with Kate Christie

Hey Kate, how are you?

I am terrific thank you very much.

For the listeners I am with Kate-Christie from Time Stylers and we are going to spend a few minutes talking a little it about productivity and time management. Thanks for taking the time Kate.

No, absolute pleasure Hunter.

Would you like to tell the listeners a little bit about your background and yourself and what your passions are in life?

Sure, absolutely so I am a mum to three active teenagers. I am a business women, I run two businesses. My background was a corporate lawyer and then as a senior executive working in an operations role, so I guess I have done it all form a professional prospective. I made the transition form corporate into my business about 6 or 7 years ago and I definitely haven’t looked back since then.

Tell the listeners a little bit bout your business and what you do?

My business is called time stylers and I work with highly motivated engaged individual and teams, high performing teams who help take them to the next level because they are often operating at a really high level but they want to take them further. They know that what is general holding them back is often their management of their time or their management of control over their day, their ability to filter what is critical versus what is just noise and so my role is just to help those high performers cut through the noise to focus on what they can control, and really just to take their success across their whole life to the next level. It is not just about their working life but it is making sure they spend all of their time doing the things that they love, be that when they are at working, when they are at home, their involvement with the community. Work life balance a little bit of a misnomer in my view and it is about integration and it is about making sure that all of your things, all of your passions, all of the areas you want to be spending time on that you actually make time to that.

it is funny, even the word time management sometimes feels like a bit of a misnomer to me and somebody asked me the other day ‘what do you deem as being successful?’ and I said ‘really success or chasing down a dream 30 years in the future isn’t for me. It is more about just being able to do the things I want to do at the time I want to do them.’ That is sort of the definition of success and happiness for me. I can see what would attract people to that whole of life approach to it.

Yes, I think so too and I’d definitely agree with you the time management is the wrong way for people to consider their use of time and really it is just label that we use because it is easily identifiable in terms of what you are then talking about. Let’s call time management but what really what it is, it is about time investment and it is about knowing where you want to invest your time. Much in the same way as we are very careful with our money, we are careful with our business budgets, we are careful with our corporate budgets, you have to jump through any number of hoops to get approval to spend money and yet there are no approvals in play in terms of how you spend your time and you should think about your time the exactly same way as you think about your money and you should be investing your time wisely.

Great point, as you know Silver & Wise aims to change the lives of people over the age of 40 who want to start their first business. They might have been in corporate quite a bit of their lives and now they are going to go out on their own and certainly one of the things I would like to go and advise them on and obviously talking to you is a key part of that, is how when you start a business you can start on the right foot. Many small businesses do get in this issue, particularly time management because they are the only person doing everything, but they also absorb themselves in to their business and also the balance of outside of work things can suffer as well.

Absolutely, so true. I guess the first thing I would say to your listeners and to those who are contemplating that move from corporate into their own business. Absolutely back yourself, go for it. There is nothing holding you back and it is often people who are 40 and over who have the fantastic intellectual property, they have been there they have done it, they are an expert in that area, they have got great networks, they have got incredible contacts, they have got knowledge and there nothing to hold them back and yet fear does. Fear of the unknown or removing yourself from some respect from the ‘comfort of a corporate environment’ and get I would really encourage people to take that plunge. If you are passionate about your product or your service and it is solving a need, if it is solving a problem that customers have then there is nothing at all to hold you back and I would just encourage more people to go for it.

Let’s talk a little bit about the people you talk to. What are some of things they do run in to? And the challenges they have with their time? What are they saying to you about the specific challenges they have?

I think from a small business perspective in particular you really hit the nail on the head when you talk about the concept of the individual operator being the jack of all trades. They have a great product or a greats service idea and then they go into business and they are wearing multiple hats. That really mean that they are very much spreading themselves very thin. I guess from my prospective I would encourage that at least in the short term. I would encourage that they, wear all of that hats because they need to have a full understanding of what their business entails, but at the same time whilst they are doing that they need to have an eye of ‘what am I best at?’ ‘What I am most passionate about?’ and ‘that is ultimately want to be spending majority of my time.’ What am I not as good at? That I could easily get someone else to do for me’ or ‘What are the tasks that I don’t enjoy or someone else that is better can do them faster and cheaper than myself?’ When you get to that point of deciding to, I guess work out which task you do and don’t want to do, or can and can’t do. The first thing is to make that list and then identify the sort of person/people or people you need with the skill set to take those task off your hands. That doesn’t need to be a full-time employee. That can be that you bring in a consultant on a short-term basis, or you bring some casual help, or you bring in some freelancers, or you delegate some of those tasks off shore. There is many ways to skin a cat. It really is about identifying the tasks that are not the best use of your time and focus on those tasks that are the best use of your time and thing back to that concept of investment, ‘Where should I be investing my time to grow the business? What tasks can I let go of? Or have someone else do? So I can focus my time on the best stuff. That is the first thing I would say. The second thing is, often really busy people don’t actually know where their time goes. Ask a busy person what they have done all day and they will give you and overview but it is often the little filler tasks, or the little interruptions, or the phone call you forget that you spent 10 minutes on. You multiply that across the day and it actually takes up a lot of your time, so the best way to control that and get a very good overview of where your time goes is to do a personal time audit and carry around with a time sheet for a day or two. Just jot down real time everything you are doing, jot down every interruption, every phone call, if you are jumping in and out of emails, every time a supplier arrives and knocks on the door, whatever the case may be. You really want to record everything. Now, look don’t get me wrong that is absolutely tedious and everyone I work with they hate it when I make them do it, but the data they collect at the end of that period of time is invaluable because it helps them again identify where they should be spending their time, where they shouldn’t be spending their time. It helps them think about managing their time differently or investing their time differently. An example of that would be, if they find in doing their audit throughout the day perhaps they are in and out of their email constantly or their calling out to suppliers and making phone calls sporadically throughout the day. It allows them to modify their behaviours, for example they might say ‘I am just going to check my email three times days at 10:00, 2:00 and 4:00 and between times I am closing my emails and that allows me to get on with my job.’ Or ‘I am going to batch all of my supplier calls at 2:00pm each day and I will get 10 calls done in the hour, as appose to making 10 calls across the day and that is going to save me time’. There is lots of little bits of data and strategies that will help them when it comes to managing their time by just getting a really good understanding of where their time currently goes.

Such good advice Kate, so many things you said in there ring true and in certain occasions we have done that with our team. When I had a number of staff we ran a program of 2 or 3 months where they collected all their time which enabled us to completely change how we organised all of our team’s times so I certainly get there and how it would work with a sole trader.

Yes, absolutely. The other thing it does by having a map like that is that it allows you to identify things like time wasters or people that are constantly interrupting you or pulling you away from tasks you want to be doing and that allows you to have a polite but firm conversation with some of those people. The other thing is does is it gives you a sense of whether or not, how much you are juggling at the same time. It is a bit of a misnomer, a lot of people think that multitasking is a good skill to have and something they should do because it gives you a sense of getting through more in a shorter space of time, but it is the exact opposite. Multitaskers are so rare that there is only 2% of the population, the world’s population who can actually multitask and they are so rare they are called supertaskers, so the rest of us, the mere mortals amongst us, the only solution is to single task. You don’t want to be juggling two things or more at once because your productivity goes down by 40% the minute you start trying to concentrate on more than one thing at a time. Just lots of little tips and strategies that allow people to invest their time differently and be very, very conscious that they are using all of their time well.

I also love the thing you talk about getting people to do things that perhaps you are not the best at and you struggle through and take longer to do it, where it would have been better for you and more efficient for you to pay someone that was really and expert or able to do that quickly and knock it off.

Absolutely, it is no different to engaging a cleaner to clean your house. If your time is worth $50 an hour and your spending 4 hours on a Sunday cleaning your house. That is $200 clean. Nobody in their right mind is going to pay you $200 to clean a house and yet you can get a cleaner for $20 to $25 an hour, and because they are an expert they will do it in 3 hours and not 4. That has just cost you $75 and you have just bought back 4 hours of your own time, it is no different in a work context. You don’t have to be an expert at everything, you don’t have to be the person who learns all the IT, or learns the new software, or learns the technology, or learns how to be the perfect person at integrating the phone system, you don’t have to be good at everything. Outsource those things, it really doesn’t matter if you are not across it all.

I am laughing because I have tried all of those things myself.

And look we do, when you start a business and you are wearing all those hats you do kind of fall in to a default where you think ‘I need to know this’ or ‘I need to do this or ‘I will just do it myself. It will be quicker’. We both know Hunter it is never ever quicker.

No, I found that out.

I think a really great way to overcome that concept is to place a dollar value on your time and it can be an arbitrary figure, it doesn’t matter. If you decide ‘I am worth $100 an hour?’ or ‘I am worth $200 an hour?’. That gives you I guess a benchmark against which to test all of the chores, or duties, or tasks you are contemplating doing in your business and you can say to yourself ‘ok, at my hourly rate is it really worth me spending $200 to spend an hour getting this thing set up? Or shall I outsource it? Should I air task it? You I bring in a consultant who I pay x dollars and they will get it done faster?’. If money doesn’t resonate with you and financial costs doesn’t resonate, then your listeners can think about it from the prospective of opportunity cost, ‘If I spend 4 hours setting up this new computer software program, what is my trade off? What have I just lost?’ and that could have been 4 hours meeting with new clients for the business, new marketing campaign up and running, productising all elements of the business, that is the opportunity costs. If the financial costs resonate with you then think about your time in terms of money, if the opportunity costs resonate with you then think about the trade-offs. If the trade-off isn’t worth it then make a different choice.

Kate, just to finish off. If somebody wanted to get some further advice from you or work with you how do they find out about you? Do you have a book? Or resources they can access?

Yes, absolutely. My website is timestylers.com and there is a number of free resources on the website including videos. I also have two books, my first is called “me time” and that is available on my website and Amazon. My second book is called “smart time management for doctors” and that is also available on my website or Amazon. If people are interested in working with me on a one on one sense then they can just reach out to me via the website. I also do a lot of speaking engagements, team workshops, consulting in to businesses in terms of setting up the basics and the processes, streamlining, systemising the business so the business owner can get on doing what they are best at which is actually getting out there and selling their products and services.

Thank you, Kate-Christie from Time Stylers for your time and I am sure the listeners are going to get huge amount out of it and I look forward to working with you in the future.

Thank you for having me Hunter.

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Passionate about writing, business, cooking, photography, music. Aiming to be a renaissance guy.