Investing your time instead of spending your time.
Time. It’s the most elusive asset you have and yet few copywriters seem to be able to control it.
What do you do when you’ve run out of time? You can’t buy more. We’ve tried.
So, how do you choose what’s worthy of investing your time in and what’s not? How do you avoid the time traps that are laid all around us?
In this episode, we chat to the renown time master, Kate Christie about the biggest time pitfalls and how you can end the time race once and for all.
Tune in to learn:
- The difference between Time Investment and Time Management
- What the 4 cost lenses are
- What the SMART Time Investment framework is
- What Parkinson’s law is
- The framework for a once off piece of work
- The 3 biggest time challenges Kate Christie sees
- Top 3 tips for getting time back immediately
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Oh and big hugs to Catherine Sempill for a stellar review.
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Kate Christie, Founder & CEO of Time Stylers is a Time Investment Expert; International Speaker; and best selling Author. Kate consults to big and small business, government departments and C suite executives on maximising individual time spend and managing organisational drag through smart time investment strategies. She has appeared on television, radio and in print as a leading commentator on time management and maximising work/ life integration to ensure your success across work, family, community, and life.
With a reputation for helping her clients find 30 hours of lost time a month, Kate’s focus is to ensure you are left educated, entertained and with a lasting impact on the way you choose to live, work and play.
Connect with Kate
Kate Toon: Time, it’s the most elusive asset we have, and yet a few copywriters seem to be able to control it. What do you do when you run out of time? You can’t buy more, I’ve tried, and now I think I’ve scared the assistant at the grocery store.
How do we choose what’s worthy of investing our time in and what’s not? How do we avoid the time traps that are laid all around us?
In this episode, we’re chatting to the renowned master of time, Kate Christie about the biggest time pitfalls, and how you can end the time race, once and for all.
Hello, and welcome to the Hot Copy Podcast, a podcast for copywriters, all about … you guessed it, copywriting. My name is Kate Toon, I’m a copywriter, the founder of The Clever Copywriting School, an online hub for all things copywriting, with courses, jobs, a community and so much more. And with me is the delicious Belinda Weaver.
Belinda Weaver: Hi, my name is Belinda Weaver, I’m a copywriter, and my business is copywriter matters. That’s where you can find tonnes of content, coaching, and courses on all things copywriting.
Kate Toon: Hoo rah! And we also have with us Kate Christie. Hello Kate Christie?
Kate Christie: Hello ladies, how are you?
Kate Toon: It’s lovely to have you hear, she’s seen behind the scenes, and seen what utter buffoons both Belinda and I are, but she’s humouring us. So Kate, we … well I, we didn’t meet, we kind of met. I saw you, I think I touched your coat at the Flying Solo event, where you presented a fabulous presentation all about time management.
I made so many notes that I even turned it into a pretty organogram diagram, and shared it on Instagram. Which you may not remember, but I don’t do that for everyone, so you should have been very impressed.
Kate can you just tell us a little bit about you, who you are, what you do, and who you do it for?
Kate Christie: Okay, look, well thank you very, very much for having me and for that lovely introduction. I am a time management expert, I’m the mom of three teenagers, which in itself is a challenge.
I am the best selling author of a number of books. My new book is about to come out which is exciting, and we can talk about that later maybe. And I am very much focused on making sure that both men and women never feel that they have backed themselves into a corner where they basically have to choose between things they love doing [inaudible], through lack of time.
And I think that time is the one thing that we all have exactly the same amount of, no one can buy more or steal more or secure more. So if as a business owner, as a parent, as a productive member of society, if you’re able to invest your time wisely, then you’re actually going to sort of run the race faster and better than the people who don’t.
Kate Toon: I love that, and a couple of things to touch on there, does that kind of mean going around saying, “You have exactly as much time as Beyonce?” I don’t know why Beyonce is given as the example of the time master, but there you go.
But one of the phrases that you use a lot in your presentations and your books, is you talk about time investment rather than time management. Why that phrase, Why investment?
Kate Christie: Look, time management for me I think … and for a lot of people I’ve spoken to, just has such negative connotations. It’s this whole thing around, “Oh God, I need to manage my time better” or “I’m not managing my time well” or “I want to manage my day.”
It just has a negative connotation, because it’s almost like a task oriented, “I must do better.” I think if we flip it around and think of that time as something you need to invest, your time is like your money, your time is money.
And we consciously approach the growing of our wealth with an investment attitude. You’re going to put your money in the bank that has the highest interest rate. You’re going to borrow money for your mortgage at the lowest interest rate. You are going to …You set yourself financial goals, we all have financial budgets, and that they [inaudible] a positive discussion around investing your money for the greatest possible return.
That’s the way we have to start thinking about our time. It needs to be invested for the greatest possible return, not managed.
Belinda Weaver: Oh, I like that-
Kate Toon: I like that, because it’s our biggest asset. As you said, managing stuff just sounds, well frankly quite boring and horrible. So I love that approach.
I’ll passover to Belinda, because we’re going to talk about the way that you invest, so the cost lenses. Because Belinda didn’t see your presentation, she’s like, “What?”
Belinda Weaver: I want to find out. But I love … I think the idea with this time management is this idea of wrangling time as well. It’s something out of or control, and that we have this big problem getting it under control.
But I want to hear more about this cost lenses, so my notes here tell me that they’re four cost … is it cost lenses?
Kate Christie: Yes-
Kate Toon: [crosstalk]-
Belinda Weaver: I want to hear them. What are these things?
Kate Christie: I guess it is intrinsically lined up with this concept of investing your time. And one of the things I say is or I talk to people about is that for any given task you perform, you always want to ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my time?”
“Am I, Is this time investment I’m making right now the absolute best use of my time?” Because if it’s not, choose a different task.
Now one of the ways you can determine whether or not what you’re working on is the best use of your time is to look at that task through four different cost lenses.
The fist cost lens is financial cost. Your time is money, we all have … we can all allocate an hourly rate to ourselves. Whether or not you work in a business or if you’re a copywriter who’s charging by the hour or by the project, ultimately you can identify and allocate yourself an hourly rate.
And honestly, the higher the hourly rate, the better for the purposes of this exercise, because you are actually putting a fee on your time.
A good example of this is if your hourly rate is $50, so that’s what I’m going to charge my clients to produce this piece of work $50, and that’s the lens you should be looking through for all the tasks you perform.
If you’re putting together a piece of work for your clients, and you’re going to charge an hourly rate of $50, then if you’re spending an hour a day on Facebook, then you should be thinking about that as costing you $50.
And $50 times an hour a day across the year is $18,250 of your time. But is this the best use of my time?
Kate Toon: I remember during the presentation, the collective drawing in of breath once you gave that number out, because we all realised … especially now with our new apps that have a thing that tells us how much time we spend on social-
Kate Toon: It’s actually disgusting-
Kate Toon: And that one really shocked everyone, didn’t it?
Kate Christie: It does, and I think you can talk about the costs, but when you actually give people hard numbers, I think that’s when it resonates. The second cost lens is opportunity cost. Every time you perform a particular task, there’s something else you could be doing or a number of other things you could be doing.
Kate Christie: All right, so the second lens that I’d like you to think about is thinking about opportunity cost. Every time you perform a particular task, there’s always another task or multiple other tasks you could actually be performing. And if opportunity cost resonates with you, then the question is, well look, is this really the best use of my time, from an opportunity cost perspective?
If you’re choosing to spend an hour or two a day faffing around in admin, when you could be spending an hour or two in income generating, bottom line, revenue generating tasks for your business, then that’s your opportunity cost.
The third cost lens is emotional cost. “How I’m I going to feel about how I’ve been spending my time?” This one often sort of comes into play with your kids or with your family, particularly for women in business. It’s sort of like, if you’re distracted or you’re focusing on your business all the time, and you’re half focus on the kids, and you’re not having that conversation. And they’re just, okay, saying, “Mom you’re not even listening”, and then someone’s crying-
Kate Christie: And then you miss [crosstalk], because you’re at a meeting. And later on you turn around and you think, “God, I actually feel pretty shitty about how I spent my time.” So it’s an emotional cost.
Mine plays out on a Sunday mooring when I’m yelling at everyone to help me clean the house. “I’m not your slave”, and “For God sake, just clean up your floordrobes.” “This house isn’t a hotel.” And then my teenagers will manipulate that, and then they make me feel horrible afterwards, and that’s an emotional cost.
The final cost lens is physical cost, which is pretty much, any task you’re doing makes the pain, physical and mental pains or headaches, anxiety, stress, guilt, sore back from sitting in front of your computer all day, then that’s the physical cost.
The idea really is to think about which of those cost lenses really resonate with you, because they’ll be one or two that are more impactful for each of your listeners. That’s the cost lens they should seize on, so that when they’re performing a particular task, they can stress test it, and, “Is this actually the best use of my time?” If it’s not, then make another decision.
Kate Toon: I love that. So financial, cost opportunity cost, emotional cost, and physical cost. So those are the four cost lenses. The other thing you talked about at the event was the SMART time investment framework.
So really thinking about the greatest return on investment. How does that SMART time investment framework play out?
Kate Christie: So this is something that anybody can do, once you actually know and understand the frame, you can do it annually, it’s sort of a bit of annual detox.
SMART is an acronym, it’s five steps, the first step is self aware, the second step is map the third step is analyse, the fourth step’s reframe, and the fifth step is take control.
Just in summary, self aware, the process there is to understand exactly what is challenging you from a time investment perspective. So where do I keep tripping up? I’m I getting bulked down in emails? I’m I constantly procrastinating? I’m I allowing interruptions? I’m I distracted?
So getting an understanding what they are. But also then getting an understanding what your key values are, because your values are, sort of demonstrate, demonstrated through your behaviours during the day. And if you know exactly where you want to be spending your time, and what’s most important to you in terms of values, that makes it very easy for you to say yes and no to particular requests that come your way.
The second step is map, and that’s where you map a couple of days of your life, from the moment you get up to the moment you get to bed. It’s highly highly tedious, however the results or the data you get, the data set is amazing. Because you’re going to see things like how often you’re distracted, how often you’re multitasking, how often you’re in and out of your emails, who’s actually interrupting you, how often you’re interrupting yourself.
Over 40 percent of the times you are interrupted during the day are self generated. So you’re going to flush out that sort of data.
Step three, analyse, is basically you take all the tasks from your maps, and you categorise them either, as either a must, a want, something that you can delegate or outsource or in source, and something that you could reject. And that’s also when you cost your time, so we’ve talked about the cost lenses.
Step four, reframe is where you basically say, “These are the changes I’m going to make”, because we are all creatures of habit. I’ve now identified the sort of four or five really crazy habits that are costing me time.
And then step five, take control, is you’re actually, that’s the implementation step. You actually go out and make the changes.
Kate Toon: I love this, this is something we’ve talked a lot about on the podcast before. We’ve talked about using Toggl for our listeners who are listening, using Toggl to track your time, and look at all your task.
And yes it’s a laborious, and it gets really annoying. But one thing it really trains to do is to stop jumping from task to task as well. And this isn’t a question that we had, but something that I loved from your presentation was the whole notion that multitasking is a bit of a myth. There’s only a tiny percent of people who can actually genuinely multitask.
What we’re really doing is just doing a bad job of a lot of things at the same time. Do you want to expound on that a little bit?
Kate Christie: Yes. I think often as women we pride ourselves on being great at multitasking, and we’re actually shooting ourselves in the foot on this one. Ultimately the reason why people multitask is that they have a belief that the more tasks they have opened or managed the same time, the more they’re actually going to get through. And it’s the absolute opposite of that.
Multitasking is proven to reduce your productivity by 40 percent, which is the equivalent of losing a nights sleep. It’s the equivalent of [crosstalk] IQ points.
Now, an example of multitasking could be when you’re sitting at your desk trying to write, and you’ve got your computer open, and you’re doing your copywriting, and you’ve got your emails flashing in the top right hand corner of the screen, that’s multitasking.
Having your phone on the whole time, having it buzzing or on alert. Having a system where your staff or your family or your kids or whoever can just come in and interrupt you at any given time, they’re all examples of multitasking.
And it’s a killer, it’s an absolute killer. Imagine the productivity increase you would get if you were just able to single focus on one task at a time. To, and eschewing all distractions, your productivity goes through the roof.
Belinda Weaver: That’s something we talk about on the pod as well Kate, and I use the Pomodoro technic, which is setting a timer for 25 minutes, and just focusing on one thing. And we … I don’t know about you Kate, but I can’t do it all day, because I’m so damn productive that I’m just exhausted.
But I loved what you talked about then, is multitasking isn’t necessarily just … I would have thought multitasking is actively doing slots of different things. But I love this idea that multitasking is just notifications coming up. Anything that takes you away from that focus, is in that category of multitasking-
Kate Christie: Absolutely-
Belinda Weaver: Which I think is surprising a lot of people, that’s a big reframe for me right there.
Kate Christie: Think about it in terms of the devices or the multiple devices that you have. So it’s just not about your computer, the average smartphone user checks their phone 85 times a day. Now that is multitasking.
Kate Toon: That’s nothing compared to me, I think, that’s hardly anything. I can do that [crosstalk]-
Kate Toon: No I am. You know what I do which I always think it’s so smart of me, but it’s actually not is, because I’m uploading a lot of files and downloading, or waiting for things. I’m like, “In that couple of seconds while that’s uploading, could I open another tab and get the next task ready?”
But really sometimes I think I should just sit and wait for the 13 seconds it takes to upload, do you know what I mean? But I’m like, “No, no, no, no, that’s 13 seconds, I can use a lot in those 13 seconds.”
I think you can … It comes from a good place in trying to make the maximum use of my time, but also it frazzles you out. And just to sit and do the task, and do it all the way through, then start the next one, you’re saying that that’s a more productive approach. Is that right?
Kate Christie: Look, very much so, and just sort of picking up a bit on what Belinda said in terms of, it’s really hard to maintain through out the day, because you become exhausted. You need to think about your day as a series of short sprints, it’s not a marathon.
You need to sprint, and then rest, sprint and then rest, sprint and then rest. So you want to set your time up anywhere between 25 minutes and an hour depending on your personal capacity. When the timer goes off, you take a 10 to 15 minute break, get up and get completely away from what you’re doing. Because that will increase, it gives you a bit of a productivity boost, so around about 10 to 15 percent.
Now the other thing that you can do … and then you go into your next task, but the other thing I would say is that be very very conscious of your energy and your high periods of productivity during the day. Because you want to maximise those.
For example, if you are a morning person, then you want to batch or block time into your calendar for your hardest most impactful strategic task. So income generating, business winning, business planning, the really important stuff. You want to use your best brain for your best work.
Then what you do is if then you’re, typically if you’re really strong in the morning, you’re going to be weaker or tired or less energetic after lunch, in the afternoon, you don’t then power on through your really hard strategic tasks. Your brain needs to have a rest.
You then schedule or batch in time for the afternoon for your process driven mundane kind of work that you can do with your eyes closed. So billing, invoice processing, approvals, one on one meetings that don’t require your best brain. Because you can’t be 100 percent on during the day, you don’t want to do your best work when you’ve got a slow brain, because it’s going to take longer, it’s going to require rework, and the results are going to be substandard.
Equally you don’t want to do your mundane work at your best brain time. And always astounds me how many people, they’re morning people but they start the day by opening their emails, and that’s really just a list of everyone else’s priorities, that’s not a list of your priorities-
Belinda Weaver: That is such a good way of framing that as well. I remember you posted something about this recently Kate, where you said you don’t do any … You do all of your hard work before your check your email, and you only check your email … was it two times a day or three times a day?
Kate Toon: Two times a day, because I find as soon as I … I like to … it’s the whole, I think it’s eat the frog, but I like to call it lick the frog. I like to do my most revolting task first thing. And then after that’s done or I’ve done an hour worth of work, or I’ve done something that earns me money.” I usually try and do something [inaudible].
Then I open my inbox because then I go from creative and proactive mode. As soon as I open my inbox, I go into reactive mode, I’m actually responding to other people’s … And that can screw your whole day, all those things you have planned, are gone out the window.
And that leads as nicely into the next question, because I think this is one of the biggest challenges, don’t you Belinda?
Belinda Weaver: Is that, what do you think the biggest time challenges are? Because we’ve already mentioned a few like opening an email. But where do you think people really fall down?
Kate Christie: I think that, certainly starting your day on your emails is a messy one. You want to come into your day with a really good to do list that’s cross referenced against your calendar, so you know exactly what you’ve batched in for your high energy periods and for your low energy periods.
The worst thing you can then do is check your emails first, because your plan just went straight out the window. You are now marching into someone else’s beat.
So absolutely you don’t want to open your emails. My general rule of thumb is that unless you’re a first responder, so if you’re a fireman or a policeman or a paramedic, then yes absolutely, you want to be accessible. But if you’re not, then there’s no reason to be jumping straight into those emails.
Multitasking, we’ve already talked about is another big killer. I think also not prioritising income generating tasks. Often people will default to what’s easy, and will default to what you can … we often call quick wins. So I’m going to put in some quick wins, I’m going to clean out my inbox or I’m going to redesign this particular template, or I’m going to do a whole heap of admin.
And it has a temporary sense of satisfaction, because it’s a quick win. You’ve achieved something, but you’re not contributing to the bottom line of business-
Belinda Weaver: That’s right-
Kate Christie: And it’s pointless. I think the other thing, and then another … Look, I can sit here and give you a thousand, another key one is particularly if a lot of your listeners are small business owners, is not, is kind of trying to do everything and be a Jack of all trades. It’s very important to quickly identify what you’re really really good at, and really that is going to be … unless you’re in the wrong business, that’s going to be … what you’re really good at is the income generating [inaudible] parts for your business.
Identify what you’re great at, and quickly outsource and get rid of the things that you’re not really great at, but at times suck in.
If you’re a copywriter, then you’re not an IT person. So don’t spend two hours trying to solve an IT issue on your computer. It’s about quickly identifying what you can outsource.
Other big time wasters are understanding and identifying your rejects. For mine rejects fall into two categories, they are partial rejects, and total rejects. A total reject is basically any task that you perform which is an absolute waste of your time that nobody on earth needs to perform.
Now we all have those and it’s about identifying them and getting rid of them. A classic example, I had a client who, she was sea suite executive, made an absolute fortune, very very highly successful. Assured me that she had no rejects at all, and about five minutes in we identified she was ironing her bras and undies, okay-
Belinda Weaver: Who does that?
Kate Christie: That’s a total reject. No one needs to do that, I’m washing the sheets every day, I’m changing towels every day, ironing the sheets, ironing anything, they’re all total rejects-
Kate Toon: What, who are these people?
Belinda Weaver: What-
Kate Toon: I know right-
Kate Christie: But people [crosstalk]-
Kate Toon: They obviously haven’t met copywriters, we barely even bathe, let alone wash our towels-
Kate Toon: No, no, I was just going to say I think, I’m trying to think what my reject things area. I don’t know if I have any, I think I’m perfect. What are your reject things Belinda, what stupid things do you do?
Belinda Weaver: I was just looking at the state of my house, and this room going, there’s clearly not a lot of tidying that I could be doing. I recently got a cleaner with that kind of mindset of going, “I’m spending time that I want to be doing on something else, like having fun, having a life, dear God.”
So that was task that I’ve outsourced. Speaking of outsourcing, you talked about knowing what your best, what your, should be spending your time on. And I think we did an episode about getting a VA. In the early stages of your business, it can be kind of hard to outsource because you think “Oh, I can’t afford it yet.” But if everyone looked at their time through those cost lenses or through those four lenses, and you suddenly went, “Well, why I’m I spending an hour doing this document creation or this mail merge or all these admin tasks that a virtual assistant can do it for a lot less than a copywriter should be charging?” I think that’s a very valuable mindset-
Belinda Weaver: To get other people in your team.
Kate Christie: It is, and I think it’s about thinking well, rather than thinking, “Can I afford to do this yet?” I think the question is, “Can I afford not to?” Because ultimately your time is money, and the reason why you outsource, and the only tasks you’re ever going to outsource are tasks where someone else who is an expert can do it faster, better, and cheaper than you. And if anything falls into that category, are they faster, better and cheaper, then you should be outsourcing the task.
Belinda Weaver: I love that.
Kate Christie: Now, a classic one in terms of rejects if … Belinda if you’ve just got a cleaner is, the number one reject of all time is, do not clean before the cleaner comes.
Kate Toon: But who does that?
Belinda Weaver: I don’t clean for the cleaner, I tidy up for the cleaner [crosstalk]-
Kate Christie: Everyone says that, everyone says that. They’ve seen worse, trust me.
Belinda Weaver: It’s true. What’s your biggest challenge Kate would you say when it comes to these things?
Kate Toon: Time, I think I’m very much a Kate’s creature, so all the things that she’s saying, this is like music to my ears. Because that’s why I wanted to get you on the show. Because I’ve even found my original little diagram, that I’ve took, so I will share that as part of the show note.
Because this is way I preach to all of my people, I think the biggest challenge I see for copywriters is often the phone, so I see a lot of copywriters not putting their phone number on their website. Because they’re like, “People will call me, and I don’t want to be called all day.” And it’s like, “Just turn your phone off, and pick a slot in the day where you want to return calls, and manage that.” Also really limit the time, so my little trick always with my clients was to call them at 15 minutes to the hour, and be like, “Hey Bob, I’ve just got 15 minutes, before my next call to have this chat.”
And then you’re not rude, 15 minutes is enough time to talk about anything, nothing really needs to take longer than 15 minutes. And that was a really great way of me controlling my time, because I think a lot of copywriters become very uncomfortable because they have so much discussion time. And it’s why as well that Belinda and I always say in our process documents, in your proposal you should say specifically how much discussion time a client gets. Because talking can fill-
Kate Christie: That’s right-
Kate Toon: A whole day, do you agree with that Kate? Is that something that you find that really business owners struggle with, just getting involved in really lengthy conversations that just eat into their time?
Kate Christie: Yeah, absolutely. And look, I love what you say there about the, calling the clients when you’ve got about 15 minutes left. Everyone’s going to have lost pockets of time, and so one of the strategies that you can have is that when you find yourself with that 10 minutes to spare or 15 minutes to spare or a meeting finishes early or you finish a task earlier or a meeting is cancelled or you’re in the cab between appointments, have that list of numbers in your network, all that list of clients, and just work through that systematically.
“Hi Kate, I’ve been thinking of you, I found I had 10 minutes to spare, how have you been?” And it’s just a really great way of staying in with your network. To your question though around, do business owners just get caught in the chat, the chat, the chat. A very quick and easy tip to resolve that is to always have an agenda, even if it’s [inaudible] with a new client or an existing client. And it could be as simple as sending them some bullet points, “We’ve got a 15 minute chat, these are the three things we’re going to discuss.” Or, “We’ve got half an hour locked in, these are the two things we’re going to discuss.
Because there’s no reason to keep talking, it’s around communicating effectively so that you can then move on with the job. And so to start with, have a look at your meetings, and ask yourself this, “Would I be able to half the time of my meetings without compromising output?”
Kate Toon: Love that. I’ve got one another tip on that which is something that … was a entrepreneur called [Dale Bohrman], and whenever he wants to contact me about anything, he has a one way conversation with me, which sounds very odd.
What he does is he makes little sound files and emails them to me, and so I can pick those up whenever, I don’t have to schedule a call. So don’t be afraid of having one way conversations with your clients, like creating Loom videos or just recording a message saying, “I just want to update you on this.” So that they don’t get an opportunity to talk back, and you save a bit more time. That’s my little Toon tip.
Belinda what [inaudible] is time challenge? Because you’ve got a lot going on, you’ve got humans, and dogs, and a busy life. I know that you struggle to squeeze it all in, Kate can give you some advice. What’s your biggest challenge?
Belinda Weaver: Well my biggest challenge is the distractions. I had a … Monday is my only free kid day. I’ve got two very small children, so I’ve had to over the last couple of years, I’ve had to break up my workday into little five minute intervals.
I’m like, “Uh, they’re playing happily, I can quickly work now.” And that has had a really terrible impact on my focus, my ability to focus. Now I’m shifting into having longer periods of time, and today was a big writing day for me, and I didn’t get as much as I wanted done. And I know it was because I checked the email too much, and I got distracted [crosstalk]-
Kate Toon: And she posted on Facebook that she was going to do some work [crosstalk]-
Belinda Weaver: I know, “Here I am being really productive on Facebook [inaudible] gets done.” So I know distractions are my biggest things. I noticed some of the things I do is I have music on, I close some of the things down, but it’s that little kind of, “Oh, go on, Facebook [crosstalk] like you”, [crosstalk]-
Kate Christie: The sexy, [inaudible] the background.
Belinda Weaver: Yes [crosstalk]. And I know it’s terrible, and I know some things to break it, but I need to become better at it because I’ve got too much to do. And I’m feeling anxious about it now, because I didn’t invest in the right things today.
Kate Christie: Well I think that to start with, really explore that feeling of anxiety that you’ve got right now, and dive deep into it and remember how bad this feels. Because I want you to tap on that, into that and draw on that. So that next time when you find yourself chasing the butterflies and the shiny objects, remind yourself of the emotional cost. Think about that feeling of anxiety that you haven’t got through right now what you wanted to get through. Then tomorrow, [inaudible], “Hang on, if I’m going to spend five more minutes, 10 more minutes, 15 more minutes on Facebook, I’m going to feel that feeling of anxiety that’s an emotional cost. It’s not the best use of my time.”
Belinda Weaver: Well there’s a direct financial cost as well, because I’m-
Kate Christie: Of course-
Belinda Weaver: Booking in my youngest for an extra day of childcare to catch up on the things, and that’s going to cost me some money.
Kate Christie: It’s going to cost you money, and it’s going to cost you emotionally too. Because you’re going to get to the weekend and you’re going to think, “God if I’d been a little bit more focused and disciplined, I would have had that day with my child, and we would have gone to the park and had fun. And now I’m a shit mom and I’m guilty and I, [crosstalk]”-
Belinda Weaver: Stop Kate-
Kate Christie: I bet you know what, [crosstalk] ourselves-
Belinda Weaver: You make me want to cry-
Kate Toon: She wouldn’t have thought about it, she would have thought, “I could have put my kid in childcare, and gone to the movies.” That’s-
Kate Christie: Or the spar. But that’s the same thing, isn’t it? It’s about using your time well to so that when you’re having your down time you’re spending on the stuff that’s most important to you. And [inaudible] would be a massage, 100 percent of the time.
If I could put my 18 year old into daycare, I would. The other thing that I do, and I think would work well for you, and for your listeners, because you are so sort of computer based and computer driven. Get some poster notes, and just stick them around your computer, “Is this the best use of my time?” And have three or four of them stuck on your computer and on your desk. So that when you do find yourself kind of flirting with Instagram or getting-
Belinda Weaver: Facebook [crosstalk]-
Kate Christie: You’re on into Facebook, you’re going to have that visual reference there-
Belinda Weaver: [crosstalk]-
Kate Christie: Other visual cues, have a photo of your kids next to the computer, so that you look at them and think, “God if I spend these 15 minutes on Facebook, that’s 15 minutes” … Oh, look and Kate’s holding up hers-
Belinda Weaver: [crosstalk]-
Kate Toon: And I have my kid’s picture right here next to my desk, so it’s a very simple tactic.
Kate Christie: It’s just a visual reminder of where, your values, “Where would I rather be spending my time?”
Kate Toon: Now another thing that I loved that we’ve talked about again on the podcast, is Parkinson’s law. Something that a copywriter, many copywriters do is that they allow all the task to fill the time or alternatively, they wait until the last minute to do the same. What is it about humans that make us do that? Why is it that some of us only get productive and make good use of our time when we’re under a deadline pressure?
Kate Christie: It’s funny, there’s a fantastic TED Talk about this, about procrastination, and leaving things to the last minute. And I think, look, it is human nature to do that.
Now a lot of people will do it with the false belief or the explanation that, “I just work really well under pressure.” And it’s just baloney, if you pace yourself and [inaudible], and you lock in reasonable deadlines, then you’re going to work to them, which is going to free your time up to go win more business.
And bottom line, you want more business because you’re a business person. That’s why … Apart of the bit you love what you do, you actually want to make money from it. So-
Belinda Weaver: And for copywriters, it gives you more time for editing, because that is really where you should be spending a lot of time. And if you’re slamming up against deadlines all the time, you’re not leaving time to fine tune and edit everything as you should.
Kate Christie: And then you have to wonder about the quality of your output in the product, “I’m I delivering the best possible product? Based on the fact that I’ve stayed up all night to deliver this when I already had, I had a three week deadline and I let it blow out.”
The other thing with Parkinson’s law is that once you get kind of good at doing it, then what you can do then is leverage it. So think about and identify tasks that you commonly perform, and have a really good understanding of how those common routine tasks, how much time they take you, and then you’re going to leverage Parkinson’s law.
So you’re going to say to yourself, “Well, this particular type of task generally takes me an hour, and I will spend three hours a week doing this. From now on I’m going to challenge myself to complete that task in 45 minutes” or “I’m going to challenge myself to complete that task in 30 minutes.”
And you tighten the screws and you actually leverage Parkinson’s law so you’re even getting more time back.
Kate Toon: Excellent. I think we’ve already shared some amazing tips on how to kind of claw back our time. But if you … maybe we can all share some at the end … Belinda’s disappeared. Oh there she is, she just, Belinda just disappeared under her desk for two minutes. What are you doing?
Belinda Weaver: I’m dying slowly [crosstalk]-
Kate Toon: Okay, you’re [crosstalk], okay, I’ll ask it. So Kate, sorry, we’re so professional. What would be your big three tips? You’ve mentioned a few of them [inaudible], but leave us with three big tips that we can use to invest our time better as copywriters.
Kate Christie: Okay, so number one is a mindset shift, if nothing else, walk out of here thinking, “From now on, I’m going to invest my time, I’m not going to manage it.”
Number two is understand that you need to invest time to find your lost time, so you can’t just flick a switch or wave a wand here and start getting slates of time back. You actually have to focus on these stuff, get the strategies in place, put in a framework, make the rules for yourself, and then stick to them. Because you actually have to do the work to get the result from this.
The third big tip is remember that when it comes to investing your time, this is about making sure that you live a life that you absolutely love. If that doesn’t motivate you to look at your time differently, then nothing will. Because it’s all about just having your greatest possible life, and doing all the bits that you love. That’s the price, and it’s an awesome price.
Kate Toon: It really is and … I’m going to say resonate, forgive me, I did say resonate. That resonates with me so much, because over the last six months, I’ve done so much less in my business. I’ve invested my time in other things, and it’s amazed me how my business is just as good as it was.
And that the truth is when you’re a small business owner, when you’re a copywriter, you can fill every inch of your day with tasks. It will just expands to fill whatever time you give it, and unless you have those boundaries, it’s really impossible.
One other tip which you haven’t given really is my favourite tip from your speech, I’m going to give it anyway. Is I love the way that you said with your to do lists, that you actually put, instead of just having a task, you have the tasks plus the time you’re going to give it.
And that’s something that I know that I do try and use the Pomodoro method. But when I’m doing my to do list, I literally have quick look at it and go, “How much time is that going to take?” And often that makes me redo my to do list, because I’ve just overestimated how much I’m going to fit in today, and I never was going to get it all done. I was going to feel disappointed in myself, and then fell on the back foot.
But when I break it down into half hour chunks, “I can only do this much, that has to wait until tomorrow.” And it really helps me prioritise. “Well I can only get three things done today, which three things I’m I going to do? The rest have to wait.” I love that, that’s Kate’s tip, but I’ve just delivered it on her behalf. [crosstalk] useful method?
Belinda Weaver: That’s where I kind of went wrong tody as well. Because that is something I usually do. Because I have very small windows, so it’s very easy for me to say, “Well, today I only have 45 minutes, and so I can only get this much done.”
But I fall into a bit of a trap when I have more time … like my Mondays when the kid’s in childcare, then I’m not under such tight pressure, and it’s just kind of finding that balancing act.
Kate Christie: It’s bringing the discipline to the Mondays that you show on the days where you kind of got your 45 minutes. It’s about bringing that same level of discipline through those other days.
Kate Toon: I don’t know if it’s a battle we ever win. Does anyone ever get to the point where they’re just supreme time beings? Belinda’s very into Doctor Who, so she would love to have her own time machine.
But do you know [inaudible] you’ve really managed to turn around? Because it sounds wonderful but it, I’m 10 years in and I’m still not mastered all of these things. Is it [crosstalk] a constant effort?
Kate Christie: [crosstalk]. Look at it, it’s I think once you get the basics right, and you start seeing the time come back in, it becomes quite addictive to be honest. There’s always going to be new strategies, there’s always going to be things that resonate with you. Once you start finding time and being able to leverage it for your business, and for your personal life, it’s fun, it’s awesome.
I’ve certainly, I wouldn’t be in business if didn’t work I guess, I know a lot of [inaudible] owners who have turned this around, once they start focusing their time and controlling their time. Then absolutely this stuff works, yes you can find slates and slates of time.
I’ve never not found someone 30 hours of time a month. And that’s … I guarantee that, so it’s great, I love it, and-
Kate Toon: Beautiful thing, I think it’s the discipline and for me, people often say, “God how do you produce so much stuff?” It literally is the discipline, it’s all the tips that you’ve mentioned. But I’ve got a few new ones as well, and just sticking at it, and being consistent. Not getting distracted, and only looking at Facebook once every five or six minutes, it’s fine [crosstalk].
Anyway Kate, to finish up, where can we find out more about you? You mentioned your book, feel free to give it a plug. Where can we find out more about you?
Kate Christie: My website’s called timestylers, www.timestylers.com. My new book is called SMART Time Investment For Business, 128 Ways The Best In Time Use Their business. It-
Kate Toon: That’s sounds good-
Kate Christie: Has 128 strategies in there, and I’ve interviewed some amazing business people from around the world who talk about their time and their challenges.
So yes, look me up, and more than happy to chat with your listeners as well if they have any questions.
Kate Toon: Fantastic, well we’ll include links to all of those websites, and books, and your Instagram, and all the other things in the show notes for this episode. Kate thank you ever so much for your time.
Kate Christie: Absolute, absolute pleasure, thank you.
Kate Toon: I hope you feel it was a good investment. [inaudible]. That was a beautiful outro Belinda, you have to be proud of me there, wasn’t even scripted.
Belinda Weaver: Absolutely Kate.
Kate Toon: Here we go, well our regular listeners will know better this time, we read out a review of the show. And today we’re giving a shout out to [Catherine Senfield], who says, “Kate and Belinda host an entertaining practical non intimidating pod. The advice is maga doable, I always feel motivated by the end of it, I especially love the freelance business tips, thanks.” Catherine’s going to be happy with this episode.
Thanks to you for listening. If you like the show, don’t forget to take the time to leave a rating and review on iTunes or Stitcher or whatever you heard this pod. Your review will help others find us and we’ll give you a shout out on the show. You can also head to hotcopypodcast.com and leave your comments on the blog post for this episode. Thanks again Kate and Belinda.
Belinda Weaver: Thank you Kate and Kate.
Kate Toon: All the Kates. Until next time, happy writing.