How to free up 1 day per week Transcript

Greg Wilkes (00:01):

The construction industry can be a tough business to crack from cash flow problems. Struggling to find skilled labor and not making enough money for your efforts leaves many business owners feeling frustrated and burnt out. But when you get the business strategy right, it’s an industry that can be highly satisfying and financially rewarding. I’m here to give you the resources to be able to create a construction business that gives you more time, more freedom, and more money. This is the Develop Your Construction Business podcast, and I’m your host, Greg Wilkes.

Greg Wilkes (00:39):

So, welcome back to the podcast. Great to have you here today. I know for the last few months, I’ve had a lot of guests on the show, which has been absolutely fantastic. Some experts in their field have given you their advice and strategies on how to grow your business, and there’s been lots of stuff that we’ve covered over the last few months. But what I wanted to do is just mix it up over the next few podcasts. Unfortunately, you’re just going to be hearing me drone on for a bit, and we’re going to be looking at some real deep dives into some strategies on how you can achieve more time, freedom, and money in your business. It’s absolutely crucial that we do that. We’ve built a business. We initially set out to start a business to grow freedom for ourselves, to grow financial freedom, and to have the freedom to do what we want to do in life and more time.

But often, we find that when we actually get into the reality of running a business, it can be far from that. Sometimes we can feel like we’re a little bit of a slave to our companies, we have no time for ourselves, and it can lead to real frustration, resentment, and that can go on and affect our relationships. Affect our relationships with our work colleagues or our family. And we don’t want to be looking back in regret, do we? So, what we’re going to discuss today is a subject that’s close to my heart, and that’s what I call the handoff. How do we handoff mundane tasks that you shouldn’t be doing in your business? And really, the aim of this podcast is to try and get you to free up at least one day a week, where you can spend some time on yourself and what you really want to do.

And that’s absolutely vital, isn’t it? Because most of you listen to this, are trying to scale your businesses. You want to grow, you want to be successful. But, obviously in order to grow, it feels like you’ve got to put more time in to do that. It feels like you’ve got to put more effort in. Now, I know some might already be working eight to 12 hours a day, maybe more sometimes on the weekends. And then you think, well, how am I going to double the size of my business? How can I physically enable that to happen if I’m already working 60 hours a week? So, as I’ve said, what we really want to achieve in business in order to be successful is to create time, freedom, and money. And in that order, time, freedom, and money, I believe it should be that order. And what we’re going to focus on today is time and freedom.

A little bit of freedom to do what you want to do, but mainly time today. So how do we get you hours and hours back every week so that you can focus on the jobs that you love, which is ultimately the freedom that you want to? So, we’re going to look at your role in the business and seeing how we can get you doing nothing but the most important tasks. Now, you might ask, why is it so important to free up your time? Why should I be focusing on that and freeing up a day a week? Well, I believe if you’re not having time to do what you really want to do in life and you haven’t got time to refresh and recharge, what you’ll find is you’ll be constantly stressed. You may even hate your job. Two, if you haven’t got time and you’re constantly flat out, you may end up missing important things and making mistakes, which will cost you money because you’ve got so much going on.

Your team might find you distant, they can’t approach you or talk to you. And then it goes on to affect your family life, time with the wife or partner, time with your kids. That may be neglected because you’re just working all the time, and they may come to resent that. Or another thing that can happen is actually your business might not be growing, even though you’re putting all the hours in under the sun to try and get this business to grow, it may not grow because you are the bottleneck of the business. Just think about that. You could be the actual bottleneck because you are trying to do everything within the business. You can’t get everything done, so you become the bottleneck because you’re not leveraging other people’s time. So there could be some of the frustrations on if we don’t have any time in life and in business, no doubt you’ll probably experiencing some of those things.

So what do we really want? How do we want our business to be running? Well, we want to work on the things we really enjoy, don’t we? If we could do that, that’s real freedom in business, isn’t it? If we’re actually enjoying our job and we want to pass off all those mundane, those rubbish jobs that we don’t really want to be doing, we want to pass them off, we want to delegate those to someone else so that we can focus on the high-level things, the things of real important. And when you are able to take a day off too, one of the things you really want is you want your phone not to be ringing constantly. You want to really know that the business is being looked after the way it should be. People that you have delegated to are dealing with things exactly as they should be, and that’s how we want our business to run.

I think we all want that, but some of the mistakes people make with this in not being able to hand things off is that they feel that they can’t pass jobs over to other people. They can’t delegate because no one will do it as good as you. And that’s often true sometimes, but you might feel no one’s going to do it as good as me, so I’m just going to do it myself. Or maybe one of the other mistakes we make is we think, well, to train someone up to do this, it’s going to take ages to show someone how to do it. Do you know what? It’s just quicker. Let me just get it done myself. I can’t be bothered to train someone up. So that’s a big mistake too. And the other mistake that’s really common is people think that just because they’re busy, they’re being productive in life.

So just let that sink in. Just because you’re busy, doesn’t mean you’re being productive. In fact, it’s probably further from the truth. So what we want to do is learn a strategy in how to hand off tasks. And this is why I call this podcast the handoff. We want to be able to hand off tasks, release control of something that we don’t want to be doing, a mundane task that we shouldn’t be doing, and then we want to allow someone else to run with it. Just like in a relay race, when we watch people in a relay, they’re putting maximum effort in and they get tired. Don’t they get tired? If you are running a relay, by the time you’re getting to the end of your segment, you’re tired now and you’ve got to hand that pattern off to someone else so they can run with it.

So we want to do the same with you. We want to hand things off. So we might ask them, well, what should I hand off? What sort of tasks should be given to other people? And that’s a great question because when you actually analyze your time and analyze your business, there will be a ton of tasks. There’ll be so many things that could be handed off to others. There’ll be things that you’re doing that may take 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or 15 minutes every day that you are doing that anyone could do, or someone else could do for you. And those 5, 10, 15-minute things, sometimes they don’t take long enough for us to feel that we should hand them off. We think it’s such a quick task. Let me just do it myself. But those tasks add up, those 15-minute tasks, all those things we’re doing, they start to add up.

And before you know it, you’ve lost half a day, and you think, what have I actually done? What have I achieved today? So what I would do, what I’d encourage you to just do now, is get yourself a pen and paper or write down on your phone in your notes. We’re just going to generate a list of tasks that you feel you shouldn’t be doing. Now the way we do that, the easiest way to work out tasks you shouldn’t be doing is by working out the value of those tasks. So you are going to get some tasks that I’ll call 10 pounds an hour tasks that you could get anyone to do, any admin person could do. You might get some 25 pounds an hour tasks that maybe are a little bit more skilled that you might want a site foreman to do, or a project manager or someone who’s a bit more skilled in your team.

And then they’re going to be tasks that are 50 or 75 pounds an hour, that are tasks that you should really be doing. So, let’s just get a row up. If you just get in your notes column or on a pen and paper, just list three columns. So we’re going to have our 10 pounds an hour tasks, our 25 pounds an hour tasks. And for the purpose of this exercise, we’ll call it our 50-pound plus tasks. Now, some of you, if you want to earn big money, you might be wanting to earn 250,000 pounds a year. You shouldn’t even be doing 50 pounds an hour tasks. If you divide it down, you’re probably up at a level of 90 or a hundred pounds an hour, the things you should be focusing on. But just for this exercise, let’s split it into 10, 25, and 50 pounds an hour columns.

Now first of all, think about some of the tasks that you are doing every day and start listing them out into these columns. So you might want to pause it as you do this, but just start listing things out and where you feel they sit. So you might say, right, answering emails, that’s a 10 pounds an hour task. Answering the phone is a 10-pound-a-hour task. Let’s listen more basic 10 pounds an hour tasks. Maybe it’s doing the payroll invoicing. So, as you’re thinking about this, you can start being creative and thinking, what am I doing that’s really meaningless and that I shouldn’t really be doing in business? So you’ll get a massive list of 10 pounds an hour tasks, things that you’re doing in your everyday job that you think, do you know what? I really don’t want to be doing this data entry, all things like that.

You think this is nonsense, I shouldn’t be doing this. And then we just want to shift over and come onto your 25 pounds an hour column and just think about this section. Now, this might be a little bit more difficult because you need to find someone in business that can do this, and it might be a little bit more skilled, something that an admin person might not be able to do. So, on this column you might be thinking of things like ordering materials that potentially that could be a 25 pounds an hour task. Delivering materials, I’d say would probably drop in the 10 pounds an hour task column. And things like social media, stuff like that, that content that would drop in the lower column, but 25 pound an hour stuff might be, yes, ordering materials. It might be organizing the schedule for the workers. It might be writing up meeting minutes.

It might be valuations on projects before you start invoicing. So as you start thinking of this, just pause this for a second, and then all of a sudden you’ll come up with a huge list of 25 pound hour tasks that you are currently doing. You think, do I really need to be doing this in life? And then we want to move on to the 50 pounds an hour column. Now, this is stuff that you don’t really want to hand off, and as we said, some of you might be working at a hundred pound an hour columns, but these are things that you can’t really hand off to anyone else that this is your creative genius. Things that you need to be doing where you really offer value in business. So this might be meeting with clients once a week just to make sure that the projects are going okay.

This might be pricing up work in the sense of actually meeting clients and doing the sales pricing. I don’t actually mean pricing work. I believe pricing work, as in tallying up the cost of a project, would actually fall into the 25 pounds an hour column. So sales might be a 50 pounds an hour task for you. You feel that’s valuable, having appraisals with your team would be a higher value task, interviews, things like that, business strategy. So again, we want to generate a huge list of 50 pounds an hour tasks, which is where we should be sitting tasks that we don’t want to hand off to anyone else, or we just feel that no one else should be doing that, but the business owner. So you want to write all those down too. Now, once you’ve done this, you’ve got your 10 pounds an hour column, your 25 pounds an hour column, and your 50 pounds an hour column.

And if you’re just listening to this, I really encourage you just to stop and do it because sometimes we can just listen to podcasts and think, I’ll do that later. But when we actually do it, it really can let light bulbs go off in our heads. We can do this and think, oh wow, I can’t believe how many mundane tasks I’m actually doing in life. And it is a really valuable exercise to do. So once you’ve done this, what we then want to do is work out how many hours that all comes up to. So you might be adding that up, and you might think, yes, I spend probably two hours a day on my emails. I might be spending doing the invoicing, the stuff on Xero or QuickBooks. I might be spending two hours a day on that. And then you might move on to the 25 pounds an hour tasks and think, yes, I’m ordering materials that probably takes me an hour a day.

And then you might move on to your 50 pounds an hour tasks and think, yes, I’m probably spending two hours a day meeting clients wherever it’s going to be and onto sales and things like that. So, just start assigning them values. And then we just want to add all those things up. So you’re going to add the values up in each column and add them up to a total. So you’re going to get a total of hours for the week. Now, we’ve just done this quickly, so it may not add up to your typical week. You’re going to have some wastage there aren’t you and buffer periods where you’re not being productive. But generally speaking, it’s going to give you a bit of an idea on where you are sitting in your week. Now, what you’ll find most interesting when you look at this column, and this seems to happen every single time, is that your 10 pounds an hour column and your 25 pounds an hour column will probably have a lot more in them than your 50 pounds an hour column.

That seems to ring true every single time we do this exercise with people. That always seems to happen that your time is filled doing things that you shouldn’t be doing. We want to look at that and think, well, this is an ideal opportunity to create some time for myself. Let’s just start with a 10 pounds an hour column. First of all, let’s imagine you’ve added that up and you think, do you know what I’m spending half of my day doing 10 pounds an hour tasks? Now, it’s really important to let that sink in to what that potentially means for your business income because if you are spending half your time doing 10 pounds an hour tasks, let’s say the average person, they’re working 40 hours a week. So if you’re spending 20 hours a week doing 10 pounds an hour tasks, what you’ve really generated for yourself, we just do 20 times 10, we’ve generated 200 pounds worth of income in that week.

If we times that by 52, we’ve earned ourselves a year, we’ve earned ourselves 10,000 pounds by doing those mundane tasks. Now, if you are aiming for 150,000, 200,000 pounds a year income, how are you ever going to achieve that if half your time is only spent earning 10,000 pounds? So we just want to have a little bit of a reality check that if you want to be doing 150,000 pounds tasks, if you want to be earning 150,000 pounds a year, and you want to be working 40 hours a week, for example, just quickly on the calculator, that’s 72 pounds an hour you need to be generating. So you can’t be doing these 10 pounds an hour tasks. We’ve got to go and hand these off. So let’s imagine you are looking at your column and you think, right, I’m spending 20 hours a week doing 10 pounds an hour stuff.

What would you do with that extra 20 hours? Let’s imagine you saved yourself 20 hours a week. What would you do with that time? Yes, that’s more than a day a week. You would go and play golf, drop the kids to school, go and have lunch with your partner, take up a hobby, whatever it is that you want to do in life, incredible stuff that you could be doing if you had that sort of time. And this is why I want you to really pay attention to this podcast and do something about it because the more time you can create for yourself, that’s when your creative energy gets flowing, doesn’t it? And you can think it might be another business venture you want to take on, investments, or it might just be time for yourself to recharge and regenerate, which is just as important to be able to perform in business.

So now that you’ve got your tasks, you might be looking at that and thinking, well, that’s great, but how do I hand this off? Who am I going to find to go and do this, and how am I going to hand these tasks off? Well, the first thing we want to think about is who can you go and find to do this? So you may be able to go and find a virtual agency that could take tasks on for you. You’re probably not going to get a virtual agent realistically for 10 pounds an hour, but they would take these tasks off for you. Again, if you’re sitting in the 50 to 75 pound-an-hour range, then if you’re paying a VA 15 or 20 quid an hour, then it is still a no-brainer, isn’t it? But then we want to think, well, there might be someone who wants to work part time, or you can put a little post out on Facebook.

There’s always someone out there that wants this sort of work. So you can go and find someone, but then we think, well, alright, that’s great. I’ve identified the tasks, and I’ve potentially got someone to do it, but what a lot of agros to try and train them and hand these tasks off. It’s just such a mission, it’s just so much quicker for me to do them myself. And that may be true, you may get things done quicker because you know how to do them. But again, just think about the logic in this. If you are doing 10 pounds an hour tasks, and let’s imagine the person you hire takes twice as long as you to do that task, okay? That task has now cost you 20 pounds to do. But again, if you are meant to be working in the 50 to 75-pound-an-hour range, then what does it matter?

If you’re paying 20 pounds an hour out to do that task, you should be handing that off and the person’s going to get quicker and quicker. Eventually, they’ll be able to do it just as fast, maybe even better than you, because that’s all they’re focusing on. Now, there are three principles in order to hand off a task that you want to master. So, in order to get a task done correctly, there are three things that you want to be able to do with every task you hand off. Now, just like we’re going back to that relay race, when you’re in a race, that handoff in that relay is practiced again and again and again, isn’t it? They practice it. These athletes because they want that transition to be as smooth as possible. They don’t want the bat to be dropped. They don’t want the momentum to stop.

They don’t want any confusion. So transition is the key, and it’s just the same when we’re handing off mundane tasks. Transition is absolutely crucial. We want that transition to be nice and smooth. We don’t want to lose momentum, and we don’t want confusion. We don’t want them to drop the bat, if you like. So, the way to transition correctly is three things we need to do. The first thing is to give context before content. So we want to give the person context on why this task matters, what’s so important about it. So this is big-picture thinking for the person. If we can give big-picture thinking. So, for example, let’s imagine we’re trying to hand off a task, which is we want them to track costs on a project. Let’s imagine we’re using some software to track every cost, and we want someone to put some data entry in and track all the material costs on a project and payroll.

Now, we want to give context around that. Why does that task matter? Well, we might say that the context around it is if we are diligent in tracking costs, we can see immediately what our most lucrative projects are, which means we can focus on our highest-value projects going forward. We’re going to be in complete control of the budgets. So this is why we need to track costs every single day, and we need every single transaction put in our software. So what that does, that gives someone context around why the task matters. That’s really important that we give them context before content, because it helps someone use common sense rather than giving them just a list of notes so that they go through things robotically, give them some context around it, and you’ll find that they’ll be able to use their initiative when they’re doing this task and they can just see just how important it is to your business.

So that’s principle number one. Give them some context before you give them the content. The second thing to do in order to hand off a task seamlessly is to catch it on camera. Now, this often gets missed, but this is so easy to do. Now, with the technology we have, what we want to do, we could give someone a list of instructions and just explain how to do something. But often, when we do that, we unconsciously miss things. We miss steps because you are doing things in the background unconsciously that you don’t realize. So it’s easy to miss stuff out when we do this. So it’s just like when you’re watching a cookery program, for example, if someone’s cooking, when you’re watching them on the TV, do the cooking, it’s easier to follow sometimes because you’re watching exactly what they’re doing. But whereas when you’ve got a list of instructions, sometimes things get missed, you can’t see exactly how much salt they put in or whatever it is because it hasn’t been caught.

So catch on camera, and you’ll catch everything. So the benefits of this is one, the team gets to see exactly how a task should be done if you’ve caught it on camera, not just what you remember. And the second benefit is if you save that video into a training file, you can then use that again and again and refer back to it when someone new comes on your team. Or if anyone leaves, you’ve got a training video already done. You don’t have to prepare it again, and it sits there in your archives. And if someone needs a refresher, they can use that. Now, tools that you can use to film yourself doing tasks, particularly, let’s imagine these are tasks on the computer, there are things like Loom, LOOM. And what that’s going to do is that’s going to be able to track you. It would take a screen recording of what you’re doing.

So, let’s imagine you are showing someone how to do invoices on Xero or QuickBooks. You can just put that invoice on, you can talk someone through it, and it’ll film you as you are running through it. And as you’re doing that, it’s recording it, obviously, you can edit it, and it’s saved in the archives. So really important to use apps like Loom, where it’s screen recording software and someone sees exactly how that task can be done. The last thing we want to do, we said there are three principles. So, principle one is context before content. Principle two is catch it on camera. The last thing we want to do is add it to our Bible. Now, I’ve often spoken before of having a builder’s bible or Charlie Mullins was known of Pimlico Plumbing. He just sold his business for, I think for about 140 or 150 million.

One of the biggest plumbing companies in London. He developed what was called a Pimlico Bible. Now, this was a handbook that he used which documented everything, how to complete a task, how he wanted done, how he wanted his team to perform as efficiently as possible every single time, how he wanted his staff to dress, that there was everything in there. So, we want you to start building out your own Bible, and you can use this training video that you created to start doing that. Now, what I would suggest is it’s a lot of work to think, oh, I’ve got to build out a builder’s bible. But what I would do, which works really effectively, is when you hand that task off, and you give someone the video, let them record it into the Bible, let them document it themselves because it’s really valuable doing that because when they write it out manually themselves, they’re more likely to remember how that task should be done.

This is a proven technique. We use it extensively with schools, don’t we? Kids write out notes from what they’ve heard because it helps them retain the information when we write those notes out. So they’re the three things that you want to be doing in order to hand off a task effectively. So I hope that helps you in some way today. The real key thing I want you to take out of this is really just identify. Just stop for a minute and identify those 10 pounds an hour tasks that you’re currently doing. Identify them and then do something about it rather than just keep doing those tasks. Work out a way of handing them off. If you can use the three principles I just said, give them context, catch it on camera, and get it added and documented to your builder’s Bible, that’s going to be the most efficient way of you being able to do that.

And then potentially, if that person leaves and you need to train someone else, you’ve got it all there. It’s already done. It’s easy to do. I promise you that once you start doing this and you start handing off those 10 pounds an hour tasks, you will start creating some time and freedom for yourself. It’s really liberating. One of my clients in Masterminds did this. He did in the first week. We worked on freeing up some time for himself because he was so frustrated. Something that he was doing was just doing invoicing and payroll on Xero, and it was taking him so long. And one of the first things he did was hand that off to someone. He showed someone exactly how to do it, and he freed up four hours initially in the first week. And he said it was fantastic, was able to pick his kids up from school. He’d never been able to have a Friday afternoon off before, where he could just go and enjoy himself. And that was just phase one of what we were going to achieve with that client by freeing up some time. I hope that helps. I hope that saves you some time, and please go and implement that in your business. And I know that you’ll see results out of that. So, see you on the next podcast.

If you’d like to work with me to fast-track your construction business growth, then reach out on www.developcoaching.co.uk.