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Productivity

How to find all your ‘lost’ time

Kate Christie of Time Stylers is on a mission; she wants to find all that time you "used" to have before you started your business. And not only will she give it back to you intact, she'll also supply the tools to make sure you never lose sight of it again.

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Kate Christie of Time Stylers offers a service we all need: she literally helps you find lost time.

Her current clients credit her with finding them approximately 30 more hours every month.

We caught up recently at the Pinstripe Media offices where she was promoting her new book, SMART Time Investments for Business and generously shared some of her best tips for finding more time when you’re running a business. 

According to Kate, time is one of life’s great levellers, “It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor we all have the same 24 hours in a day,” she says. 

Except of course when we ‘lose’ them. 

Luckily Kate has devoted a lot of her time to developing a process to reel our time back in. She says it requires some effort on everyone’s behalf, but if the end result is at least 3 more hours in a busy day, well I’d say it’s worth it.

Wouldn’t you?

Here are Kate’s 3 biggest time-rescuing tips:

1. Map your time

Finding more time in your day starts with tracking how you spend every second you DO appear to have. Kate recommends devoting one week to writing down (or use the Notes function in your phone) everything that happens to you from the moment you start your work day, till it ends.

“Take note of every time your phone rings, you get up from your desk, someone asks you a question or you check your emails, ” says Kate. 

At the end of the week sit down and tally up the results and move onto step two.

2. Identify the Rejects and Outsource

Sounds harsh, but hey we are on a time mission here right? According to Kate we all do a significant number of jobs everyday that aren’t useful.  Rejects are the tasks that are a complete and utter waste of time and multitasking, says Kate is the common offender in this category.

“Our brains are not meant to multitask our work related task … only 2 percent of the population can actually do it successfully and they are called super tasker,” says Kate. ” Your productivity actually drops to 40% when you multitask , so at best you are working to 60 percent of your capacity.” 

A loss of 40% in productivity is equivalent to turning up to work on zero sleep or losing 10 IQ points.

Note: Multitasking includes notifications pinging in the background via your phone or laptop. According to Kate just as your eyes dart to the corner of the screen, your brain expends energy thinking about how to respond.  

Outsource tasks are basically tasks you’re currently doing that someone else can do cheaper/faster than you. hat you do that you don’t have the skillset for, or jobs that can more easily and efficiently be done by someone else.  For example, getting the house cleaned, or picking up your six year-old’s socks from the floor every night.

3. Sort high value and low value tasks 

This last tip could help you distinguish between rejects and partial rejects because identifying high and low value tasks requires you to put a value on your own time. 

“Work out your hourly rate,” says Kate. “It doesn’t have to be down  to the very last cent, but know what you are worth.”

Once you have this figure you could write it out and display it somewhere prominent. Every time you make the decision to pick up a new tasks (or do something around the house while you’re putting it off) cast your eyes back at that number.

“If you spend four hours cleaning the house on the weekend and your hourly rate is $100 an hour, that’s a $400 clean! Ask yourself, is it really worth it?” says Kate.

Success! Now what?

Say you’ve followed Kate’s recipe and located all that fabulous lost productivity and time – how do you make sure you don’t fall back down the rabbit hole?

She told Flying Solo that getting out of the habit of multitasking and keeping a close eye on your reclaimed time, requires rigour and focus.

So if you know you need to do better in this department, Kate recommends the following approach:

1. Start your day with a task-focused to-do list

2. Work in 45 minute batches

3. Take a break after 45 minutes, as little as 10 minutes will do wonders for your brain and therefore productivity levels.


Try it and let us know how you go!

Lucy Kippist

is an experienced Australian editor with experience in writing, podcasting radio and television, with previous senior editorial roles at News Corp news.com.au, Kidspot and Kinderling Kids Radio. In her current role as editor of Flying Solo, Australia's #1 website for solo business owners she is pursuing her passion for women in the small business space. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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