Productivity Academy Live Q&A – Episode 96

Join us live each week at www.productivity.academy/live and get your questions answered by submitting them at any time right here: www.productivity.academy/questions.

You can watch the video for the last episode recorded on August 22, 2019 above, or you can review the transcript below.

In this episode we talked about:

  • Is there an app for time management?
  • What tools help you to manage your team remotely?

To find recommended tools and other great resources, check out the Productivity Academy Resource Toolkit: https://productivity.academy/resources

Alright, we are live Welcome to the real world productivity q and a sorry, I got really distracted doing the intro on my legs are getting really bad. I went for a trailer on this weekend and went through a bunch of poison oak. And like two days later, sure enough, it showed up and I am just dying like it is just killing me. But I’m still here still got some good questions to answer. And this is episode at 96.

Alright, so we are going to get into some good productivity questions and Viking stay focused throughout this and ignore the itching of the poison oak on my legs, that’s going to be a wind in my book. So glad that you’re watching. And before we get into it, though, I want to tell you real quick what we’re going to be talking about.

We’ve got some questions about apps for time management, some tools or productivity tools that helped with managing the team remotely. And as well as a couple of audience questions we’ve got and then anything that comes in. So we’re going to get into those real quick. And also, I want to say if you’re watching the replay, that’s great.

You can subscribe by clicking the button below. If you’re checking this out on YouTube. You can also come join us live, ask questions, get them answered, and you’ll find the link as well below to come join us in the free productivity group. So with that said, let’s just get right into it. All right. First question was, is there an app for time management? The short answer is yes, there are lots of apps for time management.

But I think more importantly, is that you know, you’ve got probably the best one already. And you’ve either got it on your computer, or you’ve got it somewhere in front of you. And that’s using a calendar. So I’m going to assume that most of us use either, you know, let’s just go with Google, you probably have a Gmail account. If you don’t, you have another email account.

And as far as I’m aware, most of those have an associated calendar. And just getting in the habit of using that is a really, really good thing. And this would be what I would call like phase one, if you’re not using that, then use start using it, start blocking things out. And that I can say I used to not do this years back.

And once you know, I realized, okay, I’m starting to have more meetings, I need to schedule around these, I need to do this need to do that. start being more realistic about my time management saying okay, well, wow. Now I see I’ve got four calls today, I’ve got a webinar to do. I’ve got, you know, I want to exercise, oh, I’ve got three hours left to actually do stuff.

So how do I do that. And so starting to just do that, I would say is step one, going beyond that you can move into what I would think would be something more to do with time tracking, as opposed to time management. And so I guess, let’s just talk real quick about, you know, what is time tracking, and how that how can that help you.

Basically, you can start doing this in the simplest way that a highly I recommend doing this is to start with a pen and paper, right, you can grab post it notes, or you’re more likely maybe if something a little bit bigger, like a legal pad, and divided up into 30 minutes section. So let’s say your day starts at 7am.

So, seven 738 30 go all the way through to usually about when you go to bed. And as you go through the day, just start writing on that don’t wait till the end of the day, but go through and every half an hour an hour, take that you know, 10 seconds and write down what you’ve been doing. Don’t judge yourself ahead of time, just write it down as quickly. And as descriptive Lee though as you can like,

if in the last 30 minutes, you know, you went and got a snack, you checked out Facebook, you wrote three emails, and whatever else just, you know, jot it down real quick. And then you go through that. Do that for two or three days, I guarantee you if you haven’t done it before, it’s going to be difficult. And don’t beat yourself up if you miss a few blocks of time.

But go through do this and then just apply the 8020 rule to this be look at it and be like, wow, where could I cut something out? Or where could I focus in to get the better result, I guarantee you every time you do this, you’ll find something whether it’s social media, you know, blocking that out, like maybe I need to leave my phone somewhere else.

Or maybe it’s, hey, I’m spending a lot more time writing than I thought I was, you know, maybe it’s client proposals, this is taking much longer, I thought I can knock them out 30 minutes turns out, they usually take an hour, I need to accurately account for that, things like that. The other thing you can do beyond that, then is to start using some other tools.

If you find that this is helpful, or you need help doing this, like I use this device, time Mueller, let me actually show that over here. So pretty cool device. You know, they give you these nice charts, you can see what you’re doing. And it allows you to actually tell it, what you’re tracking. It’s an eight sided device, and you get to decide what goes on there.

For me, I actually I do use eight, but I mainly use about six of them. And you just write on there, you assign it to a side, and then you literally flip it over and it tracks for you via Bluetooth. So pretty awesome. Highly recommend that you want to do this regularly. And I like that they only have eight sides, right? They’re not trying to track 100 different things.

You know, the power comes in understanding where you’re putting a lot of your time. And what I really did was actually kind of combine this with the four, the four DS, which was in the book clockwork by Mike McCallum. So I’m trying to remember put the link to that below and how I integrated those two things and saying really only need to track four. And then I had a few odds and ends it came in over time.

And so I have the eight sides filled out, but I usually only use about six. So that’s nice, you can get a weekly summary. You know, it’s easy to track, it’s right in front of me, I don’t remember to click something, I just turned it over as I’m going. And then of course, there’s other things like rescue time is another good service that will track online what you’re doing.

And it can help block websites during certain times if you need that help stay away from certain sites, whether you know social media, chicken, email, whatever that is. But I think that that is a great way to do it. All right, see the next question? What tools help you to manage your team remotely? Yeah, there’s a lot of great tools that do this.

So I’m going to back off and say, Okay, what, it’s not so much the tools, because there’s a lot of tools that will, once you identify what is is you want to do that will answer those. So I think it’s much more important that you get the, I guess what you want to do with your team and what you want to provide or the structure, and then figure out how you’re going to fill that gap.

So one is communication, right? If it’s remote team, you need to be able to communicate well. And the tools I use for this is slack and loom. And I found that those are the two best things. slack. Obviously for communication back and forth, we can do written stuff, we could use loom to record a Screen Flow or a process or something we need done, put it into slack.

And then if someone’s you know, across the world, way different time zones, and they’ll see it when they get to it. And then once a week, we do just a kind of an all hands. Not at the same time though, like an asynchronous all hands, I’ll put out a quick video, hey, this is what’s going on this week. This is what we did last week, here’s what I’m up to personally, you know, maybe let people know what I’m doing.

And then, you know, be like, okay, looking forward to hearing from you guys. And then the rest of the team. As they come online, they do their response to it. Same thing, you know, they’ll talk a little bit about what they’re doing, what they’re up to, and the issues they’re having, you know what’s going on with them anything personally, they felt like sharing.

And that way everyone stays in sync, right. And that’s using what can be potentially two free tools, which is again, slack and loom. Really, really great tools I pay for loom I went to loom Pro, so I can keep all my videos, I use it for a lot of process data on top of communication, so that was worthwhile for me.

The other thing is having clear goals and expectations, okay, and this is not a tool, right. And the traditional sounds like you don’t go by a tool that gives you clear goals and expects. But I think that having this down is more important than any tool you’ll ever use.

And let’s go ahead and though say, let’s have it in a tool, then I would say Google Docs, right, you could have a shared Google Doc that is not editable, maybe by everyone, but you say hey, this is you know, what we are this is either the business, you know, concept, this is who we are, this is what we stand for, this is what we do.

But or you can even then break it down to the person or the job type. And you know, hey, for customer service, this is the expectations, these are the goals. You know, this is what we you know, expect you to do so that you have a standard for to measure them against as well for someone to uphold themselves to to understand, hey, this is what really is expected of me. And like most people, they most people appreciate that.

And want to know what the expectations what the goals are, what they can do that and then the way to go about doing part of that I found to be very helpful was reading through radical candor. This book was recommended by several people on the podcast, Liam Martin of time, Dr. And one other guests. I can’t recall right now, sorry about that, if you’re watching this, but again, there is another person too.

But we had several people recommend it. I sat down and read it this spring, and really liked it. I liked the idea. And basically, to summarize it in a couple sentences, it’s giving a shit about people and being upfront with them and straightforward, all right, and being honest and true. And both of those areas that you know, if you don’t care about someone, you can’t, you know, just force the straightforwardness.

All right, if you’re doing that, you’re just being obnoxious and being a jerk. But if you really care about people and you build that relationship, then you can find out how you can be very upfront with them. Right. And that doesn’t just mean that, once you’ve, you know, asked him how their weekend was, you can just blast them and you know, tear him to pieces. That’s not how it works.

But the idea, again, is just building that relationship so that you can understand how to communicate better, and get that going both ways, found that to be very helpful. It’s something I’m implementing with my team. It’s taking time I’ve been doing it with my project manager, and it can be super awkward sometimes to start.

It feels a little bit, you know, like you’re, you know, like, well, I want you to give me criticism, and I promise it’ll be fine. But once you go through those things, and actually see that, okay, this is working. People appreciate the feedback, you know, and this is leading to better results, I think it just obviously proves itself.

So I think that that’s super important. So to sum up, you know, what tools help you to manage your team remotely? It’s having good communication. All right, you can do that with things like loom with Slack, having clear goals and expectations, having those written down somewhere instead of just kind of nebulous.

You know, here’s what we expect having some sort of goals and expectations, and then how to get to that point, having, you know, something like radical candor whether or not you use that book or another management technique, whatever it is, that does it for you, but so that you can foster and build that relationship within your remote team.

So hopefully, those recommendations help you up. Just going to check I don’t see any more questions. So I think for this week, that’ll wrap it up for episode number 96. Thanks for checking it out. If again, if you’re watching the replay, you can subscribe down below if you’re watching this on YouTube. Stay up to date with these as well as other videos on automation, processes, apps, all sorts of good stuff.

And then you can also come join us in the productivity group. You can find the link below. You do have to answer some pretty tough questions like Where did you find this group and what’s your biggest problem and productivity but if you can clear those hurdles up on the group no problem and can join us live. So thanks for watching, and I will see everyone next week.

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