Spinning Plates

Spinning Plates
April 20, 2018 Gary Shotton

Until we learn how to manage and prioritize the use of our time, we could feel like we are part of a circus and responsible to keep the plates spinning.  By Gary Shotton #000185

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Spinning Plates

By Gary Shotton

My name is Gary Shotton and, in this lesson, I’m going to talk about spinning plates. What do I mean by that? Well, it’s really a topic on time management and how we all have the same amount of time but it’s the difference of how we use that time. And I’m not going to claim any kind of perfection of this. If you had a thousand people talk on this subject, you’ll probably have a thousand different ideas. Probably some of them will line up very similar than we’re very logical. But I’m just going to talk about what I do. I was asked to do that.

I have quite a few different responsibilities for Florida grampa stage, so I don’t have any small children that changes a lot. I’m married though and I have responsibilities at the home and with my wife. I have this company. I’m sitting in this company right now; we have 60 plus employees. I’m the CEO, the only outside salesperson, and the CFO where I handle all the finances. And yeah, at the same time I’m involved with this nonprofit called Inspiring Better Business. And then I have my own things of church and I helping usher in church. So, I have a few things spinning. If you want to think of that term.

And the idea of a spinning plate is that if you’ve ever seen that analogy somebody is spinning maybe 10, 15, 20 plates. Maybe that’s a little bit too many. Maybe 12 plates. And they get the first one spinning. They get the second one spinning. And they get the third one if things aren’t up. And soon they got a run back and make sure that plate that they got the first fitting they got to push it again. They got to think it work. Well, I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be running around with my head cut off. By the way when somebody tried to approach me and they’re like all freaking out because they’re in an emergency that is no reason for me to jump into their situation and be totally disorganized and jump into their emergency. I want to stay stable and try to maintain my consistency no matter what situation is if it’s not life-threatening of course.

So basically, we’re here to talk about how we manage our time. First, I’m going to mention my phone. Almost all of us have phones and from a technically standpoint I use a calendar on there and without it I personally would be totally lost. I don’t have a secretary that many lines up my appointments. I know some people do that. That wouldn’t work for me. I set my own schedule of our own plans. But the good thing is I can in this 30 seconds or two seconds I get to change an appointment around. Because I’m very good with my calendar on my phone. I must use the software called Outlook. I’ve used it for years. And I can put an appointment that I believe it’s going to be every week. Like a meeting that’s every week. And I can put it on repeat. And every week. Sometimes noon on Monday or whatever it is and then I could delete that moving around. If I set an appointment I have a way of just putting question marks on the subject line, like I’m going to meet somebody for lunch and if I put a little question mark on it that means it’s not confirmed yet. I’m just kind of tending to be thinking about that waiting to confirm that. And so, I very seldom this an appointment. It’s happening. But very seldom because I use my phone very very effectively. Not perfect but very effectively.

Now let’s talk about the philosophy. Well, first I’m a system thinking I are then dubbed that by some of my business for any business system. And I think in systems on a day-to-day basis. What do I mean by that? Well, when I have a task in front of me, I start immediately thinking almost subconsciously, is this what I call a one and done. Do I need to learn to do this? Is it something that’s going to come up once a year? Is it going to come up very seldom? Well, I don’t want to put time and effort into the one and done kind of there. You know my taxes. Okay that’s somebody else I hire and help do my taxes. Because I don’t think I have time to keep up with the tax laws and fill out all the forms. Other people disagree with it. They want to do their own taxes. That’s right. But for me that’s a category of one and done.

Something that comes up just on an annual basis or every six months not the same thing over, I try to delegate that. I try to hire that down. I try to do something that I don’t try to get into that and learn how to do that. So, then it goes to what am I good at? There’s something I’m just not good at. I’m not good at English and spelling and word structure. That’s why I’m kind of being lazy here in a way that I talk these things and let somebody else then clean them up make them sound good. The text look good. Because it takes me a long time for me to get the English right and punctuated right. And at the end of trying for maybe an hour on an 8-minute teaching it’s still done right. If somebody else looks at it. I look over it.

So, I’m not good at something. You will not be good at some things. Try to get rid of those. Don’t put those on your plate. Don’t try to make yourself good at everything. Then on the system. There are sometimes that I see that they’re just no way I need to learn how that works. So, that I can maybe not do everything that’s involved with it. But I’m going to be in there enough that I just got to put the effort. Well, when I bought this company, I had no choice. I didn’t know much about the machine shop so I’m in learning because I’m going to be in this with my life, with my finances, my future. Now I’m never run a machine like these bins behind me, but I stopped short of that of course. And I’m not going to run a machine. But I know how the machine works I dug in and continued to dig in and stay on top of them.

Let’s talk about the nonprofit inspiring better business. I hired someone to create the website. Our current website. By the way when we get a thousand of teachings, I’m going to hire somebody else to create a new and better website but until then I do a lot of the editing. I do a lot of work on these videos and these teachings. First, I’m still structuring that in a way that I can do that efficiently and doesn’t take a lot of time. At the same time if you go to our website right now, you’ll go under participate and you’ll see you I sat down and did a video teaching so that I’m teaching other people how to translate and transcribe because I’m not going to transcribe and translate, I’m creating a system. We have a system for others to get involved. So, that’s probably the biggest key for what we’re doing. Is creating systems for others. And that creates a scenario where you’re working on your companies, or on your project or on your nonprofit, not in it. Don’t you find yourself log their honey in the weeds doing some routine things all the time and it takes a lot of time. You probably need to find somebody else to do this. Create a system.

Well, this is not going to answer everybody on everything. But you have total latitude and executive to do several things differently than what I do. Maybe something to help you for what I said though. We’re here to Inspire Better Business.


  1. Alla Pavetic 4 years ago

    Really enjoyed this teaching, very simple but important things. I must admit I am often guilty of trying to spin one too many plates in my life ))) I am learning how to structure things and experience of spinning too many plates really helps to understand what things to eliminate and what things need to keep spinning. So I would not call this experience completely negative – it forces you to organize yourself.
    The background noise was too loud though ))

    • Author
      Gary Shotton 4 years ago

      Alls, We all can improve in this area. It is hard for me to say, “no” to certain things that are interesting to me. Blessings, Gary

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