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Timesavers, Juggling ideas and other secrets

Victoria BC hotel chain CEO Mandy Farmer, multitasking at home

Mandy Farmer multitasking at home

Hot on the heels of my secrets to success blog post, here’s a random smattering of shortcuts and tricks of the trade that I often employ to help me get the most out of my day. Please note some of these are desperate measures and are not to be used daily!

For instance, the first one – Dry Shampoo – should only be used on occasions when you are really pressed for time or just can’t stand the thought of wash, rinse, repeat, blow-dry, style, hairspray routine. Just sprinkle this dry powder on the roots of your hair and voila! No need to shower, but maybe an extra layer of deodorant wouldn’t hurt.


Or how about those circumstances when you are at a big-time function expected to shine, schmooze and dazzle all those around you, but you also have a 7:00am breakfast meeting the next day where you are the presenter? White wine is your friend. As much as I love a nice big juicy red, I know it’s going to come back and bite me the next day.

One timesaver that I use every day is to never waste a lunch. I normally have a lunch date with some inspirational person or a client that I want or do business with. No lunch date? Then I do an intense 45 minute workout at Steve Nash Fitness Club (no time for a shower so I take along mini towelettes and that extra layer of deodorant!). On the very rare occasion that I have nothing booked, I’ll grab some of my trade magazines and sales reports that I need to catch up on and spend a leisurely hour reading while drinking green tea and eating sushi at my favourite sushi joint Chikara here in Victoria.

A great trick that I’m still trying to master from my dad, Terry Farmer, is to develop my own organizational system and then stick with it. A great book to get you started on this subject is Getting Things Done by David Allen. My dad still uses his tried and true method of a small monthly daytimer in his pocket (yup, a paper one) but you can be assured if he says he’ll do something, he’ll do it. There’s no digital dog eating his homework. He’s got a system for carrying forward items, following up on certain topics and keeping notes handy in the right place all within his calendar. No matter what your system is, just make sure you stick with it.

Multitasking ideas: I watch Ted Talks online while I’m doing things that are a bit mundane or repetitive, like signing cheques or payroll. I’ll stand up and stretch when on any phone call. Hanging out with my kids we will often colour but really I’m doing pictorial representations of our business plan (a great way to look at a problem with different eyes!). My personal favourite is to call in from the comfort of my home for conference calls, that way I can fold laundry with the speaker phone on and have my laptop close by.

Mandy Farmer loves accent inns bike friendly hotel program

Mandy Farmer rides her bike to work

And my last, but most passionate and productive timesaver is to park your car and ride your bike to work, and to all of your meetings. By doing this, I’ve ticked off my workout for the day, I’ve had a good half hour of rejuvenating fresh air without the radio nattering away at me, allowing me some serious productive thinking time (guess where I wrote this blog), and I make a very positive memorable statement when walking into meeting: “You rode your bike here?!”.

Have you got any tricks?