“I was kinda lazy in high school,” Ken Fleisher admits. “I was very good at procrastination.” Things began to change when he was in college and the stakes were higher. He had to develop strategies for staying organized.
He started using checklists and a calendar to get organized. More responsibilities meant he needed better tools, like David Allen’s book, “Getting Things Done.” But Allen’s method isn’t easy to go all-in on.
So Fleisher, a commercial photographer and color scientist, created his own method for organization, changed his life, and started offering it to people like us. It’s called Cherry Task, and Ken says it’s “a holistic approach to productivity that is simple, sustainable, effective and invisible.”
Oh, and he also knows a thing or two about starting a business. Ken Fleisher Author at Cherry Task
Rise Grind Repeat Podcast
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Hosted by Dustin Trout
Produced by Andrei Gardiola
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| Rise Grind Repeat 051 |
on today’s episode of Rise, Grind, Repeat, we talked to Ken from Terry task, he’s all about time management and helping entrepreneurs just manage their time a bit better. Who doesn’t want that? Let’s dive right in. Like I said, you’re just all in when it comes to time management prioritization, which I think is a huge struggle amongst a, just pretty much every entrepreneur solo, a solo PR. Is it solo entrepreneur, solo preneur Oh, solo coroners. Okay, cool. So yeah, I, I’m excited to learn more about you and, and uh, kind of knit what it is that you do and help other entrepreneurs. So love for you to kinda just start off with explaining who you are, what your background is, and just a little bit of your backstory.
Okay, sure. Great. So, um, first thanks for having me on the show. Um, my background, originally I’m a commercial photographer and a color scientist and you know, back in high school, um, growing up I was kind of lazy. I, it was a big procrastinator. I was, I was very good at procrastination. And my parents constantly reminded me of that. But then I got to college and the game changed. And I think that probably happens to a lot of people also. Nobody cares if you don’t turn in your homework, you just fail. Right. And so I very quickly learned I need to like do something differently because what worked in high school is not working now. And so I learned some of the basics, um, that I could, I started using really just checklists, not, not even task management. Um, it just learned to keep checklists and put things on a calendar.
Um, some basic scheduling things. And that got me through for a long time. Uh, it got me through college and you know, moving on, um, as I got more, more advanced in things, um, eventually things got more complicated, more responsibilities and I came across getting things done. Uh, the book by David Allen and that was kind of the starting point. That changed a lot for me and it was just sort of an eyeopener. I was like, wow, this is, this is like the way to do this because it just made sense to me. Um, the problem is it was hard to follow and hard to put it into practice. So it took me a couple of years to be honest. Um, before I, I kind of had a couple false starts, a few false starts, but then I finally realized, you know, I don’t have to do everything it says in the book at once.
I can just like do part of it and that will still be better than what I’m doing now. And so I started easing my way into it. And as you learn each new thing, it becomes more natural, more easy, and then you don’t really think about it. You just do it. And I sorta started building the whole system and of course after I got hooked on that, started reading more of the personal development books, um, you know, Stephen Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people and all the classics. Um, and just kind of started my journey that way and developed into, um, all areas of the, of productivity. Uh, that’s pretty much how it happened.
Awesome. No, I love it. And there’s actually something that you mentioned the getting things done. A book, I didn’t know it was a book. I’ve seen it. I mean in the actual first time I saw was in the click up group, um, just people talking about it and how you could maybe map out, click up to, uh, to, to accomplish that. And so I haven’t really done too much research on that. So can you explain a little bit more what, what that whole methodology is or that process?
Yeah, absolutely. So getting things done is a book by David Allen. It’s, it’s, um, I guess you can call it a method or a framework. It’s not a specific process so to speak. I don’t know what word David Allen uses to describe it. Maybe he uses process actually, but it’s more like a framework because there’s no one defined way to implement it. There’s a lot of leeway to do what’s right for you and what works for you. It doesn’t specify tools or what not, but it’s really, it’s based around, um, some core principles that are universal and those are, no matter what type of task management system you choose to do, you’re going to do these things. Mostly it most of the time just in your head and you’re not even realizing you’re doing it, but the five stages that he’s laid out, the first is to capture.
So you need to just identify everything that’s on your mind that you have to do. Most people do that with a post it and the things they can think of that they want to do today. Right. Very mini version of that. Yup. In, in getting things done, you capture everything that’s on your mind completely for now in the future business, personal life, everything. Um, the idea is that your mind is not a good place to keep that stuff because if it’s there in the back of your mind, you have to constantly keep remembering it again and again so you don’t forget it. And that takes your energy away from actually thinking about the doing of the stuff. You know, thinking about the task itself, just remembering the task is not the task. So capturing everything is the first step. The next is to clarify you, you look at the stuff you capture, what is it, you know, is this something that I need to ask someone else to do?
Is this something I have to do? This is a really dumb idea that I can just throw in the trash. A lot of those, a lot of my ideas end up to be those. But if you don’t capture it and then clarify it later when you’re not in the moment when you can sit down and think about it, sometimes you know you, you’ll lose the good ideas and it’s okay to just throw away the bad ones. But you basically you clarify at what project does this belong to? That sort of stuff. And the next step is to organize, well, what does it belong to? What lists should I put it on? So you’ll have a list for each of your projects. You’ll have a list for items that don’t belong to a project. You have a list for different areas in your life, your finances, your job, your personal life, your socializing, let’s say.
Um, you know, all the different roles that you play. You, you can keep those sort of separate and you’ll have different lists for each of those. Um, so once you’ve organized all of the stuff that you’ve captured, uh, once, once a week and probably even once a day, there’s different strategies you reflect is the next stage, the fourth stage. And by reflecting you are going to look at it. And that’s when you sort of do the prioritizing in the moment. So you don’t pre prioritize anything and getting things done. You don’t set this as a high priority test. That’s a medium because the idea is everything keeps changing, right? I mean you said something as high priority and then you get an email 10 minutes later, that’s a higher priority. You just wasted time prioritizing something, right? So you don’t prioritize in that way. What you do is you, you rank things in the moment as you’re deciding what to do.
And when to do it based on hitting, well he does a couple of different methods he proposes, but based on, um, what tools do you have available, what resources are available to you? You know, do you need a computer to do it? Well, are you at your computer, right? That sort of thing. Do you need to make a phone call? Do you have a phone? So you don’t have a phone, you don’t need to look at your list of phone calls. Pointless. Right? So, so you look at that, you look at how much time do you have to do it? You’re not gonna start a three hour task when you have 15 minutes to work on something. Um, how much energy do you have? And you know, cause some tasks require higher degree of focus or more energy. And then last, um, you know, what’s the highest priority of the things that are left?
What should I do right now? So that’s kind of the system. And then the, the last stage is simply to engage. Once you’ve selected those things, get to it. Yep. And then blank everything else out. And just focus on that. That one task at hand. Yeah. And so the wonderful thing about this system is it helps you to allow things to not slip through the cracks because you’re constantly reviewing these and you have them organized in a way that is very easy to understand and make sense. And so the, all the little things for each of your projects that are, have all these moving parts, you’re constantly aware of what all that is. You don’t have to keep it all in your head and you have it organized and laid out in front of you and you can constantly know what should I be doing or what do I need to put my attention towards.
Yeah, no, that makes sense. I mean, everything that you said at the beginning, the, it all just sticks in your head. And whenever I started this business and we didn’t have a project management tool and that’s kind of what it was, it’s, I mean luckily there wasn’t a ton of moving parts so I could do that. But as things kind of grew, hired, some people also know just little things started falling through the cracks and then [inaudible] that’s what got us on click up was just because it was just like there’s too many things going on. And I really got to the point where it was just like, I feel like I’m working more and more every single day, every single week, but getting less accomplished. Is that, I mean I know that you work with a, you kinda, do you coach others on a time management?
Yes, I do. I, I coach entrepreneurs. Um, mostly not exclusively, but mostly entrepreneurs on time management for pretty much exactly what you just described. Um, you know, and the, the issue really comes down to a couple things. Um, you’re busy all the time, but you’ve either not selected the correct things to be spending your time on. Sometimes you tend to pick the things that are easier to work on instead of the things that are more important. Um, well I’m already of over committed. I mean it is PO, one thing that’s an eye opener for people is when you’re talking about task management and people wonder, well how do you get so much done? I mean the bottom line is you only have so many hours in the day, right? At some point, something’s got to give. So you have to, um, not over commit yourself. And you have to learn how to select the right things to keep around in the right things to let go.
So when it comes to, I mean, I, I feel that there’s a lot of entrepreneurs that feel the same way or just even just busy people. Is it defined that it is mainly a problem of, of over committing, not realizing how much time certain tasks takes or is it focusing just too much on the wrong activities or what, what is the commonality between people that lead to the feeling of, you know, that burnout or just working more but getting less done? Combination of all.
And it depends on the person. Um, some people are more procrastinators and they’ll be busy doing stuff, but they know they’re not working on their important stuff. Um, but they keep busy so that they feel like they’re doing something. So really it’s a procrastination issue, not a time management issue. Uh, and that, and procrastination is a time management issue, I guess you could say, but it, you know, it’s rooted in different things. It’s often rooted in, um, deeper emotional concerns.
And how would you typically help someone through that? Cause I, I mean I, yeah, I feel like a know a few people like that kind of do that where it’s just like, well, I’ve got all these things done and whenever you take a look at it, it’s like, well, you could’ve got this done. Basically there are other things that could have gotten done that might’ve taken more thought process or more time or whatever it may be to push the business a bit further, but instead decided to do these other things that were quick because they could talk about the quantity of what they got done. Is there a way that you kind of help others through that?
Yeah, there absolutely is. And what it, what it often comes down to is clarity. So [inaudible] a lot of times the people will choose to do those things. They’re not realizing they’re choosing to not do something else when they select that. Um, and that’s where a system like getting things done really helps because you can see the big picture when you can see all the things that you have to do right there in front of you, it’s, it’s a lot easier to know which one is really the one you should be doing. Right. But if you don’t do that, it’s easy to think, well, you know, I’m gonna work on this because it’s important. But without the clarity of everything that you’re committed to, it’s sometimes harder to see which thing is the right choice.
That makes sense. That makes sense. Um, so I mean it’s, it’s, yeah, just a matter of just getting everything down. And, and I mean, do you help with defining a system that helps show people what, what tasks would have a bigger impact on their business? Or is that more for the individual to kind of decide and, and uh,
it’s like, yeah, it’s a combination. I definitely help with that, but ultimately I don’t know how every business works. Um, so, you know, I, I rely on input from my clients, but I w you know, with, with their input and conversations, I ha I helped them with a system that helps them to, uh, identify what those higher priority activities are.
Awesome. We’ve been, I mean talked a lot about the, the getting things done, a process or methodology mind frame, what, whatever, whatever that word may be. Are there, have you found any other alternatives to to that is, what are some of those?
Yeah, there, there are definitely other alternatives. Um, there’s in fact, I mean there’s probably a lot. Um, there’s, there’s, there’s something, a lot more simple that people like called the bullet journal. This is a paper based system. And by the way, getting things done does not have to be done on a computer that started as a paper based system. Uh, you know, it was developed back when Blackberry was the big thing. So, you know, there were that, that was the PDA. People didn’t even have a iPhones or anything like that. Um, but the bullet journal is a simple, simpler system where you simply make lists of things and there’s little symbols that mean different things. And as you go forward through the days and weeks, the items that didn’t get completed simply get copied forward. Um, you know, and there’s a way of tracking which ones need to be copied forward.
Um, so that, you know, so there’s a system that like that is, it’s more like a simple list system. Uh, there’s something called Zen to done, which is a modification of getting things done. And it’s, it was created partly because a lot of people fail when they tried to implement getting things done because it seemed kind of like I did. It’s hard. Um, it’s, it’s complex. There’s a lot of parts and it’s a bit overwhelming the way it’s all presented. Um, that David Allen does have a new book that just came out within the past, I think six months or so. It’s a workbook aimed at actually helping with that problem because he’s, you know, he understands that people get hung up on the, um, implementation of the process. And it’s really, it’s really, by the way, very easy once you get it and once you’ve done it for a little while, um, it’s really, it’s so simple. Um, but it’s, it’s the, it’s overwhelming to start cause it’s a lot of new things all at once. So Zen to Dunn was designed to simplify that entire process and cuts out some of the things that might be too much and introduces things one at a time. Uh, there’s something called getting, getting results the agile way. And you know, it is, are you familiar with the app with agile project management?
No. And it’s funny you ran out. I was going to ask that. I’ve, I’ve heard of, I mean scrum agile, a different project management I guess. Sista I don’t even know what they are but I would love to learn cause I’ve seen him quite a bit. But could you expand on that a little bit?
So the things like scrum and agile are, are more pro. So those are more like team-based project management systems. And the one that I just mentioned, the getting results, the agile way is a personal, uh, productivity version of agile. Um, and that’s the one where you have the swim lanes and you can think of like a Trello board, a set of Trello boards where you move things from need to do to doing, to done. Um, that sort of thing. Um, you know, and, and scrum is a different system that works very well for things like, uh, software development. Um, and it has these sprints that you do. So, um, is it, I think it’s two weeks sprints or three weeks sprints, something like that. Um, yeah, I, I haven’t worked with scrum in quite a long time. Uh, so I forget the details. Um, and I’m, I’m more involved with personal test management systems rather than team.
Um, but those, those systems are more about keeping of everything but also for who’s assigned to what, who needs to do what by when, you know, there, there’s, there’s the typical waterfall system to where, where you have like again, chart and you can see all the different, um, I guess milestones of a project or tasks in a project and when it started and when it’s due and how they overlap and who’s working on what. So those systems are more designed around that. With personal task management. You don’t typically need all of that because it’s just you or maybe just you and a couple other people that you’re, uh, you know, like maybe a VA or something and a and a designer that you’ve hired or something like that. And so you don’t need all that. Um, so the, the personal systems tend to work a lot better in, in general.
Yeah. No, I mean, the, the commonality that I, I’m hearing is a lot of these systems, the, the first part is getting everything out of here, your brain and onto paper. And then the next step is really kind of prioritizing in almost real time seeing what needs to be done. And I mean the day changes constantly and so that that priority list will change. But just the key is to get all your thoughts out of your head and onto either a piece of paper, a piece of software, whatever it may be, so you can get a bird’s eye view of what all is really going on. And then from there it’s a matter of what, what, what is do first, what’s going to, is it a client deliverable is a push in the business. And then from there it’s, it’s figuring out can I do it, can it be delegated? Is that kinda the, the I guess process that that you kind of see as well?
Yes. And, but one thing I’d clarify there though is the part about not prioritizing is really almost exclusive to getting things done. Other systems tend to like adding priorities to things so that you know which things are the urgent, which things are the normal and which things are the low priority. That’s the simplest way. And you’d tend to Mark things that way and then you can filter and sort by them. Even on the, a lot of the computer programs. Yeah. Th the reason getting things done doesn’t use that approach is those labels get stale or they become incorrect and you don’t go back and change it and then you don’t have a correct view of what you need to do. Hey, you bring up a good point. I think I’d correct. Is that getting things done is one of the only systems really that does not, uh, emphasize that type of pre prioritization?
Yeah. Cause I mean there, there, there’d be times where, uh, a task will be urgent. Market is urgent. I mean in click up or whatever it may be and uh, things happen and then look at it a couple of days later I’m like, Oh well that’s not really urgent anymore. It was so you remove it. So it’s almost like it’s good in the moment. But yeah, it could cause some confusion and ms prioritization for sure.
So I, I have a unique way that I use those labels in, in the systems. I do use the priority labels. Uh, but I learned this from someone in a forum many years ago. Um, instead of the priorities, meaning high, medium, and low priority, I use those to mean a review frequency. So in other words, the things that I need to review every time I look in my list, get the high priority, the things I want to look at at least once a day get the medium priority. But if I’ve already looked at it, I can later in the day just filter those things out so they don’t clutter my view anymore. And I can just look at the more, more frequently needed ones. And then the things with low priority are a low review, a lower review frequency. And I might look at those just once a week and I can filter those out during the week.
So what that does is it takes a big list of a lot of things to do and it makes it a whole lot smaller. As I’m working through my day trying to decide what I need to do and at any point as I’m reviewing like the medium and low frequency review items, I can say, all right, well that’s becoming, I’m going to need to move on that now. Let me make that into a high high review frequency item now. And then I’ll see it every time I look at the list and eventually, and then I’ll start to do it at a, at some point.
Yeah. No, that’s an awesome process. I actually never thought about it that way. And uh, cause yeah, usually use the due dates and, and uh, schedule recurrences on how long or how often they should be looked at. But that’s a whole different way to look at it. And, uh, no, that’s, that’s a good little, little tip.
More flexible. So when, one thing I’d like to add and we’re talking about all these task management systems and of course, um, time management is one of my, um, you know, my loves, you know, I guess you could say, um, what these systems don’t do is they don’t help you address when you’re going to do all these tasks. So just having them organized in a task management system doesn’t necessarily help you get anything done, uh, because you then have to proactively decide when you’re going to do it. It doesn’t, it won’t magically happen. What’ll happen if you don’t do anything is you’ll get lots of urgent email requests that you have to attend right away. You’ll get lots of phone calls and meeting requests that you have to jump on and all these things and all, you know, as, again, it seems important, it seems more important and urgent in the moment.
Um, but if you’ve taken the time to look at your list once a week and you schedule out time for the important things for the week and protect those time blocks, then when those urgent things come along, you’ll be able to say no to a lot of them and realize they’re not as urgent as they sound. There’s they seemed, and that’s when, you know, that’s one of the biggest time management tips I can give you without all the strategies. It’s, you know, very simple. Just schedule time to do the stuff that’s important and protect that time.
Yeah, no I love that you mentioned that cause it’s a, it went from having nothing to then having a system in place. But to your point it’d be like, yeah, I can do this phone call, do this phone call and all of a sudden it’s like 10 hours of phone calls and I haven’t got any gun. Uh huh. And so exactly. So what I’ve started doing is, is just figuring out how long I think each task should take and then I can get it on my calendar and then I don’t let anything else take priority over it unless, unless it is a super important call or whatever it may be. But it’s, it’s really helps say, I know you, we might, you think we might need a talk in the next half hour, but I think we can maybe push to this afternoon or tomorrow morning. And more times than not, the world doesn’t end whenever you make that request and just say, have a couple of things going on. And it’s been a huge game changer since, uh, taking my task list, figuring out what, what should get done, what needs to get done, and literally putting it on the calendar and then planning my days, my phone calls, my meetings around those things.
Yeah, that’s fantastic. And the other thing that you gain from that is when you’re asking someone, well I can’t do it now, but maybe at another time you can actually look at that calendar and know what time is available. So you don’t again shoot, you know, shut out your, your tasks that you’re planning to do, that you need to do. So it gives you, it gives you the big picture and the clarity. Yeah.
Yeah. So going back to, uh, the getting things done, uh, scenario, I know you mentioned that it was a struggle at first, but once you got it, you had a ton of clarity. Was there a certain thing that you realized or what, what was it that got you over that learning curve or, uh, that, that, that thing that took you from vague to clarity in that whole scenario?
The important thing to understand is it didn’t like just click, just happen. Um, what, what happened was after my, uh, I guess three, maybe four failed attempts to starting, um, I had the, I had the realization, and it might’ve been something I read in a forum, just a little off the cuff comments someone made. I realize, you know, I don’t have to do everything exactly in the order and the way the book says and I’ll still gain something from it. So I started with something small that I knew I could do and, and that had to do with my email list. Um, that wasn’t the first thing by any means in the book book doesn’t even talk about email. There won’t, you know, there wasn’t even a big thing. Um, heck then. I mean w there was email of course, but um, it wasn’t what it is now, which is the total time thing.
Um, so, so I, I learned about inbox zero where you clean out all of the things in your inbox and I decided to just try that first. And I went through that and I did that and, and it worked. And I got a lot of, a lot of stress just like left with just from that one thing. I’m like, okay, so I don’t, so I can get benefits from this just by doing parts. Right. So once I realized that I just picked the next part and so I kind of then ease up, you know, it wasn’t like all of a sudden I had clarity and everything. I took ’em probably over a year. By the time I was kind of ramped up into a more full GTD system for myself.
I mean, that makes sense. And so when you, when you say inbox zero, is it literally your email inbox hits hit zero and it’s a rather than letting it build up to 2,700, 10,000 emails?
Yes. To a point where my inbox has no messages in it now they’re not deleting them from, I use Gmail. I’m not deleting them from Gmail. They’re archived. Um, but the, the concept is you just, you touch everything once. So if I’m reading an email and it’s a spam or it’s just some announcement about something I don’t care about, I’d delete it. I don’t need it. It’s gone. If it’s something that causes an action that I need to do, if there’s something actionable in it, somebody asks me to write a paper or whatever it is, I don’t know. Um, that now is a task I need to track. I put it into my task manager now I archive the email and I don’t need the email anymore. Right. Or let’s say it’s just something I want to reference. Well, I can always search Gmail for it and find it again. I archive it. Um, sometimes I tag things with the label. You know, there’s some email newsletters that I, um, some lists that I’m on that I do like to keep. I’ve unsubscribed for many, so that reduces the number of email that helps. Um, but the ones that I do want are auto automatically tagged with, uh, what they are, what, you know, what, what lists they’re from and they’re automatically archives. So that way I can just go to that tag and view them when I’m ready. And they never, she even show up in my inbox.
It’s, yeah, I love everything you’re saying because a, I mean, working at an agency a while back, it, I used to use, let the inbox get, get a way up there and it’s like you lose things, you get it. It’s just chaos and it makes it tough. And once I started trying to get to basically the zero inbox without realizing it, I’m a big game changer was I I love the Chrome extension that uh, or yeah, the Chrome extension that click up has where you can with the one button within the Gmail filter it out. Cause yeah, if, if it’s something to do, filter it and then push it away over into its own folder. And uh, ever since then it just, it just, it’s a lot less anxiety when you get back into your inbox and you only see 17 or 12, whatever it may be. A lot more than yeah. And then once I started feeling that, that’s where all of a sudden started, uh, kind of auditing what email list am I on? Do I really need all this one coming in daily, weekly, whatever it may be. So then I’m just going through every, all the email communications that you’re getting from all the automated emails and, and uh, just going through and I’m unsubscribing if it’s, I have not opened this in the last 10,000 emails they sent me. So do I really need to stay on it?
But I mean, one thing that you mentioned that a really cool is that, I mean, I, I kinda, I, I’d kind of deal with this when it comes to clients, especially ones that are a little bit on the smaller end that haven’t done marketing and kind of get overwhelmed with, uh, but there’s SEO, there’s, there’s content production, there’s this there. And it’s all about just starting from somewhere and building upon it as you go. And as you learn more, you just, you just build. And that was something really cool that, uh, they kind of came out. So when it comes to cherry task, would love to kind of talk about your comment and you, you own the company, right? Yes. Awesome. And when did, uh, when did that, when did you start the business?
Bout five years ago. Right after my daughter was born. Um, the reason for it was we realized we needed more money because babies are expensive. So, um, so that, that was the idea. I started out just as a blog and I was, you know, gonna try and monetize the blog. So, you know, obviously that was about 20 years too late. You know, I’m not that you can monetize a blog today, but it’s not the same game as it is. All the things you read about. Um, and you know, when one thing to another. So it was always about productivity. Uh, but, um, the, the next idea was video courses and eventually I landed on coaching. And the way that happened was, you know, I never saw myself as a coach necessarily, but a friend of mine told me, Oh my God, I’ve never heard anyone talk about productivity the way you do.
You should coach, you should help other people. You know, cause I was like, I was just like helping her informally. And I’m like, you know, that’s not a bad idea. So that’s how that started. Did you do, uh, courses or video courses at all or, or did you just think about it and I’d do it and you’re doing more one on one coaching? Well, I did not actually make any courses yet. Um, I actually am still going to do that. Uh, but what I did was I, I tried to feel out the market to see if there was interest in what I was going to do by pre-selling a discounted membership that didn’t, that didn’t work. This was me as a novice business owner not knowing how to market or build the business. Right. I know, I know. I know the productivity, but I did not know how to run a business or build one. Um, so I’ve been learning a lot about that over the years. And what, I guess what is okay,
either the biggest or what are some of the realizations that, that you’ve seen as you’ve been trying to grow the business and kinda had you over it,
come them? Well, the biggest realization is that you need to start by completely understanding who your clients are and what they need, what are the problems they’re facing. And you have to have an offer that fixes that, that they’re willing and it has to be an offer that they’re willing to pay money for. So that was the realization.
How did you go about, uh, I guess figuring that out? Was there some testing along the way or how did you get to where you are now?
Um, I hired a coach. I hired a business coach. I’m somebody who actually knew the, knew how to find these things out. That was, that was one way before that I actually started, I came across a book called the lean startup, which probably is familiar to a lot of your audience, um, by, um, Eric Reese. And it was that like getting things done. That was just as much of an eye opener for me about, so this is how you’ve been in the business, right. And so I actually got involved in a local lean startup meetup and took a a six week boot camp on lean startup and, and got all the books I could find from all the other authors about it, read everything I could. And it’s really an amazing method. Right. And so that, that helped a lot. Uh, but there’s still, there’s still that problem of reading and understanding what you see as making sense and implementing it for yourself in the correct way to your business. It was, it’s hard. Right? Yeah. And, and, um, so that’s, that was when I eventually came to the realization that I need a coach as well. Um, and so that’s what I did. And in a way, it’s the same thing that I do for other people. People, you know, for entrepreneurs, you know, they try and figure this stuff out for themselves, but eventually get to a breaking point where they realize they need help and that’s when I can step in and help.
Yeah, no, I mean it’s, there’s common thing. So the last, I think two, two guests we’ve had on, that’s been a big part in getting them to grow or where they saw some growth is hiring a coach or a mentor or, uh, uh, someone that can help guide them. And I mean, it’s, it, everyone can do everything. They can figure it out. It’s just, it might take you five years where a coach can come in and help you do it in six months. And it’s like, well, there is a cost to a coach, but at the same time, what’s the cost of learning at five years, taking five years to learn it, um, rather than learning it in six months, three months, whatever it may be. And it’s, it’s, I’m sure it’s a lot more expensive to learn it over five years than it is the opportunity costs, the opportunities that might’ve been lost, um, by not going with a coach like someone like yourself. Um, and know that that’s, that’s really cool.
That’s exactly it. So the, the cost of not doing this fast or not getting someone to help me learn how to build it faster, um, was definitely the motivator. Right?
Yeah. Was it tough to go to a coach at first? Um, and I asked cause no, cause some people it’s, it’s like I, I’m too proud and all they’re not going to say they’re too prideful. But that’s usually I fill out at the biggest outside of the cost. I think, uh, just I can do this myself type of thing. Was that an issue at all
for me? I, I have no asking for help.
It was, I was in that position where I didn’t realize I needed to ask for help. Um, I hadn’t all these resources. I had the, the, I learned, I’ve found lean start up and I had the lean startup resources sort of available. But it’s, it’s one thing to have people to talk to. It’s another debit coach who has a vested interest in your success and that makes sense. Um, so when it comes, like if I were to come reach out to you and want to be coached by you, I guess, what, are there different packages that you offer? What is, what is your overall process look like? Right now there’s only one offer, but I’m actually about to begin a second. A new offer. Uh, and that will be the only offer probably at that time. So basically, um, the offer was about time management, right?
Um, so in three to four weeks I help you get about two to four hours back every day. Um, that’s sort of typical result is two, two hours at least I can get people sometimes much more. It all depends on what you’re already doing and who you are. You know, everyone’s a little different, but everybody can gain and you know, when they don’t, when they don’t know the strategies, there’s always gains to be had. And it’s all, it’s not like your getting 26 hours in a day. There’s still only 24. It’s just that you’re cutting out the activities that are wasteful. Right. And how to recognize that. And it also doesn’t mean like a lot of people think that I’m going to turn them into these working machines working 18 hours straight every day to get all that. It’s not like that. And in fact, one client, her biggest realization working from me, she’s told me is that it’s not about working harder so you can get more done.
It’s about working with more focus so that you have the time to stop working. Yeah. And go enjoy life. Yeah. And whatever you need to deal with it. So it’s not about just working, working, working, working. It’s about working with more intent and more focus and more clarity so that you have the option to have that time off. Yeah. No. And that, that, that’s really cool. And are most of your sessions, I guess kind of like this, just a zoom call where, uh, someone, uh, you guys just connect via zoom and, and just on a weekly or monthly basis? Just kinda, yeah. I, I used to do it that way. Um, the new, the new way that I do it is pretty much, um, just phone call as needed, texts me as needed. Um, just kind of constant access and we’ll get you there as fast as we can. Oh, that’s really cool. The constant contact. That’s, uh, that’s, it’s really nice to have available. Um, what does it look like for you as you’re kinda moving forward? It sounds like a couple of new offers. Um, how are you planning on growing?
So one thing I realized from helping a lot of entrepreneurs with time management is getting people an extra two to four hours freed up per day, doesn’t necessarily help them to get their projects done any faster. That that’s the idea that you have this time available to work on your projects. You can get them done faster, but um, it’s not always turning out that way. They, they do get the time. Um, but then they either squander it or you use it for something else. My, my, my new idea that I’m hoping to do, you know, start soon is more about goals. So what are your critical business goals? And let me help you make sure you get those goals to the finish line. And I’ll stick with you, uh, from the beginning to, you know, wherever you are right now, all the way through until they’re done.
So basically the first, the first part is let’s get you two to four hours back in your day from that, let’s figure out where this two to four hours can be used to then push your business. Or it doesn’t even need to be business. But just get you closer to your goals, whether it’d be financial, personal, family, business. Um,
I’m imagining it’s going to be business goals for entrepreneurs. And you know, the concept is more like, um, you know, if you don’t necessarily start with the time management, what we start with is clarifying the goals. Cause sometimes they’re, you know, you’ve got to make sure you’re working on the right goal, right. And once you know that you have the right goal, you need to know, well, what’s, what’s my plan to execute it? What are the things I need to do that or what are the activities that will move that goal forward. Now if they can do those activities, they don’t need help with time management. If they do, then I’ll help them with time management. If they feel, if I find they’re too disorganized to keep track of everything, then we work on task management and be whatever they need. Um, you know, and I’ll, I’ll take them from, I’ll just, I’ll just stick with them for accountability to push them on, to help them track what they need to do, decide whether they need to change. What they’re doing to make sure they get to their goal by the time they wanted to reach it.
Yeah. I think a big word they said in there is the accountability. Do you see that maybe some of the new clients that you bring on, it’s, they know what needs to be done, but by, by having talks with you, basically there’s an accountability partner there that keeps them grounded and keeps them doing the things they need to do to stay on track.
Definitely as part of it. Um, there are some personal accountability strategies that I can help people with as well because I won’t always be there and you need to still be accountable for what you’re doing to yourself. So there are a lot of cool things you can do, um, for yourself for personal accountability where you know, if you work for a business, if you work for a company and you have a boss, obviously you’re accountable to your boss in the company. And if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, you lose your job. That’s pretty straightforward. So people do their job when they’re at work for the most part. Right. And uh, but when you work for yourself, you don’t have anyone doing that for you. So you need new strategies and that’s what I can help with there.
That’s really awesome. It’s a D so I know people can can contact you whenever, but do you like, do you record any of these? Do you have your own podcast or do you, do you have anything like that going?
I do typically record the calls that we have. Uh, depends how we’re connecting. If we are connecting on the internet, I can certainly record it. If it’s, if it’s by telephone, I can record it. If it’s by WhatsApp, that’s a little trickier because of my clients are all over the world, so sometimes we connect with WhatsApp or something like that. Um, you know, it’s flexible.
I asked cause I mean they’re, what you do is just, I mean I said just anyone that’s an entrepreneur, it seems like struggles with this especially early on and whether you get permission from the clients or maybe you do a discounted rate to be able to record the whole series is as you do these, there’s so much that you could cut up and, and run email, email marketing, giving little time management tips and a, I mean you can go back to the blog and stuff like that. Maybe not to monetize it, but to really help, um, just give valuable information. And uh, I think like, like we mentioned early on, it’s, it’s, you can read something, but to be able to take that theory and apply it is very difficult and you could create such a good inbound marketing strategy by just recording some of your conversations and just showing how you help others.
And then, I mean that, that one little analytic, that piece of analytics that you mentioned saving two to four hours a day, I think there’s, there’s one thing that’s common with most people and that’s, I wish there was more time in the day and so they’re there whether they’re in business or not, that is, that is a little piece that I mean could be used for marketing, which I’m sure you do quite a bit. Um, that, that, yeah, that could just get your word out there. But I mean, just like this conversation that we’re having, there’s so much that you can cut up with a client and then just, I mean, run on YouTube ads and target people that are looking for how to save time and all that type of stuff. But I mean, there, there, there’s so much that, that you’ve got going on that I think could be, uh, used as, as so much value, um, to just reach new potential people.
Well, yeah. Um, I, I haven’t asked clients for that permission, so I haven’t done anything like that to this point. Uh, it’s not a bad idea to start asking.
Yeah. It’s, uh, um, I mean, like I mentioned the YouTube stuff, like you could, you could run them as those pre-roll ads for anyone that’s looking for extra time and then it’s basically a way to drive value without selling someone and just saying, Hey, I can help you get more time back, but here just listen to how I’m helping others. And as it resonates, all the sudden you get those phone calls or emails and it’s a lot easier to close those people than trying to continually reach out and do that, that outbound effort.
Yeah. Yeah. I’ll think about that. Thanks.
So as we kind of, as we kinda wrap up, um, I mean if there’s someone that’s on on the fence or struggling with, uh, how can I just fit, like stop feeling like I’m spinning my wheels? I guess. What’s the one big piece of advice that you can give anyone? Um, that’s kinda struggling with time management?
First thing to do is really just to get clarity about what you’re doing with your time. So sometimes that’s all it takes for the little push. I, I use a tool called toggle, which is a timer that lets me just time everything I do during the day, um, or anything on when I have my phone available or my computer that is, and if you’re just kinda get a get a big picture of what you do from the more time you wake up until the time you go to sleep for a week and you see, you’re going to realize you do have enough timing when you look at where your time is really going. So that gives you the clarity that that would be the first thing I can suggest to just keep a log of what you’re doing with all of your time.
Start with an audit once you can actually see, and I bet you it’s going to be pretty eye opening on how much time is not so much wasted, but how much time you’re spending on things that could probably be used to get other things done that would make you feel like you’re not just doing things constantly and not getting stuff done.
Working on a working on your podcast, let’s say four, it takes a couple of hours to put together the final edits and marketing stuff. What do I do? And whatever you need to do with it. Um, I dunno, I don’t, I don’t know if you’re the one of these people, you’re probably not, but some people may allow themselves to be interrupted by a YouTube video here and there or you know, but whatever the distraction is, or how many times did you check your email during that process? If you, if you look at your log, your audit and you realize what you’re doing, you realize I could have done that in an hour and a half instead of two hours. That’s a half an hour in the day that went nowhere. You know, it was for nothing. And you’ll realize you can just start to do things a little differently. Yeah. So clarity is the one main thing to start with always.
Yeah. And you’d take a few of those projects that he save a half an hour here, 15 minutes there, 40 minutes there. I mean, multiply that by five, six different things. And all of a sudden you got two to four hours back in your day that you could be used doing, doing other things. And whether it’s a, having more personal life or pushing the business more, or uh, yeah, spending more time with friends, whatever it may be. But yeah, I totally agree. I, I mean, I say that just from a marketing standpoint, just audit what you’re doing and it helps you really open your eyes to see where there’s opportunity in doing different things. Exactly. Awesome. Well, I do appreciate the time and I love for you to have the opportunity and, and uh, once again, just mention who you are and where people can find you, whether it’s your website or social media handles a that way. Anyone that’s listening could, if they’re looking for a how to get a couple of hours back in their day, which I, I, I can say there are a few people out there, then how can they find you? Thanks.
So I’m Ken Fleischer. My company is called cherry task. Uh, the best place to find me is on Facebook. The username is P, T Ken. And, uh, you’ll find me listed as a time architect. I don’t think there’s any others. I made up the name. So, um, you can also find my website, cherry task that com and those are, those are the probably the best ways to contact me.
Awesome. Well, I appreciate it. And uh, there’s a lot that I learned and definitely going to apply some of that and see if I can get some time back in my day.