In today's episode, we talk about 4 tips for effective time management for agencies:
- Track your time - You really can’t manage what you can’t measure. If you’ve never used any tool for time tracking, you’re basically guessing how long it takes to finish projects. The first step in being more productive is seeing how you’re spending your time. Some tools you can check out Toggl and Clockify.
- Kill big meetings - Here’s a quick fact for you… US businesses spend $37 billion a year in unnecessary meetings. In order to kill these big meetings here are some things you can do instead: call for short 10-15 min meetings, always define your goal, send meeting outline ahead of time, set a meeting timer, limit technology used.
- Use the 45/15 rule - Break up each hour in your day into 45 minutes of billable work and 15 mins of your choice of distraction. After 45 minutes we start to lose focus and our productivity goes down. Try it out!
- Learn to outsource - When we started BitBranding, we had all the time in the world because we didn’t have a lot of client work in our hands. We took pride in the fact that we did everything in house. But then it came the realization that we can’t do everything ourselves so we decided to get some virtual assistants to take care of some of those repetitive time consuming tasks.
Aaron: [00:00:16] Hey, y'all, welcome to another episode of The Marketing Natives. We talk a lot about local businesses sometimes we do some topics that are going on right now and we also like to help out other agencies like ourselves or even other business owners. Which is what today's episode is about and that is four tips for effective time management for agencies. And I think this is something that is not only good for us to tell other people but good for us to help ourselves with. Because time management really can make or break how effective and how profitable your agency is. If you don't understand where you're spending your time or how you're spending your time. So, it should be a fun episode. And we have four cool tips for you.
Christian: [00:01:04] Yeah, I mean these are just tips and things that we have sort of you know kind of stumbled along or had to learn the hard way because we did not start doing all of these things. I mean we still need to get better some of these things, you know throughout, so this has all been trial and error for us. The whole thing, our whole company is like a big experiment, so we're always experimenting on trying new things so try these new things. Experiment. Let us know, you know if some of these things are working and obviously just let us know if you have some other tips to manage time. But number one, in order to have effective time management is to be able to track your time. So you need to track your time in order to know exactly where you're spending your time. Otherwise you're just basically guessing on how long...
Aaron: [00:01:57] Yeah, Christian how long did that website take you?
Christian: [00:01:59] Exactly. Oh, ten hours. Oh, was it twenty hours? Was it thirty hours? Oh was it 30 hours? So you have to make sure that you're tracking your time and tracking your time correctly. And this the very first step in being a more productive....And there's two tools that we've used. Number one, the one, that we started using was Toggl. That's T-O-G-G-L. We're going to have links on the description of the episode and then Toggl. I mean it was great. But we kept growing our team. And as your team grows that's when they get you and they start charging you per team member. So we didn't want to pay for that, so we started looking for alternatives and we ended up using and that's what we use today is Clockify. It's almost a clone of Toggl. It's a little bit it has a few bugs here and there...
Aaron: [00:02:51] Yeah, more buggy.
Christian: [00:02:52] But I mean it still does the job. I mean it tracks that time, actually it tracks - it has a little bit more features on the free than Toggl but Clockify they say that they're truly only completely free time tracking tool. So if you need to start tracking your time, I would definitely recommend Clockify.
[00:03:13] It's completely free up to whatever, how many team members you have. If it's just you - yourself then just put it in, they're free and they have all the features everything, it's there for you if you ever track your time.
Aaron: [00:03:26] I think what's...I like about well, Clockify, obviously it's free. That's great. But Toggl, it was a really useful tool for us but it...I wish they gave like an agency option where like you know instead of charging per user for it because some people would have been a user there and maybe they wouldn't have been as active for us or you know we wouldn't have used them as much but we're going to pay you know five or eight dollars a month per person and it's like "Oh, that starts to add up really quickly when really all we're wanting you to do is tag some documents and say how long we've been spending time on it. So Clockify has got a great process and a great tool. And they're going to continue to probably fix the site.
Christian: [00:04:06] Improve, yeah. I think every month they send, you know, new e-mails with new improvements and new updates. So they're constantly trying to make it better.
Aaron: [00:04:15] Yeah. And I think they built it for themselves because they're like "What? We're using Toggl and we're like 'We're tired of paying for time tracking, we could build this like easily.'".
[00:04:24] All right. So number two, this has really, really changed a lot of what we've done and that is to kill big meetings. We have a cool fact down here, though - I'll let Christian talk about. But I know that we've changed to our two meetings per week and that is - we call Weekly Huddle and Weekly Pulse and we used it's kind of I don't remember what the law is the rule is whatever but it's like government time you a lot something. How much is it going to take to fill it. And we used to do like our meetings for our Weekly Huddle each week. And one of them was like an hour and 45 minutes like, "What are we?" You know, we could get through this so much faster. And when we changed that we were getting through meetings in 35 and 40 minutes. It's like it feels like we didn't cover everything but we did. We just need to put some put things in place, put a timer on there and said "Look, we're covering all of this in 45 minutes" and some how we did it in half the time. So that's productivity for not only Christian and I but for our employees. And you know that's profitable - that's profit for the business.
Christian: [00:05:23] Yeah. So that quick stat was that you as businesses spend thirty-seven billion a year in unnecessary meetings. I think Gary V is some - like an advocate for, you know, really short meetings and -.
Aaron: [00:05:37] Yeah, he does like three minute meetings.
Christian: [00:05:38] Yeah, yeah. So yeah the smaller the meeting is - the better. Basically some things that you can do to kill those those bigger meetings is obviously, you know, messaging, you know, your team being in constant communication with them. Also just call for those short 10 to 15 minute meetings.
[00:05:58] Just like "Look, this is 15 minute meeting" and have a timer. Literally set up a timer and try to talk over it on during those 15 minutes and get it over and done. You need to always find a goal for that meeting. You can always - you probably should always send a meeting outline ahead of time. That way everyone was prepared and ready, and another little tidbit is to limit the technology that you're using. So try to get people off their computers, off their phones. Especially if you're having like a brainstorming meeting or something or a strategy meeting, it's definitely good to not have any electronics with you, just go on with your pen and paper or white board and just spit any ideas that come out without any computers. It usually ends up being a distraction even if you're using it to get more ideas because sometimes we do that, but a lot of times you just get distracted - you get notifications and your brain just goes a million different directions instead of, you know, that one task.
Aaron: [00:06:57] Yeah, we tell ourselves - that we as in humans tell ourselves that we can multitask and it's absolutely a false statement. So any little ding from your phone, looking at your phone is "Like oh, I'm writing a proposal and like somebody messaged us on Instagram." and then "Oh, I got an email" and then "Oh, somebody messaged me on Slack." So yeah, we use the white board, it's probably one of our best purchases for the office and it's just like "Turn everything off. Here's a 15 minute meeting. Let's talk about this out loud. Great. That's it? Ok, cool. Let's get back to work in like -", you know there's not much - there's not many questions or things and we do some really...like Christian said some really good brainstorming in between that I don't think would have been possible if we would have been looking into it online.
Christian: [00:07:44] All right. So this is the halfway part of our episode where we talk about BitBranding. That's us. We're a creative marketing agency located in Allen, Texas. This voice that you're hear is Christian. The other one the across the desk is -.
Aaron: [00:07:57] Hi.
Christian: [00:07:58] Aaron. I was going to say his name. Basically started this company to help other businesses grow and like Aaron said we actually, you know, we like to - we like to help agencies grow too. So if you are listening to this episode and you are an agency just like us, we specialize in social media marketing and website design. You might specialize in other things. So I actually encourage you to give us a shout out at the - you know, when we started our company we would wish that we had some kind of mentor to help us grow our agency. So if you're listening to this episode and you're just starting out your agency and you need some guidance or some help or whatever. Don't be afraid to just give us a shout out and say like, "Hey, I'm starting this out. I just need some help or I want to run some ideas with you. I want to pick your brain." We encourage that we want to definitely help you out. We're not just helping, you know, we want to help our competition basically. We want to make a better, a better industry. We want to grow everyone not just ,you know, our clients. So yeah, you can just, you know, us reach out at, you know, email@example.com send us an e-mail or Instagram or Facebook.
Aaron: [00:09:17] Woah, sorry.
Christian: [00:09:17] That was premature horn by Aaron.
Aaron: [00:09:18] Sorry.
Christian: [00:09:20] He's pretty excited with his horn, but yeah just give us and we'll be sure to help you up. So -.
Aaron: [00:09:27] Nice. Free.
Christian: [00:09:28] For free.
Aaron: [00:09:32] No, I think they did an update on the app because I used -.
Christian: [00:09:37] It's ultrasensitive now.
Aaron: [00:09:38] Yeah it's very sensitive. You don't have to touch the airhorn now, you just touch the screen. Very cool. All right. So number three here is to use the 45-15 rule. So breaking up each hour in your day into 45-minute sections instead of an hour section and spinning 15 minutes of it on a distraction choice. So maybe a YouTube video, maybe reading a book, maybe responding to those things on Instagram.
Christian: [00:10:06] If your office allows dogs...
Aaron: [00:10:08] Play with dogs.
Christian: [00:10:09] Play with your dog or take him out for a little walk.
Aaron: [00:10:12] Yeah, 15 minutes. We could get downstairs. Probably walk for 2-3minutes and have to come back but I'd like to get up and go get to drink water and walk around our top floor of our office and just stretch my legs. Because we're like huge advocates for making sure we stand up, sit down, move around, do something besides just being stagnant in the office so it also helps with your creativity. So that's I think other than just being more productive it also will help just...Okay. You're in the middle of something. You have a problem you can't think through something. Go on a walk. Grab some water. Spend 15 minutes come back and you're like "Wow. Now I know the answer or mow I know a different idea of what to do."
Christian: [00:10:53] Yeah, aboslutely. I was just reading an article yesterday talking exactly about how to preserve or protect your creativity and that's one of the main things is just to walk away literally take a nap, go out with nature, get away from all these distractions and think about nothing like just clear your head, clear your brain completely which is you know...
Aaron: [00:11:17] We're kind of lucky here because we've got a trail like 15 feet away.
Christian: [00:11:20] Yeah, exactly. It's pretty nice.
Aaron: [00:11:23] Yeah, the trail is awesome.
Christian: [00:11:24] I think... I didn't put that it was scientifically proven here. I think it was scientifically proven. That yeah, we can concentrate on this for 45 minutes and after that we just start to lose concentration and the productivity starts going down. So just try it out. You know, every hour block in your day - work really hard for 45 minutes that means like no getting up to the bathroom, no getting coffee. None of that stuff just 100 percent. 45 minutes concentrating on the task at hand and then after you're done in 15 minutes, just do whatever you want.
Aaron: [00:11:56] Yeah, we would probably suggest that you get a timer or something. You know, maybe it's only during the work days but like something that's going to trigger you to do that because sometimes you can get lost in something and it's really hard to force yourself to move. Those people with iPhone's know that your watches will start just yelling at you like "Hey, it's 3:50! Get up, you're lazy." So just having something that reminds you and says like "OK. Get up and do something."
Christian: [00:12:22] So our last tip here is learn to outsource. I remember when we started BitBranding we were always very proud that we did everything in-house and you know we had all the time in the world basically because we didn't have a lot of clients. But basically as your agency scales and grows, you're not going to have the same amount of time that you had at the very beginning. So it's important to learn how to outsource and give tasks to other people to inside of your company. But that's something that we have to kind of learn the hard way too. I wish we would have done something from the get-go have some sort of virtual assistant that takes care of those small time consuming, repetitive tasks that we don't necessarily have to do every single day. We can just outsource it and have someone else do it.
Aaron: [00:13:08] Yeah. And I think that as long as it's not the creative piece or the piece that people are really like putting you into work for - then that works. So like adding some of these Google Analytics account for a campaign that you're going to do or you know setting up their account for a design or adding their folder to your productivity list. All of those things take hours to make happen. And if you can out you can get rid of that then you actually become more productive and also better quality for the client because you get to spend more time on them and get them a better quality product too. So, yeah I would outsource everything that doesn't include your creative piece where you are really being hired for what you're position is I guess at that point.
[00:13:54] All right. That was a really good episode and I hope you guys got a lot out of this and I really do hope that somebody reaches out to us. We'd love to talk to you and if you are in a, you know, a bigger agency and you are a business owner. We would love to have -.
Christian: [00:14:11] Yes!
Aaron: [00:14:12] We are actively looking for somebody that I feel like we've talked about this before, Christian and I. Well, we're looking for somebody who's a couple of steps ahead of us and we don't consider people competition but we just love to pick the brain of people who have been in the industry for another 10 years or something because we can all be productive and help each other. So if this your first time listening to the episode or to one of our episodes, please make sure you subscribe. We would love that. And then also please leave us an honest rating review so that we can continue to create better episodes for you and make sure to follow us on Instagram. We're pretty active there and would love to chat with you to answer any questions.
[00:14:52] All right. Talk to you next week!