The Rocks and The Sand


4th June 2017

Gavin Preston

Business Growth


You may have missed my blog for the last couple of weeks…may be you didn’t .

I became a Dad for the second time and have spent a couple of weeks with my family, so my apologies for not writing a blog for the last couple of weeks.  My time has been busy with the type of new born tasks that I am sure you can imagine.

Now I have even more demands upon my time I thought it apt to remind you of this classic and yet simple and effective time management analogy.

You may have heard of the analogy around the rocks and the sand and the jars of time. If you think about a grain of sand as being the little things in your business that take up a lot of time, but do little to move the dial in terms of performance. This might be chatting with members of the team about the game that was on last night, or what they got up to at the weekend.  It could be making a cup of tea or coffee; it could be checking emails, particularly those emails that are cc’d to everyone; or it could be surfing the net or social media. The problem is, people spend a lot of their day on those tasks that take up an awful lot of time.

You know they will come in to work in the morning, they hang up their coat and they make themselves a drink and then they sit down and chat to a colleague, then they check some emails, and then they maybe check a little bit online, and before they know it half of the morning has gone, and they’ve not actually achieved much.

The other big drain on time is constantly responding to emails.  As email comes in you respond. The problem is you can fill up more and more of your day responding to emails and you may get to the end of the day and wonder where the day has gone.  You’ve been really busy but you don’t feel as if you’ve achieved much. Indeed some people get to the end of a week thinking I’ve had a really busy week, but I don’t know what I’ve got to show for it.

Top entrepreneurs, people who are very successful are very ruthless with their time, they look at what the big rocks are. The big rocks are the things that are really going to move the dial in terms of performance in the business, and they focus on those as the most important things. They will start their day off by focusing on and completing the ‘big rocks’ e.g. getting a proposal off to a major new client. Or develop the strategy for the launch of a new product in a new territory.

These are big rocks.  Focus on those.

Block the time out to complete them. Get these things done first in the day. Don’t get sucked in to emails or other black holes of time.

Be clear about each day and your goals, what are the one or two things that are going to move the dial the most in your business, and make sure you get those addressed first, work on those first, and then you can fill in the little bits of time around with tasks like email.

One of the things that the successful entrepreneurs do when they are focusing on the rocks is they portion out, or protect, time.  They block out time as mentioned above but the point to reiterate here: cut yourself off from distractions. Shut yourself away, either in a meeting room, put the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door, or go off site. The aim is to create the environment where you can’t be interrupted and you can get your head down in focused thinking time.  That means your trusted smart phone is off, your landline is sent to voicemail and you email is closed so that you’re concentrating on that one piece of work, that one rock, that is going to move the dial in terms of performance of your business.

Consider how much we get done the day before we go on holiday?  Before we go on vacation we are super productive and astonish ourselves as to how much we get achieve. So what I want you to do is have that kind of mind-set. ‘I have got an hour or I’ve got an hour and a half to get this job or this task finished’, and then your focus is on making sure that you get that done within that hour and a half, with no other distractions.

Also block out in your diary other important things you want to achieve. For example, any conferences or training courses that you want to go on, you need to block out time for those. If there’s a certain time that you want to spend around product innovation and research and development, you need to block out time for that.

Block out at least half a day a month to work on your business, to think strategically and review progress against your growth objectives and review which strategies are working and which are not and change your strategy accordingly.

Block out time for team meetings.  You can create a calendar of a week and Mondays can be really good for team meetings. You might do certain other things on Friday like follow up leads for example.  That could be follow up Friday.  But if you can create some kind of a rhythm to your calendar then that can help with your productivity because you know what you’re doing at different times during the week.  And then your head can be in the right zone for doing that.

Also for business owners, for entrepreneurs, for people running organisations and teams, it’s important you look after yourself. Block out time for yourself for a holiday, for a vacation. Remember the aircraft safety briefing. First look after yourself by putting your own oxygen mask on before helping the person next to you. If you want to keep fresh, you want to stay alert, then you need to have time and opportunity to recharge, and give yourself some thinking space.

One lady who has demonstrated Olympic Gold levels of productivity and implementation is brand new DYB client Lola.  In just one week, even before the mid June launch of the DYB (5) programme she is already experiencing big shifts in her business.

This is what she has to say:

“I have so much energy and excitement I worked until 2am in the morning after we finished our strategy day”

“I am so energised about finding out more about my business that I did not know and remembering the things about my business that I should have implemented long ago…”

We are delighted to welcome new business to our DYB community with some great people joining our community of go getting, profit rocketing, world changing people.  We start the next DYB programme on the 13th June so there is still time to be a part of this life changing programme. Click here for more details.

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