Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with with Dave Crenshaw (@DAveCrenshaw). Dave is the master of helping business owners’ triumph over chaos. As an author, speaker, and business coach, Dave has transformed thousands of businesses Worldwide. For more information on Dave, check out his website at DaveCrenshaw.com.
Q: WHY SHOULD ENTREPRENEURS LISTEN TO YOU? WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT THAN OTHER TIME MANAGEMENT EXPERTS?
A: I was diagnosed with off the charts ADHD. I know exactly how difficult it is to focus and stay productive. Most time management experts are inherently organized. I am more relatable to constantly distracted entrepreneurs. Most small business owners are behaving as if they have ADHD. I am in a unique position to be able to help more people.
Q: MANY ENTREPRENEURS THINK MULTITASKING SAVES TIME. WHY DO YOU SAY MULTITASKING IS A WASTE OF TIME?
A: The brain only handles one “attention-required” task at a time. Multi-tasking is only “switching rapidly between tasks.” Multitasking as “switchtasking” – rapidly switching between different attention-requiring tasks. You think you’re doing all of the tasks at once, but instead you’re paying lots of switching costs. “Switching cost” means that things take longer, you make more mistakes, and you increase your stress levels. It is always more effective to focus on one activity at a time.
Q: IF SWITCHTASKING AFFECTS THE BOTTOM LINE, HOW MUCH MONEY IS LOST DUE TO WORKPLACE INEFFICIENCY?
A: 25% (one week/month) is wasted. Not by social media or friendly chatting, but by purely by switching tasks throughout the day. If you have employees, this means that 25% of your payroll is wasted money, unless you get switchtasking under control.
Q: YOU SAY MULTITASKING IS NEITHER A REALITY NOR EFFICIENT. ARE THERE TIMES WHEN IT DOES WORK IN BUSINESS?
A: The problem is with the definition of multitasking. Really, you are either “Switchtasking” or “Background tasking”. Background tasking is when something mindless/automatic occurs in the background as you are focusing on something else “Background tasking” includes delegating tasks to others, checking email while a large job prints, and similar activities. Switchtasking is always inefficient; background tasking can be very efficient. Ask “Am I switch- or background-tasking”?
Q: HOW DOES USE OF TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL MEDIA TO PROMOTE A BUSINESS HURT ENTREPRENEURIAL PRODUCTIVITY?
A: The problem is our improper use of technology and social media. Most people use their phones and computers inefficiently. A simple example is receiving instant notifications anytime someone sends a text message or updates your social media. Technology and social media are only harmful when we let them constantly segment our attention throughout the day. If we can use them in a focused way, technology and tools such as social media can be very effective in a business.
Q: HOW ARE BUSINESSES SUPPOSED TO MANAGE TWITTER, LINKEDIN, FACEBOOK, ETC. AND STILL BE EFFICIENT?
A: First, set a schedule for when you will use social media. Doing it haphazardly is not going to be effective. Social media is like regular media. Use an editorial calendar – monthly, weekly, daily, or even an hourly for updates. Then you can use tools such as Hootsuite to schedule when these updates will be released to your audience. As the owner, it is wise to delegate the management of those tools and social media responses to employees or outlets.
Q: IF AN ENTREPRENEUR IS “BUSY” WHY DO YOU FEEL THAT’S NOT A BADGE OF HONOR, BUT AN ADMISSION OF FAILURE?
A: Defining your success as being busy means you may be getting a lot of activities done, but have you gone anywhere? If you meet two business owners, and each makes 6-figures, but one works 30 hours and the other 80, who is the success? Your goal should be to accomplish great results in the least amount of time possible. Busy does not equal success.
Q: IN YOUR ONLINE COURSE ON @LYNDA, YOU TALK ABOUT THE BANK OF TIME. WHAT DOES “BORROWING TIME” MEAN?
A: “Borrowing time” is stealing time from one essential activity to pay for another. Ex: I borrow from sleep to pay Netflix. When you borrow time, just like money, you must repay that time with interest. And time demands a brutal interest rate. So, an extra Netflix hour really costs 2+ hours: Tomorrow’s productivity suffers AND I still need to make up the sleep. A humorous example: If I borrow from a date with my wife to pay work, I will re-pay with interest for a good long time!
Q: IS IT ALSO POSSIBLE FOR BUSINESS OWNERS TO MAKE INVESTMENTS TO EARN MORE TIME?
A: Absolutely! There are many ways to spend a little bit of money to gain a lot of time. I call these “time assets.” Invest in a faster computer, noise-canceling headphones, a better Smartphone. Amazon Prime is a favorite for my business. Small improvements make a big difference. A 2% increase in productivity over time equals an extra workweek every month. I strongly encourage entrepreneurs to identify and invest in what I call “time assets.”
Q PRIORITIZATION IS A HUGE CHALLENGE IN OUR BUSY WORLD. HOW WOULD YOU SUGGEST ENTREPRENEURS DO THIS?
A: We all learned to prioritize what is urgent and important. That is no longer relevant. Interruptions are now the issue. 4 steps I recommend for prioritization:
1) What repetitive activities can I delegate so others will multiply my effort?
2) Am I holding up any process? Never be the bottleneck.
3) Can I create something that will work for me when I am sleeping?
4) What will make the most money per hour?
Q: MANY PEOPLE LIKE TO USE TO-DO LISTS TO ORGANIZE THEIR DAY. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THOSE?
A: To-do lists are an outdated method of getting things done. We are assaulted by too many different inputs at one time. Use your calendar instead. It is your time budget. Schedule everything and leave plenty of space between activities. When you do this, you confront what I call the truth of time; there are only 24 hours in a day; 60 minutes in an hour. Using a to-do list is essentially spending time on a credit card. You made a commitment but didn’t budget for it. Calendars are much more valuable and important than to-do list.
Q: YOU AND @lynda HAVE GENEROUSLY MADE YOUR TIME MANAGEMENT COURSE AVAILABLE FOR FREE. HOW DO PEOPLE GET ACCESS TO IT?
A: My Time Management Fundamentals takes people through the process that high-level business owners pay thousands to get. To get the free course, go to www.davecrenshaw.com/freetime. You’ll get unlimited access for a short time
If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter. Here’s how to participate in #SmallBizChat: http://bit.ly/1hZeIlz
For more tips on how to start or grow your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com.