Running a Business with Time for Sandcastles with Troy Hazard
Troy Hazard is one of our most in-demand speakers, and in fact, he’s asked back more than any other speaker as well! Franchise audiences love his streetwise approach to business and life. Here’s a story he sometimes includes in his presentations about sand castles. We love it…you may as well!
Getting the Most Out of Your Day
“I am often asked about how I get so much done in such a short period of time so I can be on the beach by 3 pm with my wife and the kids making sand castles. It’s not rocket science, It’s just a series of habits that I follow every day.
Every day, I have a routine. First up I spend 20-30 minutes organizing my head. I make three lists, things I can change, things I have changed, and things I can’t change. So I am focused on only working on the things I can change that day and be clear they are done by end of day. This is not a ‘to do’ list, this is a ‘can do’ list.
Then I typically spend about 30 minutes watching video or reading articles, anything that I can learn from to improve myself. I’ll do this while I organize my desk and scan the news in the background. If something comes up from the news that’s interesting and I have a view on, I’ll shoot out a comment to some of the producers I work with at various television stations, just in case I can grab a ‘hit’ on one of their shows later in the day, or the next day.
For the rest of the day, I block things into 15-minute work intervals. I choose 15 minutes because I have a firm belief if you can get it done in 30 minutes you could probably get it done in 15 minutes, if you focus.
That doesn’t mean that I only work on a project for 15 minutes and then move on to another one. It just means that I challenge myself with every project as to just how long it will take to execute, if I focus on it. So it becomes a kind of a ‘race’ to get things done, on time.
Now you might think that blocking your day into 15 minutes sounds like a lot of work. Sure, there is a bit of thought that goes into it, but once planned out it is surprising how quickly you get through things. And once you get into a groove with the process you’ll be surprised just how quickly you can do it. For me, 20 years down the track, I can chunk down my day in about 5 minutes and I drop it straight into my calendar. And that sets the pace for the rest of the day.
What sparked this whole change was my self-realization of my own in-efficiency 20 years ago. I was getting frustrated that I would get to the end of the week and look back over yet another 60 hours of ‘hard’.
I tried a number of time management exercises that just didn’t work for me. They were clumsy and I felt that none of them really pushed me to be better.
My ‘15-minute’ idea came about from my passion for motorsport. As an amateur race car driver, there is only one thing that pushes you at the track, and that’s your lap times. With each lap, you are constantly seeking to chip just a split second off the last. There’s a euphoric feeling the sweeps over you when you see that little green light come on your dashboard telemetry to tell you that you were faster in that sector or lap than the last one. That’s what I wanted my day to feel like. So, the obvious thing was to turn it into a race.
When I first started this process I quickly realized that I was wasting 32% of my week. In short, my lap times were terrible. So I went on a journey to work out how to rectify that.
Drawing from my racecar experience I thought, ‘what’s typically happening when I cut a good time at the track’? The answer was simple, I was best when I was not distracted by anything and I was totally focused on what was going on in the car. When I was distracted by another car, the weather, or just not being in the moment, that’s when I would typically make a mistake and wash off speed.
To help focus and remove the distractions from my day I started to make some simple changes.
- I turned off all of my alerts on email. Back then email was the sexy new means of communication and it was really easy to jump when you heard a new one arrive.
- I’d turn my cell phone to silent, and get reception to hold calls for blocks of time so I did not have to continually break concentration on a project.
- I made sure I only had one file at a time open on my desk so I was not constantly looking at what I could be working on and focus on what I should be working on.
- Before I started to work on a project I would take a look at the time I had allocated for it, and then take a moment to consider if there was a faster more efficient way to execute the project. In a lot of cases this helped draw out a better system, or a more effective process to execute, and on occasion, we could even then adopt that in the business across all projects.
But there was still one more big distraction, the never-ending ‘meetings’.
I noticed our team always setting meetings for an hour. And I questioned them to ask themselves, why? What if we set the same meeting for 45 minutes, or even 30 minutes?
Over about 3 months we started to shorten meeting times, 60 minutes went to 45 then 30 and then 15. Our daily morning meetings got even shorter and we started to do them standing up, so we didn’t all get comfortable sitting.
To continually push myself to be more efficient and effective come end of every day I look back over the day to analyze what I could have done better, been more efficient at, or need to discard out of my day as its just not a good use of my time.
With this simple process, over time, I was able to turn a 60-hour week into a 24-hour week. And still to this day the ‘race’ is to get 5 days of work done in 3, and be on the beach by 3 pm with my wife and the kids making sand castles.”
P.S. Troy’s VAST franchise experience and natural inclination toward putting on his “consultant hat” first, allows him to create unique presentations which hit a bullseye for franchise systems. If your team could benefit from Troy’s experiences, let’s connect!