Small Business Talk For Coaches

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Is Overwhelm Killing Your Business?

Show Notes


After over 20 years in business management and bookkeeping, Nicola Ward founded Precious Time Business Services, seeing first-hand how optimising small changes in time efficiency can have a huge impact on business productivity. She saw business owners spending way too much time on day-to-day mundane tasks, instead of using their passion and focus to develop their business and improve quality outcomes.

Nicola also holds a Diploma in Office Management and is an Everything Disc Practitioner, as well as being a registered BAS Agent and maintaining proficiency in accounting and finance software; MYOB, Xero and Reckon. She has supported clients in industries as diverse as, agriculture, resources, hospitality, management consultancy and disability services.

Time Management

As small business owners time is precious. We all have the same amount of time in a day, but why do some of us appear to have a more balanced life than others? Time management helps you organise and plan your time allowing you to work smarter, not harder.

Some days the time just disappears and you get to the end of the day and think, “I’ve not actually accomplished anything today,” but if we were to apply some simple techniques, you can see what you’ve achieved and you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the working day.

Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is an Italian time management technique. It was invented by an Italian, hence Pomodoro, being a tomato, and I’m sure we’ve all seen those tomato timers that you can buy for your kitchen. Some people use the actual tomato timer, but you can use any timer that you have on your phone, or on your computer, or anything similar. The Pomodoro Technique is simple. All you do is make your list of tasks that you’ve got in your day, put them in order of priority, set a timer for 25 minutes and get to work. When the buzzer sounds, place a tick or you can if you like draw a tomato to let you know that 25 minutes has passed, then take a break for 2-3 minutes from that task and go and do something else.

That might be if you’re working from home, go and hang the washing out, make a cup of tea and then repeat. Continue to do this until you’ve finished a task. Once you’ve done four sets of 25 minutes, take a longer break. It can be difficult when first starting as we’re used to jumping back and forward, especially when you’re working at home, you have a small work force or tend to be doing lots of different roles within the business. Time management will force you to be focused, but the advantages outweigh that as time goes on.

Pickle Jar Theory

The pickle jar theory is a metaphor that’s used to illustrate the important aspects of time management. You must do all the important tasks first, or you’ll never get round to them. Imagine you had an empty jar, call it a “pickle jar, then you’ve got some rocks, some pebbles and some sand. The jar represents your time, the rocks represent the important tasks, the sort of tasks that there will be serious consequences if you don’t do them. Then you’ve got the pebbles, the less important tasks that we have day-to-day that just fill up our diaries.

Then you’ve got the sand, the unimportant tasks that pop up throughout the whole day and distract you, like phone calls, emails, social media notifications and things that might disrupt you. How does it work? Well, if you had a jar and you’ve filled up with unimportant tasks, being the sand, then on top of that you put the less important tasks which are the pebbles, there’s not really enough space in the jar for those massive rocks, because you’ve filled it up with pebbles and sand.



Is Overwhelm Killing Your Business?

Listen to Small Business Talk Episode 108 for the full episode.


Nicola Ward

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