Episode 246 // Time Management for Business Owners

November 24, 2020

According to our annual listener survey, year after year, time management is the biggest struggle for bosses. In a year where all of the rules of normal business operations have been thrown out the window, Emily is revisiting what it means to manage your time by prioritizing the right tasks to get the job done, by spending less time doing more, and by giving you plenty of time leftover to live your life.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"Not all tasks are created equal."
- Emily

Discussed in this Episode

  • The biggest struggle for our audience: time management
  • Identifying your non-negotiables
  • Knowing you and your time's worth
  • Understanding your priorities
  • Practices and tactics for planning out your week
  • Project managing months ahead of time
  • Practicing the time blocking tactic
  • How time tracking can help

featured download!

In this episode, the What’s Working / Kinda / Not worksheet was mentioned. Download your copy here!


More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Emily Thompson 0:10
Are you a creative entrepreneur or business owner? How much money is your business making? What's your biggest struggle? every year since 2016, we have conducted an audience survey to learn more about you. In the survey you share with us what kind of creative you are how you identify as a business owner, and how many hours a week you work. And year after year, reviewing the results of the survey is basically my favorite time of year. Why? Because I get to see how you've grown and changed. For example, this year, despite the pandemic, a larger percentage of bosses than ever before are making over six figures in their business. How very boss, have you. I also love getting this view of you listeners because it tells me what you're struggling with and the places where you need more support. And year after year, I'm always shocked to see that no matter how many times we talk about productivity hacks, shared time management trainings, or whatever your biggest struggle isn't branding or sales or marketing. It's not your business. The biggest boss struggle is you and your own ability to manage your time. Welcome to being boss, a podcast for creatives, business owners and entrepreneurs who want to take control of their work and live life on their own terms. I'm your host, Emily Thompson. And before you rage quit this episode on me know that you totally get a pass this year, anytime management accomplishments you've made prior to 2020 have likely become unraveled. But that's just more of a reason to buckle down and get to work. So I'm here to share what I'm at least currently seeing as my definitive episode on time management. I want to share what I know on how to show up and do the work in a way that has you prioritizing the right task to get the job done, to spend less time doing more and to give you plenty of time left over to live your life. And because I'm not the only boss in the room who knows a thing or two about taking control of your time, I asked the creative business owners and the being boss community to share with you their top tips and tactics to so you'll be hearing from bosses from different backgrounds, industries and stages of business throughout this episode. And links for any tools or resources mentioned here can be found in our show notes at WWW dot being boss club. But before we dive in, here's a message from our sponsor. You'll be hearing more about this in today's episode. But here's a sneak peek. A boss who's in control of their time understands the importance of investing in people and tools that help them get the job done. And gusto helps with both of those. gusto is an easy online payroll and benefits service built for modern small businesses. It is a single place to pay and take care of your hard working team from payroll and benefits to HR and employee onboarding. We use it here at being boss and recognize it as one of those tools that saves us a ton of time. Sign up and get three months free by going to gusto comm slash being boss. That's gusto comm slash the inbox. All right, time management getting shit done. I feel like I should maybe have a doctorate in productivity Is that a thing? Probably not. I'm so provisioning getting shit done, because I believe that being productive is a keystone of what I define as a boss. As such, I have to be a master of it if I'm going to be preaching it to you. And I've spent over a decade working on my own productivity and helping hundreds of creative business owners along the way. And I want to be clear about something. I'm not talking productivity at all costs. I do believe that being overly productive is actually counterproductive. I believe that feeding productivity requires you to take a lot of time to rest. So before I go triggering any of you who hates the word hustle, know that this is not a podcast advocating of 5am wake up call or working at 10 hour days. This is about making sure that you're getting what needs to be done in whatever timeframe you give it. Whether you want to run your business and just 10 hours a week, which is about how much time I spend at my product, business Almanac supply go. Or you're totally down with working your 40 hours a week or anything in between. The point here is to make whatever our load situation you choose for yourself and your creative business work for you. And that when you sit down to work, you should get the work done in your business that will move you forward. That's what I want to talk about today. And I'm 100% focusing on time management within your creative business. But know that these standards will easily shift into any other part of your existence. Whether that's time management around your passion projects, your family or your kids, your friends or even In any volunteer work that you want to do, it applies across the board. Okay,

Emily Thompson 5:06
so the first place that we always start with workshopping here at being boss is with your mindset. And with bosses, it's always that I don't have enough time, and I totally get it. But here's our favorite reframe. For this lie, you're telling yourself that you don't have enough time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, including beyond saying, maybe that's enough said, you have enough time period, you just need to learn to better manage both your time and what you allow into your bubble of responsibilities, which is why we're here. One of the best things that you can do to make sure you have enough time for the things that matter, absolute most to you is to identify your non negotiables Kathleen and I wrote about non negotiables in the being boss book, because they are one of those foundational being boss things, choose a couple of things in your business that are not negotiable, they're going to happen come hell or high water, nothing's going to gloss them over and make sure you show up for them. Here are a few that I hold for myself. First, some business bestie meetings, I have a biweekly call with a mastermind group of some boss friends, we make that call, whether we're traveling or sick or whatever, it's a non negotiable. I literally plan my calendar and tasks around this call. Another of mine is a weekly crystal party at Almanac, we actually do this three Fridays, a month. So almost every week, we're getting together on Friday at 2:30pm. Eastern on YouTube. But for a chat and a live crystal cell it is an anchor in my weekly calendar. My schedule revolves around this happening those three Fridays every month. There's no strategy that goes into that occasional off week. But it's important and it is a non negotiable on my calendar. So these are some non negotiables. In my business, there are things that nurture me and move me forward the things that move the needle in my revenue and in building a loyal customer base, things that are big and important to me and my business and nothing gets in their way. With these in place. I know that I'm moving myself and my business forward on an ongoing basis, and it makes me feel totally in charge of my time, I am setting these priorities, I am showing up for them. And I'm making sure that nothing else gets in the way. So your first task then is to identify what your non negotiables are in your business. Think of them on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. identify them, map them out, calendar them out, which we'll talk about in a moment and show up for them. position them in your mindset as the priorities that you are currently identifying them as hold yourself accountable. Once you have your non negotiables in place, we can move forward into what I think is the second biggest struggle with bosses around time management mindset. And that is the value you place on your time. As they say that I'm literally pointing my finger at all of you. I really should start doing these doing these videos. I think it could be quite a trip, watching me act out things alone in a room talking into a microphone, why not? Speaking of, I hope that you will pardon me for just a second while I preach and you better bet that my hands are waving in the air. If you are here as the boss of your own business, in reality or an aspiration, you need to get it through your head that your time is the most valuable asset you have in your business. Treat it as such. If your business owned a Lamborghini, would you send it out to do the work of a pickup truck? No, you'd save that sucker for dropping you off at the red carpet. You are the Lamborghini. And yet it's likely that you're hauling around all kinds of dirty smelly stuff because you have four tires and you can and that's not a good enough reason. Now I understand that each and every one of you no matter if you're a solopreneur or if you have a team often find yourself having to do some dirty work that is in the job description of being the CEO of your business no matter how big or small and I want to make it very clear that a boss never sees themselves as being too good for a task. Sometimes you need to stop by the grocery store in your Lambo to pick up some milk. It's fine, but just because that Lambo picks up milk ones doesn't mean it's now the milk truck. You guys are getting this analogy.

Emily Thompson 9:58
I will also say that I also often see correlation between someone improving their beliefs around self worth, and their ability to manage their time. As the understanding and acceptance of the value of your time and effort increases, so does your ability to manage your time and get done what most needs to get done. Which comes first the chicken or the egg? I don't know for sure, but I do have my Inklings. If you're a solopreneur, working by yourself an action this looks like focusing on the tasks that are most important in your business and letting everything else go. So is it scrolling Instagram to gain inspiration? Or is it learning to apply good search engine optimization strategy to your website so that you can garnish more organic traffic, and nine times out of 10 it's the SEO strategy, because almost every boss I know needs more of that, and less time on Instagram. If you have a team, it's similar, but you have the ability to afford those things. You're deeming as not worthy of your time to someone else. And I know that delegation can be an obstacle in itself. But that's another episode for another day. My favorite exercise for deciding what I most need to use my time on is the what's working, kinda working, not working worksheet that you'll be able to find in the show notes of this episode. I use this all the time as a way to get clear on what I need to remove from my to do list, because it's not serving my well being or my bottom line, and what I need to put my ongoing efforts into to make real progress. And this leads me into my final of what really could be about 18 episodes on just the mindset of time management. And that is understanding your priorities. Not all tasks are created equal. I'm gonna say that, again, not all tasks are created equal. Not all projects or objectives or emails are created equal. There are things that should be done right now. And there are things that can be done tomorrow, or next week, or even next year. And I truly believe that this good book, I'm just gonna keep saying that. This is the biggest struggle. But really, I see this as the biggest struggle with creatives, especially, you have all these ideas, you want to implement them, and you want them to be done right now. But also getting or overcoming this mindset, getting your mind right about it is the solution for any business owner who's struggling with feeling overwhelmed. And I also know that that is a common feeling with bosses as well. Things can wait, not everything needs to be done right now. What does need to be done is fulfilling your obligations. So your customers first and foremost, don't ever forget that. Never put a client project on hold free to launch that course, never get lost in your email, instead of packaging up that order and getting it out ASAP. The best thing you can ever do for your business is fulfill on your promises and create raving fans of your work. Your customers pay the bills now and for referrals to come. Don't forget it. Now, when it comes to business development and growth, this is really where the overwhelm can set in. You want to be the boss at social media, maybe you want to start a YouTube channel, create a course, and make that email sequence super fancy. I totally get it. I'm right there with you. But that's both where some big picture planning comes into play. And where a weekly look at what's going to move the needle forward comes into play. For Big Picture planning

Emily Thompson 13:45
my favorite resource if I do say so myself, is our CEO day kit. I actually just redid the videos for it, and I'm super excited about it. And the whole purpose of the kit is to help you create a 12 month plan for your business Kathleen and I launched it several years ago. And we have helped. I wonder what the numbers are. So many hundreds, maybe thousands more. bosses, create plans for their business that helps them hold that big picture vision in place. So if you want to be a bosses social media and start a YouTube channel and create a course and upgrade your email sequences, plus show up for your busy seasons in your business. It gives you space to plan out every single bit of it over the course of a year so that your overwhelm can dissipate knowing that everything will get done in its own time and you have a plan to make it happen. Also, giving everything ample time means that you can really do your research and sit with your ideas to make sure they're right for you and for your business. One of the things that I've seen eat a business alive is moving too quickly. Implementing too fast and Not taking the time to do your due diligence. Priorities can and will change over time. I like to think they get better with age. But only if you give them the time they need. An example of this is my own desire at being bossy to start a YouTube channel. But I want to start it and the dick and impactful way, in early 2020, I set a goal to do this, not in a month, not even in six months, but by 2021. I literally gave it a 12 month timeline. And reality I could have done that day, I could have set up my iPhone, if you want to tell the YouTube videos because I've watched all the YouTube videos, it'll tell you just like set up your phone, do the thing publish, and we say it start before you're ready. But for me to manage my time wisely, I had a number of other projects that I honestly deemed as a holding priority over the YouTubes. And I want to take extra care that I launch the YouTube channel when I am more ready. So I mentioned a second ago, I know for years that we've always said launch before you're ready. And I do is very much so hold strongly to that, especially in the early days of your business. And, and for anyone who needs to fight some perfectionism. But I know for me as my influence and business grows, it has become more and more my responsibility to go a little slower and really make sure that I do my homework. Does that mean that I'll feel 100% ready when that first video goes live? Absolutely not. I can guarantee you that it won't. But it does mean that I have gotten done what needed to get done first. And I will have done my homework to make my effort that much more worth it. I often find myself repeating this idea that you can have everything but not all at once. And I feel often with creative businesses, especially with online businesses, because the online business world moves so quickly, that we often get in this idea that we have to do it all right now. And there's actually an episode coming in a couple of weeks. I've already recorded it. But I talk with Dana Kay and Deanna joy Spencer about being a multi passionate creative. And one of the things that we talked about is this idea that in order to implement all of the things you have to layer them on, you have to focus on something first, and then move to the next thing and layer it on and then move to the next thing and layer it on and then move to the next thing and layer it on. And the more you get in your mind that business is a long game, that you're not doing this to find success this quarter, or next quarter or this year or even next year. But to find success and five 610 years from now, the easier it's going to be for you to move forward with your ideas, release the overwhelm, and really put things in place that build a solid foundation for your business. So that episodes coming up soon. It was amazing to record, I cannot wait for you to see it. And that's a little idea of how it is that I implement that literally in my business for myself, which sort of helps you hopefully get an idea of long term priorities. And now I want to talk a little bit about short term priorities. And here's where I'm pulling in the community bosses. I love what Laura de Franco says who is a member of the being boss community and as a designer and founder of free period press. She says

Emily Thompson 18:40
when I look at my to do list at the beginning of the week, I asked myself which of these tasks are most important to getting me to my business goals. It's amazing how many tasks sneak onto my list that are distractions from my bigger goals. asking this question helps me to zero in on what's most important and downgrade the non essentials. I obviously love that. on the fly recognition of priorities is a must have skill for a business owner or an entrepreneur because things pop into your to do list on a constant basis. And if we're not being constantly diligent to make sure your to do list reflects your priorities, then you will waste a lot of time. Another useful tactic comes from community member Emma peacock who's a digital marketing strategist and is the owner of honeypot digital. Here's how she manages priorities. I find I am most productive across a month of to do's when each day I write down my top three things and do those first every day. If I don't get any more done then at least that is all wrapped up and I am moving in the right direction. Every work day genius If the first three things you do each day are your top priorities, then even if you get nothing else done, you're moving forward. One of my favorite resources for identifying business priorities so some of those like 30,000 foot really overarching like here's the big picture of what you need to be focusing on in your business. Next is Mike mccalla wits, his book fix this next. We had Mike on the podcast a few years ago talking about his book profit first, which is a boss staple. And Mike actually keynoted at our conference this past spring on his book, clockwork, I can't recommend those books highly enough. And his latest book fix this. Next is another must read. We're currently reading it in the being boss community for our book club pick of the month. And I'm already seeing bosses gain some real clarity on what they need to be prioritizing in their business. So priorities, you have to know what yours are. And you have to prioritize them. Think of it as one step down from non negotiables. But one step up from just your average to do list and cultivate your ability to quickly and decisively decide what takes priority, it will make your daily energy input into your business immensely. immensely more impactful. Okay, let's get beyond the mindsets. Which again, I could do 18 episodes on and into the real practical stuff. I want to talk you through basically what a week looks like and how I managed my time with a basis of those mindsets that I talked about. Where I have my non negotiables in place, I'm focusing on my priorities, and I know the worth of my time. So every Sunday, usually in the late afternoon, I sit down with my laptop, my notebook and the pen and I plan out my week. I do this on Sundays, because usually by afternoon on Sundays attorney feel a little itchy, a little antsy. And usually, because just because I leave on Friday evening does not mean that my brain turns off. I'm an entrepreneur. So it doesn't just do that I am not working on the weekends. But usually things pop into my head, like oh, I need to remember to email that person. Or Oh, I got to remember to tell you know, a team member this thing, or Oh, I forgot to do this last week, let's make sure that's on my to do list. And sometimes I will like pull out a piece of paper and just jot them down or I'm just collecting them in my mind. Usually by midday Sunday, I'm itching to like, get them out of my head so that I can really sort of let go the rest of my Sunday. So all the little to dues that have crept into my mind, I need to get them out onto paper so that I can enjoy the rest of my weekend, the rest of my Sunday evening without feeling that ANC feeling. So if I sit down and put them in their place on Sunday, it lets me enjoy the rest of my Sunday. And I can move into my Monday morning knowing exactly what I need to do. Without doing this Monday morning, I could feel quite overwhelmed, quite because I don't know what I'm doing that week. But waking up on Monday morning after I've done this, I know exactly what my path forward is for the week. So I do this on Sunday afternoons.

Emily Thompson 23:19
And remember, time management is about being in control of your time and Sunday evening when there's nothing else going on. And with a lead time that will have me walking into my workweek well prepared is when and how I feel most in control of my time, then I can always just finish off the hours of my weekend and ease into the week that much more easily. And I'm not the only one. I'm not the only boss who plans their weeks on Sundays. Tasha Harrison who is an author and editor, member of the community, who you also heard from in Episode 242 also plans her week on Sunday as well. So I sit down on Sunday with my laptop, a notebook and a pen. And I write out my to do list starting with the things that have come up for me that are jumbling bouncing around in my noggin over the past few days. And then I opened my project management software, which is a sauna, they are not a sponsor, but I wouldn't hate it if they were and I copy down any tasks from my to do list and Asana into my notebook. And I do this across both of my businesses. So we have an Asana for being boss. We have an Asana for Almanac supply co as well. And this does the job for me of consolidating my two to do lists into one place. But it also gives me the opportunity to prioritize. I also at this time, open up my email and without replying to a single thing. I add any email actions or replies that I need to do to that list as well, which gives me what is really a master to do list for the week. Now, right away I get a good look at the weight of my responsibilities for the week. If my list is less than half the page long, I'm doing good. It was longer than half the page long, I know I'm going to need some help, at which point I will, on the right side of my paper, start immediately delegating out to members of my team things that I need to get off my plate. Or I'll draw a little arrow next to them, so that I know that I'm moving it to the following week. Then I open up my calendar, my like iCal calendar, I'm an iCal user, if anyone cares, and I start scheduling it all out. And by the time I'm done, I know exactly what my work week will look like. So every task that I've written down on my to do list goes into a time slot on my calendar. And sometimes I'll bulk I'll bolt some things up is that I'll batch when we go, I'll batch some things up, where let's say I have, you know, eight email tasks or like four email tasks. And whether that's replying to emails or just starting an email thread or taking an action in an email, whatever it may be, I will batch those together into maybe like a 30 minute chunk. So five to Deuce, five tasks go into one little batch task on my calendar. But also on my calendar, I'm literally writing email this person, this person, this person, this person, this person, so that each of those tasks are being clearly represented on my calendar. All of this takes less than an hour and it is the most important hour of my week. And with that proactive plan for my week, laid out in front of me, that's directly related to what I need to get complete, I can finish off my Sunday with a sense of ease and start my Monday knowing exactly what needs to get done next. This is basically my secret weapon hour, and release like 3045 minutes, it doesn't even take that long. I know a lot of people I can imagine some creatives especially feeling like that makes them dive into work. But I think over the months years that I've been doing this, I've created some emotional boundaries around it and some time boundaries around it as well, that doesn't, it doesn't cause in me that need to do the work. Like if I see the work, I don't feel the need to do the work. I'm seeing the work I meant for me in that moment, the work is not doing the work, the work is planning the work. And so I've been able to separate those two works, so that I don't feel the need to get to work. I'm just planning it out. So on Monday morning, I can get to work.

Emily Thompson 27:38
Now that little overview what I want to highlight, I suppose there are a couple of hidden secrets in it that I want to share with you. So I'm going to break down that process a little bit more. First being something that I'm not going to dive into too much in this episode, but I will be covering in a relatively near future episode and that is vision and project management. By vision, I mean that I keep an ongoing look at where my business is going in the next three 612 months. So as one big project wraps up, I know what's coming next. And without and without regard of sounding little too salesy. I have to say that CEO day kit is what really enables me to keep this vision in place because it because it is my annual quarterly and monthly CEO days that enabled me to keep that big picture focus of my business constantly in play. stepping down a layer from vision is project management. Whenever those projects in my vision and come along as time to implement either I or a member of my team will task them out in Asana. And though I am talking about doing this with the team, I can't express to you enough how important it is to have a similar process even if you're working alone. And you don't have to just use Asana, we talk a lot about the kinds of tools that people are using for project management and the being boss community. And everything from clickup, to HubSpot to monday.com and Google Docs, and even just notebooks dedicated to projects is used. The software or hardware as it may be is less important than adopting a system for tasking out whole projects from internal business projects, to client and customer projects and tasks so that you always know what comes next. In fact, this is the tactic for that feeling of not knowing what to do next in your business of walking into work and not knowing where to put your energy. I never feel that even though I know a lot of bosses do and I don't feel that because I have my vision and projects consistently mapped out ahead of me. There's no wasted time trying to figure out what to do. And I'll tell you if I'm Little mindset shift that really enabled me to be in this place several years ago, where it was not overwhelming to consistently see three 612 months ahead of me. Several years ago, I realized that I had this mindset in my head, where I kept waiting to be done, I kept waiting to be done with my business, and not so much that I wanted to quit, I wanted to end but I, for whatever reason, I had this belief that one day, I would do the thing, I would complete the project, and there would be nothing else in front of me. Whenever I realized that, that's why I was feeling so much anxiety and almost like contention against my business. And but I didn't consciously believe that, like I knew I was here to do business for you know, decades to come potentially, it helped me release this idea that I didn't need to be planning ahead and that I did need to consistently know it was coming up in my business. So if that resonates with anyone know that that's something that I have dealt with in the past, and you are willing to take that and use it as a mirror for yourself as needed.

Emily Thompson 31:16
So vision and project management, those two things are very important. Again, I spend one day a year, my annual CEO day really mapping out the next 12 months, sometimes even a little further than that, I'm also checking in every quarter, and every month to even push the envelope a little further and definitely to check in on the plan that I've laid out. And that one day, if you do no more than one day, really can help you for the entire year, come into work and know what needs to be happening next. And then project management, I cannot express to you how important I think this is for any creative business owner to be able to take a big project and sort of chunk it down into smaller tasks, which is why I say future episode. I know that's needed. I also do recognize that as one of those imperative skills for a creative business owner. But that's to come for now. Let's move on. beyond those to do lists, I do want to talk about the actual act of putting it on my calendar, I use a tactic called time blocking, which is basically assigning a day time and amount of time for everything on my to do list. It's a tactic that we've taught here at being boss for years. And if you want to do a quick workshop that walks you through time blocking for your week, I have a free on demand training that will walk you right through it at being boss club slash time, it seriously is 30 minutes of you getting dreamy with what your week looks like. And then overlaying your to do list onto that dreamy week to help you get shit done in a way that you feel good about. For an idea of what this looks like for me. Here's an example. I personally batch my meetings on Wednesdays which means each week, my entire Wednesday is blocked off for meetings. I don't put any other tasks on Wednesday. And I can have the other four days of my week free for plugging away at whatever tasks or really diving into creative projects. Monday mornings I always use for communications. So that's what I'm replying to my emails. That's what I'm relaying things to my team. As when I'm jumping into the project management software, I remember all those like tasks that may be needed to be delegated or whatever. That's when all of that sort of communication pieces are happening. And then Friday is a day that I always have time blocked off in the first half of my day. Note the last half of my day for almanacs, because remember, I have those non negotiable Friday crystal parties. And Friday morning is a day that I leave open for tasks at both being boss or Almanac that need to be completed to just generally wrap up the week. So it's sort of like a catch all time on Friday mornings. Time blocking creates boundaries and my time that keeps everything where I need it to be. And I always know when that thing on my task list is going to get done because I scheduled a literal day and time in which to do it. And I'm not the only one who finds time blocking to be a game changer and managing time when I asked bosses for their best tips for time management. Over half of them mentioned time blocking. Here's a couple of feedback pieces in case you need to be talked into it. Kelly Edwards who is a web designer and the owner of June mango simply states in all caps for the period after each word. Put it on your calendar. Amman is Mel who is an email conversion strategist and owner of ink House says I write everything in my calendar everything From the school pickup to lunch to going to the gym, because we tend to underestimate how much time we spend on non work stuff. Then we end up wondering where all our time has gone. by logging and scheduling everything I can truly appreciate how much time I have and plan accordingly. I can also appreciate how much I've achieved. Michelle Lewis, who is a writer in the community says I am definitely hashtag team time block. And it has made all the difference in my work productivity and energy flow. And when it comes to actually scheduling those time chunks, different things work for different people. I personally schedule everything in 15 minute intervals. So something that takes five minutes still gets a 15 minute chunk because I need a buffer throughout the day, or a big project may get a three or four hour chunk of good uninterrupted creative time. Kim Tao, owner of SAS creative and publisher of SAS magazine says she uses the 50 2050 time blocking method 50 minutes working on one specific task 20 minute break, and then another 15 minute task or to finish up the first task of it's a big one, which equates to a two hour chunk of time. Do that three times in a day and you will be shocked at how much you actually get done. Aaron Debka web designer and owner of dtk Studios has found that 90 minute chunks of time work best for her. She also recommends using an app called forest to track your time saying it works well for me, because for each 90 minutes segment I plant trees or shrubs in my garden plot. If I need to stop the timer early I kill the plant. It is an external motivator to keep me going. I share all of these perspectives because time blocking is super customizable to work for you. No matter what works best for you. Jill no block, digital strategist and owner of grape seed designs shares time blocking based on my energy rhythms has been so important. This sometimes shifts on me but generally I'm most motivated and creative in the morning. After lunch I'm pretty unmotivated to dig back in but have no problem showing up and talking to other people. So I updated acuity to only list meeting times after 2pm. This sentiment was echoed by Rebecca Haas, a creative wellness coach and pianist, saying that she schedules her activities based on her typical energy level, such as trying to do creative and critical thinking work in the morning when she has the most mental clarity. So if you find yourself feeling the need to dive into time blocking yourself, seriously, go check out that time blocking training and being boss club slash time. And for an advanced tip. My friend Bridget Esslemont, who's been on the podcast several times over the past couple of years, is an author and is the founder of Betty Taro. She shared during our recent guided by intuition gathering that she works best when she schedules out only six of the eight hours.

Emily Thompson 38:09
She'll be working on any given day giving her additional buffer to deal with things as they come up because things always come up or to simply have whitespace for nurturing her creativity. And I absolutely second that need for whitespace over scheduling and won't do you any favors. But actually putting that whitespace in your calendar will creatives need space to be creative. So honor that need for your process and what it contributes to your business and your well being. Okay, but how about a boss solution for time blocking? Yes. Earlier I shared a quote from Laura different NGO founder of free period press. She's a self proclaimed recovering overachiever who has found her mission and translating the latest research about personal development and intentional living into simple and friendly tools to help you stay grounded in a distracted world. One such tool that you have to know about is her schedule magic, notepads a pen to paper and totally cool option for time blocking for anyone looking to embrace the practice, but not do it on your phone or computer. Take control of your time and support a fellow boss business. By snagging your schedule magic notepads at free period press calm. Now, to really be great at time blocking you have to know your energy levels. And when you do your best work like we just discussed, which takes a lot of trial and error. So be patient with yourself as you begin to put these tactics into place for yourself, whatever it is that you choose. This is where a lot of testing and changing comes into play. But you know me, I also like data, which is why I'm going to preach at you one more time, about time tracking This is not one more time, I'm going to preach at you about that literally until I get emails from all of you saying that your time tracking. So even if you've heard it before, here I go again, I know very well, that most of us find ourselves on this path because we want freedom. And most of you feel that time tracking is tying you down and holding you accountable, which isn't a bad thing. And for some of you though, it's downright traumatizing to even consider I've seen your faces, I've seen your faces. Whenever I suggest time tracking, it's like I asked you to look the bottom of your shoe. But I'm going to encourage you to give it a try. Whether you've been resisting it, or you've never considered it. And here's why. To be in control of your time, you have to watch where you're spending your time. And time tracking will not only tell you where it's going, but it will hold you accountable to staying focused. Do you need any more reason than that?

Emily Thompson 41:02
I always suggest that you start with just a week, five days of tracking your time, you can do it on a piece of paper that stays on your desk or some time tracking software if you like, I personally use timely, they are not a sponsor, but they have been before. And I've used them for years. But there's plenty of options out there, find something that works for you. Just time tracking is a great way to see where you're putting your energy. I remember that whenever I started time tracking years ago, eight years ago, do I have eight years of time tracking data? Oh my god, that feels really nerdy. It was long time ago, guys. I wanted to see how much time I was spending in my inbox because I felt like I was spending my life replying to emails. So I decided to track my time for a week or two a week or two. And I was blown away, blown away by how much time I was spending dealing with emails, it was more than I'd even thought. Without understanding, I decided to implement some huge changes with how I communicated with my team and with my clients that I was working with at the time, and streamline my processes in a way that would get me out of my inbox and allow me more time to actually do my work. That made me a forever time tracking convert. Since then I track every bit of my time, I'm literally tracking my time right this second. And these days, I mostly do it just to keep an idea of how much time I'm spending between my two businesses being boss versus Almanac. But I'll also do it to track special projects. And really, I'm doing it to stay focused on doing the work that I'm sitting down to do. There's something that happens whenever I sit down and I press that trigger, what is this timer? So I press the timer button, right? I say which business I'm working on, or sometimes a specific project, a hit track, or what does it say? timer. I, I hit timer, and I get to work. And I focus, focus, focus focus because my timer is tracking me. And then I hit timer again. And then I can move on to the next thing or go have lunch or go do whatever. There's something that happens in my brain. Whenever I hit that timer button, that keeps me focused on my work. So even if you're not doing it for the data, do it for the focus. I've been coaching creators through this for years. And even if someone is just doing it, because I prescribed it for a week, every one, everyone is blown away by what they discover and how much more accountable they feel by tracking their time and not accountable to a boss, but accountable to themselves. And that's the most boss of all. And more often than not, they keep tracking their time. I turn them into time tracking converts of which I'm kind of proud, because it provides powerful data for planning and executing in your business. And then if you want to take it to the next level, pairing time tracking with time blocking is when things really get powerful. When you first start time blocking, you're honestly just making it up. And that's totally fine. You think it'll take you 15 minutes to deal with your inbox and 45 minutes to process and edit. But as you time track through your time blocking, you'll find that you need a solid 30 minutes three times a week to deal with your email and most edits are only going to take you about 30 minutes. You'll get better and better at time blocking when you know how much time it will take you and you will be less likely to over schedule yourself and be able to set aside just the tiny need to get things done. And I won't even go into right now what this means for team management as well. Whenever you know how much time it takes you to do something, it's easier to place expectations on your team and so many other benefits, like I'm not going to get into it, although I could, I'm going to stop myself now. Boundaries. This is an episode about your time management. Together, time tracking and time blocking will make you the ultimate boss of your time. And then pair that with your non negotiables and your dedication to your priorities, and you will be freaking unstoppable. So I challenge you to give it a go. Yeah.

Emily Thompson 45:36
But I also admit, all of that sounds good in theory, until you put it into the real world, right? Then clients coming knocking or the internet goes out or a killer opportunity comes up and there goes that well laid plan. And the secret here is to 1,000,000% expect the unexpected, fires are going to pop up, opportunities absolutely will arise. And any plans can be adjusted. flexibility and maneuverability should be a given and even the best laid plans. This is actually why I personally love using technology to help me manage my time, just skip that calendar appointment a few days or weeks on your calendar, or reschedule those tasks for next month, or move that project to the next quarter. And in terms of opportunities, here's something to consider that has been coming up a lot within the C suite group of the community. When you say yes to something, understand that you're saying no to something else. Likewise, every No, is also a yes. So when you say yes to the interview, or call or extra project, unless it's aligned with your priorities, you're saying no to focusing on those priorities that you've already laid out. And when you say no to an opportunity that's not aligned to your priorities, you're saying yes to getting the work done that is or resting up so that you have energy to show up on the level that is required of you in the commitments you've already made. And really, that illustrates the whole philosophy behind time management, you have a limited amount of time. So for it to be used in the most impactful way that you can, it must be aligned with your priorities and your goals each and every time. And I find that some proactive planning some mapping out time blocking time, I guess, time tracking is actually reactive. But the time blocking is how you make those decisions ahead of time. When your mind is clear on Sunday afternoon, when you've just had a great weekend and you're feeling totally chill, so that throughout the week, your tasks are lined up, so that your priorities are being met and your goals are being reached. And with that, I hope you gained something out of this today. Because I really do believe that effective time management is a hallmark of a creative business boss and a truly effective entrepreneur. And as you grow your business, it will almost definitely come up again as you train your employees because remember, time in your business is your most valuable asset. Yours, your teams and assisting everyone to use it wisely will be one of the most important actions and increasing your impact in profit. It is a foundational part of being an effective leader and business owner, even if you're just starting out by yourself. But let's break down some homework shadowing. If this is all sounding totally new to you, I believe your first step is to start tracking your time. One week, that's all you have to start with, to start gaining some awareness around your time and to see if you discover anything that gives you any hints for ways that you can improve moving forward. If you're feeling a bit intermediate, try out some time blocking. Again our training on time blocking is at being bossed club slash time. And it will walk you step by step with visuals, how to do this for yourself. And if you're advanced, I challenge you to begin tightening up your workload to give yourself more free time. This is time you can use to live your life or pursue any business development or creative projects you've had on your list. And with that, I officially think I've spent enough time on this episode. And I'll be honest that prepping these solo episodes always takes me significantly longer than expected, but I'm tracking my time and being aware of how I can consistently better manage my time around them. And I will tell you, time management tips and tricks and tools are constant topics of conversation in the being boss community. So if you're hungry for more or want To share what works for you with bosses who may benefit from your experience. I hope you'll consider joining us in the community. Learn more and join in at being boss club slash community. Until next time, do the work. Be boss.