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How to use WhatsApp effectively – Some time management tips

I wanted to send you a message regarding WhatsApp.

WhatsApp the bane of our lives or the love of our life?

In 2013, seven years ago WhatsApp probably came out maybe a little bit before that and I used to run these life management, time management programs.

Three-day course on money, time management and then we did communications on part of the last day. I remember introducing WhatsApp and people were like what it is? I introduced how I used it and that was seven years ago, WhatsApp’s just gone through the roof as most of you are aware. The whole buyout with Facebook’s huge amounts made billions. 

Do we love it or so we hate it?

I went through a period where I tried to come right off WhatsApp and I couldn’t do it, and over the years WhatsApp for me has been primarily a business tool that is essentially how I use it. There’s WhatsApp business now a separate tool. 

I want to make a point WhatsApp can be extremely time consuming and for a lot of people if you’re trying to manage your time and manage your life and you have a phone close by, the reason it took off so much for those of you that have been using it for a while.

But back in the day to send a video and a voice message and text was amazing and so it just took over text because text was so limited. Back in the early days WhatsApp was like 30 seconds a minute now they’ve extended it and you can get long messages.

What happened was I found, we set up these groups and most of you probably use WhatsApp now and it is fanatically used, but the danger is and the danger was when it came out and still is that it can be all consuming.

WhatsApp to me within our business is a firefighting tool, it allows you to send instant messages with fairly instant responses, but the danger to it is the theme, project, conversations taking place they just scroll up the screen and you lose them. 

We have taken to using several tools, but essentially we bounce our records and we keep records of our communications through Slack.

We use Slack as our way of cataloguing, keeping records and following through on certain projects or ideas and it’s a very powerful tool and I played with about three or four years ago and I came off it, mainly because the team weren’t necessarily into it and we got back onto again and Harms from the Seekardo.

How to use WhatsApp in a way where you get clarity is we precede our conversations with one word, but you need to let people know about this because I tried this in the past and I forgot to tell people what I’m doing. 

What I mean by that is, let’s say you’ve got a property you want to discuss and it’s called Everett Street. So what I’ll do is type Everett Street and then I’ll record a message.

Whoever I’m sending the message to, for example, my PA or my account manager or business partner, they’ll know that the following message is linked to Everett Street.

If it is a message about finance, I’ll put finance and then leave a message and that makes a massive difference. If you looked at my WhatsApp I’ve got several messages from one person today and they’re all preceded by a text message.

What that allows me to do is very, very quickly flick through and if I know it’s something I want to pick up on I’ll go to that message and I’ll listen to that message. 

Equally, the team that I work with know that if it’s something urgent they need to put urgent. It might be urgent Everett Street, if it was just Everett Street I don’t treat it as urgent which means I might not look at that message until the end of the day.

The danger of WhatsApp is that you can keep looking at it and can be consumed by it. The beauty of it if used properly and your team know this or who you’re working with it might be you review WhatsApp at certain periods during the course of the day. 

Those of you that are Seekardo supporters if you look on the website we have time management, now one of the time management series is like two and a half hours long.

It breaks down the six different areas on how to manage your time and your life and in there one of the things talks about different tools we use. 

Try this for the next couple of days anybody you’re going to liaise with or communicate with on WhatsApp, let them know that you’re going to proceed a message with the subject heading.

That way they can look back through it at the end of the day, or mid-day and see what’s most important. If you want to make it urgent put urgent important in front of it. 

I have so many people trying to connect with me all the time that I use WhatsApp, I know sourcing agents, business partners, heads of companies.

Even clients I work with and I know how busy we are. So if I were to call somebody they’re going to pick the phone up but they might be in the middle of something. Builders that work for me I get pissed off when a builder is on the phone on my time so equally, if I phone a builder and they are on somebody else’s time it’s not fair for the client.

I leave WhatsApp messages giving the name of the project, the question and then you’ve got two choices. One is a voice message and the other one is a text message. 

Now how I use this if it’s something that is succinct that someone needs to process and want to extract something quickly with a very clear message I will type it.

I don’t even type it now I just dictate it. it is very clear the voiced to text transcribes are phenomenally accurate, so I’ll do that.

If, on the other hand, it is something more personal and to type would take that much text, but I can record it in 30 seconds to a minute and tighten it down then I’ll use audio.

The problem with audio is now whoever receives it has to listen to it. So if you send a two-minute message, right or 10-minute message and they’ve got seven of those, that’s a lot of listening time.

You’ve got to measure and I’m on WhatsApp I will go right, I’ve got four important messages to get across do I want to text it or voice message? If it is important enough and I want to get enough information across in a short space of time there needs to be a purpose to it. 

I got a lovely message last week from somebody and it didn’t really have any meaning, it was a 3.3-minute message and it was just sharing a bit about life but didn’t really seem to have a purpose to it.

The other three minutes it felt like it had no meaning, any meaning to me and no purpose. 

Those messages can be frustrating for somebody. For example Harms and I who you listen to here if we are bouncing backwards and forwards ideas there’s a chain of conversation and that’s fine as long as it’s short.

The minute it gets long and exchanges become three, four, five minutes I’m lost and he’s the same.

I do the same thing with other people. 

With family very quick messages I send a short message across. If I’m catching up with somebody I’ll put a previewed text saying protecting this is a catch up not urgent, and then they know it’s not urgent I’ll listen to it later.

This is a really powerful way to use WhatsApp, it changes the dynamic. It makes you feel less stressed and also makes the other person feel less obligated as well.

When I’m all over the world if I speak in different countries it’s really hard to catch up with somebody. Some get pissed off with me as they want to speak to me, but if I’m having a really busy day and the same thing for you it is quite stressful.

If you feel obligated to pick up a phone call from somebody when in fact you do want to speak to them just not at this moment in time, as you’ve got too many things stacked up. 

I’ve got the next three or four days I’m creating a new product, we’re launching our online communications with impact program, we’ve restructured Seekardo.

I’ve got my house happening, I’ve got to pick up some stuff from my builders tomorrow, I’ve got an important strategy call with my team that takes up the day.

Now imagine if everybody keeps ringing you in between that. Whereas if you say to people just drop me a WhatsApp and give me a quick heads up on what it’s about if it’s urgent let me know.

If it’s urgent I’ll pick it up at lunchtime in the day and I can respond accordingly. 

If used probably a great tool if not used properly, it can be very frustrating and you end up with as I do sometimes 30, 40 WhatsApp messages.

If I phone my PA and she’s trying to chase up a letting agent or getting me booked into somewhere and I call she might think Ro needs to speak to me I better take this. She comes off the other call and I go how are you doing, just wanted to catch up.

Think about how important the messages are you sending and when is it appropriate to call someone, when is it appropriate to WhatsApp.

The danger is and I fall into this trap as well. You could have two months WhatsApp conversations and not speak to them so it is finding a balance there.

That’s the balance with this if you get it the wrong way, you can distance yourself from people even though you can stay close to them, but equally if it’s done the proper way from a structured perspective very powerful.

Hopefully, that was useful, have a play with it let me know how you get on.

Dr Ro signing out, take care.

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