Profiling tasks can help you make necessary changes

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Terry Sage of Trades Coaching New Zealand

After last month you should now have a well-penned list of all your daily tasks, jobs or duties — whatever you want to call them.

If you haven’t got a list then maybe it’s a pile of papers with neat writing on that you’ve accumulated. Ok, stop scratching your head — I will accept the pocket load of scraps.

So what am I hoping you have on these bits of paper? It will include any tasks you have performed, when you did them, how long it took you, did you like doing them, and are they making you a dollar?

For example: invoiced last month’s jobs, Wednesday evening, it took four hours, would rather have been at soccer training with mates, and it made $38,495.

Great, now we have a list that’s three pages long, and has the best stats on it — so what? Now we have to make a difference with it.

The secret here is that the following tips can make a difference, but not on their own. A tip or advice is only worth the paper it is written — it can only become priceless if you actually use it.

As simple and basic as that sounds, it’s the best tip you can get. Look at it this way — how many books have you read on business, how many seminars with inspirational speakers have told you stuff, how many times has your accountant told you to do something, and has your mate ever said “don’t do it that way, try this.”

Have you ever managed to do any of it? I don’t mean have you had the best intentions or the absolute resolve to want to do it, but have you actually got around to doing it.

I will fill you in with the “why it never makes the cut” scenario — it goes like this nine times out of 10: “That’s great advice, I can see how that will make all the difference. On Monday morning that’s all I am going to work on.”

Monday comes, you are all hyped up, you’re sitting at your desk and . . . the phone rings, that annoying text bleep comes out of your phone, you glance at the laptop and there are eight (if you are lucky) emails.

The phone call was from Mrs Bucket complaining that the kitchen cupboards were meant to be avocado not lime. The text was letting you know Arnold’s not coming to work today as he has an ingrown toenail.

The first two emails were end of month statements. The next one was a spam advert for pills you don’t need — but the fourth was a request for you to price a Russian billionaire’s holiday pad for approximately $15 million.

So what takes priority here? Old Bucket is forgotten, the statements can wait, Arnold — who’s Arnold? And now, a new beach bach the size of a small eight-star hotel needs to be priced.

Come on, we are only human. So the changes that will actually mean you will make a profit — and not a life changing loss from the bach — get put aside and life goes on.

So tip number one — if the advice is going to make a world of difference, make sure it becomes priority number one. The small, somewhat insignificant stuff will make you the big money.

What’s this got to do with a pile of scrap paper you have been collecting? They are boring, small changes that will take huge amounts of self-control and willpower to make a difference, but that can make a big difference if you can manage them.

So what do you do with these papers? Keep writing them for another month, for two reasons. One is that the more stats we have the better answers we can glean from them. The second is that for the 89% of you that never got around to writing anything, you have a second chance now.

Get your pens out and we’ll act on it next time.