Table of contents
How Productivity is Calculated Episode Summary
Productivity is important for any business to be successful, especially if it's a small one that relies on the efforts of a few people. But… how is productivity calculated? More importantly, how can you measure and improve the productivity of your business?
In this video, we’ll provide a few tips that can help measure productivity, including how to break down tasks effectively and how to conduct a time audit to help you prioritize key tasks, reallocate resources, and target areas where you can improve your business the most.
Words of Wisdom
When I work with people who run small businesses, I ask, what is your marketing budget? They say, 'I don't have a marketing budget.' I ask, how many hours a week are you spending on social media? How much do you charge per hour for your services? You have a marketing budget. You just don't acknowledge it because you're not thinking about all that time that you're on social media. — Jen
If I have a thing that I need to do frequently, I will break that down into parts. I'll make a checklist for myself so that every week on a certain day of the week, I check that I did those things. I have it all in front of me. Then I know that whole project is complete. Any project can be broken down first into the larger sections and then you take each section and break that further down into tasks. — Shelley
Can't Miss Resources
- Increase your content creation productivity by watching Shelley's Livecast Live series on YouTube.
- Find the Right Marketing Tools for Your Small Business. This $75 course created by Jen will save you hundreds if not thousands in finding marketing software for your business.
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Transcript: How Productivity is Calculated
[00:00:00] Jen McFarland: The Women Conquer Business show is an educational, how to, women in business podcast that features stories, marketing news and real life experiences from fun and friendly hosts, Jen McFarland and Shelley Carney. Join us as we dive into the details so you can slay marketing overwhelm, streamline processes and amplify your impact.
[00:00:23] You'll learn strategies and tactics, leadership skills, and practical advice from successful women entrepreneurs to help you grow, nurture, and sustain your business.
[00:00:38] Hey, welcome to the Women Conquer Business show. I'm Jen McFarland joined by Shelley Carney. Hello. Hello. And we are so excited to be here. We are continuing this month with productivity. In fact, today we'll be talking about how productivity is calculated. If you want to get in the weeds on some of that different things that you can do to save a little bit of time and energy. But first let's check in with what we've been up to. Shelley, how are you? Oh,
[00:01:07] Shelley Carney: I am doing very well. Thank you. Experiencing interesting times in the health department of between your husband and me. So when you start to get in your sixties, it's just things start falling apart. So we're rolling with the punches on that, but Toby and I are finishing up our livecast Life book. We just did our last installment for the book yesterday.
[00:01:32] So what we did was we would do slides about the topic. First we pick a theme, then we break it up into episodes and then we would do slides on that topic. And then we would present that as a live stream. Then transcribe that, edit that into a blog post, and then into a chapter for our book. So it's going to be about 15 chapters.
[00:01:53] We just did the last installment yesterday. And I'm hoping to have the book out on April 1st, April fall. That's what I could, I thought if I go for April 1st and it doesn't happen, then I can say April fools.
[00:02:08] Jen McFarland: Oh, that's wonderful. I, again, getting back to what you said about going into your sixties.
[00:02:12] My business partner says getting old isn't for wimps. No. So yeah, I can totally relate to that. I'm in my forties and I just have stuff and things and yeah, no, it didn't happen when I was in my twenties. So today I started dragon boating. That's a thing that we have here in Portland, Oregon. We have, for those of you who don't know, we have a large river through the middle called the Willamette, and we have a annual festival called the rose festival and part of the rose festival in addition to parades and all kinds of celebrations are dragon boat races.
[00:02:50] So dragon boats are. Gosh, I don't know how many people we had today. There are long boats and you're paddling. So you're paddling forward. It's not like rowing, which is a little bit of a backward motion. And it was super fun. It's so nice to get up at. I think we were out on the river by six o'clock this morning and so quiet and peaceful and a little cold and super fun.
[00:03:14] So it was really great. And I, it was a nice break and celebration. I've been working so hard on launching this new product. And it's out now, it's called find the right marketing tools for your small business. And coincidentally, do you remember Shelley? We talked about that topic on an earlier show, and this is a deep dive into that.
[00:03:36] So if you enjoyed that show and you're like, I would like to learn more about how to actually do this. That's what this is. This is something that I work on with clients all the time. I. If there's one thing, I'm an expert in its software and how to make all the tools work. And this is a course in how to do that for yourself, so that, the questions to ask somebody like me, a consultant, or maybe somebody who is trying to sell you some software.
[00:04:05] And this gives you some guidance around how to do that. The course is about an hour long and with tons of worksheets and guidance on how to figure out what your business actually needs so that you can ask the best questions that you can to get the help that you need. Very excited about that. And that's on apifany courses slash marketing dash tools.
[00:04:27] And that pairing on to that was also. A redesign of the website. So now it looks more like you would expect for an e-commerce website. When you're just starting a business, it's something that I say to clients again. And again, you have to start with just that good enough website and we've had that good enough website just to say, start the presence, get some brand awareness.
[00:04:51] We've had a lot of really great blog posts. But the site itself was not my favorite thing. It was very busy. It didn't look like an e-commerce site. Now we're getting closer to shape saying, we sell courses here. This is all that we do. And it's very exciting. So I feel like so many things are moving forward right now.
[00:05:13] It's a very exciting time. This business journey, this new venture, which is apifany courses. So it's very exciting.
[00:05:21] Shelley Carney: Yeah. And since you brought up websites and making changes yesterday, Toby and I experienced the windows update, which kind of messed with settings on our equipment, that's connected to the computer.
[00:05:35] So he had gotten a second camera for us to do demonstrations as an overhead camera. So he thought maybe that was it. So him plugged that note that didn't fix it. Then we rebooted our road castor did that. No, that didn't fix it. And then we had to mess with the settings and really work at it.
[00:05:54] And we thought we have it. And then we went live at one o'clock yesterday. One of our viewers told us your voices are garbled. I can't understand you. So we had to shut down the livestream, continued to work on the equipment, the Rodecaster rebooted again, rebooted the computer again, and finally got it to where we.
[00:06:14] Understand our voices. We recorded them, on I'm one of those recording programs you can use on your computer and listen to them. When they were finally back to normal, then we set up a show for an hour later and went live again, explain to everybody, this is what happens. And this is why people give up on things like live streaming.
[00:06:36] I felt Toby is really dedicated and resilient and he loves to solve those problems. So he w he didn't mind at all working on it. I was just like, I don't even have a clue what's going on. And I'm just like, so I can understand those people who need that extra help. And then he's if this happens, you call us because we've gone through it.
[00:06:59] We've learned from our mistake and our problems and our issues, and we fixed it. We can help you fix it
[00:07:05] Jen McFarland: to absolutely. And I, I'm more like Toby and at the same time, since I'm so new to this live streaming, I think I would have just been melting down a little bit, but I, what I love about that story is that then you're like, and then we got on in an hour and it was done.
[00:07:22] Like it's it never happened. And I think that's really of all the pieces in there. It's like the part that people need to take home with them is that. Yeah, like stuff happens and then you just, you get back on the horse.
[00:07:36] Shelley Carney: And the thing is when we have the first live stream that went wrong, we had one viewer and he told us about the thing and we shut it off and we came back, we had five viewers.
[00:07:46] So now people are like, what's going on? Why did they go? Wow.
[00:07:52] Jen McFarland: You established scarcity came back. No, it's but that's so great. I'm so glad that he was able to fix it. I've read, I'm entirely Mac. So I just had read about this windows update, not going well for a lot of people. And I'm sorry that happened to you because it really can ruin your day.
[00:08:12] It really does. Make things difficult for people, especially people who aren't in tech all the time. I, I was telling chili a story before the show started about why I'm so calm about tech, because I worked on a project where we had like tens of thousands of angry customers who wanted things fixed immediately.
[00:08:30] And it puts things in perspective for me a little bit. Especially since I work in with a lot of tech problems in people's marketing, it's not as big of a freak out. Like I always have, like I said, it puts things in perspective. A little bit.
[00:08:46] Shelley Carney: Yeah. It's kinda funny when I was a teenager I got up in front of people to saying it was at a graduation ceremony or something and it, everything went wrong.
[00:08:55] The speakers were in front of me, so I couldn't hear the music. I couldn't keep time with, cause I couldn't hear it. They didn't have a feedback, a back speaker for me to hear myself. So I was just trying to keep up and then the music cut out, completely standing there. And the thing that I saw was everybody in the audience was sending me love and commiserating in empathy, it was just all this coming at me.
[00:09:21] Like they weren't laughing at me. They weren't, hall, you messed up. They none of know that they were like, oh my God, I'm so sorry that happened to you. And And then they put the music back on and then I'm finished the song. So I think I learned a lot from that, in that when you have performance snafoos yeah.
[00:09:42] People are understanding. They're like, oh, I hope that never happens to me. Oh, are you going to recover? Are you okay? That's what people are thinking. Don't think that they're laughing at you or that they think you're a loser because your technology.
[00:09:57] Jen McFarland: No, it's absolute. That's, you're absolutely right. And people do they ever most people, or at least the people I like to hang out with, they want you to succeed, but they don't want you to fail.
[00:10:08] They want support you. And that's the thing. Like you were ready to just get back up there and do it. Maybe you needed a little help with the computer part, but we all need help about something helpless, something like this show wouldn't be happening. If you hadn't of said, Hey, do you want to do that again?
[00:10:26] And it was super scary to like, do live streams, but now it's been what, like a couple of months or something and yeah. And it's going really well. I'm getting used to it getting adjusted and every week it seems like we have. Something new. That's great. And continue to build
[00:10:44] Shelley Carney: it. Yeah. It falls together if you keep working at it.
[00:10:47] Yeah, totally.
[00:10:49] Jen McFarland: Yeah. What'd you what'd. You got some breaking news.
[00:10:52] Shelley Carney: Wait, let's see.
[00:10:55] Jen McFarland: I love breaking news.
[00:11:00] Shelley Carney: So we have, let's put this in here. Twitter, Twitter launches, live tests, have new. Profile shops to display products in app.
[00:11:14] Jen McFarland: So this is really interesting. Anytime. And Shelley brought this up. It's a beautiful picture.
[00:11:20] There's examples. We'll put the article in the show notes. Social media today is reporting that you can start if you ha they're opening up to some merchants, the ability to have e-commerce shops within Twitter and they go through and they have pictures of like different accounts, showing what this looks like.
[00:11:37] And I think we've talked about this before with Pinterest TV and other places. If you have a store and somebody's giving you the opportunity to put your product there put your product there. And it doesn't have to be, I think, in, in the article they're showing like food products and then they, I think they do go and show a couple of them.
[00:11:58] Of other iterations with different people. But if there is some way that you can get your service-based business products in there too, depending on how it's set up, I encourage you to take advantage of that. If you're using Twitter, anytime these platforms give us free space to put our products, it's really a good idea to take advantage of that.
[00:12:18] At least that's my take on it. What do you think Shelley? Absolutely.
[00:12:22] Shelley Carney: Anytime anybody offers you something that you can showcase yourself or your products do it if that's we're going to talk about a couple of them in our tweaks of the week, in fact, but this is great Toby and I are live streaming to Amazon live.
[00:12:38] So we can, maybe get some. Some action going with selling products cameras and lights and that sort of thing. So absolutely anytime there's something like this comes up and available to you and you learn about it. See if you can get involved and get your products up there.
[00:12:59] Jen McFarland: Absolutely. Absolutely. I lost you for a second, but I'm sure I agree with whatever it is that you said.
[00:13:09] So I'm definitely going to test it out and see if I can get for my business, but I can get some courses and things in there. We also talked before the show that I like Twitter a lot more than Shelley. So I think she thought of this as something for me and I hate admitting it, but I do Twitter.
[00:13:25] I like the short form part of it. That's what I like. And that you have potentially access to new people and that you maybe wouldn't through another platform. It's really fun. I don't have any news or my
[00:13:39] Shelley Carney: stuff. I just don't sit on there and read other people's stuff. It's I'm more likely to do that on LinkedIn.
[00:13:46] Jen McFarland: Yeah, I think, and that's the beauty of social media. We all have, our platforms that we really like. My Facebook is almost entirely at this point on the personal side. And the non-business side is almost entirely people who are super fun and post memes and jokes. So I use Facebook just to have a laugh, and it's not my favorite planet.
[00:14:09] But I've got it winnowed down to where it's what I like to see if I want to have fun. But then yeah. Then I like LinkedIn and Twitter, although lately I've really gotten into YouTube. I blame you for that, by the way,
[00:14:24] Shelley Carney: YouTube is awesome. There's so many good things on there. They've got every interest under the sun.
[00:14:29] We at one time were like, oh, we should just make up. We're like, you can never determine what people are gonna and not like, and I don't know whether we could just make a channel about the grass growing and we looked it up and there is a channel about grass growing. There is. As a matter of fact, yes, there are channels for those.
[00:14:50] And there's a channel for everything.
[00:14:53] Jen McFarland: Welcome to the grass growing
[00:14:55] Shelley Carney: channel with Jen
[00:14:56] Jen McFarland: McFarland. We have to talk really quietly cause the grass grows better. I don't know. I don't know how that would work. It's so funny.
[00:15:07] Shelley Carney: Kind of funny.
[00:15:08] Jen McFarland: So are we ready for some to
[00:15:11] Shelley Carney: rainy trainee
[00:15:17] today? We're talking about how productivity is calculated.
[00:15:23] Jen McFarland: Yeah, so I had a couple of, I had a quote and some information to share. I love this because I wanna make sure that we put this in proper perspective. So I have a quote from Warren buffet, no matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time.
[00:15:41] You can't produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant. So if I put what the reason for that is, obviously you can't produce a baby in one month, but it also means. Some things just take time. So productivity is not about doing things as quickly as possible, necessarily. It's about the efficiency of how you do things.
[00:16:05] So if we think again about productivity within our businesses, it's the efficiency of your product creation and your delivery process. So at a really high level, and this is me doing some math, so we know it's going to be very basic and it would be much more specific of an example if you really wanted to do a super deep dive, but at a really high level, if you want to make, if you know that you, it takes 2000 hours to make a hundred thousand dollars.
[00:16:36] You divide the 2000 hours, into the a hundred thousand dollars and it is 50 hour, $50 per hour of work. Now that's not really accurate because if you are running a business, you have things like overhead. You have the, the things that you have to buy or the place that you have to go to get the work done, or maybe you're buying products and building something, and you have all these different costs involved, but at a really high level, it's like what?
[00:17:03] You can calculate productivity by the amount of money that you want to make and the amount of time and all of the rest of it factors in as well. I think that this is important to look at from this perspective, for people who are solopreneurs or small business owners, because it goes into pricing, which is not really my specialty by any stretch, but a lot of people under.
[00:17:31] Value their services. They don't think a lot about how much time does it make to create this product? How much energy is it going to take? What are my costs? When I go to have a website or buy the equipment that it's going to take to produce the thing, what did it cost for that computer?
[00:17:50] There are so many things that go into delivering a service that it's not purely how many hours of say consulting to make a hundred thousand dollars or whatever it is that you're doing. You have a lot of other factors that go into it. You have to cover your own insurance. You have to cover your own.
[00:18:12] Costs in all realms. So when you start thinking about how productivity is calculated and the more macro way, we're going to talk a lot about tasks and time audits. When you think about how you calculate pro productivity in the macro way, this is why people charge more for services than like 10 bucks an hour, because it's theirs.
[00:18:35] It's like you're paying for all of the expertise you're paying for all of the other additional costs that it takes to run a business. So I want to encourage people who are listening or watching to really think about productivity in different ways. A lot of times we think of it as time. But it's also, would it cost maybe 10 bucks more to be more efficient and would, what would that efficiency help you gain?
[00:19:06] And when we think about all of these factors that go into how we do our work, what is it that would make it the most effective? So you can't produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant. You also can't charge $10 an hour because you have additional costs and sometimes it costs more to deliver a better product quicker.
[00:19:35] And then you find other ways to get that out to more people. So when we calculate productivity, we have to look at a lot of different factors. And that's also the case. When we talk about things like all of the tasks that we have to do,
[00:19:51] Shelley Carney: yeah I'm looking at your how you introduced it.
[00:19:54] Productivity equals efficiency of your product creation, plus the delivery process. So you have to first create the product, then you have to deliver it. And it's those things together that add up to your productivity. And that's how you're going to bring in money is with your product and your delivery of it.
[00:20:16] But it's also costing you, you have to put a lot of time and effort and resources into creating that and delivering that in order to have some, have a product that you know, that people can buy.
[00:20:30] Jen McFarland: When I work with people who run small businesses, solopreneurs I ask, what is your marketing budget? I don't have a marketing budget. I ask, how many hours a week are you spending on social media? How much do you charge per hour for your services? You have a marketing budget. You just don't acknowledge it because you're not thinking about all that time that you're on social media. You're not thinking about the different ways that you are delivering content or information that leads to a sale. When we think about the delivery process, that's your sales process. That's your marketing.
All of the things, all of the tools then, especially like a service-based business.
[00:21:15] What are the tools for like meeting with clients? Is everything online? Do you have an office? How are you delivering goods? This is easier. In some ways, if we're talking about I make a widget and I shipped the widget out, it gets a little softer in like, how do you define the things like product creation and delivery.
[00:21:35] If you are in consulting or a work from home business, things tend to bleed. I find into each other. D do you think that's what I've seen? You're
[00:21:46] Shelley Carney: not paying rent on an office, but you are paying for internet. Now, the internet you also use because it's in your home for streaming movies. So it's, how much of the internet is for work and how much is for enjoyment and, you it does it all melds together.
[00:22:01] When you work out of the home your utilities, it's part of your utility bills, right? All of it goes together when you work out of your home. So it's hard to pull out those costs.
[00:22:13] Jen McFarland: And I think that in, when we look at how productivity is calculated, and we look at these kinds of definitions, we can start to see how productivity kind of peels off of the time management.
[00:22:26] It's bigger than time management. Now, the parts that we're going to talk about, because I don't know about Shelley. I'm not really a finance expert, then I'm not going to talk about all of the money and all of that part, so we're acknowledging in our definition that there is that part and talking more about like how to manage tasks, how to manage a project.
[00:22:48] I have a lot of project management experience. We're going to talk about that side of the house, because these are things that we can talk about with expertise that are within our lane. But I think it's important to also acknowledge that there's this whole other side of how productivity is calculated.
[00:23:08] So it's not just man hours. All of the rest of it as well. But one of the things that we can control in small businesses and as solopreneurs is I like to think of it as self-leadership, how are we leading ourselves through the day and being more effective in our time.
[00:23:27] Shelley Carney: Right. I think you definitely have to keep your priorities and your values as number one, you have to know what they are even to have them written down and you have to know those top three questions for your business, which is who's your target audience, what's their biggest problem.
[00:23:42] And how do you solve that problem? And you have to ask that about everything. Toby was starting a, another book with it's going to be like a coffee table, picture book with a small set photography. And we've been. Playing it out talking about it, designing it. And I, and he's also got a channel where we were doing these live streams about small sets photography.
[00:24:03] And I asked him, who is this for? And he's you know what? I'm like, because you get so very technical. That it's way beyond me. So you know, and I'm very amateurish. I would take pictures with my phone. So who is this for? So I had to have, I had to dive into, helping him get through who is his target audience.
[00:24:21] And they were like, this is the number one thing you have to know. And sometimes you have to continue to ask yourself questions about it. If you come out with a new product, like Jen has her epiphany courses, she had to go through this again for herself and say, who is this for? What is their problem?
[00:24:37] How do I solve it? And you have to answer those questions every time you're working on anything.
[00:24:44] Jen McFarland: Absolutely. And it gets easier. The more you look at them and think about it, it gets easier. And you mentioned something else that I want to really highlight, which is you also need to have other people helping you and you have to talk to somebody because yeah, it's easy to go in so deep into your expertise and, things are so cool and, but you might lose people.
[00:25:10] So it's important to have those questions in mind. And then if you have a colleague or a friend or a coach or whoever who can be like, what are you talking about? This looks really cool. Is this for me?
[00:25:26] Shelley Carney: That's right. It's really important. Every time people say, oh, you gotta be on Tik TOK. Gotta be T I cannot tell you how many times a day I keep hearing about gotta be on Tik TOK.
[00:25:38] And I'm like my target audience. Isn't on Tik doc, stop talking to me about,
[00:25:44] Jen McFarland: yeah, it's really funny. Oh, I forgot to tell you that. So last, I think it was last week we were talking about how about Tik TOK and NFTs and somebody trolled us on Twitter about NFTs. Really, I thought that was really funny.
[00:25:58] So somebody was watching on Twitter and said, I made an NFT for you and posted it. It was funny. Cool. Yeah. Okay, so let's get back to this. So if we've gone through our three questions, so we have an idea of who we're serving and how we do it, and maybe we have some projects in mind.
[00:26:19] Business initiatives. I call them projects because of my background, but really business initiatives, things we want to deliver. How do we break down tasks effectively so we can be more productive?
[00:26:35] Shelley Carney: Yeah, I think you have to find that well, and what we have here is goals, clarity, like you said you have to know what your goal is and then all the steps to get to that goal.
[00:26:46] And then you have to take those steps and plot them out into your calendar so that that you're working on those important things and you're not getting so sidetracked that you lose sight of that goal.
[00:26:58] Jen McFarland: Absolutely. And I think that what some people do is they jump all the way into the how to early.
[00:27:09] Instead of thinking about the what and the why, but, they're all comes first, right? All the things. Yeah. Why are we doing this? Is this corridor a mission is this core to the people, is this so important to the people that we serve and do they know it's important to them? The, like this course that I just launched.
[00:27:31] Find the right marketing tools for your small business. I'm like, do people know how important that is? I don't know. It's an experiment. Every time we deliver something new, it's an experiment. Do we know? And it was a risk, but I was willing to take it because I know how important it is for on behalf of my customers.
[00:27:48] Shelley Carney: I know questions about that because it's always changing and it's always a. It's an investment, you're investing money. You're investing time in learning a product and you're investing, your business into it. Say you're coming up with a new CRM and you're trying it out.
[00:28:06] And you put all your information in there. You spend all that time and effort doing that. Now you're in there and then something else better comes along. Oh no. What do I do? So you want to make sure you're making the right choice to start with. So I think that's really important. It is,
[00:28:21] Jen McFarland: but people it's not saying.
[00:28:23] It's not sexy. It's not launch your business on Tik TOK. I'm like, that's everybody wants to jump on that ship and it's a lot different. So all of which is to say having clear goals and sticking to them and understanding who you're serving and what's important for them. And sometimes it does mean even if they don't know it's important to them in the case of finding the right marketing tools.
[00:28:47] I think it's important. I think people who are cost aware, know how important and time aware no, how important is, but it's not that sexy thing, but it's still in service to others. So one of the problems that I see a lot is people go too big and then it becomes really hard to break down tasks effectively.
[00:29:11] Meaning it's really hard to break those into small. I like to break things down into smaller pieces, is that, and that's how I. How I get through things. And you're the one who wrote this bullet point, how to break down tasks effectively. What, how do you go through and break them?
[00:29:32] Shelley Carney: If I have a thing that I need to do frequently, like I need to get a show out every week. I will break that down into three parts. Pre-production, production, and post-production. Within those three parts, I'll consider the tasks. What's involved in pre-production? There are 4 to 6 tasks to do that. I have to do those tasks every single time. So, I'll make a checklist for myself so that every week on a certain day of the week, I check that I did those things. I have it all in front of me and then I get my show done and then I do my post-production tasks. Then I know that whole project is complete. I think any project can be broken down first into the larger sections and then you take each section and break that further down into tasks.
[00:30:26] Jen McFarland: Absolutely. And if you need help with doing that, there's a book called the checklist manifesto, which is interesting because there's no checklist. Like I ordered that book and then I opened it and I'm like, there are no checklists in here, not even some bullet points, but it does go into why that is so effective and why it's a really good thing to do.
[00:30:52] It's like a New York times a seller, I think. And I, we will definitely put it in the show notes as resource for you because it's one of the, there were a whole bunch of books I read at the beginning of the year, and this is one of them that it just helps you break down tasks into smaller pieces.
[00:31:15] It will help you manage some things if this is not making sense. Some people think if it's just big, then I can just do it. But you have to really think about, for me, there's no such thing as an overnight success, there's like a million steps in the right direction. And the beauty of having checklists, the beauty of the process that Shelley is outlining is it's making sure that you're on that path and you're following that path every day and making those little steps.
[00:31:50] So if you need help with that's a resource for you. And,
[00:31:58] and hand-in-hand with that. We talked about it last week and things like the click minded SOP, where you can go through and get checklists for different marketing tasks. There are about 150 million tasks for podcasters. The checklist is, as if you want a checklist that somebody else has made, just do a search, I'm sure you can find a checklist.
[00:32:20] Shelley Carney: I'll even go on canvas and type it in. And some pretty one will
[00:32:24] Jen McFarland: come up and Canva. Another great place for lists is Etsy. I have found all kinds of guides and lists on Etsy. It's very interesting. So make sure you check you break it down into small tasks. And then the next thing that really goes into this, and this is something that is really important to me because I tend to underestimate how long things take.
[00:32:50] And if you are in that space, then it's really important to conduct a time audit the other time when a time audit is important is if you just feel like you're wasting time, but you don't know what it is that you were doing. So if you would like some time awareness around how you're spending your day, then you can conduct a time audit.
[00:33:14] Here are a few steps in taking in conducting a time audit. The first thing you want to do is make sure that you're picking a typical week. Don't pick a week where you are covering for somebody else or you're traveling or anything special or different is happening because that will disrupt anything that you're trying to accomplish.
[00:33:37] And then there are a couple of different ways. So what a time audit really is at a, at the large level is tracking. It's just tracking your time a little bit so that you can then go back and look at it and go, oh, like I spent 20 hours on social media this week and I got nothing out of it. For example or maybe you're not aware I think I've talked about it before.
[00:34:00] When we first started making courses, I had these insane goals about how many courses I could make in a week. It was multiple in a week. Not the case. That's not true. If you underestimate how much time something takes, then you can become frustrated because you don't feel like your productivity is on point, but it could actually be that you're trying to have a baby in a month and that's just not possible.
[00:34:28] So one of the ways to get through that is to conduct a time audit. And so you choose a typical week and then there are a couple of different ways to track your time. And it really just depends on where you're at and what you're most comfortable with when people are like, eh, time audit. Like I'm like just
[00:34:47] Shelley Carney: writing down calories,
[00:34:49] Jen McFarland: right.
[00:34:49] It's like it is. Yeah. So the first way to do it is to just have a little notebook next to your keyboard. And then as you switch tasks, you just write down. Did doing this and what time, the other way of doing it, if you're like, that sounds awful. The other way of doing it is to use a time tracking app.
[00:35:12] The one that I recommend for this is. Called top tracker it's offered by a company called top tall. They do. I think that they do a lot of an Upwork or a freelance company, and this is free. And I have actually used it early on in my freelancing. I used it when I was doing a lot of websites, because what it does, it not only tracks your time and you can switch from project to project, it takes screenshots.
[00:35:41] So it's giving you a little bit of accountability. So I could send these to people and be like, this is what I was working on. And if they wanted, they could see the screenshots as I went. I don't think anybody gets that granular. This is also a time tracking app. So it's really robust if you're doing consulting or anything by the hour and it's free, which is great.
[00:36:02] And I don't know why more people don't talk about it. I think it's just not as well known as some of the other time tracking apps. So that time tracking app, you could basically. Turn it on. And as you switch projects, you can just change the title of what it is that you're tracking. And then it's taking screenshots.
[00:36:21] So if you were doing a time audit and you're like, did I really spend, three hours working on X, Y, Z, and then you go back and look at the screenshots and you're like on Facebook or Twitter, you have your answer. So that's another way of doing it's a little more, hands-off the other thing that makes a time audit more effective, goes back to actually the first point, which is if you're planning your time and what it is that you're going to be working on a time audit is a lot like writing down your calories.
[00:36:57] It's that weight Watchers app or whatever it is that you're using, because you're going to plan out what it is you're going to work on, and you're going to track your time. And then you're going to see what actually happens and. That's what makes a time audit so effective? It's you know, are you, even if you're just looking at the calorie app yourself, you stop and think before you eat pie, I don't know who you are when you write that down.
[00:37:25] I don't want to right now by, and then you have to think about, how do you want, how badly do I really want the pie? So it's the same thing with the time audit. It holds you personally accountable. If you have a larger company or employees, you can also, there are ways of implementing this for larger groups for this audience.
[00:37:45] We really are talking about, self-leadership self-management. And I think that what we find in going through a time audit and I've done several myself, is there is always a place where you have more, where there space for doing things more efficiently. Because I was reading this morning that they think that really only 30% of our day is effective.
[00:38:15] Like we're only being productive, like 30% of the time that we define as working. And that's one of the things that's so fascinating is that we think that we have to work longer in order to be more productive, but we may actually be making it harder for ourselves to be productive because we're wearing ourselves out.
[00:38:40] And then maybe that 30% becomes 10%.
[00:38:44] Shelley Carney: Yeah, you want to be, you want to make sure that you're doing your work at a time of day when your best, at your best. For me, that is usually in the early morning. First thing I get up because I'm, I've got, as I'm waking up in the morning, I'm thinking, oh, I want to get this done.
[00:39:01] And I want to get this done. I want to get this time. And, I grabbed my water in my coffee and I'd go sit down at the computer and I get to work and really can focus in until I get hungry enough that I have to, then go eat breakfast and that sort of thing. But I know I have a couple of really strong hours in there where I can get a lot done.
[00:39:19] And when I get distracted by emails, Instead of doing the work I had thought I was going to do, then the whole project, this stretches out and takes the entire day. So you have to really be cognizant of what's stealing your time away from your productivity. Is it, playing with emails? Is it going on Facebook?
[00:39:41] And then just make sure that you set a time aside for that and say, okay, no, I'm not going to do emails until after breakfast. And then, you can focus on those blocks of time where you are most productive and getting your most important things done during that time.
[00:39:58] Jen McFarland: Absolutely. So that is really about prioritizing, it sounds to me.
[00:40:05] Shelley Carney: Yeah. And so complaining, knowing yourself and planning for
[00:40:09] Jen McFarland: it. So how do you prioritize key tasks? What advice do you have to give to people?
[00:40:15] Shelley Carney: I think the things that are. Prioritize at the top are the things that I've promised other people. Maybe that's not ideal, but it is how I work. And it is how I was brought up that if you've made a promise to somebody, you get that done first, especially if somebody's paying you for that work, that's the first thing you do any work on it until it's done and you make sure it's in on time if not early. And that's how I work. And then anything after that is things that long-term goals, things that I'm working on for those long-term long-term goals that I can put aside.
[00:40:48] If I have to focus on those priority tasks, what do you do?
[00:40:54] Jen McFarland: I do that too. I don't like email, so I have to force myself to work on email. I know a lot of people will go in. And get lost and I do too, and I don't particularly enjoy it. I will say that one of the things that is helpful when I do it, and this is when I keep a notebook next to my keyboard is when I start to rabbit trail off into things that are interesting to me, then I make a note of it and get back on task.
[00:41:29] That's one of the things to do to is this a priority? Yes or no, then I make it, I make a note of it as something to look at later, look at this later, Jen. And I think that anything that we can do, I think last week we talked a little bit about the Pomodoro method. I think anything that you can do where you are prioritizing the most important things and in some way honoring oh, I just had this great thought but if it's going to take you a really long time to process all of that, and it could mean that you don't deliver something for somebody else, or it means that anything else that you had to accomplish, isn't going to get done.
[00:42:11] Then it's really important to, to write it down and, get back to it later that I use. Note book, and then I use an app called pocket because I'm an avid reader and I just hit the pocket button because it saves the article for later. I can't get back and read it when I want, whatever it is that will help you make those kinds of choices.
[00:42:38] You will be saving yourself a lot and you'll find your productivity will go up. You'll find that it's quicker to go to deliver on promises. If you hold yourself accountable and your time accountable, like time will continue to move. You can't actually control or manage time. You can control and manage how you interact with the hours that you have in each.
[00:43:03] Shelley Carney: Nicely put. Yes. I was thinking about something that is cute and funny that my, my daughter and her husband instituted this thing where she was only allowed to complain on Thursdays from like one to three. And that was it. And the rest of the week, he would just tell her, save it for Thursday, save it for, she was complaining a lot.
[00:43:24] And this is how they came to a, an agreement that she would save it for. As she did that, she learned to stop complaining. And this is, we can do the same thing with any one of our tasks that we either don't like, or we find ourselves jumping into, every time we have a spare moment maybe I'll just go to Facebook.
[00:43:46] Oh, I haven't got a spare minute. Let me go do Facebook. Instead, if you block out the times that you're going to do that favorite thing, then you know your subconscious knows and your Bryant, your brain knows. And it's okay, I'm not going to work on Facebook until four o'clock this afternoon, it's on my calendar.
[00:44:03] I, I've set aside time for it. And when you do that, Then you can organize your thoughts a lot better. You can organize your productive time of productivity, and you're not going to take every spare moment and jump into something else. You might just sit there for a minute and breathe and think, what do I really need to be working on right now?
[00:44:24] And no, not Facebook, what is it? And then give yourself that minute to really think about your goals and where you want to go and how you're going to get there. And then something's going to come to you, to fill in that space and say, oh, here is something I really need to work on.
[00:44:43] I really want to work on our forgot that I wanted to do this. So give yourself that breathing space by scheduling those automatic, habits of going on to Facebook or Instagram or whatever it is for you.
[00:44:56] Jen McFarland: Oh, a hundred percent. And when I teach marketing around. And I tell people, you only need to check social media.
[00:45:06] Like twice a day. Half of the room is totally relieved and the other half is like but like they just don't they, and it's because it's like an extension, but one of the things about productivity and about our brains is that minute that you're going to spend getting your dopamine hit from social media can really stretch out into a long time.
[00:45:28] And it's that switching back and forth between tasks that can really destroy productivity because of how our brains work. We can't just switch the way that we think that we can. And those 15 minutes turn in, turn into hours. Sometimes if we don't make them, time-bound when I talk to people about social media, I say, 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the afternoon, And that's all you need, you schedule your posts and then you can practice being engaging and engaging with the posts during the day.
[00:46:04] Now that means you have to prioritize things like content parties, so that you can put together the posts that you can put in the scheduler. That's a lot different than prioritizing a social media app over whatever it is. That's actually more important and going to bring you money. Because remember when we talk about productivity and how it's calculated for a business, it's really about how do you get to money quicker?
[00:46:33] How do you get to service delivery faster? And the fastest way to do that, I think is through prioritizing those tasks. Yes. Which sounds so easy, but you have to have ways that you're like that you are able to say, I'm not going to do that right now. And put it aside and honor that whether it's by writing it down or putting your phone in the other room, I've done that before.
[00:47:00] So I don't, I'm not picking it up during the day
[00:47:04] Shelley Carney: out of mine. Yeah. Take that chocolate cake and hide it in the garage or something.
[00:47:11] Jen McFarland: So that's really about and getting into the next piece, it's really about like reallocating resources using the things that are the most important working on the most important tasks so that you are putting as many resources as possible into getting products and services out to people because that will give you the highest return in your business, which is really what we want anyway.
[00:47:35] Yeah. So by raising awareness through things like a time audit and the most effective tasks, then we can really target the areas for improvement and move through improving and being more productive quicker.
[00:47:49] Shelley Carney: Yeah. And it requires a little discipline, all
[00:47:54] Jen McFarland: the disciplines so much discipline.
[00:47:56] Yeah. So we haven't really gotten, have we gotten any questions we haven't today? Have we not today? Everybody's thinking deep thoughts.
[00:48:05] Shelley Carney: Everybody's like that. That's great.
[00:48:12] Jen McFarland: So what is one way? I think we're moving out of the training. So I think that everybody has probably a pretty good sense of how to, how productivity is calculated, how they can move through tasks quicker.
[00:48:27] What do you think that what's your call to action? What are the things that can really help people?
[00:48:33] Shelley Carney: Coming from my area of expertise is. Content creation and having a system in place for that. Now, of course, I would recommend the system for anything that you do, especially repetitively in your business.
[00:48:47] For me, that's content creation and I have a system for that. And if you're interested in learning that system we have a playlist on YouTube on the messages and methods, YouTube channel, and you can go check that out. It's called a live cast life and it trains you in our method for creating content every week and getting out a live stream video, a podcast and a blog every week.
[00:49:12] And then sharing that out on social media as well. That's my recommendation for what you can do if you're needing to do content creation. What about.
[00:49:23] Jen McFarland: And we've been talking about productivity. I feel like we've given a lot of resources for how to do that throughout today. I would say if you think that marketing apps and tools will help you get your work done more quickly, I would highly suggest taking the course, find the right marketing tools for your small business, just because it will save you so much time and money.
[00:49:46] And the pricing is really affordable so that people can, at least, even if it costs 20 bucks a month for whatever app you're looking at, if you realize it's a bad idea, the courses where that paid for itself. So I think that would be a good thing to do. And then definitely check out the time tracker top tracker checklist manifesto, some of these different tools that you can also be using just to squeeze out a little, a few more tasks out of every day.
[00:50:15] So what's your. What's your tweak of the week. Oh,
[00:50:21] Shelley Carney: can we have the
[00:50:22] Jen McFarland: week,
[00:50:27] Shelley Carney: let me see my tweak of the week. I figured out how to put my, a short 32nd video onto my LinkedIn profile, but there've been, they've been having some issues with it showing up or not showing up for people. That was a tweak that I can, I'm still working on because LinkedIn is having issues with it.
[00:50:49] So windows. Yeah, who knows it could
[00:50:53] Jen McFarland: be it's owned by Microsoft. That was a really nerdy joke. I apologize. That was next level
[00:51:00] Shelley Carney: nerdy. Yeah. But if you have any questions on how to add a 32nd video to your LinkedIn profile, I can walk you through that. But at this point in time, it's a little iffy on if it's going to work on LinkedIn or not.
[00:51:15] The other tweak of the week is the previews on the YouTube live events. So when we schedule a live event, a live video we scheduled this one, live, the women conquer businesses live every Thursday morning. And when I scheduled the event, it shows up on the YouTube channel and you can click on it and you can set a reminder.
[00:51:39] YouTube has also given us the ability to add a trailer so that if you were to go there and say, oh women conquer business Thursday, let me go look at the, and set myself a reminder. And then you look at it and a trailer will play in, it can talk and you can put whatever you want in that trailer. If you're just want to say maybe the opening for your podcast this is about such and and Jen and Shelley are going to be talking about blah, blah, blah.
[00:52:06] And we'll see you on Thursday, and then you can add that to your YouTube video for when your event is scheduled.
[00:52:15] Jen McFarland: So that sounds like so much fun. I'm going to have fun with that. I will do a preview for next week's show. Cool. We'll do that. Test it out. Yeah. I think that'd be fun.
[00:52:26] Shelley Carney: Those are great. Yeah. And it's. It's not hard. You could create a video in Canva or, if you have one of those simple editing programs, you can throw something together. It could be, it doesn't have to be anything fancy. It could be 10 seconds could be 30 seconds, whatever it is. Yes.
[00:52:43] You want to put up there might just be me. Yeah.
[00:52:48] Jen McFarland: I can just upload a video of me. So that's awesome. That's awesome. Any tweaks? I have been developing a website, so now I've been hyper-focused on that. I have no tweaks. Yeah, nothing. But you were on the podcast. I was on the launch with words podcast, with my friend, Bridget Willard.
[00:53:09] We talked all about how important it is to create content for your business and a lot of different tips and tricks. It was super fun. She is. Great person. And we'll definitely put the link in the chat for that. We launched it with words, she created a launch with words and she created a WordPress app.
[00:53:32] You're going to love this Shelley, this is great. This is up your alley. She created a WordPress app called launch with words that gives business owners monthly prompts so that they can get their blog going. And it's so great. And then she has like power packs, so that chambers of commerce construction, all different types of people, business owners have like very specific prompts for different types of businesses.
[00:53:59] And it's just such a wonderful tool. It defeats the, I don't have anything to write about that. People tend to say to web developers, people who are consultants like me, we hear it all the time. And so we talk on that show about how important content is and why you need to have it. And what are some of the things that you could be talking about?
[00:54:22] It was super fun. And I think I made a new friend, we had followed each other on Twitter for a couple of years and it was the first time I'd talked to her really as a person, like on zoom she's in San Antonio. And it was wonderful. We talked for much longer than the show. The show's 22 minutes and we talked for two hours.
[00:54:43] So we had a really good time and she's a really neat woman. So I would say definitely subscribe to that show. It's 20 minutes once a week, and you will learn so much about content and that's launched with words with Bridget Willard, and she brings a lot of cool people on. All right.
[00:54:59] Shelley Carney: Did I spell it right?
[00:55:00] Yep. That's with words easy. Okay. I think it's time for our inspiration.
[00:55:10] So I want to just share this with you guys. Jim Rohn's widely quoted line is you are the average of the five people you spend the most time. And Ghouta said, tell me with whom you consort. And I will tell you who you are. And he said, if I know how you spend your time, then I know what might become of you.
[00:55:33] So that's a good thing to keep in mind as we're thinking about productivity and what we're spending our time on and what will become of us because of the use of that time. And who are we spending time with and is that uplifting for us? And is it making us a better, stronger person? So just, it's a good thing to ask ourselves every now and then, am I happy with people in my life?
[00:55:59] Are they making me a better person? Am I setting a good example for the people in my life? Do they look to me? As an example of how to be, and is that what I want, do I want them to look at me and go, I want to do that. I want to be like you, or do you want to go, no, you don't want to be like me.
[00:56:22] Don't do this. So it's a good thing to ask ourselves every now and then when we're getting to productivity, am I spending my time on things that matter? And what's it going to turn me into when I spend like days doing these things? Yeah.
[00:56:39] Jen McFarland: I am grateful to spend time with you, Shelley, and I want to thank all of you who have listened.
[00:56:45] We've talked for a full hour. I think it's a new record. I want to thank you for spending your time with us and have a great week, everybody.
[00:56:53] Shelley Carney: Yeah, we'll see you next week. And thanks for calling. Thank you for joining the women conquer business podcast posted by Shelley Carney and Jen McFarland, please subscribe and leave a comment or question regarding your most challenging content creation or business problem.
[00:57:11] Then share this podcast with family and friends so they can find the support they need to expand their brand and share their message with the world. Check the show notes for links to valuable resources and come back again next week.
0:00 Music and Intro
1:07 Livecast Life Book, Windows Woes & Dragon Boat Practice
- Livecast Life on YouTube
- Images of Portland Rose Festival Dragon Boats
- Jen's new course! Find the Right Marketing Tools for Your Small Business
11:00 Twitter Launching Profile Shops
- Twitter Launches Live Test of New Profile Shops to Display Products In-App (Our take: if you have products and someone gives you space to do it, take advantage of it!)
15:17 How Productivity is Calculated
- No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant. - Warren Buffett
26:19 Business initiatives and Breaking Down Tasks
32:50 How to Conduct a Time Audit
- If you want to use a time tracker app, use TopTracker (free)
40:09 How We Prioritize Key Tasks
47:11 The "D" word: Discipline
50:27 LinkedIn Profile Video and YouTube Preview Trailer
52:48 Jen Guests on Launch With Words Podcast
- Jen had a fabulous interview on Bridget Willard's podcast, Launch with Words. Bridget is the creator of Launch with Words, a WordPress plugin that gives small business owners blog prompts. Jen talked about why it's important to take a stand and write about what matters to you (even if it's controversial)
55:10 What You Do With Your Time Matters
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Related Podcast Episodes
- Why is Productivity Important in Business?
- 4 Effective Time Management Strategies to Boost Productivity
- How to Be a Productive Leader
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