Struggling to find time? Stop. Keep. Start.

Editor’s note: a guest post from Angela at Lifestyle Tradie!

It’s a vicious cycle, and one that we hear about WAY too often…

This overwhelming feeling of being ‘too busy’ to get anything done as a small business owner. You might be overloaded with work, stressed, or simply time poor.

You want to make improvements to gain greater control of the business, but instead you own a business that controls you… something has to change.

When discussing this with new Lifestyle Tradie members, there is always one sentence that repeats, “How do I find the time to make these changes if I’m already so flat out as it is? I can’t fit anymore in.” Sound familiar?

The problem is finding time as a field service business owner to make the necessary changes in the business that will gain back time (such a paradox!)

Yet, in not doing so, the cycle simply continues on and on and on… well, you’ll be happy to know there is a way to break this cycle.

In this article we want to share with you the exact steps many of our members have taken to gain back serious time. It’s called ‘Stop’, ‘Keep’, ‘Start’, and relates to the tasks you need to either stop, keep or start doing to make serious progress. It goes like this…..


These are the tasks that aren’t moving your business forward. They waste your time and prevent you from doing more productive and more profitable activities.

There are often a list of things of no importance that come up ‘NIL’ if scaled from 0-10, so it makes sense to STOP doing them right away.

This category can not only include productivity hindrances, but also tasks that you could potentially outsource.

These STOP tasks can include:

  • Scrolling through social media
  • Watching television
  • Bookkeeping
  • Other admin tasks that can easily be outsourced


These are the tasks that you are an expert at. No one else is more efficient at completing them and it would be more expensive to outsource than do it yourself. Or, they are the tasks that you need to keep for your own well-being.

These KEEP tasks could include:

  • Working on-site for certain jobs
  • Quoting
  • Going to the gym everyday


These are the tasks that you aren’t doing yet, and need to be. The tasks that produce profit and can take your business to the next level.

These START tasks vary across businesses and could include:

  • Developing a business plan
  • Developing and implementing a marketing plan
  • Spending time on training and upskilling staff
  • Writing content for your website
  • Implementing ServiceM8 features that can help your business, like Self-Serve Online Booking Forms or Automation
  • Reviewing and understanding your financial data

The list goes on, and on a scale of 1-10, they would ALL be considered a 10.

Sadly these most important ‘START’, profit-producing tasks are often the ones that we ‘claim’ we simply do not have time to do. That’s all about to change….

In 5 simple steps and just over a week, we are going to prioritise the START tasks and change your focus… 

Step 1

For a whole week, document every task you do and how long it takes you to do it.

At the end of the week (and with highlighters in hand) sort the tasks just as I am about to explain;

Step 2

With one colour (let’s say yellow), highlight everything that you consider of no importance such as watching TV and scrolling through Facebook.

Step 3 

Select another colour (let’s say blue) and go through and pick out the tasks that YOU need to KEEP to complete yourself.

Step 4

Next to your current list, write another list of the items you wish to START.

Don’t stop yet as we have just reached the important part of the process. This next step will quite literally give you back time!

Step 5

Select a third colour (let’s say pink) and highlight all the things you currently do that you really dislike such as data entry, invoicing and debt collection.

These are the things you also need to STOP and instead, leverage your time and money by automating or outsourcing.

If something needs outsourcing, the cost of outsourcing may not be as high as you think it is. If your hourly rate is $150, what can someone else get done (and therefore you don’t need to do) that will cost less than $150 an hour?

This is the exciting part…. now you have created space in your week to consider what to START.

Stop. Keep. Start. Three little words that can have a huge positive impact on your business (and your life). Give it a try in your business this week. It can really go a long way to relieve the work overload that burdens so many business owners.

And, if you have done this exercise (congrats to you!), and are wondering ‘what am I supposed to START?’ then perhaps you might be interested to come along to our live event ‘The Next Level Tradie’.

We will be covering what you need to START working on to relieve your workload, gain back time and focus on moving your trade business forward…to take you to the ‘next level’. For more details on the event and to claim your free ServiceM8 ticket CLICK HERE.

lifestyle tradie 2

Angela Smith

Husband and wife team, Andrew & Angela Smith, are the co-founders of the award winning business Lifestyle Tradie Group. A powerful and unique membership to inspire, energize, connect and educate tradesmen and their wives/partners, Lifestyle Tradie is dedicated to helping trade business owners fast-track business and lifestyle success!

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