Entrepreneurship Podcast post

Effective and Efficient with Paul Minors

George Grombacher April 15, 2022

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Effective and Efficient with Paul Minors

LifeBlood: We talked about becoming more effective and efficient, how to properly utilize technology, why someone needs to be the champion for it to work and how to figure out if now is the time to implement new systems, with Paul Minors, productivity consultant.  

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You can learn more about Paul at PaulMinors.com, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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You can learn more about us at LifeBlood.Live, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook or you’d like to be a guest on the show, contact us at contact@LifeBlood.Live.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Paul Minors

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:00
Come on one Blippo This is George G. And the time is right. welcome today’s guest strong, a powerful Paul minors. Paul, are you ready to do this?

Unknown Speaker 0:18
I am. Thanks for having me. George,

george grombacher 0:20
excited to have you on. Paul is a virtual productivity consultant. He’s helping businesses optimize their systems to support efficiency and growth. Paul, tell us a little about your personal life’s more about your work and why you do what you do.

Unknown Speaker 0:35
Yeah, I guess personal life. I’m calling him or talking to you today from Auckland, New Zealand. So we said at the start, I’m talking to you from the future. It’s there ahead of you here. And I’m actually from England from the UK. But I moved here with my family about 15 years ago. So if you’re wondering what is this accent, it’s sort of a mix of English slash Kiwi New Zealand accent. And now I’m married here with a three year old boy and another one on the way. And in terms of my, my work and my business, what I do is, yeah, the broad label that I apply is that I’m a productivity consultant. More specifically, my team and I, we help small to medium sized businesses to better use technology, specifically Asana, which is a project management tool, and Pipedrive, which is a sales CRM tools that a lot of small to medium sized businesses probably use. And so what we do is we provide support to companies who are new to these tools, they want to set up the software correctly, train their team on how to use it properly, and maybe integrate it with other tools and systems that they use as well. So we actually do a lot of automation with tools like Zapier. And so that’s the main kind of service and support that we provide is working with businesses to basically use their tools and their technology more efficiently and effectively, so that you can scale and grow your business, I really do believe that a lot of businesses growth is limited by their systems. So that’s what we really enjoy doing is helping you to grow by, by using your systems and your technology more effectively.

george grombacher 2:10
Nice, I appreciate that. How have you been able to systemize systematize your life since the three year old came in? And how are you expecting it to change again, as soon as the other one years?

Unknown Speaker 2:21
Yeah, well, my wife and I have operated from using a shared calendar for many, many years. That was my doing, I’m a big user of my calendar, I’m big into time blocking, and scheduling my work. So not just appointments, but also like work that I’m doing is blocked out on my calendar. And so we use a shared calendar, we have a shared family calendar. And if there’s something we both need to be aware of whether it’s like a social event, or who’s picking up our boy from candy, we make sure that that’s, that’s on the calendar. And so it’s a really simple thing that a couple can do to just organize what you’re doing where you need to be who’s responsible for what, and it’s worked really well, it to the point where our friends laugh at us now. Because if they’re we, we hang out, we’re big into CrossFit, we have some very close friends, our CrossFit gym, and we’re always organising, get togethers and things. And they’ll Our friends will joke and laugh at us about who’s going to who’s going to add it to the calendar, because they know that we’re big into scheduling. So know when number two comes along, I’m sure that that’s just going to continue and the calendar is probably just going to get a little bit busier

george grombacher 3:27
to appreciate that. So it strikes me and you’ve probably walked me through maybe your progression in your business and all that good stuff. I’ve been a professional essentially since 2001, when I graduated college and where we are today versus that 20 Some years ago is vastly different. And it’s a function of I am a try to be really mindful of of utilizing technology without utilizing too much technology. It’s like how do I figure out what I’m missing? And but also not overwhelming myself and taking out too much complexity?

Unknown Speaker 4:07
Yeah, it’s tricky balance. And I think sometimes the people often have this tendency as well to hawk around and try different tools. So we we often I hear from people who say, Oh, yeah, I’ve tried, you know, Trello and Monday and Basecamp. And now I’m using Asana. And that’s always sort of a little, maybe a red flag for me or not a red flag, but it’s what it tells me is that there’s so probably something deeper going on, there’s a deeper problem than the tool. And people think, Oh, well, this tool didn’t work for me. So I’ll try that one instead. Or, you know, I’m not as organized. So I need this system as well. And I think what people sometimes fail to recognize is that it’s maybe not the tool that’s letting you down. It’s actually your own use of the tool. Because it is it’s called a tool right? It’s like a hammer. You know, you can you can use a hammer to build a house or you can use it to I don’t know like do nothing Whether it like smashed a piece of wood, smash a window, like so it’s only it’s only as good as it’s only as good as how well you apply the tool. And so what we often find, when we really unpack the problem is oh, well, the reason these tools maybe failed is how they were introduced to your team, or it was a lack of understanding about the best practices who’s allowed to set dates and Mark tasks as complete. And so it’s more how you use the tool and the protocols and the best practices that govern the tool that are often letting people down. So that’s something I’m always interested to get into and unpack when working with a client. Because these tools, usually, you know, they’re very well designed, they’re all pretty similar. And what’s going to determine success with your technology and your systems is how you decide to use it.

george grombacher 5:46
Yeah, that certainly does make sense. Yeah. Operator error, oftentimes, a problem. So it that’s that’s that that’s why you have the work that you do, right? Is that so few of us? Why? Why is it so hard for me to do it on my own?

Unknown Speaker 6:05
Yeah, well, you can do it on your own. I’m completely self taught. And but the reason, the reason, the reason people come to us is usually I’m talking to a business owner, who is pretty busy, you know, people listening to this podcast, probably are wearing lots of different hats, they’ve got lots to do, maybe managing a team as well. don’t necessarily have the time to sit down and go through the rabbit hole of resources on let’s just take Asana, for example. Asana is website and understand how do I use this tool? How should I set it up? How do I train my team, that’s, you know, adopting a new tool and, and managing your team through behavioral change and getting them to adopt new habits is something that takes a bit of time. So what the value that we provide is fast tracking that journey, we’ve worked with hundreds of clients around the world, we’ve seen the mistakes that people make, we’ve got the process of how do we introduce this tool. And so we walk people through this process to actually design the system, and set up people’s projects in a really clear and understandable way from day one. Because we get approached by two types of people, we get approached by people who are brand new to the tool and they say, Look, I don’t want to waste time, I want to get this set up right from day one, then we get approached by people who are six or 12 months down the line, they’ve tried setting it up on their own, they haven’t grasped it where they know it can do a lot more. And now they need an expert to come in and fix the tool that’s not really working for them. So that’s the value that we provide. It’s really fast tracking that journey, which business owners who are busy really, really appreciate.

george grombacher 7:39
Yeah. So when we talk about productivity, what is the what does that mean to you?

Unknown Speaker 7:48
What’s the mean productivity? I mean, the definition that gets thrown around a lot, which I completely agree with is that productivity is about being efficient. Yep. I mean, we all we efficiency is synonymous with productivity, everyone thinks about when you want to be more efficient, but effectiveness as well, this is the very common definition of productivity is about being effective and efficient. So what does that mean? Effectiveness is doing the right things. And actually, that’s almost more important than the efficiency. Because there’s no point doing something efficiently. Efficiency is how you do the work. It’s how quickly you can get it done. There’s no point don’t doing something efficiently doing it well, if what you’re doing is the wrong thing. So productivity is the combination of being effective doing the right things and being efficient. So really, with with productivity, you need to start with an understanding of Well, where am I trying to get to? What’s my desired outcome? And for me, productivity is a vehicle or a tool or a it’s really a skill that I can apply to all across my life. It’s not just something in my business, in my personal life with personal goals, as well, I might I’m thinking about well, where do I want to be? What do I want to achieve this year? So how can I be more effective? What is it that I want to get done? What is that desired outcome? And then how do I get there efficiently? So if there is a meaning of life, I’m not a I’m not a religious person. But like, if there if there’s a meaning of life, for me, it’s to use your time really well, the time that we have on this planet, you know, you’ve got probably 80 to 90 years, I think we just want to use that time really well. So for me, productivity is a means to an end. That’s how I’m going to use my time on this earth and be really happy with with how I spend that time when I’m done.

george grombacher 9:31
Yeah, I think that that makes a lot of sense. It’s not really your job to help people figure out what the right thing they want to be doing is are you assuming that they already know that or are you digging into that?

Unknown Speaker 9:41
Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s often part of the bigger question of like, you know, and it’s if we bring that into the the software that they’re using as well. So I think again, one of the failures that people make when they’re setting up a new tool is they kind of jumped straight into setting it up and playing with it without really thinking about why are we using this tool? Like, again, let’s just take Asana, which is a project management tool as an example. Often it just gets dumped on a team without really understanding. But what’s the point of this tool? How does it fit into the business? Why are we using it? So I think it’s important to understand well, what problems is it going to help us solve? Maybe right now, we don’t have enough visibility of the work that we’re doing and who’s responsible for what, maybe we’re communicating across all these different channels, when actually we should centralize our communication. So if you can point to specific problems, and say, This is how the tool or technology is helping us, that’s really crucial in the beginning to get the buy in and the commitment from the team in order for them to use the tool correctly. So yeah, and so that understanding the problem, that’s the what, that’s the effectiveness, how does this tool or technology, how is it going to help us? What problem is it helping to solve? If we if you don’t understand that you don’t really have a way of measuring like, is the tool doing its job?

george grombacher 11:02
Yeah, well, it certainly makes sense. So help you to figure out the the reasoning, why in the first place that you bought something or you’re considering buying this piece of software, and then making sure that Yep, okay, this is it’s capable, as you said it, probably there’s a lot of tools out there that are capable. Why Why have you settled on Asana?

Unknown Speaker 11:26
Yeah, great question. I could have settled on any any one of them, really. I mean, for me, Asana I started using in 2012, when I was working in marketing, when I had a full time job for my business, we like many businesses, we tried a few different project management tools, nothing really stuck. And this was partly the problem was caused by the business owner, just not rolling it out correctly, he just sort of email this one day and said, Let’s try this. And it was not really thought out that the rollout of that tool, but I found a son, I actually discovered it on a podcast. And being a productivity geek, I took it on myself to figure out how to use this tool. And we really liked the interface, it was like, quite, you know, just nicely designed and intuitive and customizable. So we really like that. I mean, back then it was a lot simpler than it is now. So that’s the one that we started using at this company where I was working. And it was my boss who actually he paid me a bonus once we got it up and running. And I sort of showed everyone how to use it. And I really took the took the reigns in terms of being that that champion of Asana in the business, and I showed everyone how to use it. And so he paid me a bonus and said, you know this, this has been so transformative and beneficial to the company, and he paid me this bonus. And so that’s actually how I started my business years later, as I was thinking, you know, what could I do? How can I help people? What’s like a problem I could solve? And I thought, well, maybe other businesses would be willing to pay for that support. So it’s just sort of it’s been a an evolving Snowball from that very first experience of that job. About 10 years ago. Yeah, it was 10 years ago, this year, I just realized that Wow. So ever since then, it’s just evolved into me starting my business. And now we don’t do any other project management tools, I’d rather just be really good at one and do that one really well. And just be the asana guy, you know, rather than trying to cover everything and do an average job on everything, I’d rather be really good at one one thing sort of as a specialist, yeah.

george grombacher 13:18
There’s somebody at an organization need to be the champion.

Unknown Speaker 13:22
Yes, definitely. Yeah, we always recommend this. We like this sort of train the trainer model. Where it is, I think it is important to have somebody internally at the company who is taking that responsibility for the tool, whether it’s Asana or your CRM, or whatever, a bit like how, you know, if you use an accounting program, like QuickBooks, or Xero, your accountant is probably the Xero champion, you know, but people often don’t have that person for their project management tool, or for their CRM or their email. So yeah, I do think it’s important to have somebody who’s the champion, somebody who’s got like a better understanding of the tool, somebody who can be that internal support provider for other team members who are struggling, who need some extra support. So we like working with that internal temp champion, to train them, and get them up to speed so that they can become the expert for their company. Yeah, we think that’s a really important role to have otherwise, you know, if nobody’s really taking responsibility for the tool, and nobody’s really enforcing good best practice, that’s when the usage of the tool can kind of fizzle out people slip into bad habits. So we think having a champion is really important. Yeah, I’m

george grombacher 14:31
sure that everybody that’s listening has had some kind of an experience, either at their current role, or at a past role where they said, Yeah, you know, we had all these technologies that were available, but for whatever reason, we didn’t use any of them or we use them well enough. So do you have obviously like a sauna and pipe drive? But is there a piece of technology or something that you would say? Whatever you’re doing, you really ought to Consider this.

Unknown Speaker 15:01
Yeah, the one that comes to mind. There’s loads I can I can choose from, but the one that comes to mind that I often reference is Text Expander. Because I do think everyone could find use for this tool. So what text expander is, is it’s a, it’s a text expansion tool. Okay, what is that? What you can do, that’s how they describe it, I actually think it’s quite funny on their website, it’s a text expansion. What it is, is let’s, the best way to explain it is with an example, let’s take an email template. So what you can do with Text Expander is you can take an email template, you know, we’ve all got emails that we send on repeat, you know, when booking this podcast, you probably used a template to say, this is the the template I’m going to use to communicate with Paul. So you can take that template, you can put it into text expander. And then you can set up what’s called an abbreviation, which will then let you kind of pull that insert that template into somewhere where you’re typing. So let’s say you’ve got Gmail open, or I use Apple Mail, Text Expander works anywhere that you can type text, it doesn’t matter what tool you’re using, I can be an Apple Mail, and I type out my little abbreviation. Usually I use like a semicolon as the sort of prefix to my to my abbreviations. So if I type out, semicolon, and then the word intro, my introductory email template will then spit out into that email. So I don’t have to go. If I’ve got the template, I don’t have to go looking for it in a document or a note, I don’t have to go and find the previous email and copy it. I just typed that wonderful abbreviation and the the snippet, or the template that I’ve saved will then spit out into the email. So that’s basically what it does. What you can do, then to really take it to the next level is you can add fill ins and little placeholders for extra bits of information. So if I will, if at the start of my email, I want a little box where I can type the person’s name. So when I type my abbreviation, I get a little pop up that says write what’s the person’s name, I can have little, I can have paragraphs that are optional, I can turn on and off different paragraphs if I want. I can have drop down boxes of iPhone want to select from a menu. So it’s really powerful, you can customize your templates to suit different scenarios. So that is what it what it does. So it’s really useful for things like email templates, I also use it to store a lot of links, like I use Calendly to book all my my calls, or I have Calendly links are my affiliate links, links to my products and services on my website. So again, rather than having to go to the browser and copy a link, I can just use a little abbreviation and send somebody the link. There’s all sorts of use cases for a tool like text expander, I use it for things like checklists, as well. So I do a podcast of my own. And when I give a, when I’m giving the tasks to my VA, who’s going to then do the upload and description for me, I have a snippet that generates the default description, I customize it, I put a paragraph at the start, what is the episode about but then I have all that boilerplate stuff that you put in under your notes, you know, here’s where you sign up, and all that call to action. So I have all of that saved in text expander. So for anyone listening, who you know, we all have emails that we send on a regular basis or text that we have to just type regularly, even something as simple as your email address or your physical address, I never take out my address, I just type semi colon home, and then my home address will type out. So everyone can find a use for this tool. And I’ll finish by giving you some really concrete examples of how it saves me time. I got my email report from text expander at the start of the year. And in 2021, I saved four and a half days worth of time, just on typing. Nice. So if you took my average typing speed, I saved four and a half days that’s like, pretty tangible. Since I started using text expander I think I’ve saved about 25 days, that’s nearly a month of time I’ve been able to save just on typing. So it really has a very tangible impact on this is the efficiency part how quickly you can do things? Yeah,

george grombacher 19:07
amazing. I love it. Well, Paul, that was that was really solid, but the people are ready for that difference. Baking tip, what do you have for them? Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 19:15
well, what I would say is, um, invest in your systems early. If you if you you know, I’m sure a lot of your listeners are probably in the early days of their business, working out, you know, getting getting everything set up, set up, you know, setting up their marketing and generating the first few, their first few dollars. And the mistake or the problem that we see a lot of people coming to us with is that they’ve grown very quickly. This is something we hear every day, they say we’re growing really quickly, and now we can’t keep up. And what’s holding us back is our systems. It doesn’t matter what that is if it’s a CRM if it’s a email marketing tool, if it’s project management software. Like I said at the very beginning, most people their growth often is limited by how much capacity they can handle And the systems that they have. And so what I would say if you, especially if you’re in the early innings of your business, invest in your systems early, even though right now you might even just be working on your own and you can do everything yourself, you can remember everything in your head, you need to try and get into that habit of documenting your process and Using systems to manage your business. Because when you grow and scale and hire more people, you can’t you’re not doing everything yourself and you can’t, you need to get that stuff out of your head and into a system. So the earlier you can be figuring out your systems, the the easier it’s going to be to grow. And so you just need to do that little bit of groundwork now to set yourself up for success later because I just share this one because it’s something we hear every day as people struggling to grow because now they’re just absolutely disorganized and and need better systems. So the earlier you can invest, the less likely you will need to work with someone like me.

george grombacher 20:57
I think that is great stuff that definitely gets come up. Well, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you?

Unknown Speaker 21:05
Thank you. The best place to find me is my website. Paul miners, m i n o r s.com. I’m also on YouTube. I do a lot of videos about these tools on YouTube. So you can just type my name into YouTube as well.

george grombacher 21:17
Excellent. Well, if you enjoyed this as much as I did show, Paul your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to Paul miners calm it’s Pau l m i n o r s.com. Check out all the great resources he’s got on the page and also find him on YouTube and check out all the great tutorials and information that Paul puts out there. Thanks good, Paul. Thanks. And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all in this together.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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