Speed is the Key – Time!

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This is a transcription of the Speed is the Key podcast that can be listened to here. Scroll down to watch the video presentation!

Welcome. Thank you very much for joining the Industrial Talk podcast. My name is Scott MacKenzie, and I hope you're having a wonderful day, or afternoon, or even evening. Productive, ready to get going. Today's podcast, we're going to be talking about Speed is the Key. We're going to continue that series.

This is on time, and management of time. I know there's a bunch of books out there, and I have a different way of looking at time, I live it. This is more geared toward the management and sales and the marketing individuals. So without further ado, let's get this show going, and I appreciate you joining the Industrial Talk podcast.

Well I hope you're having a great day. Hope you're having a productive day, most definitely. As alluded to, this is the second in the series of Speed is the Key, and it might come across a little bit harsh, but understand, I've pretty much lived through all of this, and I'm very diligent about my time, because boy I have wasted a lot of it.

And I'm not proud of that, but we live and learn, because that's what we're all about, and we're going to learn as much as we possibly can. This is going to be a no frill, no fluff, no whatever podcast. It's going to be about learning and managing your time to the best of your ability. We're going to cover what we have covered in the past, specifically about yourself, and your personal, I guess, focus. Then we're going to go right into time.

So once again, the components here of business speed include the self and personal, and that's the investment of education. You've got to invest in that. You've got to do all of that. And then, of course, it's heavily linked to time, and that's the point we're going to be talking about today, and then once you manage, and once you understand yourself in that you will make mistakes and you will get bruised and you will scuff your knees, you just get back up, you WALK-IT-OFF, and you do it again.

Perseverance, and have that purpose focus. Connects with time, how you manage that time, what's important to you, all of that good stuff there, and that's what we're going to talk about here. And then into business, how do we take those two components and then we manage the business, and then of course leverage. How can we get more out of less?

They're all interchangeable. You can't have great time management, but you're not investing in education. It's a challenge. So once again, speed theory. It's about moving your business or profession forward as rapidly as possible. It's about action. It's about each day moving forward, not standing still. It's the optimization and leverage, the time, how can we get more out of a resource that we can't create? We can't create more time.

It's easier to create more money, so time is far more valuable than money, because we can always try to find ways of making more money. But time, it's gone, and it's gone in an instant. Let's move, remove those distractions and focus on your business and career. Let's remove the distractions of all the stuff that we're going to talk about in time. And then move forward as we look to do that.

Below is the instructional video for this blog:

Removing those speed bumps. We have speed bumps, and we'll talk about that in times. We live in this parking lot of business, and there are plenty of speed bumps that slow us down. We feel like we're moving forward quickly, and nope. There's a speed bump. Let's go, let's get our mind focused. So let's go right into it.

Once again, let's not be a fluff person. Let's execute. Let's be very, very critical of what we're doing today and at the moment, the now. It's important to have that, because once again, if it was money, you'd be very critical of how you're spending it, how you're earning it, and time is no difference. It's how you spend time, how you're using it, is it moving you forward? Are you going fast enough to get more distance?

No fluff. You've got to be honest about that. We can't wait anymore. So we wait, and we say, “Tomorrow's going to be a better day,” or whatever the excuse might be. We can't wait. Today is the day we change. Today is the day we think about making those differences in our day, and it's a process, but you have to, within yourself, definitely think, “Today is the day.”

We've got to have that urgency and say, “We're going to change, and we're going to move forward.” We've got to cover as much distance as we possibly can. Just like any athlete that is in a race, or anybody that decides that they want to move forward, there's a sense of determination and commitment to that, because I know for me personally, over the years, I get a sense of just … I don't know.

When I do not have that sense of race in my mind, I lack that determination. And I'm as guilty as anybody else, but this is the world we live in. We live in the world of bullets. Once again, as a way of just communicating, people who know me know that I just … Give me the condensed version. Go, go, go, go. My attention span, unfortunately, is much shorter.

As the years have gone by, where I've looked and produced many PowerPoint presentations, I've presented to many boards and groups, and it's just boom, boom, boom, boom. And I'm working on it, don't get me wrong. I do like talking to people. But if they have an issue, I just want to get to the issue and then let's start talking about what strategies to deploy to get past those issues.

So when we start looking at how we, once again, address the self, the person, this is the necessity for education. There's tons of education material out there, and a lot of it is really good. And you continue to just educate. It is your profession, it is what you do for a living, it supports your family, it supports the community. It supports whatever philanthropic endeavor you find yourself passionate about.

You've got to continuously educate, and with the advent of podcasting, geez, blogs, there's ample amount of information out there. So when we start talking about time, I would highly recommend that the time be spent, windshield time, anyway, things like that, be spent educating. It's important to do that. You've got to have that fortitude of hope, that grit, that you're not going to quit.

You're going to shake it off. You're going to WALK-IT-OFF. If something bad happens, if you didn't get the deal, if it didn't go the way you decided that it needed to go and something else happened, because we live in a world that is like that, WALK-IT-OFF. When I was a boy, and I'd be playing in, let's say, the playground, and I remember this vividly, I'd fall, hurt myself, and there was always a bunch of other friends going up to me and say, “Hey come on, WALK-IT-OFF, WALK-IT-OFF. Let's get back.”

And then you just, “Okay.” WALK-IT-OFF and you move forward, the same thing has to exist in your business and in what you do. You can't give up. You can adjust. You can adapt. You can move, pivot, whatever it might be. But you've got to be persistent. You cannot give up. You've got to have a sense of purpose. The purpose of, let's say, Mother Theresa. The reason she got out there, and the reason she did what she did, is her purpose was to love the unlovable. And that's an amazing purpose.

So all of her day and effort with unspeakable sadness, that propelled her and that kept her going. That was her purpose. Find that purpose. I always try to get up, read early, once again, I recommend this. Read early. It doesn't mean you have to get up at three in the morning, read for two hours, and so on. It's just a way of getting your mind straight. You've got to find that team, you've got to exercise, you've got to do something. You've got to move. The oxygen that is necessary for your brain, you've got to keep that moving forward.

Some of the best ideas that I can think of, and many have heard this over and over again in my, quote, “Education efforts,” is that the exercising is critical for that creative thinking and coming up with special solutions, most definitely. Keep it simple. We have a tendency to make it complex. And in the time segment of this particular presentation, we'll talk specifically about simplicity and be painfully truthful with yourself.

Are you doing the right things? Are you getting back up? Are you being persistent? Do you have that fortitude of hope, that grit? You've got to have those, those candid conversations with yourself, and maybe find that team that says, “You're not doing it right,” or, “You're having issues,” or, “I'm here to help,” because my purpose is to help you achieve your goals.

So onto the time. Okay, we've all heard this, most definitely. The typical day of the “busiest person in the world“, we've come across all of them. We were probably the busiest person in the world as well. On a typical day, I lived it. This is not a finger-pointing activity by any stretch of the imagination. All of this stuff is me coming to the conclusion that I waste time. That I see other people wasting time. And that commodity of time is gone forever.

Have that sense of urgency to understand that that's gone. You can never have it back. So here's an example of a day, my day: when I was in a corporate environment, coffee. Oh boy, I need my coffee. The coffee was important because, well, that was an opportunity for me to catch up on the news from everybody else. “Hey, how you doing?” All that good stuff. Coffee.

And then I would go into my office, and then I would get interrupted. And then we chitchat about the weekend, or chitchat about the week, whoever came into my office. And then they'd leave and I've got to get re-calibrated. And then that wastes more time. And then of course, within an organization, there's politics and you've got to talk about that. You've got to sit there and chitchat with individuals that are dealing with issues.

And then by that time, you need coffee. So you go and have that coffee again, and then you go and chitchat with other people, and then, “Oh man, came across a great video on Facebook and I need to share it with everybody else because it's funny. It's hilarious. It's got, whatever, five million views or whatever it might be, and it's been shared a gazillion times. But it is worth it.”

So that time goes by, and man I'm hungry right now, so I better go out for lunch. And then, I've got that afternoon. I better get some coffee and talk to people about their lunch, and that video I shared on Facebook. And then sit at my chair and look at the paperwork, maybe shuffle it around a little bit. Oh, there's some emails I've got to look at. Somebody shared me a funny video again. And then I have to forward it, and I've got to comment about that.

And then somebody comes back into my office and says, “I've got an issue. We've got to deal with that.” And then after that, I'm done drinking coffee because, well, by that time I'm pretty jittery and I do want to sleep tonight. And then we go home. I buzz on home, and then home is home, and it's all good. And then the next day, repeat what we just did today. From scratch, again.

We might be productive here and there, but that's just the realities, and there's a ton of other distractions that just exist. The computer is a distraction. So we've got to just be painfully honest about that. We've got to be painfully honest about the fact that we do get interrupted, and our day is focused on things as opposed to what truly moves us forward. So there's no speed in that. We just grind to a halt.

So William Penn had this wonderful quote, “Time is what we want most,” absolutely! “But what we use worse” truth! I fall into that. I definitely fall into that, and I definitely have some issues associated with that. So let's talk a little bit about time. Let's get right to the point. As a business owner, I've had the fortunate opportunity to run a number of businesses, and of course, I've had multiple focuses and multiple interests.

But the thing, the item, the point that I look at is revenue. Are we generating revenue today? How are we generating revenue today? Is it a good day? Is it a bad day? That analytic of revenue is vitally important each and every day. What does that return on the time? So if I spend eight hours, did I generate any revenue? It's important that we have that level of analytics.

My time, my expense to the company has to generate revenue. In a typical day, I'm being distracted, drinking coffee, looking at videos, that's not a good return on time. It does not generate revenue. It's vitally important that we have that mindset, because we can be an overhead. We just are. We've got to start thinking about a P&L, meaning profit and loss.

If I do not generate revenue, if I do not utilize my time specifically to focus on revenue-generating activities, then I'm a liability. I'm a loss. There's no profit there. The bottom line is in red. We don't want to be in red, but we are, in a sense, a P&L, individual P&L statements. You are a business. This is the mindset that has to be there every single day at every moment.

So as I have run a number of businesses, there's this 80/20 rule, right? Everybody hears 80/20, 80/20, 80/20. I believe it's probably more 90/10. So when we start talking about 90% of my time on a daily basis, and once again, this is not finger-pointing. This is something that I came to the conclusion out of sheer frustration after running business and being an employee that I realized that I'm wasting time.

I'm wasting time for this company, for this owner, and it's a reality we all get into. So the 90% is this filler work in a day, it's just stuff that we get focused on. We go to meetings, oh my goodness, meetings. Meetings that will last for an hour, hour and a half, and then you've got to chitchat after that. You've got to have that conversation. You've got to have a re-calibration. “What did that individual say? What do you mean by that?” All of the stuff that's associated with the meeting, it generates zero revenue.

We've got to have coffee, we've got cellphones, we've got Facebook, we've got all of these distractions. Instagram, funny videos, emails, reports, read, does it work? Write something. Report something. Filler work, and that is a reality. I fell into that. We all fall into that. Technology drives to a certain extent that reality. And then 10% of your day is actually on revenue-producing activities.

We've got to truly understand the needs of the customer. That's the revenue, that's the point. The company, who you work for, what are their drivers? Are you just sitting there, me, personally, once again, sitting there just saying, “Hey, I'm owed this?” We've got to understand the needs of the customer and the needs of the company, and look at us, and look at us as a business.

What keeps them awake at night? I know what keeps me awake at night. What are the right steps? What are we doing to make sure that we are doing and focusing on the right steps? And this whole thing of hope, we've got to be very careful. We've got to have that gratitude of hope, but we've got to be very careful about hope because sometimes hope does not put money in the pocket.

I hope that Acme does something, but I'm going to continue to do that. I hope that when I take this individual out for lunch, that that individual's going to give me business. We all know yes or no. We've got to be very, very selective in our hope. Those are harsh words, but that's a reality, from my perspective, of what I've experienced over my years that really 90/10, 80/20, whatever it might be, the reality is that we need to do more on the lower end of that ratio, and do what it takes to do that.

Then finally technology, we are supposed to do more with less. But the problem is are we doing the right things with technology? When we sit down at our CRM and plug in all this information on an individual, is that actionable, accurate data? Or is it just, “I'm trying to fill this thing in because I'm supposed to fill this thing because this technology is here because the company says I've got to do it.”

My recommendation is that make sure that it is actionable. And once again, when you sit down, and you're drinking that coffee, and you're at your computer, are you doing the things that are actual revenue-producing activities? This is not something that you can have 100% of your time being able to produce that. Sometimes paperwork has to happen. Sometimes meetings have to happen. Sometimes you've got to watch that video because it is funny. But you've got to be truthful about it. You've got to be mindful of that reality.

Okay, here's where the rubber meets the road. This is where we need to be, and granted, I'm fully aware of this. If you're not an asset, that means putting money into somebody's pocket, into the company's pocket, into your pocket, into whatever it might be, you are a liability. You're an overhead. You're a cost. And you've got to be diligent about having that mindset that, “I want to be an asset.” You've got to have that. “I've got to do and focus on everything that I know that will generate revenue.”

And find people to help you. Be an asset, do not be a liability. On a daily basis, look at yourself as a P&L. So okay, the return on time. I keep the numbers simple here, and because this is a podcast as well, you can go out and find this information, it'll be posted at all of the typical places, YouTube and Vimeo and so on. Return on time, so let's say I've got $100 a day. That's what's my cost. That's it. For me to go to the office, or out there, or whatever it might be, $100 a day.

Math is simple, and I generated zero revenue. My ROT, of course, is zero. It just doesn't exist. I didn't produce anything. At that moment in time, I'm a liability. I've got to have that sense of urgency. So the next example here, of course, it's $100 a day, right? And I brought in $120 in that day of revenue. I've got a 20% ROT on my time. I'm an asset. I just brought revenue, money, into that pocket.

So it's imperative that we recognize the fact that we want to be an asset. We want to be an asset to the company, an asset to our family, of course, and an asset to the customer too. To provide the valuable services that I know that can be provided. But once again, change the thinking, become an asset, do not become a liability or an overhead. And think about that return on time, because each and every day, you're costing time.

Track it. Track it, track it, track it. Data, data, data. So I'm going to constantly look at, “Okay, I cost the company X, what did I do to generate revenue? Did I? Did I not? Did I have some good prospects?” All of these points of information are critical in your daily life, specifically to the company, or to your own business. But you've got to track it.

We can't just sit and think, “Okay, it's just taking care of itself,” because that's not going to be the case. So you've got to track it, and have that conversation, once again, that truthful conversation of being able to say, “I didn't do it today. I got distracted by more coffee than I should be drinking, a long lunch,” whatever it might be. This is a process of changing the way you're thinking so that in the future, you change it.

Okay, so here we go. 80/20, I think it's 90/10. We've got to start shifting and recognizing, through our record-keeping, through our new asset mindset, we begin start to shifting to an 80/20. So in a 10 hour day, we have two hours. Of course, I have to keep the math simple, because if it was eight hours, it'd be a different calculation and I'm not going to do that.

So in a 10 hour day, two hours would be for revenue, solid-income producing activity. It's not rocket science. It's just the fact. And we continue to be diligent about that those hours are producing revenue. I recommend, this is what I do, I get down and I look at no computers, no cellphones, no individuals, nothing. Quiet, and sit down for half hour, 45 minutes, half hour, 45 minutes, and I map out my day. I map it out.

These are non-negotiable steps. These are the activities that are truly revenue producing. People understand and know that they can't come into my office. They can't distract me during that time period. They can't call me. They can't do any of that stuff, because I'm sitting there specifically looking at the day, and whatever I did the previous day, I sit there and I look at it, and I have that truthful conversation of, “What really needs to take place?”

I've got to understand my customer. I've got to understand my company, and what's important, and what keeps them awake at night, and what are the right steps? I need to be very, once again, truthful about the steps that I am taking specifically to my time. Once that half hour, 45 minutes is over, doors come open, but I am specifically focused on those activities. There's no deviation from it.

My morning plan is my daily plan, and that plan then gets to move over to the next day if I don't accomplish because, once again, a number of activities occur outside of that plan, and then I'm going to have to make that decision. But nonetheless, I'm developing a focus on revenue-producing activities.

Meetings! Meetings as a whole are a time slayer! A lot of the day is just encompassed by meetings, and more meetings, and prepping for meetings, and talking about the meetings beforehand, and then having that meeting after the meeting after meeting. The meetings are just absolute time slayers.

So once again, you continue to understand the needs of that customer, what keeps them awake at night, and what are the right steps. We've got to have a sense of urgency in our meetings, that where I produce an image in my mind of the meeting room wall closing in. You only have a certain amount of time, that wall is coming in, it's closing, closing, closing. Oh my goodness, we've got to get through all of this stuff, it's closing, closing.

Before it closes in on yourself, we've got to have that discipline to say, “Okay, we're in a meeting. It's a half hour. This is it, let's go forward, boom.” And once again, back to the revenue-generating activities and doing what is necessary to bring revenue and be an asset to the company. Technology is a duel-edged sword. I've implemented a number of ERPs, enterprise systems, CRMs, custom systems, and what is interesting about it, there is the hope that these system will be able to, or the technology will be able to let you do more with less.

And in essence, leverage your time on more revenue-producing activities. It is good. The problem is discipline. Once again, technology's a duel-edged sword. We can get out there and, gosh, the internet is phenomenal for just gathering information. But that gathering of information also leads you to, “Wow, look at that. That's an incredible collection of pictures,” and, “I like that sports video.” It's a duel-edged sword. The level of discipline that needs to be applied when using technology is off the charts.

And once again, back to, “Am I an asset or a liability?” Once I start to venture into looking at funny videos, boom, I'm a liability. I stop being an asset, I become a liability. It sounds harsh. I'll be the first to admit that I am one of the worst. I love having a good time. I love listening to those funny videos. Boom, liability. And then, once again, without ignoring it, you've got to have that truth.

You've got to have the truth, be able to tell yourself that, “Right now, I am a liability. I'm not bringing any revenue into my pocket, nor am I bringing any revenue into the company's pocket, and nor am I helping my customers achieve their goals. Where they are today, the problems they have today, and the solutions tomorrow,” of being able to communicate that accurately. So you've got to have that truth. It's important to be able to be truthful, and it's no right or wrong. It's uncomfortable, maybe. But once again, WALK-IT-OFF. It's no big deal.

So when we start to summarize where we were today in this particular presentation, we've got to remember that, once again, we've got to have our mind right. We've got to WALK-IT-OFF, you're going to make mistakes, you can't achieve perfection. So just recognize that. You've got to have that purpose, you've got to have that discipline for that mental capabilities.

Start thinking of yourself more as an asset and be truthful about that. “Am I bringing revenue in? Am I doing the activities that are focused? Am I achieving what my company needs me to achieve, and can I have that awkward and uncomfortable conversation that I would have with my, let's say, sales manager, marketing manager, manager manager, whatever it might be, director, whatever it is, that my activities are doing what is necessary for the betterment of my company?”

Time we can never get back. Time is a component of distance, and if we waste time, we're not moving forward, and it's important that we manage that time to the fullest. Be an asset, not a liability. Be an asset, not an overhead. In your meetings, the walls start closing in. Have a sense of urgency. Be in a race. Have that right mental fortitude. And let's move that 90/10 to 80/20, to 70/30, because boy that level of production, that level of capabilities, reaps huge, huge benefits.

Okay, I live it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not sitting here pointing fingers, because I'll tell you right now, I live it. I've seen it. I've experienced it. So don't get down on yourself, just move toward. Tell your truth. Get going. WALK-IT-OFF. Visit us at industrialtalk.com, that's where this podcast will be. Of course, we've got all of Facebook, Twitters, and LinkedIn, and everything else out there. We're also out on YouTube as well as Vimeo, and then all the podcasts are being posted up to the typical podcast locations too as well. I've got plenty of those.

But you can see that out on industrialtalk.com, and I really appreciate it. We're going to start talking about the business and really get into the nuts and bolts next time on how we implement, and what are those tools and techniques that we can deploy to generate more revenue, to look at business, your customers, in ways that we can truly help. And I really appreciate your time, because I know your time is very important, and definitely we'll see you next week. You be safe, be productive, be an asset, have your mind straight, educate as much as you can with that time, of course, and I will see you next week. Take care.

Scott MacKenzie

About the author, Scott

I am Scott MacKenzie, husband, father, and passionate industry educator. From humble beginnings as a lathing contractor and certified journeyman/lineman to an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Business Administration, I have applied every aspect of my education and training to lead and influence. I believe in serving and adding value wherever I am called.

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