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Helping Canadian businesses beat the odds!
Helping Canadian businesses beat the odds!
Hi there, I’m Josh spurl from spurling associates charter professional accountants, and this is episode one of, uh, asked spurl CPA, um, and the issue that we’re dealing with here is what I think is actually the most important issue for any small business owner if there was only one that we can help people with, this would be the most important issue. Edmonton Accountant that issue is time blocking. And so today who I have here to, to help me with this is denise Meitra. So denise is a associate here. So how long have you been here? Denise is six and a half years. Six and a half years. So a first employee, she was a, uh, she’s only been here a half hour, a half a year or less than me, so, Edmonton Accountant, I guess the firms started in five minutes later. Denise was here I think is how it works. So, um, so yeah, thanks for being here today, Jason.
Excellent. So, um, yeah. So what do you think denise, what are the things that are important about time blocking? What happens to business owners that don’t time block? So I really think that time blocking is the essence of a business owners success, you know, we started to see it, you know, we have seen hundreds, if not thousands of clients come through the doors and the owners who can make a schedule and stick to a schedule and we see this because they make appointments as us and the owners who meet those appointments, Edmonton Accountant set the appointments and keep them. They’re the ones who succeed in their business and the owners who, you know, they’re constantly rescheduling. They’re the ones who are struggling. We look at the financial reports are businesses, business owners or keep appointments generally do better than business owners that don’t keep appointments. It’s kind of a, uh, the binary function, that correlation is extremely high.
Um, so I mean there’s a little bit of the, the chicken and the egg. Maybe they don’t want to come to the appointment because I know they’re doing bad, but I think it’s more than that. I think they’re doing bad because they just have a history of not hitting their, their appointments and their time effectively. So what about employees? Edmonton Accountant What happens when the employees don’t time block? Yeah, it’s very much the same thing. They’re. They’re not as. They’re not as efficient and especially as a business owner or you lose your ability to even a lead or guide the employees because they’re constantly. If they don’t have a time block set up in their schedule, you know, they constantly just have almost an excuse. I couldn’t do what was assigned to me because this came up, but if there was a scheduled time to deal with this, then the assignment that you gave them could have actually been done.
We’re working with a business owner now recently than they have that same problem. They have a very high priority objective and the business owner himself is, is, is very regimented and he’s able to execute on his schedule, but he’s unable to get his employees to execute on the schedule this time because you know, Edmonton Accountant. He’s simply is employee. It’s just getting pulled away in different directions and they just don’t have that clarity. It gives the important employees or the clarity to know it’s okay to leave this until tomorrow because I’m scheduled to deal with this tomorrow, will not deal with it, but today I’m going to execute on the highest priority tasks that the management or the business owner is given me. Right. So what happens when you get interrupted? Yeah, getting interrupted. I mean, the stats show that, you know, the APP, an interruption can take as much as 23 minutes to completely refocused on the task.
And there’s people who think, well, you know, I, I’m a great multitasker. I can do too. But the, again, the evidence is kind of the contrary on that. Edmonton Accountant The evidence shows that, you know, people don’t multitask. And what’s even funnier is the evidence shows is that the people who say they’re very good multitaskers are actually the worst multitaskers of the group. So no one is actually a great multitasker, but the people who say they are, are generally the people who actually perform worse. I’m multitasking skill tests. Um, yeah. But again, the, the, the real crucial issues that no one is in fact a, a really good multitasker. So at the end of the day, once you get interrupted, you have to find the quickest way to record that issue and get back on task because as soon as you get drawn into another issue, just think of it as I’ve just cost to myself 23 minutes.
So as a business grows, why is it so important to have time blocking? Well, you know, you know, from our experience that, you know, we weren’t. His regiment is, is, you know, when it was just me and the business and then it was just me and you and the business, there was only so many times that we could interrupt each other. Edmonton Accountant now there’s 10 of us in the firm. Um, you know, we can be consistently interrupted all day. It happens. You get, you know, you need to have time for solitary work where you’re focused on that solitary work and then time for collaborative work to where you have that group thing working for you. But the problem is, is people are doing collab. If one person wants to do collaborative work at one time and someone else wants to do collaborative work at a separate time, well guess what?
Now everyone’s getting interrupted at all times of the day. So as the business gets bigger, it gets even more important to have that time blocking built in. You can keep everybody in the team and the same direction. They just, they just know the boundaries of when am I interrupting, I’m focused work, and you know, when am I maximizing group think and using the resources around me. Right? So what kinds of things do you time block everything you need to. You need to time block everything and you know, that’s, that’s uh, Edmonton Accountant, really the key. You just need to look through what are all the functions of the business. So, um, you work straight from, you know, we need to prospect, you need to market, you need to do sales, you need to actually be on the tools, so to speak. When you’re actually doing the work.
It’s a, it’s a big part of the time block, but a, that needs to be in there too. When are you going to do your recruiting? What are you going to do? The interviews. Um, when are you going to meet with clients? You know, if you have to give a sales presentation is when do those get done? If I have to run payroll, when does that happen? Edmonton Accountant If I have to go pick up supplies, when does that happen? So I mean really have to look at every function of the business and they should be timeless. That’s the most efficient way to deal with them. I noticed on our calendar that you even time travel time, travel time to go out to make sure there’s that time getting there and coming back to the office. Yeah, it is true. And, and uh, I hate to say it but it’s happened before and we’ve had appointments on the schedule and we look at the location and you don’t want to write more policies if there’s travel time involved.
It has to be specifically identified. People got to be clear and realistic about this as a realistic time to, to do the, the travel time or else we end up with a 3:00 meeting that ends at 3:00 and we were supposed to be across town at three. Oh, one somehow doesn’t really work out so well. So yeah. So how do you go about setting up a time block? So you start with, you know, go back to all of those functions in the business. So I’m just go through everything that you actually do. Try to list them out. That might sound daunting. Edmonton Accountant There’s probably not that many. I mean we’re probably talking about a dozen functions per person, you maybe a little more, a little less depending on the industry and the type of business in. So the first part is actually I’m looking at all of the different functions that you have to do.
Then you have to maybe drill into those functions and decide which of those functions are daily functions. Which of those functions are weekly functions and probably which of the functions are monthly functions. There’s usually three types of tasks. When you really boil down to what happens in a business, maybe there’s some manual ones, but I mean I would say 99 percent of the tasks are either daily, weekly or monthly and if you could deal with them on, on those times, that’s what’s going to happen. So Edmonton Accountant you drill into listing all those tasks, establishing if their daily, weekly or monthly and you know, I prefer to come up with four different templates, you know, the month has, you know, four weeks, most of all in week one, week two, week three, week four and you know, you might do some things everyday and there’s some things that you do on the, you know, the first week of the month and the third week of the month, but not after that.
So you really go to establish a, you know, your daily, weekly, monthly tasks. Which ones are they and you lay them out on the calendar. Edmonton Accountant That’s the first step of getting the time blocking together. And so do you do certain tasks work better at certain times in your day? For sure. And I think denise, you’ve already, you kind of just self identified it and, and you know, we ought, we tend to operate at a higher capacity. We’re smarter or smarter first thing in the day. And so you’re more complex tasks, you’re more important. Tasks should genuinely be grouped in the morning. Um, so I mean if you’re a, if you’re a plumber and you have to, you know, if you have to be on the tools and you get paid to pump out a project, you’ve probably should be on the job site first day and then maybe schedule your estimates, you know, towards the end of the day.
And in our business it’s, we actually need to be doing the projects in the morning. Um, you know, we get paid flat fee, we don’t get paid by the hour, so we need to be as efficient as possible. So a really, sometimes clients think of the meeting is most important. But really by the time of the meeting comes, we’ve already done the heavy lifting. We’ve done the calculations at that point. We’re really just explaining our findings and finding out any new variables for any future projects. So, you know, with us it’s, it’s, Edmonton Accountant, making sure that we have the project work actually done earlier in the day and meet with the clients later in the day. It’s much easier to talk about a work that we’ve already processed rather than get very technical into problem solving after you’ve spent half a day meeting with clients that can be a little bit more of a taxing a activity one that we simply would, it would just take us longer to do it the other way around.
Yeah. Great. So is there a certain amount of time you should block off for each task? Yeah, that’s a good question. Edmonton Accountant I think it’s very industry industry specific, but I think what you really have to boil down in your industry is what block of time for a particular task is actually going to eight, let you complete it. That’s the ideal. Now that might not be practical every time because you know, we know very well. We have projects that last months not hours. Um, so your ideal is a time block that’s useful and actually either a finishing tasks or be, you know, making significant progress on the task of the stop and start isn’t really a big deal because again, the stop and start cost to efficiency and you know, we went through this and our friend, we started out with one hour tasks and we realized that no, there was a lot of those one hour time blocks were really not long enough for us to really drill into the issue.
And even all of our client meetings now they’re two hour time blocks on our schedule and even if the client doesn’t need two hours, we can get so much further on the task itself afterwards with a, you know, completing what we actually, what our actions items are. Sometimes we can just knock them out right after the meeting if we had that two hour time block. Whereas when we had one hour time blocks, sometimes we had to something, we had to squish the meeting down and cut the client off. And certainly by the time we got into more complex tasks, by the time we understood what we were doing, we never really moved the ball down the field when the time blocks are a little shorter. So I’m like, it’s very industry specific. But what you need to look at is what’s a long enough amount of time that you can actually start making progress on task and significant progress on a task rather than simply, you know, Edmonton Accountant getting back in and identifying what the task is and then switching all over again.
So where exactly do you put your tasks or your time blocks in your calendar? So pre populate your calendar. I mean, if you’re a business owner, you should have your ideal calendar blocked out a year in advance. If you’re an established business owner, you’re comfortable with your time blocks, you should know what you’re doing this time next year. Edmonton Accountant, and that sounds crazy to some people, but, um, you know, we see it a lot in, uh, you know, we do a lot of medical professionals and they’re very good at taking appointments and they know exactly when they see patients and they can, it lets the, the organized doctor can see 80 patients in a day and the disorganized doctor, he’s 20. Um, and so it’s being really important that you have it in a calendar. It’s all laid out. So when a client asks them, they say, you know, I want to have a meeting time, there’s no ambiguity in our farm.
We know exactly what our next 10 available meeting slots are. And, and we protect those, right? Because that’s the most efficient way for us to ultimately complete the work for the clients. So we open up our calendar and there it is. This is the time we’re going to do our project work. Here’s where we’re going to meet our clients. Edmonton Accountant Here’s when we’re going to do our administration time, here’s when we’re going to collaborate. Um, you know, it’s, it’s all laid out for us. It’s one calendar is rating your calendar. We can pull it right up on our phones. We see it, we don’t have time blocks over here and then a calendar over here that we’re trying to make it look like this. We just put those time blocks on the calendar and then when the person presents itself, we put it over top of that blocks all of you there.
So how often should you deviate from your time blocks? Yeah, I think when you deviate from your time locks, ultimately you should be working towards a schedule that you deviate from once or twice a year. Not something that you deviate from. I feel like of is as long as you’re deviating from the schedule once or twice per day. Edmonton Accountant, and that’s hard to do. But ultimately you should be deviating from your, from your time block, for, you know, things like you, you got into a car accident or you got summoned to jury duty or something like that. There are things that are really out of your control, right? There can be a potential for entrepreneurs. They always want to replace appointments with themselves for the next deal as soon as a lead comes in, they want to drop it and you know, pursue that lead rather than work on the business.
But that has a, has an issue because you never ended up working on the business and you fill up to your current capacity, but you’re never going to actually increase your capacity, you know, make your services better, make your demand better, make your team better. Um, so you got to be really careful and just say, Edmonton Accountant is this really worth me deviating from my schedule? So what would you say to a client of ours that might say that time blocking is too restrictive? Yeah. Ultimately I think time blocking is you need to shift your mindset and when you truly understand the issue, time blocking is what actually sets you free. Time blocking is a thing that allows you to, when you actually close your business for the day, when you’re done your business hours, you’re actually truly done your business hours and you can trust the schedule because you can trust that every function from sales to production to follow up to administration, there’s a time to deal with it and it’s a realistic amount of time.
So when you close your business for the day, when you, when you schedule off of vacation, um, you know you can trust that things are going to get taken care of. That’s your freedom. You can make as much with the best schedule you have with a disciplined schedule. The discipline schedule actually equals the personal free time. Edmonton Accountant, and so it’s a it. You can either run around trying to deal with all these issues whenever they crop up or you can stick to a schedule and if you can get that schedule good enough, you actually have can maximize your, your free time as opposed to now I’m taking this work home for me because I, I never really had a plan on how to deal with this work. And you know, sometimes the, then your work comes up at the least opportune times in your personal life.
So how do you think accountants use the time blocks of their clients? Well, you know, when we always, we’re always doing our business plans and I tell clients that client the projections. So when we’re looking at projections on how a client’s business is going to do, and I’m talking about what your income statement, Edmonton Accountant what your profit and loss is going to look like on a month to month basis moving forward. There are two items that probably affect our projections more than every other consideration. Number one is what are their marketing initiatives in? Nothing happens until somebody sells something. You’re going to have to almost have to have a lead. Um, but then the next thing that has to happen is we have to understand what that business owner’s schedule looks like. And here’s the example. You come with that, uh, you know, we have a general contractor and he comes in and he wants to double his business.
He wants to go from $500,000 a year to a million dollars a year. And he has a great marketing plan, he has enough, you know, Google adverts and he’s, he has a enough referrals that are going to come in. Um, you know, he has a, he’s tending enough trade shows, he’s going to get the leads. Okay, so we’ve got the leads coming, but that’s only half the equation. Now, in order for him to double his revenue, now all of a sudden he doesn’t need to do 10 estimates a week. Now he needs to do 20 estimates a week. Okay, Edmonton Accountant so you have the leads coming in. Where is it in your calendar that you’re going to do 20 estimates a week and now once you have those jobs, where is it in your calendar that you’re actually going to follow up on those jobs? So we need to really drill down and see are these projections congruent with the business owner’s schedule?
And if they’re not congruent with the business owner schedule, who is the person in the business? You know, who else can do the estimates, um, who else can do the site visits? Did we actually have a realistic way to deal with twice the amount of work? It’s great to say that, yeah, we have a marketing plan, but now we have to book the clients and we have to execute on those deals. So the business owner’s schedule, believe it or not, I go through it all the time and sometimes bankers asked me, Josh, why do you have the business owner’s time blocks in their schedule? I said, there’s probably no single bigger Faq that’s going to drive the projections of the business and the bank is asking you for projections, Edmonton Accountant but for me to give the projections without knowing, you know, when the business owner is going to work on each of these tasks is, tends to be guesswork. The science behind it is actually tie the task realistically to the time blocks titlest performance. So yeah, thanks very much. I think that’s what we have for today and we look forward to episode number two. If you have any, uh, questions, we’d love to see your comments below. Thanks for [inaudible].