I'm so excited because this is one of my favorite things to do in August. I did this same thing last year and it's my way of getting back into the swing of things, getting back in to Fall and i had no idea how many people would react the way they did! To be honest…this is just me being so type-A and if you're the same way you will love this! I want to dive in deep and share everything that I think about when I head back into September. This is me planning for Fall and the rest of the year. I'm thinking about my schedule, what my priorities are and what my team could be doing. I'm also thinking about budgeting and assessing the software and contractors we have, what courses should I be investing in for the team, where should I be investing in myself, what areas can we grow, personal and retirement accounts…all the things!! It's just good to have a fresh start and I know a lot of people feel like we're winding down but September for me is heading into a new season. So, we're going to talk about personal stuff as well and if you have children you know how much they affect how much your working, when your working, when your getting interrupted…you get the point!
The biggest thing I realized is with time. It's really Parkinson's Law. What you give it, it will take. This means if I give myself 2 or 3 hours to come up with content it will take me 2-3 hours. But if I say I have to come up with content for a podcast in 10-15 minutes, brain dump a few things and immediately record it in 45 minutes, all of a sudden it can happen. I used to work from 9:00-4:30, Monday-Friday, and last year my oldest went to kindergarten. I had to drop to 9-3 so I lost about an hour and a half every day. I was getting nervous of how much time I was losing and it made me assess the situation and look at what actually needs to get done, prioritize and set a new schedule. Again, what you give it, it will take. Every single time! I don't think we realize how important it is to really look at our calendar and decide how long something should take.
Like I said before I usually work from 9:00-3:00 and I actually go a little bit longer on Wednesdays until 4:30. I did that for giving a few open spaces for podcasts and certain things where I'm in a different time zone. Sometimes I'm getting interviewed by somebody in Australia or somebody on Pacific time and the times just don't work out. I've noticed that having one day a little bit later is giving me opportunities that maybe wouldn't exist if I had to close down at 3:00 that day. Does this mean that I never check something at 7:00 at night or on a weekend or whatever? No…what this means is I'm sitting in my office during those times. I'm not perfect as much as I say I don't want to work in the mornings or the evenings or the weekends. Sometimes things pop up but I will say I'm really intentional about, do I need to do this? This past weekend I was out of town and a couple of people and someone Voxed me (an audio app with my team and some friends) and I just said to myself, what could possibly be urgent that I would need to take away from my family right now to listen? I really held off and I didn't listen until Monday morning. There was nothing urgent and I just have to keep reminding myself that these things can wait.
The one thing that has been a game changer for me and I've recommended it to so many of my clients, if you haven't read, The One Thing, go get that book immediately! I work on my one thing every single morning for about 3-4 hours probably more, but from 9-12, I am blocking out time for my one thing that means I am doing my absolute best to not schedule appointments during that time. On Mondays I actually try not to schedule any appointments beside some of our team things that we'll do and I'll show that in a little bit, but Monday I'm trying to keep wide open and then Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday, Friday mornings from 9-12 is where it's just clear and I can work on what needs to get done. So you're not going to find on my calendar to work on this or work on that. It's just as my one thing and every morning I ask myself, what is my one thing I need to be doing today? With that said I say proactive work in the morning, reactive work in the afternoon. I've said this time and time again and I'm going to say it just to remind you because sometimes I get caught up doing those reactive things. For instance, I'm doing this at 11:00 in the morning and I've already checked my email for something and I shouldn't have, but sometimes it happens, right?! In a perfect world this is what my calendar looks like. Do I sometimes have to go do something or do I sometimes just completely forget I have boundaries and non-negotiable that I'm breaking. My goal is to not check my email until I'm pretty much wrapping up my day. Why would I do that? Well because most people actually look at their email first thing in the morning and what happens is it sets your entire day up. You might have already had a certain day or a certain schedule on your calendar but one email could completely throw you off and that's the worst when you're like oh, how am I supposed to do this or that now?
So reactive is when I try to do things in the afternoon when I know that my my one thing has been completed. Every morning I am writing down what is my one thing that if I only got this one thing done today I would still feel really good about my day. My one thing today was to record a podcast. I'm going to feel really good when I'm done recording it knowing that no matter what else happens I've recorded this episode and I'm good to go. This is so much better than having a million things on your to-do list and it's a big thing. It's not one little thing. It's a big thing that's going to move the needle forward in your business. I started to separate these big things that are going to move my business forward and then what are some of these reactive things. I'm really focused this year on things that only I can do. I'm going to say what mine is but obviously you might be in a different industry, different business so it'll be different. For me, in this specific business, my online consulting business, my one thing could entail something like going live on a Facebook Live or an Instagram live, recording a podcast, recording on other people's podcast, getting interviewed, writing up content for media pitches and opportunities for me to be featured in other articles and blog posts and things like that. Other things include team meetings. managing my team and really setting the direction up and the vision up for where they can head and what they can do.
These are big things on my plate that I need to be doing including team management. So for me we use a software called Monday.com and with Monday, I'm checking it once probably twice a day to make sure that my team is doing everything that they are assigned to and if they're stuck somewhere and they need me to answer something I'm able to check it but it's just a few things from each person every day. It's quick and it's easy. I really had to look at where me showing up is the best use of my time. I just read this book where it talked about this famous painter who was so well known for his portraits and he always just painted the face really, really well and people always wanted this portrait. So one thing he did was he didn't paint the rest of the body. He only painted the faces because that's what people cared about. I think sometimes we think we have to paint the whole portrait but it's really assessing where is my best use of my time spent. For me it's showing up so that I actually might not be coming up with some of the content or doing some of the research. I've even started outsourcing things to my team if I need statistics on something, I'll have somebody on my team present me those statistics. They're giving me the good stuff that I'm only weeding through the stuff that they think I should see and then I'm starting to come up with my own content and write my own stuff but it's saving prep work. What kind of prep work are you doing in your business that somebody else could do for you? There are systems all over the place in your business! They might not be written down but there is a system to it. There's going to be training and trial and error but there are systems. Everything you do is a system. It's just in your head and we can get some of those on paper and have people start to help us with that system.
Let's talk about the difference between proactive and reactive work. I have a couple of things in my afternoons that I'll share with you. So first the reactive just means that I have to react to some of these. Checking email is definitely a reactive situation. Let's say I have a team meeting and sometimes on those team meetings I have to get assigned a few things to do. That could be reactive right. When I say proactive it's just kind of me in my office doing my thing and there's not other things being piled on onto my plate by other people. A couple other things that I do is I save the mornings for times that I have to be creative and really give my best work by myself. Even though I'm an introvert, at the end of the day when I'm burnt out and ready to be done if I jumped on a coaching call or one of my Powerhouse mastermind calls, they recharge me which sounds funny because as an introvert you don't get recharged by people. But my point is, it's not that I'm completely burnt out 2:00, it's that I can't come up with the creative stuff after that time. But if somebody asked me a question at 2:00, I'm so on my game or I can answer it and give good feedback. For me, my Powerhouse calls were all over the place and now I always put them on Thursday afternoons. The reason for that is first, it's more toward the end of the week and I'm trying to get my most important proactive work done by me in the beginning and then not only is it at the end of the week but it's also at the end of the day. They're kind of my wrap up for that. I travel a lot on Friday so I didn't want to have major conflicts when I was setting up certain things like that. Even though you might be thinking, well Friday would be a great day for that, sometimes my Thursday is my Friday and I had to be taking that into consideration!
Another thing to be thinking about when you're looking at your calendar is don't load it up where you are forgetting that there needs to be some white space in between. I mean there's times when I'm thinking when am I eating lunch or going to the bathroom? If I have all these appointments, unless we end a minute early there is not a second in the day to do that! So it's really important to even put on your calendar to say things like eat lunch, drive the kids to school because we forget it takes time to do this. You want white space on that calendar! As I have these rhythms and routines in my calendar there will be some conflicts. If I want to prep and record a solo episode for my podcast so I put it in every other Monday but when I start going through my calendar there were a few conflicts and we did this through December. What's good about this is when I realized I have one of my leadership meetings that one Monday of the month, I then just moved that Monday product podcast prep to Tuesday. You just have to be reassessing and rearranging things as these repetitive programs or schedules pop up for you. One thing that I realized was I just had too much stuff on my plate and that was one of the reasons why I had to start outsourcing some of the prep. I even said to my team the reason I didn't go live this week was because I didn't know what to say. I literally feel like I've said everything I could possibly say and I don't know what to say but then somebody will shoot me a DM and ask me question and immediately I know it would be an amazing Instagram live. That was one of the things I had to say to my team is if you just give me a sentence I can go ramble or if you give me what somebody said on social media I can talk for 50 minutes. I had to start to go what is holding me back from getting my work done and could somebody help me with this…
The bigger my businesses get the more I have to slowly start to remove things off of my plate. I meet with my team once a week for about an hour. Sometimes it takes less and it's just to get everybody on the same page. I meet right before that with what I call my integrator so she's really my right hand and somebody who helps me integrate my vision. We meet for about 30 minutes and then once a week I am meeting with my executive assistant who I've recently hired and has been a really great asset to me just being absolutely so productive. For instance I travel a lot. I have I think four speaking gigs booked this next six months. I have a lot of personal trips booked. I have mastermind retreats, all of the stuff and she said to me so where can I find all of your travel details. I was like wow…here's my Airbnb login my HomeAway login and my Southwest login because it's just in all of these platforms. Do I need to rent a car? Do I need to get my hair and makeup done? Is that something taken care of by the person hosting the event? All of these details that I just shouldn't have in my head but in a software where it should be easily accessible. These are things helping me stay super organized. I'm constantly assessing my priorities. What needs to be on my plate? What I could just delegate? There's been so many things that just keep getting pushed back and pushed back and pushed back. When I finally just looked at my calendar and said there's a reason these are getting pushed back, they clearly are not the biggest priority and if they truly are then I just have to give it to somebody else because I'm clearly not doing it.
Again, for me I said no working in the evenings and then no weekends. When I say no work in the evenings I'm talking like hopping in my office, pulling up my laptop, things like that. I absolutely pop on Instagram for a second and DM somebody or I'm scrolling on Instagram personally. Yes, that happens but I'm absolutely not making up a podcast or working on my marketing. You're not going to find me doing that stuff at all. If I were to be launching something or had a certain promotion and it was something like a Labor Day weekend sale and we were open or something, then yes, I'll be working for something like that but that is promotional only. The last thing I want to say before we jump into what my actual schedule looks like is budgeting enough time. If I'm saying I talk to my integrator for 30 minutes a week but for some reason we keep hitting that 30 minute mark and we're not done, but we just have to move on because time's up and there's another appointment. I'm looking at that or if I'm saying wow, we're scheduling 30 minutes but we keep chatting for 45, I'm going to really assess if we should be switching it. Should we be making this longer? If I'm saying a podcast prep and record is 2-3 hours, it's like we talked about with Parkinson's Law. If I say three hours, it'll take three hours. So how can I get it down to as little as I'm looking for? Typically my podcasts are 30 minutes. It would be amazing if I could get in my office and prep for 30 minutes before I talked. Now I don't think that's mostly realistic unless I have somebody helping me come up with ideas for this.
For instance, this podcast on my schedule and routine was all me but could I have had Claire go through the old podcast from last year and pull it a few bullet points for me to get this organized and just jump on and talk? 100%! Which is the direction we're going to be heading so that I'm not always having to spend so much time on things. I want to make sure that I am able to get everything done that the team needs me to get done. You have to be very careful because nobody on a team loves working for somebody that's slowing them down. They can't get you results because you are the problem and you aren't giving them what you need. I work with a lot of clients and I hear people that are working for them saying like, well you know it would be nice if she would really do those social media posts that she said she was going to do or give me that picture that she said she was going to or do that photo shoot or whatever that is. Nobody wants to be slowed down by the business owner so we have to really make sure that we remove that bottleneck, which is us, and ask how can we make this as easy as possible? Now onto my schedule…
Like I said before, I'm working 9:00-3:00, but a lot of people will say but what is your morning look like? What does your evening look like? Well, my morning routine right now I'm actually setting my alarm for 6:00 a.m. A year ago I was waking up at 5:00 a.m. but I had a find what felt right and worked best for me. Right now I'm kind of on a 6:00 a.m. kick. If I ever felt like wow, I have so much more to get done or I felt really behind or something then I would probably get up a little bit earlier but I think because my team is growing, I don't have to feel the pressure of waking up at the crack of dawn and starting to work immediately in my business. So right now my alarm is set for 6:00 a.m. and I jump into my office immediately not to work but to just kind of have a quiet space to myself so I meditate. I use the Muse headband for just 10 minutes. Then I read for about 15 minutes and I set a little timer so I jump into the book that's sitting on my couch and I start reading it and then I have this little journal that I bought at the store and it's just blank pages inside and inside I basically write down a list of gratitude or things that I'm grateful for in the moment that have already happened. I try to make it be real time and not generic so many times you say things like I'm grateful for my house because you're sitting in your house or I'm grateful for my kids. I try to think of what happened today or even yesterday that I'm really grateful for that moment and it could be something like I saw Tanner do this and it was really nice to see her show that value. Just really specific or I'm really grateful my husband took this off my plate and I had more free time or I got to run to the store.
I'm trying to be detailed in those gratitude lists. I maybe write down about five then I'm writing down ten things I'm trying to achieve as if it already has been done. I've definitely read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and really looked at all the things he said you should be doing in the morning and visualization was one of them. For me it's really hard to just close my eyes and visualize all these random things but when I write down 10 things on paper I can visualize it when I see it in writing. If that makes sense. One thing I wrote this morning was, I can get on anybody's podcasts. That means that if I were just to be like I'd love to share my message with your audience. It might be a no at first but what I'm doing is I'm saying something that I'm working toward right. When you write these things out every single day what happens is you start to tell your mind, ok, well if you think you're going to get on anybody's podcast you better start getting on people's podcast because you have to work your way up to really getting out there. The more I do the more credible I become, the better I become and the more it'll be easier to get on somebody else's podcast.
The last part that I write is my one thing. So I told you this morning it was get this podcast recorded because I'm saying this on a Tuesday and this was really yesterday's thing, but again life happens sometimes. Things that were supposed to get done don't get done. So this is me realizing I have to make sure this happens. One thing I realized was my Monday's are so jam packed with meetings and setting everybody up and kind of catching up from the weekend that it's really hard to get a huge project done on Monday and that's okay. You have to figure out what works for you. But anyways…I'm up by 6:00, then after meditating and reading, at 6:30 I'm heading into my gym. I have a home gym and from 6:30-7:00 I will be working out. I do a little bit of a stretch as well with that. My goal is a minimum of three times a week to be working out. I really have it listed on my calendar Monday-Thursday and Saturday morning. Having it blocked in my calendar if I can't do it today I know that at least tomorrow there's another one that's there and then at 7 I'm basically showering, getting ready and getting my coffee. I do intermittent fasting so I don't have breakfast or anything like that but if you're interested in all that food and want to know that kind of stuff we did have a podcast recently called Stacy's Favorite Things With Zero Affiliate Links and I talk about all that stuff in there so you can go to www.stacytuschl.com/328. After that the kids have probably woken up at some point and now I'm getting the kids ready.
You can see that I have not cracked open my computer yet and I have not done any real work. If for some reason I wake up earlier because sometimes I wake up before my alarm goes off I may write content for social media, for articles, for podcasts because I'm very creative in the morning and if there is free time I will start to write. That's the only work that you're going to see me do though in the morning. Now the kids are ready. We drop them off at school. I'm back home probably by 8:45 and then what I had said to you was at 9 a.m. I kind of clock in. I'm back home by 8:45…I'm not back in the office right away, I'm putting in buffer time knowing maybe for some reason a kid's throwing a fit and I have to walk in the school to do something or maybe there's an accident on the way home or whatever. I just have that buffer time knowing that I'm not putting myself so back to back to back that I'm always trying to play catch up. When 3:00 comes around and my alarm goes off that basically means I need to wrap up and I need to be out the door in the next 10 minutes. My alarm goes off at 3:00 and I know I have 10 minutes, meaning I could quick finish up that e-mail I'm currently working on, whatever it is to wrap it up and then I can run to the bathroom, I usually refill my water, I grab a Bullet Proof protein bar and I jump in the car to go grab the kids.
These are things that I'm constantly doing as I build in that buffer time. Now I want to explain my night routine and then I'm going to go into some tips and tools and things that I want you to be thinking about. So, I have the kids probably like from 4:00-8:00 p.m. My goal is that they're both sleeping by 8:00 p.m. (In a perfect world!) Sometimes that does not happen. Sometimes I'm falling asleep on the couch and they are still up and I am trying to get them to go to bed. So my goal is 4:00-8:00. This was a game changer for me. I don't know about you but I'm exhausted by the time they go to sleep! There is just nothing left in me, I couldn't even think about doing anything else! So here's what I started doing.
I started doing my bedtime routine with their bedtime routine. If we start getting ready for bed around 7:00 with the hopes they're sleeping by 8:00…together with them I am putting on my pajamas, I am stretching with them, so I'll do a few yoga stretches. I love stretching at the end of the night and I find you sleep better when you're more flexible and my kids do it with me so we'll stretch together. We read together and when I say read together everybody grabs their own book. So Teagan, who can't read is just mumbling and making up stories.Tanner who's actually reading and then I'm reading my own book and we sit and we each read a little bit of a book. Then I promise them I'll read them one book before we go to bed.
Another struggle would be that I was so exhausted I wouldn't want to brush my teeth or take my makeup off. Now, I have all of my things in their bathroom. By doing that I have my whole might routine done by the time they are ready for bed. The last thing we do is get outfits ready for the next day. Having little fashionistas it can be a disaster in the morning so we commit to an outfit the night before. From 8:00-9:00, I get my one guilty pleasure TV show. This is not motivational, business or educational but it's a show I can watch after working all day and I need my brain to just melt. I'm in bed by 9:00 and hopefully sleeping by 10:00 at the latest.
I want to share some tools that help me with all of these things I've talked about. The first is Toggl. This is a great way to evaluate what your're working on. One of the things people don't do enough is track where we're spending our time. If you have a team it's also a great way to see how much time is being spent in certain places to evaluate if it is a good use of time and being efficient.
The next tool is Acuity. This is a calendar software system where if you were to message me for one-on-one time together it would allow you to see my open times on my calendar and show you the open times to schedule an appointment. Another tool I love and use ALL day is my phone alarm. I set reminders throughout the day including all meetings, appointments, etc. I do this so I don't have to keep looking at the clock and it allows me to be in the moment with whatever I'm doing. The best part is most of the alarms are reoccurring so I only have to set them once and add in the one time appointments when they pop up.
Last piece of advice…I want you to make a list of non-negotiable's. For example, it might be workout 3 times a week no matter what. Another one might be to never hit the snooze button. When my alarm goes off in the morning I get up right away and get on with the day. Maybe it's to go live once a week, have a once a week team meeting. What will your non-negotiable's be? Make sure you assess your calendar and see what needs to actually be done and what needs to be focused on. Once you figure these things out, set your new calendar and reassess with each new season!
P.S. If you are looking to go to the next level, here are a few ways I can help:
1. Join my FB group, Foot Traffic Formula, an exclusive community designed specifically for those who own a local brick and mortar small business.
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And for those of you who are really serious…
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