and . . . Especially for us entrepreneurs and us who are trying to achieve these big goals. I mean, it's even crazier because we have so many things that we want to do.
So there's a number of things I want to touch on but this sort of reminds me of your story here about trying to be very goal oriented, getting it down to the hour. It reminds me of when I first started working with a VA, or a virtual assistant overseas. And, you know, when you hire a VA it's somebody who can help you do tasks that maybe you can't do or tasks that you maybe can do but just don't want to do them, or don't need to do them, or shouldn't do them because you have other things to do. Now, working with a VA is great but it can get to a point where you could micromanage that VA so much that it actually works against you. And I've done this before, I know a lot of people who do this. They hire VAs but then they worry about every single thing that they do and making sure they're not wasting any time. And then, all that time that they have saved by working with the VA, they're actually wasting time because they've spent more time focused on getting the VA to do what they need to do.
And so, it just reminds me of this because I love the fact that you're goal-oriented. That's very important because unless you know what your goals are, well then, you're just doing work for nothing. Just to stay busy and you might end up, actually, being further away then where you actually should be because you just don't have any direction. So goals, great. You're going in the right direction, which is a positive and a lot more than I can say for a lot of people out there. So get your goals in order people, if you don't have your goals in order yet. So that's the first thing
And I love how you're breaking them down, too. This is what we're taught in books like, The One Thing and Essentialism. Focusing on those tasks that are actually going to move the needle, and this is great. You're writing these things down, you're breaking it down from: yearly, to monthly, to weekly, and that's super smart. But, the more breakdown that you can get, the more stressful it becomes and more overwhelming it can become. Which is what you're experiencing, Cathy.
So, I mean, you could take it even further; you could break it down by the half hour. What you're doing every half hour or what you're doing every 15 minutes, or every minute, or every second. And you definitely don't want to do that because, then it just becomes super overwhelming, like you said. And it kind of defeats the whole purpose here. So I would go to daily, and this is what I do now. I've actually tried going in to the hourly or time-blocking throughout the day, for certain things. I found that when I enter a day; when I wake up in the morning and I enter a day knowing that my task for the day is related to this thing. Then, that really helps me focus and gives me the room to be creative and also helps keep me on task when other things might get in the way because I know that well, those other goals that I have, those are reserved for other days. So, try working out the daily thing, I mean, that's the sort of time-blocking, and the scheduling, and the batching that I do.
So here's an exact look at my weekly schedule. So Monday, are my writing days and those are days where I only write. And so, I don't do any podcast interviews. I don't do any meetings that day unless it's an emergency or something. But my team knows and I only make myself and allow myself to write on Mondays. And what am I writing? Well, when I was writing my book it was very, I was writing that everyday. This isn't about that, this is about those tasks that have to happen over and over again, that are helping me reach my goals and whatnot. So writing means, for me: writing blog content, writing emails, writing course material, things like that. And, yes, when I approach those days beforehand I know how much time I want to spend on each. But I don't block out, okay, during these hours I'm doing this, during these hours I'm doing that because sometimes you need to give yourself a little bit of room because sometimes I'll be in the middle of writing a blog post and I'm in just such a good groove that I don't want to stop. And so, I keep going and those other things, well, they get pushed aside but I have to allow myself that to happen or else . . . I need that flexibility, or else I'm just going to drive myself insane.
And I need to also be conscious while I'm working about what it is that I'm excited about at the the time, and what is it that my body and mind are really into. And where's that flow? If I try to ever work against the flow, I'm wasting time. That's the one thing I know does happen and I come across that fighting up the stream kind of thing, that feeling every once in a while. But I always try to go down stream, if that makes sense. I always want to have a great flow in my mind and I want to work in that current with that current, not against it.
So, hopefully that analogy makes sense. But that's what I always try to do. So Mondays are my writing days, Tuesdays are my podcasting days. That's when I record podcast episodes, whether I'm a guest on another show or I have a guest come on, or whatever the case may be, I record on Tuesdays. And I know, and my team knows that that's what happens on Tuesdays. Interviews are scheduled on Tuesdays and again, it just helps with not only what I do that day, but even all the scheduling stuff and things around it, and the fact that my team knows. It just makes the process much easier in and around all the days that I'm working. Wednesdays are my meeting days, those are the days when I have all the team meetings. Whenever I'm meeting people in person I always do whatever I can, in my power, to make that happen on Wednesday. Chats with Jessica to catch up on that day, as well. And chats with my team and any sort of reporting that's done with my team, that's all happening on Wednesday. And then, Thursday and Friday are sort of cleanup days. And I think it's also important to have some of those kind of days where you could do whatever that you feel like you need to get caught up on, and that works out really well.
So what I would recommend is take these big goals that you have, which you've already done. You've, sort of, chunked them up and created milestones, which is great. And then, besides or before you get into what you do each day type thing. I love that because then, first of all, like I said earlier, when you wake up you know what you're working on. But at then end of the day you can see all of the things that you did related to that thing that you've finished. When you jump around between different projects or different kinds of tasks, you start to forget what all you did. And I think a lot of us go through that in life; we do so much great work and then we don't think about it. And I'm very lucky because I use this thing called, The Five Minute Journal, in the evenings to really reflect on what I've done during the day. And just to really be proud of myself. I think a lot of us could be more proud of ourselves. I think we would be much better off when we wake up in the morning if we're proud of ourselves the night before. So consider that, and again, that tool or that journal, if you will, is at fiveminutejournal.com all spelled out. Again, that's fiveminutejournal.com.
So that's really helpful. What I was saying earlier where I kind of went off tangent a little bit there, I apologize, is that before you get into what you do each day and that kind of thing, you need to prioritize. And if you have multiple goals, multiple projects that you want to work on you really do need to rank them. I mean, this is straight out of Essentialism. You need to rank them and Essentialism is a book, just so you know. It's something that you have to do, you have to rank them. And when you rank them you get to see which ones are more important and those are the ones that you work on, first. And as we know from Jay Papasan and Gary Keller from The One Thing. When you start to work on multiple things at the same time, your energy gets lost, you are going nowhere. So focus on one thing until completion, so you can reach that goal. And, yes, there are ways to kind of do side-by-side and if you time-chunk, and time-block, and batch process then, yes, you can do multiple things at the same time or, “The same time”. But you can't think about the same thing at the same time. And I think that's why this prioritization stuff is super important because at any given moment only one thing should be your focus, and one next goal. And I wouldn't chunk it into the hour, I would chunk it to the day. I would chunk it to the day, Cathy, and test that out and see what that's like. Give yourself some room for flexibility, I think that's going to allow you to breath a little bit and be creative. As long as you know what that thing is that you're working on and what that goal is that you're striving for, that next milestone in that one priority is going to help you each day. And you're going to be a lot more focused, a lot more motivated. It's going to help out.
So, Cathy, thank you so much for your question, I appreciate it. And I wish you all the best. I look forward to an update perhaps down the road to see how things work out or if you found a solution that works for you. And really, that's the big thing, this is something I learned over time because I've read a ton of productivity books. I've heard a lot of great advise from people. And some of those things don't work for me, some of those things actually work against me. So I say this based off of what I know works for me and many other people that I teach and coach online. But it may not work and so you're going to have to just be conscious and experiment with what could potentially work for you. It might be a piece of software that could help out, scheduling in your calendar every single task that you do. I know that works for my good buddy Chris Ducker. He says, “If you don't schedule it, it doesn't get done.” And, to a point, that does really work.
So, experiment, see what works for you. Everybody's different but hopefully this at least gives you some direction, Cathy, and everybody else out there who's listening. Thank you, for your question. We're going to send you an “Ask Pat” t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. And for everybody else out there listening, if you have a question that you'd like to potentially featured on the show just head on over to AskPat.com, you can ask right there on that page. I appreciate you so much and, yeah.
So Freshbooks, again, once more, thank you for sponsoring this episode. And for those of you who want to get involved with Freshbooks, it's definitely the easiest way to keep track of all your business finances. Get involved with it early before it just becomes a huge mess like it was for me because I always initially just started with Excel. Which is the economical way but it ended up wasting a ton of time which is not economical, of course. So check it out, go to freshbooks.com/askpat and enter your or the name of the show, “Ask Pat,” in the “How did you hear about us?” section. You'll get a 30 day free trial for going through that link. So, again, that's freshbooks.com/askpat for a 30 day trial.
Thanks so much, I appreciate you. And here's a quote from my good friend, Jay Bear, he said, “Inspiration doesn't respond to meeting requests. You can't schedule greatness.”
Cheers, and I'll see you on the next episode of AskPat. Thanks everybody.
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