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Buy Back Your Time - Get Unstuck, Reclaim Your Freedom, and Build Your Empire

11 mins
book summary focus time management
Shawn L
Builds stuff minimally
Table of Contents

Chapter 1: How I Buy Back My Life

The Buyback Principle means you should continually use every resource you can to buy back your time.

The Buyback Principle: Don’t hire to grow your business. Hire to buy back your time.

a decision to not grow is a decision to slowly die.

A Buyback Loop occurs as you continually audit your time to determine the low-value tasks that are sucking your energy . Then you transfer those tasks, optimally, to someone

Audit: What tasks do I hate doing that are easy and inexpensive to offer someone else? Transfer: Who do I have on my team —or who can I hire, even part-time— to take these over? Fill: What tasks should I focus on that I love doing that can immediately bring more money to my company?

What would I fill my time with if I wasn’t spending all of it at work?

Chapter 2: The DRIP Matrix

You have unique gifts that create real value. Clear out your calendar so you can practice those gifts.

The goal is to spend the majority of your time in the Production Quadrant, with some deposits into the Investment Quadrant. In general, you want to remove tasks in your Delegation Quadrant as quickly as possible. Removing tasks in the Replacement Quadrant takes more time.

Think about administrative work, billing, invoicing, setting up travel arrangements, responding to emails, et cetera.

When coaching clients, potential partners, or even just friends who happen to be in town, one of my favorite things to do is invite them on hikes, a bike ride, out wake surfing, or for a run. This allows me to do a workout (investment in self), pour into other people’s lives (investment in others), and oftentimes I’m spending time with

Always have some activities in the Investment Quadrant that nourish your soul, your relationships, and flex your creativity.

Should be performing a work task that they could outsource for one-fourth (i.e. , 25 percent) of their current effective hourly rate. So if your effective hourly rate is $ 100 an hour, then your Buyback Rate is $ 25 an hour.

What your company pays / eight thousand = Buyback Rate.

Chapter 4: The Only 3 Trades That Matter

It’s a fourteen-day collection of every fifteen-minute interval of their day.

Thinking about the energy related to each task. Does this task (email) stress me out more than other tasks?

Chapter 5: The Replacement Ladder

10-80-10 rule. You do the initial 10 percent, then put someone else in charge of executing on the middle 80 percent of the work, then you sail back in and finalize the last 10 percent, putting your magical touch on the project.

Trust me— you won’t want to off-load sales. Most salespeople simply won’t be as good as you are. As the passionate founder, you can

Hire to off-load the responsibilities of sales calls and follow-up.

Chapter 6: Clone Yourself

Everybody who screams and begs for Richard’s attention gets a gentle “block and tackle” from Hannah. With her, Branson has no “got a second?” meetings and no “just real quick!” interruptions. Hannah manages Branson’s life according to his rules, not the demands of others.

The truth is, if you want your days back, you must get an assistant. Maybe you already have one

It’s the first hire every entrepreneur should make. Every hour you spend on admin tasks, answering emails, managing your calendar, calling the gardener, paying bills, et cetera is an hour robbed from your business, family, and dream life.

Responding to emails Scheduling Project research Cleaning up data Updating reports Financial workflows Sending gifts to colleagues Travel arrangements Purchasing Administrative tasks Website updates Social media publishing

But your administrative assistant doesn’t have this emotional baggage.

Administrative assistants, at the minimum, should provide two support functions, as I outlined in the Replacement Ladder. First, they should systematically manage your calendar. Second, they should independently manage your inbox.

You should never be the first person touching either of these.

When are you “at work,” and when are you at home? What time slots are you available for meetings

Make a rule for yourself : I am no longer ever, ever allowed to touch an email that wasn’t first checked by my assistant.

The Email GPS is a list of folders (or labels) that I’ve created that work for almost any entrepreneur in any industry.

Your Name: Here, you’ll find the few emails that only you can respond to: huge clients with big requests, one-off situations, and high-dollar decisions.

This is Lauren, Dan’s assistant:) I got to this email before he did, and I thought you’d appreciate the speediest reply . . .

Chapter 7: Building Playbooks

Here’s my Playbook on Playbooks. First, there are four essential pieces: The Camcorder Method (the training videos) The Course (the steps involved in the process) The Cadence (how often these tasks should be completed: monthly, weekly, daily, etc.)

The Checklist (the high-level items that must be completed every time)

I just record myself doing the real task exactly as I want it done. Then I have my assistant drop the video into a Playbook. Later, I have the trainee watch the videos.

Talking is key. Let’s say you’re logging into the back end of your website to upload a blog, and you want the headers, fonts, et cetera to all look a certain way. Just hit Record and get going. But make sure you talk while you’re doing everything. If you explain what you’re doing while you’re doing it, it unlocks all the nuance you want captured.

If you record yourself three times doing the same task, you’ll have captured nearly every possible iteration.

I love the Camcorder Method so much I now record almost everything I do on my laptop, just in case I ever decide I want someone else to do it. [*]

Create a bulleted list of all the high-level steps for each task in your Playbook.

One reason entrepreneurs fear making Playbooks is because they think it will take enormous time and energy. In the past, they may have tried to create an SOP with screen grabs, explicit instructions with detailed URLs, and directions on which software to use and when. After putting in all that effort, their business changed, the role changed, or the tools they prescribed changed, rendering the entire Playbook useless. You don’t need to create a Playbook as though the person using it is unintelligent. Instead, think of it as a list of what to walk through.

Create a list for when every task needs to be completed.

Inside each Playbook, I have nonnegotiable checklists.

Then tell the person you want to transfer that task to— perhaps a new hire or just someone else on your team— to watch all the videos, then create the Playbook themselves.

I record myself doing everything. From financial audits, to creating YouTube videos, to coaching calls with clients. Then I have my administrative assistant upload those videos to a blank Playbook online.

Chapter 8: Your Perfect Week

“Well, I can meet on Thursday from 2: 00 p.m. to 3: 00 p.m ., or I can meet next Monday from 1: 00 to 2: 00. Do either of those work for you?”

Reactive people are also wasting a lot of energy and time throughout their day due to what I call the “buffer time” that falls between tasks.

Context switching costs a few minutes here and a few minutes there. That’s the immediate price.

Batching tasks— he’s optimizing for flow.

Put all their sales calls on certain days and certain times, back-to-back.

Having a preplanned weekly calendar is a must,

Chapter 9: The Only 4 Time Hacks You Need

Whether it’s $ 50 or $ 5,000, give everyone on your team an allowance that enables them to efficiently fix problems without ever having to get you involved.

Sync Meetings with Repeat Agenda

That’s the level of expectation I have for my administrative assistant: that she can clone my responses to most situations without involving me.

Off-load: I keep my own separate list of to-dos, action items, and follow-ups. I update this list between my sync meetings.

Calendar Review: Next, we review my calendar for the next two weeks.

Feedback Loop on Projects: My administrative assistant brings up projects that I’ve assigned to her so she can update me on progress,

Definition of Done (or, as I like to call it, a DoD).

Facts: What are the hard metrics

Feelings: How must you and others feel

Functionality: When this task is finished, what must it enable others

Before staff were allowed to ask for Brad’s help, they had to verbally define a singular, narrow problem (not bring up dozens of tangential issues). Next, they had to consider and offer three realistic paths to overcoming that problem. Finally , they had to give Brad their single recommendation from the three options.

Chapter 10: The “Test-First” Hiring Method

When it comes to hiring, I have one simple rule. I can’t work with you until I work with you.”

I’m an adviser at SuccessFinder, and I think their methods are particularly useful (but hey, I might be a little biased). A few other popular personality tests are the Kolbe-A, the DISC test, and the Myers-Briggs.

When you’re hiring an assistant, consider hiring someone whose strengths cover your weaknesses.

Give them a project that is representative of the actual work we will do together. I always pay them. I don’t give many instructions.

Gary Vee says he spends the entire interview just trying to get an honest answer about what the employee wants. “I don’t care what your agenda is, I just want to know what it is, so I can help us get there.”

Require a video: Ask all candidates to upload a three-minute video. Right here, many people who didn’t read the instructions will self-eliminate. Chapter 11: Transformational Leadership

Simple: I transferred the ownership of the solution back onto Adam.

As a leader, you must ensure you aren’t accidentally taking on other people’s monkeys

Under transformational leadership, you replace tell-check-next with three other actions:

With transformational leadership, every time you give an instruction, you aren’t telling others exactly how to do it, but what needs to get done. How? Well, that’s up to them.

“Bethany, the blog posts must always be error free.”

“James, you need to make more sales calls” becomes “James, you need to hit one hundred thousand dollars in sales by the end of the quarter.”

Decisions made earlier in the day were more accurate than decisions made later in the day.

—we’re all only going to make a limited number of excellent decisions today. Let’s save those for the area where we can produce the most benefits (our Production Quadrant).

Shifting responsibility, you’re forcing them to increase their capabilities.

Once you set the outcome instead of telling your employees “how,” they start talking about results, not tasks.

Once you give everyone in your company a measurement, here’s the good news: their motivation instantly increases.

The CO-A-CH Framework.

Chapter 12: This “F-Word” Will Save Your Business

Most companies have a buffet of work available— so why not get everyone their favorite dish?

Is actually encouraged. Alphabet knows it’s better to hear about a problem in a boardroom than it is to hear about it from the market.

“Dan, I bet you know of something I could do to improve. Here’s what I want you to do: Just think about that one thing I could do. You don’t have to tell me yet, just think about it.”

Then he told me that he “accepted” my feedback.

Matt also asked me if there was more feedback that I hadn’t told him,

If you invite them all the way in, sometimes there’s a lot more they have to say.

Typically, after you’ve made someone feel safe offering you feedback, they naturally feel the urge to ask you the same question, getting you one step closer to creating a culture where feedback flows freely.

CLEAR may feel a little cheesy. But it’s a mnemonic device that stands for Create, Lead, Emphasize, Ask, and Reject (or accept).

Create a warm environment.

So after they give you positive feedback, you can ask them to think— but don’t say out loud— that one bit of cringe-worthy feedback they could offer.

Lead them to offering critical feedback.

Tell them your goal

Chapter 14: The Preloaded Year

ICE to give each tactic a score of up to thirty points: Impact (1 to 10) Confidence (1 to 10) Ease (1 to 10)

Preloaded Year, will I think, “Damn! That was an amazing year!”? If the answer is “yes,” you have a good Preloaded Year. If the answer is “no,” rework the plan. First,

7 Pillars of Life

Here’s how I use the 7 Pillars of Life: I score myself on these key pillars weekly. Then I pay particular attention to my two lowest scores. Finally, I brainstorm ways I could improve them next week. If I scored low on love, I plan (hopefully, by adding it to my Perfect Week from chapter 8!) how I could do something small for my wife: take her out on a date, give her a night off, or send her for a massage.