In this article, we will talk about some great information that will help you in your business. We will feature our conversation with a fantastic guest. She will show you how to add three hours to your day with an amazing system. Let me walk you through my discussion with Shari McGuire.
Shari: Thank you for having me today.
David: I appreciate you joining me, I really do. Now, you’re famous, if I could say so, on a lot of radio talk shows all around the world. There’s ABC News, The Red Book, MSN Living… It’s quite amazing that you’ve done quite a show all around.
Shari: Well, thank you. It’s been a lot of fun.
David: It seems like you’ve got a lot of great ideas to help people actually add a lot of time to their day. It seems like a great concept, can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Shari: One of the things that I found really is that I reached a point where I had been studying time management for a long time and wasn’t getting ahead from there. Then I launched the shrink your work week business. Really, the key to all of this that I’m teaching is to get clear on why you want to have different results going forward, because then I would sift through that guide, like in my book, “101 simple tips to shrink your work week.” You can use those tips to then put three or more hours back in your day.
David: I’m sure we could all use another few hours every day. It seems like 24 just isn’t quite enough.
Shari: It doesn’t, but you know what, it’s interesting once you get smart about how you work and how you can fit in. You know it’s interesting it’s not even always more, but you can fit in the right things in your day.
David: Can I ask you then, what actually started you on this journey? Where did you actually come from to realize that this is your passion to help people find more hours in a day?
Shari: It was an interesting and bumpy journey that I was on. I had been working a corporate job and was burned out. I had started a business and actually walked away from the big corporate job to go launch that other business. The business failed five months later and I re-invented myself for a short period of time as a management consultant, but really in the end, eight months later, I needed to go back to being a contractor and you can still have a six-month contract to manage information technology projects. It was in going back that I decided that for the first time in my life I was going to stand and say this is my chance to actually do that and it was then that I figured that secret out of saying, “You know what, I’m going to make different choices because I want to get to my friend’s karate lessons by 4:30 in the afternoon and I needed to leave work by three in the afternoon.” And so then that became that compass against which I made lots of choices in my career.
David: Right. It sounds like you sort of integrated your most important priorities right throughout your whole life against your work life as well.
Shari: I did, and it was so empowering to get that because then I went to lead that largest project ever that summer in just 40 hours a week where I would have been working 70 hours a week before.
David: Wow, that’s quite a lot.
Shari: It was a lot of work to pull off, but I was doing the right thing as I was being smart and I was making good choices, and the project was very successful. I did not need to put in those extra 30 hours a week.
David: That was smart. You obviously sound like little pieces of everything in your life could have been improved.
Shari: I did. So let me give you an example of a tip that would be helpful. One of the things that people do is we get invited to a meeting and we automatically go to it. However, just because you got invited doesn’t mean you need to go. It’s great to go back to the organizer and say, “Can you help me understand why you invited me to this meeting? I want to make sure that I bring what I need with me so that I am well-prepared.” A lot of times that person would say, “Oh I didn’t know who to invite, so I just invited a whole bunch of people.” So then you can begin to say, “Okay, well, let me see what your agenda is and if you truly don’t need me at that meeting, you wouldn’t even have to ask that one person.” You’d say, “You know what, I will be happy to read the meeting minutes. If you need something from me, contact me afterwards.” You could send someone in your place, but don’t just automatically assume that you need to go to that meeting because it’s going to be a waste of your time.
David: Absolutely. That is a great tip actually, and I find that a lot of people in my circles in the corporate world actually do that as well. They think that just because they’ve got an invite, they’d have to go, and that’s certainly not the case. That’s a good, good tip. Another question I’ve got here is, who do you think would benefit most from shrinking your work week? Is it just a corporate person or is it someone out with the tools as well?
Shari: I worked with entrepreneurs, busy professionals, and small business owners. They are the primary clients that I work with. It really works best with people who want to work less. And then the other piece of my business too that I also really help a lot are people who just have big goals and don’t seem to get there because they don’t know how to break it down. After all, that project management background that I’ve got comes into play so I can help you break those walls down and actually achieve them for a change.
David: So they could also be focusing on the high priority of activities as well…
Shari: Right and you might go into a conference and get all these fabulous ideas of things that you want to do and when you come home, you’re too overwhelmed by all of it. I can help you break that down so that you can say, “Okay, what are you going to do this week and the next week and the next week?” And then all of a sudden, 60 days from now, you’ve achieved that goal and it’s really exciting.
David: Okay, so basically breaking things down into manageable chunks, step by step, I suppose…
Shari: Right. It’s kind of like the old phrase that I’ve heard, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Because if you try to do a whole big goal at once, you’ll never do it, but if you break it down into bite-sized pieces, you can absolutely achieve it.
David: I totally agree. I’ve got a lot of friends and you even face it yourself sometimes. When you’ve got something really big on your plate and you think, “I’ve really got to get through this” and you just stare at it and stare at it and you don’t do anything for a while because you think, “Where do I start?”
David: It’s funny you mention that saying, “How do you eat an elephant?” because that’s an old saying that my dad used to say as well. It must be around a while.
Shari: It probably has been.
David: So, if you can help those types of people, especially the small business owner who’s getting up and running, and certainly that’s what this is all about. This is certainly about helping people develop their business and take it to the next level. What about the person who’s just a busy mom or a dad in their life and they find that they’re running here and running there, and that they don’t particularly have time to sit down and just enjoy things? Can you certainly help them as well?
Shari: I can. You know, I think of one busy dad at my church. It’s really hard when you can see something and you know you can help somebody, but you can’t go up to them and say, “Hey, I can help you.” He’s always showing up late when his child is singing at church. We both have young children that sing in the choir at church and he runs in late. Well, you know what, I can actually help with that, because I can help people create those boundaries in their life and that’s a big part of it, it’s creating boundaries to say, “Hey you know what? I have a commitment tonight and I need to leave work by five o’ clock to get there, and no matter what, when five o’ clock comes, I’m walking out the door.” However, it’s so interesting how we won’t walk out on our boss, but we will walk out on our family. We will be a no-show for our family, and we treat them with a little respect. But you know what, in the end, in one week, one month, one year from now, it doesn’t matter if you stayed late at work, but it matters to a child that you were there for their baseball game or their dance recital or whatever it is. So, really, I’d love to help parents put that priority back in life and have a win-win situation.
David: Oh, absolutely. You’ve got some good stuff here, I tell you.
Shari: Well, thank you.
David: So is there, I suppose I’d be blunt, is there anyone that you can’t help?
Shari: You know, the people that I can’t help are the ones who aren’t willing to make the choices, the different choices in their life, because I can throw all these ideas out, and if they’re not willing to do something different, I really can’t help them, because in the end, they need to do that for themselves.
David: Yes. Okay, so these little tips that you’ve got, especially in your book, “101 simple tips…” I suppose each of these apply in many facets or many aspects of our lives, don’t they?
Shari: They do. You can take things that might be a line from the office and apply them at home, and vice versa.
David: Right. Okay, and just recapping now, where can we actually get this book again?
Shari: You can get it online at Amazon, and it’s called, “Take back your time: 101 simple tips to shrink you work week and conquer the chaos in your life.”
David: Okay. Well, that’s pretty simple, and I imagine there’s also a link on your website?
Shari: There is, so that it might make it easier to find. It’s shrinkyourworkweek.com.
David: Okay. Another question I have is, “What is the biggest excuse that people give, to say that they can’t possibly get any more time back in their day? What is the biggest excuse they always seem to come up with?”
Shari: People think of themselves as too important in the scheme of things, they think that, “I have to do everything.” They’re unwilling to delegate, to let something go, to let something be undone. It’s like the ego gets in the way to say that, “I’m too important to not be there.” But guess what? You’re actually hurting yourself by being too important. So if you’re in a corporate environment for example, you’re going to get left over for promotions because they’re going to say, “There’s no way I can get rid of Shari if she might come up because she does everything for us.” In the business world, you actually won’t grow your business if you’re not willing to let go of things, because then you need to take on additional staff, you need to take on a web developer, and personal assistants, and others to help you see if you can grow your business.
David: So, in that respect, for the small business or business owner, you’re really saying that the person who wants to remain in the trenches and do all the digging and making sure that things are straightened out and that sort of thing, that they could really delegate that to someone else to do the same thing?
Shari: They could, and it’s that old phrase that you hear over and over again about working in your business first is on your business. The more you stay in your business, the less you’re able to grow it.
David: Yes, that is a very good tip. So if it’s a high priority activity where only you are the only one who can do it, well it’s probably important that you do it. But if you’re doing something else, that someone else could do just as well, in quicker time, then what you’re saying is that, they should really take over the task?
Shari: Well they should take over that task. You know, it’s really interesting, I even have a client for quite a while now, and I have never seen it, but I can quite picture the messy office with lots of things that he wants to scan, like lots of notes and things. He’s someone who really gets paid a lot more than is necessary for him to be standing there and scanning things himself, but it’s really been challenging for him to let go of that because he wants to get it perfect. Other people won’t do things always exactly as how we would do it because perfection slows us down. So let’s just you know, get it good enough so that we can move forward.
David: Right, and I suppose I agree with that saying that if it’s 90% done and a 100% of the population don’t care whether it’s 90% or 100% done, then it’s good enough.
Shari: Right, and you know what, most of the population won’t even know that it’s not 100%. I remember back to when I used to be an event planner. A couple of hours before the event was going to start, they were short on these decorations that were supposed to be on the cake, there weren’t enough silverware, and all kinds of crazy things that are going on. In the end, it all worked out, and we improvised, and no one knew the difference because they didn’t know the big plan. They didn’t know the 100% plan, they had a fabulous time, and that’s what mattered the most.
David: It sounds like you’re saying that you’re better off being the general than the extra soldier that’s worrying about not doing things perfect.
Shari: Right. If you want to be successful, you don’t need to do that.
David: Okay. Well, that’s very good advice. So, if you’re a small business owner, certainly on our line of work, if you’re doing a small business venture and you want to start by marketing yourself with some sort of video program or video promotion together, then it’s probably not a great idea to try and get it 100% correct before you actually put it out live, as long as you get your message out there.
Shari: Right, and you know it’s interesting that you happen to mention about video. The last thing that I read about video is that nowadays, people don’t like the perfect videos they like the pop it out of my mac and recorded it out of my desk kind of stuff because it makes it real. It makes it human just like them and the people really like that.
David: Yes, I agree. I was listening to a speaker yesterday actually, and he was saying that if you’re the best property agent, that doesn’t matter because you’re actually not selling property, you’re actually selling a solution to someone else’s problem. It makes so much sense because it’s all about people and it’s all about relationships. I suppose you could apply that in everything you do as well.
David: Well, thanks for that Shari. We’re really getting good information here. Now we’re going to find out about the number one killer of actually doing things and moving forward. We’re going to find out exactly what this killer problem is.
David: Another thing I saw on your website is about procrastination. A lot of people are sort of trying to put off the actual process of setting in and actually stop mucking around and just getting into something. Do you have some advice on that?
Shari: Sure, sometimes procrastination is about fear of the unknown and not knowing what to do next. It could be that we just feel like the task is just too big and we can never get it done. If it’s the former, it’s the, “I’m too afraid that I might fail and don’t know what I’m doing,” just keep going and say, “Who could I ask? What could I look up, and how could I do this?” Then start opening your mind up to answering your question because your brain will figure it out for you. It’s really remarkable how when I get really frustrated with something and I don’t know how to get going. I just start asking those questions and all of a sudden the answers come in my mind, and I say, “Oh my gosh, of course, that’s what I need to do.” And then I go look up this thing on the internet and whatever it might be, and I’ll be open to that. If it’s just so big, take some time to plan it out and say, “Okay, so how will this turn out? What do I need to do to get this done?” Then go to the first option and then the second and third and put those in an order so that you can have a plan. Then you won’t say, “Oh look at this thing I’ve got going on,” or “How am I ever going to get it done?” You can see just the very first little task, and then you can say, “Wow, I can get that done today,” and then it feels really good. You start getting some momentum.
David: So you’re not going to just sit down but actually achieve something then?
Shari: Right, and I’m glad you mentioned that because there is some old phrase that I wanted to bring up, it’s “When we fail to plan, we plan to fail.” Just take in a few minutes to plan and it will set you up for success in the long run.
David: Wow, that’s gold, it really is. So for those readers who are always putting something off, who want to actually make progress and stuff, you can make a little list and achieve the easier things first. That way you can say, “Wow I’m actually getting through this list,” and that’s really, really, good.
Shari: And that’s good. People love to chuck things out.
David: Oh, I know I do. So, you mentioned before about someone always showing up late for their child’s recital or whatever that might have been for some program that we’re doing… In the business world, I noticed that this is also the case. I have this old colleague who always used to show up late. It was his meeting, yet he was always stuck talking to other people, and he never really put enough emphasis on punctuality when other people are involved. Can you sort of give a bit of advice to busy people like that and to say, “Well, you know it’s your meeting.” How can we help you make sure you get to your own meeting on time?
Shari: That’s a tough one because it’s another person’s behaviour. It is a lot easier to change your own behaviour than it is to change someone else’s behaviour. I would suggest you change how you would react to it. Say that you, as a group, decided that were going to give ten minutes to this person and then to walk out of the meeting if he doesn’t show up. Now this thing that you can do is, if they schedule an hour-long meeting and they show up late, you walk out at the end of the hour and say, “You know what, I’ve got another thing I’ve got to run to.” Then you can start re-training them to say, “If I’m more than ten minutes late, people aren’t going to be hanging out anymore for me.” So then, it’s like a re-training process, and then another thing that you can do is go to that person directly and say, “You know what, it always seems like a lot of times you’re running late to meetings that you scheduled because you’ve just got so much more going on in your plate. I wonder what you think if we would just schedule the meeting to start 5 minutes after the hour or ten minutes after the hour to help you go out, and then we can all be there on time?” That might be another way to go. I actually do that too with some meetings where I would start 5 minutes after the hour, because I know other people have meetings, especially when you’re on a schedule where you’ve got just meeting after meeting after meeting. They were going until the top of the hour and then people would be late to my meeting, so if I started mine 5 or 10 minutes later, that would give people a chance to run to the restroom, get a drink of water, and being on time for my meeting. If you’ve got someone that just plain comes to your meetings late on time, you will not wait for them. Do not backtrack and bring them up to speed, because then you are encouraging their behaviour and you’re allowing them to be late. But if you start on time and you don’t catch them up, they will begin to get the message that, “You know what, they started without me and I have no idea where they are because they didn’t catch me up on it.” I prefer to reward the people who are there on time instead.
David: Right, that really sounds right. You’re not teaching them a lesson but making sure that they understand that you’re just as important and everyone’s time is important as well.
Shari: Everyone’s time is important. There’s no one person that’s any more important than anybody else, and it’s not fair to the people who are on time when you break up your meeting to bring them up to speed. It’s just not right. So, they can read the meeting minutes, they can ask you about the words that they missed, but don’t back up for them.
David: Okay, so if I want to get going on my project and I don’t know where to start, you’ve obviously got some great tips that you can share to help their time management. What would they do and get out of you so that you can help them?
Shari: What I would do is, we would take a look at the big picture, like, what would be a common thing that someone could be potentially doing as a project?
David: For example, they have got a small lawnmower business and they want to market themselves online, but they don’t know how or what to do, and all they’ve done is to listen to podcasts about how they can manage their time. In order to promote yourself online, what would they do?
Shari: Great, that’s perfect. So you would take a look at the big chunks first. We would say, “Okay, well you need to get a website a web developer and some content, like, what are we going to do, what is our marketing message? So you’d get those big buckets of things that you need to have and you start delving deeper on the web developer and you need to go out and research who is out there, and you need to talk to them and then you need to evaluate them, you know, to start breaking out these smaller tasks. So that’s how it is to help people take out the big things, break it down into smaller chunks, and then break it down even into smaller stuff, into things that aren’t going to take a couple of hours to complete.
David: So, as a consultant, you almost have a hand in pulling things in the right direction.
Shari: I am, and I can go so far as to keep them accountable. We touch base every single day so they’ll know the first things that I did yesterday, and here’s what I’m going to do today, and here’s what I need help with, to touch base weekly, bi weekly. Whatever you want to keep people accountable and moving forward, and help with those problems that come up as well.
David: Yes that certainly sounds like you’re taking a big step and if you’ll just follow their lead, then that’s good. Funny you mentioned that website development because that’s something we do as well here at my wealthy web. By the way, if you ever have any questions or anything in web development and time management, just send us an email and we can certainly point you in the right direction. In the meantime, have you got something that you can give away to our readers?
Shari: I do. I would love to give you 20 FREE time management videos. It’s a 20-day video training course and if you go to our website and input your details, I could start sending them to you right away.
David: Oh wow, okay. What could they expect for the first video? Something to introduce yourself and all that sort of stuff?
Shari: You know, I dive right in. I didn’t even bother with the long speech about who I am, I just go right up to the meat. It’s just really the questions and the answers; the top questions I get, and the answers to those questions, and they are some of the questions that they should be asking.
David: Okay, well that sounds wonderful. So readers just go to their website and see what time management is about. It is actually a funny concept and if we can manage time, we can manage how we act with our time.
Shari: Yes, you’re right. It’s actually behaviour management.
David: Yes, that’s very, very, true. Well, have you got anything else that you’d like to share with our readers before we call it a day?
Shari: Well, I think that this has been really good. I hope that you found it helpful and I appreciate the time.
David: Well, I really appreciate the time too. It has been fantastic. If you want to get in touch with Shari, just send her an email via her website. If you are unsure about where to contact her, you can always send us an email via our website as well.
It’s all about making sure that you’re doing something different with your business by starting today.