Monday, November 27th, 2017 – We’ve all had to deal with the feeling of not having enough time. If you’ve ever felt that you simply don’t have the time, energy and focus to accomplish everything that you want, you could learn a lot from my latest guest.
Kate Christie, is a time management expert, although she prefers the more accurate term time investment expert. Kate is also a business owner, author, professional speaker and mother to three amazing kids.
Watch her full interview below as she shares her knowledge on how to invest your time better, how she turned a bad day into a career and life-changing moment, and more.
EP007: Time Investment with Kate Christie – The No Xcuses Show
Posted by Brant Garvey
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Time Stamped Show Notes
00:03 Brant Garvey here. Welcome to Episode 7 of #DailyGritLive where I chat to the world’s grittiest, inspiring and motivated people. Let’s chat with today’s featured guests, Kate Christie.
00:15 Are you ready to get gritty Kate?
00:18 I am so gritty.
00:19 So Kate is known as being… you didn’t like the expression time management What was your choice of words?
00:27 I love the concept of time investment
00:30 So let’s call Kate the Time Investment Expert. Now we’re going to start in the section which is ‘Walking Pace’ where we get to know you. So tell us the details about who you are.
00:43 OK Walking Pace, this is comfortable. Kate Christie, business owner, author of two books, public speaker, professional speaker, mother of three awesome teenagers who keep me on my toes – that’s for sure, and 47 – loving it.
01:05 I love being in my 40s. It’s I think that if I had the same attitude when I was in my 20s as I have now it would have been awesome. I’m in my space. I’m confident. I love what I’m doing. I love my kids. I don’t care if you like me to be honest. I’m not looking for new friends. If you like me that’s awesome, and if I can help you that’s great. It’s such a place of strength when you have that level of confidence and I think that’s where I’m at.
02:06 What led you to do what you do today?
02:09 Well, I was one of a generation of women who was told that I could absolutely have it all and I genuinely believed that for a long time and it worked. You know my simple formula for success was hard work plus a modicum of talent plus a load of ambition and I could pretty much have anything I wanted. It worked really well through school, through university, into my career.
02:38 So basically in year 2000 it all start to come unstuck. I had three babies in three and a half years, which was entirely my own fault, I didn’t realise actually what was going on. I still wanted to maintain that pace. I still wanted to use the formula. Hard work plus some talent plus heaps of ambition, I could have anything and it just didn’t quite work when you’re running around with three babies hanging off you. So from there I started my first business which was to help really busy professionals manage their time differently by outsourcing some of the home help pieces at work. So it really morphed from there.
03:29 Share something we probably don’t know about it that we probably should, in your area of expertise.
03:41 A lot of the people that I worked with… people who are very motivated, really talented. They’re performing at the top of their game but they know that there’s more to be had. They’re looking for that cream on top. And. I think without exception most of my clients describe themselves as control freaks. They say, “I’m a control freak. I’m a control freak. I need to have control of all of this.” They say it with a level of guilt.
04:28 So I guess the thing that most people not know about time management is control is awesome and you want to control the frame. It doesn’t mean you’re a control freak but when you’re operating at your peak, and you’re operating in an environment where you feel you have maximum control over your own agenda then that is when you are investing your time really well.
04:52 Move away from the language. Embrace your control freakiness. You need to accept and understand that you’re operating best in an environment where you have control of your circumstances and that’s what you need to be doing.
05:10 What is your biggest setback or failure and what did you learn from it?
05:30 It was right in that phase of trying to manage my corporate career, be a super mom, and manage three kids, and to do so and to embrace my career ambitions without guilt was a place I was trying to get to. And with that in mind I was pretty much not focusing on anything 100%, not doing anything particularly well…
06:05 ….So there I was trying to have this child extricated from my leg. All of the other parents looking at me saying, “You are a failure!” And I fled to the car and I my stress and guilt was absolutely palpable…
07:14 I had this profound realisation that point in time that I was the only member of the executive leadership team who didn’t have a full time wife and I thought. “What the hell am I doing? I’m killing myself here.” I was chasing it all. I was trying to have it all.
07:30 I very firmly believe now that you can’t have it all. You really just need to chase after the bits that are most phenomenally important to you and nail those in the rest is white noise.
07:43 I guess that was my biggest epic failure – not having perspective on what was most important. And I was chasing everything and I guess my comeuppance or that moment of truth in the boardroom was ‘this is not me, this is not who I want to be.’
07:59 …I was not feeling fulfilled and I was feeling bored. I sort of went from one extreme to the other. So that process in itself was an epic fail. And that was when I then said, “Look come on what are you going to do?” That’s when I started the businesses.
08:51 So what would have you done differently to be able to fulfil both parts of that life like balancing the three kids but also the career that you’re passionate about. Was there something you could have done to make both work in those days.
09:05 Look probably and I think it goes back to my initial comment about sort of being in my 40s and feeling really confident about my skill bites and my worth and where I’m at. And I think at that point in time if I wasn’t just a brand new mom to three little babies, if I wasn’t so tired, if I wasn’t trying to please everybody, I probably would have had the guts to actually say to those people sitting around the boardroom table, “You know I get a reality check. Don’t look and watch. Don’t stop speaking. This is what you know my life is and if you want me in this company, you want the skills I bring to the table then respect the decisions that I make. I would have had I guess the balls to call them on their attitude. And I didn’t. I don’t feel guilty about that because it’s that classic ‘a door closes and another door opens.’
10:06 I chose a path and that awful kind of period of time has almost turned out to be the most fantastic thing that ever happened to me because I love what I’m doing now. And I probably wouldn’t have done it unless I felt forced to do it.
10:23 And I guess that probably ties into what I’m asking next which is what is your biggest breakthrough, the biggest win that you’ve had?
10:32 Probably starting my business and making it successful… And I think if you believe in yourself. You have an absolute passion for what you’re doing then you’ll make it happen. And I really strongly believe that and it’s something that I am constantly saying to my kids and trying to impart into them.
11:30 You don’t have to take the normal route. I didn’t sort of fall into what I’m doing until I was in my 40s and now, I love it. And so I think that there’s lots of different roads that you can take. But as long as you love what you’re doing and you’re passionate it’s going to work.
11:50 I totally agree. I mean I didn’t get started in what I’m doing until I was 28 and that’s purely because I didn’t know this way existed… I guess this is again like leads into what I’m going to say next which is what is it that you’re most passionate about at the moment?
12:23 In a work context… I’m really passionate about getting people to think differently about how they manage their time. Time is not something you manage. It has such negative connotation. Time is something you invest and it’s really about looking at the way you’d use your time in the same way as you use your money.
12:55 If you’ve got ten thousand dollars, you’re not just going to go blow that money. You’re going to think about it. You’re going to research. You’re going to work out what you can invest in to see that money grow or you’re going to plan your holiday, but you don’t do anything ultimately spontaneous with ten thousand dollars and so you shouldn’t do anything ultimately spontaneous except for the fun stuff with your time.
13:15 You know you need to say look what are my most important priorities. What do I need to be getting done? When is my best time? What should I be using my best time for, only for my best work. So it’s around investing your time it’s what I’m really passionate about the moment.
13:33 I guess the concept around having that learning mindset and knowing that regardless of how good you are at what you do, you’ll always going to be able to learn from someone else. They’re going to have a different take all they are going to suggest something that is slightly different to what you use, and so having that learning mindset and not assuming that you know everything and that your way is the best way.
13:55 I love that learning mindset. I’ve recently been doing a lot of research into growth versus fixed mindset. And it’s that same thing, realising that you’re not born with all those set of skills or that limited knowledge you can grow it over time and learn from other people and make mistakes and it’s not pass or fail, it’s just a part of the process of what it is you are ultimately trying to learn.
14:22 Exactly. It’s so true. And with my kids being teenagers, this is something that they push really hard at school these days right from primary school into secondary school, as you know the concept of resilience but taking it further in terms of having an agile learning mindset as opposed to a negative pass-fail mindset and also taking that resilience further to understand that you know shit happens and it’s not always easy.
14:52 You’re not necessarily going to get the dream run. You may not get picked on the team you want to be picked on. And you’ve got to work hard. It’s about you know I’m really counting on imparting to my kids this concept of nothing’s going to get handed to you on a platter. And if you want something hard and bad enough then you go and chase that down and you’re going to appreciate it and love it so much more when you get it than it was just handed to you.
15:20 I totally agree. And just going back to what you were talking about before. I think it’s crucial to make sure that when you’re investing as you say your time to make sure that you’re getting the largest return on investment just like you do with your money. Whether that is financial or whether that is hanging out with your family. It’s whatever is the most important to you.
15:44 Absolutely. So true. Often one of the exercises I take clients through is the concept of is this the best use of my time. And when you take on a task, you stop and ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my time.”
16:00 There are four different cost lenses you can look through. The first one is financial cost – so in terms of my time is money… So if my time is with $50 an hour and I spend an hour a day on Facebook, that’s costing me $18,250 of my time.
16:32 The second cost lens is the opportunity cost. So what else could I be doing with my time right now… What’s my tradeoff? What have I missed out on…
17:00 The other two costs are emotional cost and physical cost. So if you’re spending your time on stuff that makes you unhappy or a few feel good or bad about your time spent, that’s an emotional cost.
17:12 The physical cost is if it causes physical or mental pain, you sitting it desk all day and your back is sore or if you’re so stressed at work that that’s a physical cost.
17:30 Your job is to think about the question, “Is this the best use of my time?” Look and think which of those four cost lenses resonates with me as an individual. And that’s the one you need to look through when you decide where you are going to spend your time.
17:42 And I guess that would also come back to your values as well what you put value in personally. So I think it would be a balance of those two.
17:50 Absolutely. And everyone is going to be different. It’s got to be based on your values and also your goals.
17:58 Yes. Did you have anything that was holding you back from what you wanted to do?
18:09 No I don’t think so. I guess the only thing was probably not too much self-doubt, but I guess there was a level of pressure in terms of realizing expectations as soon as I possibly could. So in terms of external influences that I knew that things were going to get there eventually, but sometimes I guess I felt a bit of pressure externally in terms of speeding up that process.
18:45 Yeah but totally relate to that by the way.
18:48 But I don’t feel that it held me back it was more kind of just something that was kind of hovering over my left shoulder sort of thing.
18:57 Right now we are going into the ‘Sprint Rounds’, so basically I’m going to say two words…
19:05 I’m terrified!
19:07 No, they’re very very tamed questions. Okay so, winter or summer?
19:13 Awesome book or audiobook?
19:16 Run or cycle?
19:20 Awesome! Eat out or home cooked?
19:22 Home cooked
19:26 Now in the next section is what I call the ‘Run Section’. And this is where we find out some really cool pieces of information. So what was the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
19:40 100% was from an American mentor who is a phenomenally successful businessman. You know we’re talking billions and squillionaire sort of thing…
19:54 He’s someone I worked with for a couple of years and I learned a phenomenal amount from him. But the best bit of advice I ever got from him was ‘data is keen’. So never ever ever go into a presentation, into a pitch, into a business plan, into a business meeting, into a partnership meetings, don’t go into any meeting without all the data.
20:20 Once you have the data it’s so easy to influence people to make a decision the way you want them to make that decision. So data is keen. I live and breathe by that.
20:40 What would be a personal habit that you believe contributes to your success?
20:50 Focus. The ability to very quickly identify what’s the most important priority and then to focus single-mindedly on that without distraction.
21:05 And do you believe that’s something you’ve managed to create as a habit because you’ve forced yourself to do it on a regular basis and now it’s something that’s almost subconscious?
21:16 Probably, when I look back I could trace that right back to high school where I studied and I always had a goal, and I was always very single-minded about reaching my goals. I’m always very goal oriented.
21:35 If it was a habit, it was easy for me to embrace the habit. I never felt like I was something I had to work at. I think it was just my you know crazy set of single-minded ambition perhaps but it is something that I feel probably comes naturally. I didn’t have to work at it but it certainly worked for me.
22:51 This one I always find fascinating. But what is something you bought for under a $100 that has most improved your life recently?
23:00 Oh something for under a hundred. Well this a terrible answer but it’s the one that comes straight to mind…
23:19 Mine’s probably not even as exciting as a pillow. I’ve had a lot on and I’m juggling a lot of balls. I’ve kind of been doing everything I tell my clients not to do. It’s like you don’t want to go to the toilet in a plumber’s house. I made the time on Sunday to go shopping with my daughter. And I went to Bones and because I seriously was very very low on underwear. So I bought 10 pairs of undies in less than $100 and now I don’t go looking for underwear in the morning.
23:59 I recently read The Barefoot Investor and one of his steps is go replace your undies and throw out all the terrible ones. Invest in that because that’s something you need to invest in quality in. I think it’s amazing it’s one of his crucial steps in financial freedom.
24:19 Absolutely! I swear by it. I’m very happy with that investment. The flipside of that is you then declutter. So every time you buy something like that you get rid of all the other stuff and throw them all out… very cathartic
24:39 What is the book that you would recommend and why?
24:51 At the moment I’m reading a really quirky book and I can’t remember who it is by because I can never remember the author’s name. It’s something like the girl who saved the Swedish Prime Minister or Swedish King like from an atomic bomb or something really weird. It’s really quirky but I’m really loving it.
25:16 Is it The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden?
2:118 That’s it!
25:31 It’s very different it’s very clever.
25:33 Awesome! And now what is one key takeaway and how can GRIT nation connect with you.
25:44 An absolute no-brainer. From a time investment perspective is you have to stop multitasking. I know that often is women we love to say oh I’m a great multitasker and you know my husband and my partner he’s just bloody hopeless. Unfortunately, the guys have got this one right… And when you multitask your productivity goes down by 40%. So if you multitask throughout the day, all day then at best you’re only ever operating at 60% capacity, which is equivalent to losing a night’s sleep. It’s the equivalent of losing 10 IQ points so don’t multitask. Identify your key priorities for the day, lock in time and then just single focus on that. Turn your phone off, turn your alerts off because they will make you multi-task.
20:50 … and the best way that our GRIT nation can connect with you.
26:57 Via my website which is timestylers.com
27:01 Ok awesome! Thank you so much for your time today Kate! It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to share your journey and learning about time management or time investment which I much prefer.
27:15 Thank you so much for joining us and we’ll see you next week on Daily Grit.