Episode 208

Word of the Year + Having More Fun

January 15, 2019

We’re back! Emily and Kathleen are at it again after an extended break and they’re ready to define their intentions for 2019. In this episode, we’re hitting the ground running with choosing our words of the year and the month, talking about how we use planners to organize our thoughts, and taking some time to think about our wins. We’re also exploring what it’s like to work on a time block schedule and growing our email lists the unconventional way.

This Episode Brought to You By:
"You can't wait for inspiration to take action."
- Kathleen

Discussed in this Episode

  • Defining intentions for 2019
  • Choosing words of the year and the month
  • Using pen to paper planners to help you organize and set intentions
  • Take time to think about wins and victories
  • Working smarter with time blocking
  • Going against the grain to get better results with email list growth

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


More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Emily Thompson 0:02
I'm Emily Thompson.

Kathleen Shannon 0:04
And I'm Kathleen Shannon.

Emily Thompson 0:05
And this is being boss.

Kathleen Shannon 0:12
What's up bosses. Today we are talking about our word for the year and our intentions for January, we're gonna be discussing a surprising way to grow your list. And we're going to be talking about time blocking your schedule to have more fun. Plus, we've got some quick fires in there and some fun stuff. So stay tuned. My Word of the month is organization and I'm guessing I'm not alone in that I bet a lot of you want to get a little bit more organized and maybe a little more organized with your money. Fresh books. Cloud accounting makes it so easy to do just that. The setup is easy. The system is intuitive, and it's designed for creatives who don't love spending their precious time on administrative tasks like bookkeeping, fresh books, cloud accounting helps you keep your expenses, estimates, invoices and reports organized, which helps you make more money plus their customer service is top notch you all if you have a question, give them a call and a real human will answer your questions and help you troubleshoot any problems you're having. Try fresh books cloud accounting for free by going to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section? Again, try fresh books cloud accounting for free by going to fresh books.com slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section?

Unknown Speaker 1:33
All right,

Kathleen Shannon 1:34
let's get back to it. Emily,

Emily Thompson 1:37
right like riding a bike. We're here. It's 2019 This is 2019

Kathleen Shannon 1:42
How are your holidays? How is taking three weeks off? How's Almanac how's all of it?

Emily Thompson 1:49
Slow down Kathleen, slow down. Um, my break was really fantastic. I made a lot of cookies. I feel like that's always my goal is just make a lot of cookies, spend my days making cookies. I also ate a lot of cookies. And I ended up missing my routine so much though, like I found myself just like wanting to get back into having a daily routine. So my goal going into at one was cookies, but two was to get bored. And I'll tell you on the last day, the last day of my break before it was like the Friday before the weekend before I started back on Monday. I got bored. I walked around the house going okay, what do I do next? Like everything was clean. All of my projects were done. I wasn't allowing myself back at the computer yet. And I just kept walking around going success. I did it. I got bored. High five. That's big for you. That's major. It was major. How about you how your holidays,

Kathleen Shannon 2:44
it was good. I went back to Oklahoma for the holidays. So for our listeners who don't know, I was in Oklahoma for my whole life. And then just this past year moved to Detroit, Michigan for my husband's job. And we went back to Oklahoma for the holidays for a couple of weeks. And it was really great. I mean, seeing all my friends and family and being able to leave my kiddo with my mom and dad while I run errands or go on a date with my husband. It was really, really nice. But then toward the end of it, I came down with shingles. And I'm battling that right now as we record this

Emily Thompson 3:20
girl, you know how to do a holiday right.

Kathleen Shannon 3:24
And you what's crazy about it is that Caroline Kelso zouk also came down with shingles and one of the last episodes that we aired before the new year. And it was all about like your body knows whenever you need to slow down. The thing is, I feel like I've slowed down, I really truly felt chill. So a lot of people were saying that it's whenever your adrenaline stops and whenever you're truly slowing down that sometimes diseases and illnesses and injuries will surface so I kind of battled a little bit of that. But otherwise, I mean, it was such a good holiday. But that said I'm glad to be back to Michigan to my house and to my routine. I was feeling a little bit of anxiety jumping back into work. I almost thought like oh, should I just not Am I not cut out for this? Or will I remember how to work but now that we're in it, I'm glad to be back in it. like riding a bike.

Unknown Speaker 4:18
Basically, once

Emily Thompson 4:19
you get here, it feels so much easier to say start plugging away like you always did. I'm excited about today and doing some new things with the podcast. So we've been doing this being boss podcast for four years now we've recorded an episode a week, sometimes two episodes a week for four years and starting with this episode, we're going to be doing things a little bit differently. Kathleen and I are excited to show up. shake things up just a little bit, do some new fun things, fall back in love with the content that we love sharing with you guys and see if we can have some fun with this. Alright, so

Kathleen Shannon 4:55
let's jump in. One thing that I want to do is really touch base on our intentions every single month. And this is something that we practice. It's something that we wrote about in our book, in our real life, business bestie conversations behind the scenes, we are constantly checking in with each other on our intentions. And so I want to bring more of that to our being boss audience, so that you all can practice your intentions too, and see how we actually do this in real life. Alright, so we've got a word of the year. Yeah. And the intention for the month. So let's start. Let's, let's start with our word of the year.

Emily Thompson 5:33
Let's do it. So Kathleen, and I choose a word of the year we've done this together for years. I think we were doing it separately before but then we started sharing it. It's something we've continued doing together and have sort of held each other accountable to and really just become almost a foundation of our conversations. For years and years. At this point, if you've read the being boss book, or if you've been listening to the being boss podcast for a while, this should not be new to you. But the idea of this is choose a word, a theme or an intention that you want to practice every year. And we've chosen things in the past, like growth or abundance or joy. Last year, my word was peace. It was hard. That was one of the hardest ones ever. You think, Oh, that sounds easy, Emily? Nope, that one was super difficult. But this year, oh, my word is flow. As in your period? I know that's where you would go? Or why didn't I know? That's where you would go? No, not like my period, but kind of act? Sure. Let's use that as a metaphor. Just want it? Let's not use that could become a very disgusting metaphor real fast. Um, no, not like my period, Kathleen, more like a river.

Kathleen Shannon 6:50
A river coming out of your vagina a

Emily Thompson 6:52
river of clear water, flowing it through a vast landscape. How about that, I

Kathleen Shannon 6:57
like that. Um,

Emily Thompson 6:59
I keep thinking about flow. And I, I think one of the reasons why piece was so difficult for me last year is because I am quite resistant to things. And it really came up for me a lot last year. And it's something where I thought I needed to learn just trust, and flow and show up but be guided all of those things. Um, so I chose this word. And it kind of haunted me a little bit for several weeks before we got into the new year. It was actually a word that I chose for my intention of the month, I think in like September or October or November. And I really enjoy just sort of stepping back, trusting the process, sort of letting things go and flowing. And after I practice it for that month, I kept thinking like, this is something that I want to spend a whole year diving into. So it ended up following me into the new year.

Kathleen Shannon 7:56
I love it, we'll continue to touch base on our words of the year as we go through the year. But one thing that comes up for me whenever you're talking about flow is really setting yourself up to go with your flow. And I think that this is I mean, I think that you do crave structure and a lot of control. And part of this is probably letting go of some of that, but at the same time creating boundaries for yourself so that you're not going with somebody else's flow.

Emily Thompson 8:22
Yes. So one of one of the things I think about often in this idea of thinking about it like a river, I read somewhere, once and I can't remember where it was, but it was a genius thing. And it talked about how the beauty of a river is one in that it flows but to and then it has boundaries within which to flow without those boundaries, it would just be a lake like it would not be flowing, it would just be sitting there. But because there are very defined boundaries, it has the ability to go somewhere. And so I think about that often whenever I think about what flow will mean for me in the new year is not about releasing everything and just seeing what happens. It's about defining those boundaries and flowing within them.

Kathleen Shannon 9:07
I like it. What about you? Well, you know, I can't just have one board. And so last year, my words of the year were abundance and style. And so I actually spent a lot of time and even money on my style last year and I feel like it really paid off. I feel really good in my wardrobe. I feel like I'm more of who I am. I invested in working with someone who is helping me shop and knew my style and really got my point of view but also pushed me to try things that I would never try on before. So that ended up working out really well. And then the word abundance really helped me reframe how I consider rich and wealthy and money. It really helped me redefine a lot of those things in a really important way. And it helps me not chase the money so much because the money can become really alluring and captivating and magnetic and hypnotizing and it can lead to dark places. I think I don't think money is bad. But where I was going with it probably in the past couple years as I started making more of it was just wanting more and more and more. So this word abundance really helped me redefine what that actually means in a really positive and healthy way not to say I wasn't challenged by it like you were with peace. There were a lot of times where I had to deal with feelings of feeling broke, or? I don't know. Yes, I always say I was challenged by it a little bit more than the style word. Okay, so jumping into this year's word, words, I think that my words

Emily Thompson 10:48
to to

Kathleen Shannon 10:49
alignment and inspiration. So I'm going to start with inspiration, because one of the things that you and I have had a lot of conversations about is that you can't wait for inspiration to take action. And I'm really good at being decisive. I'm good at being self motivated, even whenever I'm feeling tired or down or like I need to rest. And I kind of took for granted the idea of inspiration. And I think that moving to a new city and trying new things. And even just having a different view by making a relatively small in the grand scheme of things move from Oklahoma to Michigan, it really inspired me. And it really sparked this idea that like, Oh, yeah, inspiration does count for a lot of things. So I'm not waiting to be inspired to take action. But I want to put myself in places where I will be more inspired. So I want to put myself in the way of inspiration. So that might be reading really inspiring books, or watching inspiring documentaries or traveling to inspiring places or noticing like taking time to notice the inspiration in the things that I'm already doing. So that's a big one. And I love that you

Emily Thompson 12:03
are recognizing that inspiration can be a very effective part of the creative process. And therefore you are prioritizing inspiration so that you can create more effectively.

Kathleen Shannon 12:18
Right. And so speaking of creating more effectively, my big word of the year is alignment. So I think that you can probably attest to this, Emily, over the past few years, we've been grinding it out hard. And we always talk about working smarter, not harder. But I think that there's this thing that can happen with ambition and drive and not to position these as bad things. But where you're able to kind of push through the pain a little bit like even if we use working out as a metaphor, you know, like pushing through the pain, because you know, you have the capacity to handle it. And we have the capacity to do a lot and to push really hard. But this year, and this kind of plays into flow a little bit too. I want to feel really aligned and inspired in the decisions I make. And I know in my gut, that that is going to be the one thing that helps me work smarter and not harder. I think if I can feel aligned and inspired, in all of my decisions, I'm going to be excited to show up to do the work I'm not going to get as burned out as easily. And on a more of a metaphysical level. I feel like the projects that I take on will be more successful if I really feel aligned and in tune with them.

Emily Thompson 13:34
Those are damn good words. I'm excited to see what comes of all of this together I feel like you and I used to come out of a gay with like these hardcore do shit words. Right? Like we're gonna bust their ass and do amazing things and it's gonna be awesome. I love that we've sort of moved into this space of like, alignment and inspiration and flow like we've definitely like softened up and stopped hitting you know, the pedal to the metal quite so hard and really are looking for the smarter not harder. The go with the flow, the making sure that we are really in the right place at the right time, but not like with with extraneous effort, but more like intentional effort. It's kind of a beautiful thing.

Kathleen Shannon 14:22
I know in that extraneous effort. A kind of the word I feel is that word, we make it obvious effort. I like it, let's use it. But it does create this resistance that you were talking about where like if you're pushing really hard against something and it's pushing back, it creates this resistance. And I think that you and I are both really good at being driven and ambitious and getting it done. And I think that maybe what this is showing us is that we both want to try just receiving for a little while or, like you said softening our edges a little bit and seeing what happens Don't push so hard.

Emily Thompson 15:02
Right? I look forward to seeing what happens. Alright, let's move into some words of the month then. So we do have this overarching word of the year that we practice. But we also like to do a word of the mind either to focus in on that month, you know, exactly, or to really support that word of the year. So what is your word for this month?

Kathleen Shannon 15:29
Well, I've got to do. My first one was organization, that seems like a good word for the start of January, get your stuff organized, get it in order, cross your T's dot your I's. And there's a few ways in which I've been practicing that. But then as I was really thinking about my intention of organization, the word vision started bubbling up. And I think that before the new year, in one of our last episodes, I was talking about how I was having a really hard time setting goals. And I'm trying to scrap that because I'm still having a hard time thinking of like hard goals, it just doesn't matter to me. And really reframing goal setting setting as vision setting. So for some reason, the word vision started bubbling up. And I was like, Huh, that's interesting. Like, I do want to get my mojo back, I want to be working towards something. But I think I want to be working toward a vision versus a goal. So that word is coming up for me as well. I had no idea how these two words would tie together. Until Emily, you showed up yesterday in one of our internal management meetings for being boss with this bomb ass spreadsheet, that helped me see the is an organized spreadsheet that helped me see the vision of our business. So it was kind of magical how that showed up in that way.

Emily Thompson 16:54
Right? It was even color coded. It had math. Um, it was it was legit. I loved it, I was able to bring you this example of vision and organization. And I don't think we had talked about our words of the month at that point, like I had just done the spreadsheet actually weeks ago, during my holiday break.

Kathleen Shannon 17:14
Of course, it was good,

Emily Thompson 17:15
right? There was one day late in the break, where I had been thinking and working on all of these like ideas in my head about what we were going to do with the new year. And I was starting to get a little anxious about it. Like I just needed to get it out of my head so that I could can move on with the rest of my break. So I spent an afternoon laying in bed with a laptop building this like multi page spreadsheet that defined a life plan for the rest of the year for both being boss, but then also in Detroit biography as well. So being able to lay out some roles and numbers and all of those things. And it was a very organized representation of the vision that I held and needed to communicate to you. So I love that I was able to bring those two things together by just making a cool spreadsheet.

Kathleen Shannon 18:01
It was incredible. And I some other ways. Let me talk about some other ways that I'm implementing My Word of the month intention, and then we'll move into yours and what it means how you're implementing it. What else are

Emily Thompson 18:12
you doing?

Kathleen Shannon 18:12
Alright, so I heard some financial planners. I love this. This is something I never really imagined doing. So kind of like hiring a stylist to help me with my word of the year style. That's something that seems so bougie and nothing I would ever do. Same with financial planners, I don't. Well, okay, so I'm trying to reframe the way that I think about myself and really thinking of myself as being someone with wealth and managing that money accordingly. Right. This is not to say, I'm a bajillion heir by any means. I don't have a trust fund. Like all the things I don't have, I was making a reason as to why I could never hire a financial purse of financial planner, like I'm not that kind of person. Well, it turns out, I am that kind of person, I run a couple of businesses, I shouldn't say I run them because you run being boss. And my partner is a braid run braid. But you know, like, I'm a partner, the partner and a couple of years. I'm a partner at a couple of businesses, I have real estate investments. So I've seven houses that I rent out. I've got investments, I have taxes, you know, there are a lot of things at play whenever it comes to money. And I was just thinking it would be really nice to get this organized. And what really sparked this idea of getting a financial planner was whether or not we should rent or buy in Michigan. And I could go either way. I'm not opposed to renting a house, especially if we don't know where we're going to be but I'm also not opposed to buying a house if it is somehow financially advantageous.

Emily Thompson 19:48
Is that a word? advantageous?

Kathleen Shannon 19:50
advantageous? So I heard these financial planners and I'll tell you what I have learned so Much. And I've learned that the three parts of, you know, wealth and financial planning include your insurance. So this includes your health insurance, health savings accounts, long term disability, which is something I never thought about life insurance, all the insurance, umbrella insurance, auto insurance. The other part includes your estate documents. So what happens if you die, which is the conversation that we have a lot with our operating agreements, but I've never had it within my household. And so it kind of sent me down a dark hole of thinking of like, who gets my son if we both die, but whatever. And then, so all your estate documents. And then the third thing is investments and savings and income. So I always just thought of the investments and saving side of things as the part that makes you wealthy, not really these estate documents and insurance and just having all those backups. So I've been really crossing my T's and dotting my eyes and looking at all of the revenue and expenses and insurance and I'm feeling like a grown ass adult.

Emily Thompson 21:05
You are a grown ass adult. I know that super Boss, I love that you are doing that and making that a priority. And especially within a month where you are focusing on organization. And on vision. That seems like a very perfect place to place your attention and energy.

Kathleen Shannon 21:23
And then the one last thing and I won't spend much time on this at all is organizing my Dropbox. I mean, Emily, you and I had to call you I was like we need to have a business bestie conversation and I need to share my screen with you and show you how cluttered my Dropbox is. And so

Emily Thompson 21:38
right so that I can shame you into fixing it.

Kathleen Shannon 21:40
Yeah, I basically archived and trashed a ton of stuff. So that felt really good and organized.

Emily Thompson 21:47
Yeah, I think often about digital clutter. I mean, if you could see the screenshots on my desktop right now, they're insane. And, and I like to keep them pretty cleaned up. I'm actually working on something that has them in a place or they're kind of bugging me, but Dropbox or you know, external hard drives that you have laying around or my inbox folders, like all of those things, makes me think often about decluttering, all of that. And like What does Marie Kondo say about digital clutter? Like let's ask her that question one day?

Kathleen Shannon 22:20
I know exactly. All right, what is your word of the month.

Emily Thompson 22:26
So my word of the month is light. Talk about some light words there. Yeah,

Kathleen Shannon 22:32
opposite of heavy Tell me more.

Emily Thompson 22:36
So first and foremost, whenever I'm going into a new year, and I've chosen a new word of the year, I always like for my first month or two or three to really be a reflection of that word of the year. That's how I like to really dive into my word of the year is to find some good supporting ones. And after those first couple of months, it may be things that are totally off base like me doing whatever it is I need to do. But I always feel like for me to really dive into that word of the year, I have to set some monthly intentions at the beginning. And then usually at the end as well like I book in the year with like some very focused on my word of the year intentions for the month. And light was one that I really wanted to focus on. Beginning my year of flow. And this came up for me a lot when thinking about my the year I just left behind and just how heavy it felt. And I think everyone can agree everyone I've talked to had some crazy shit happening in their life or work that just had them going back to 2018 where there is really done with it. So for me, I wanted to lighten up I felt several times during the holiday season just feeling habitually heavy, not that there was like anything bad going on or anything was wrong. I mean, everything was fantastic is just I had gotten into a habit of feeling heavy. And so I wanted to practice being going to them. That's interesting that you got into a habit of feeling heavy. And really, it sounds like you're taking a lot of ownership of that feeling whenever you say that, right guys, I mean, go back and listen to the last episode of 2018. And just out like I have become a terribly self aware person. And a way that like I truly do find to be something I appreciate about myself, but also it's a loss of awareness going on. So, so yes, I felt myself being heavy. I knew that there was no reason for me to be so I was like, Okay, I'm going to start out my year of flow of, or start my year of flow by practicing being light because it's hard to flow when you're heavy.

Kathleen Shannon 24:44
And one thing that I love about using practicing is that intentions mean nothing if you're not bringing action to them. So how are you bringing action to practicing being like, what does that mean?

Emily Thompson 24:58
One thing that I'm trying to do Right now is really focused on the thing that I'm doing. So I also find myself quite often being like splitting my attention between several different things at once, or putting myself in a place where I'm trying to have a meeting. But my inbox is also open or trying to answer emails, but I need to be cooking dinner or whatever it needs, whatever it may be. So one of the things that I'm doing is really trying to focus on one thing at a time, so that I'm not being inundated with everything all at once all the time. And one way that I'm very specifically doing this is I've started getting up really early, like 615, and fixing myself some like hot water and lemon and coming to the studio to do creative work, like in my PJs, when it's still dark outside, and everyone's still asleep. So I can have some very uninterrupted and prioritize, but not like mandatory or like severely under pressure or creative time. So I've been coming in and writing or designing or doing just whatever feels good in the morning. And this has really helped me start my day off in a way that I'm enjoying, I used to not like getting up early to come to work, because I would feel kind of heavy and like not in it whenever it would come time for breakfast and like the kid getting up and me having to enter interact with my family. And I think it was because of the kind of work that I was doing when I was getting up and coming to work I was coming in and being very like task focused or inbox focused. And that stuff can feel quite heavy. Like coming in and doing that creative work I actually think makes me a more pleasant person in the morning because I've had such a joyful time. First thing in the morning, focusing on whatever it is that I want to focus on. All by myself. It's been great. I love it.

Kathleen Shannon 26:52
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Emily Thompson 28:40
Let's do it because I love planners. I have always loved planners, planners have been a part of my life for a really long time. And there has been a couple of years over the past several years that I've sort of fallen away from like paper planners, thanks to my like, Apple calendar. And I've missed them. I've missed them a lot. So cute kid, my daughter Lily wants to I think she wants to go back to school next year. Like we've been homeschooling her since the first grade, she will be going into middle school soon and she just has this great idea that she wants to go back to school. So obviously we're honoring that request and we've applied her to some places We'll see. We'll see. But I also feel like as a mother girlfriend needs to know how to keep a planner. Like she needs to know how to track her homework assignments and her projects and those sorts of things. So it really sort of started in that way and so we were doing some Christmas shopping and I was like I'm getting her a planner and some stamps and some stickers and all of these things but if I get her one I also need to get myself one because I'm a mom and I can do that for myself. But I also need to show her how to use a planner like what this looks like how it is that you show up with a planner every day. And so I got myself a planner and I got myself a Happy Planner, guys if you have not spiraled into the Net madness, that is the Happy Planner or hashtag The Happy Planner, please go do so just to like give yourself 45 minutes of people being awesomely insane with some happy planners. So I got myself a Happy Planner, and some stickers and I gave it to her for Christmas or first Sunday after the holidays, we sat down and did our first week and month of planning and we've been doing it ever since and we're totally enjoying it. My past experience with planners is not so scrapbooking though I do love scrapbooking guys, there was a time in my path where I was a hardcore scrapbooker as well. Um, my experience with planners isn't always a scrapbook. But I'm totally loving the utilization of washi tape, as I imagine everyone here can attest to, I mean, who doesn't love some washi tape everyone,

Kathleen Shannon 30:53
I also saw that you're putting photos in your planner, so are you doing are you planning personal and professional in your Happy Planner

Emily Thompson 31:01
I am. So I've been playing around what this will look like. So the Happy Planner has this really interesting vertical layout and I have a big one. So I'm not using like little pocket size. And I have like it's a nine or eight and a half by 11 size like full piece of paper sized planner. And so it has a ton of space in it. And so I've been playing around with what all I want to put in it. But I have been putting personal and professional so like the homeschool activities that we're doing, as well as all my business meetings, as well as like, I've done a couple of days of whole 30. So I put all of my like whole 30 prep checklist things in there. But then because there is so much space and because I want to be light and have fun, and and be really intentional about life as much as work. I've also saved some space in there for putting Instax photos. So Instax cameras, if you guys are not familiar are these cool little Polaroid style cameras where you take a photo shoots out the top. And it's been fun to play in my little Happy Planner spreads around these days where I know I want to take photos of things that are going to happen so that I can keep record of them. So my planner has become like a looking forward planner, but also kind of a memory book, which I think is fine. And I'm loving it again, I used to do this kind of stuff, I kept planners in high school and in college. And even a bit afterwards, I've done scrapbooking. And I love that sort of memory keeping and having fun with paper products and stickers and all of those things. So it has given me a place to do that. And really given me some time to have a whole lot of fun with my kids. We're having a ton of fun getting together every week to sort of play with stickers and lay out our planners. And then actually check in with our planners every day and do all the chores that need to be done. And check off all the things on the list. I do see some holes in the Happy Planner like it's not a perfect solution for me, I don't think. And there have actually even been some spreads that I've created for myself that I've put into my planner, tell me beat meet to help me be more productive in the way that I need to be. But it's really just helped me find some fun in something that has become so technical. And so like I'm a hardcore time blocker guys, so I'm you know, really getting into my calendar and being pretty serious about it. So this has given me a really fun way to have more fun with my calendar, which is literally my life, like it's my day to day life. So it's made it a lot more fun.

Kathleen Shannon 33:38
So I was inspired, and I went out and bought myself a moleskin planner. So just a really simple black and white, soft bound book, and it's leather and my brother has one so my brother the sideshow freak who works as a sideshow performer for a living swallowing swords and breathing fire. He has a planner where he keeps all of his gigs and engagements and travel in there. And so I've always loved the way that he does that. And so I got myself a moleskin because I want to be just like my big brother. Um, and I've started using it. And it's the kind of thing where I didn't put too much pressure because I almost got intimidated seeing yours because you had some post it notes and some highlighters and different colored pins. I mean washi tape, mine's just black and white. I just get a pin in there. And I don't worry too much about keeping it super pretty organized. And I've been tracking mostly my meetings. So the stuff that is on my Google Calendar, I will go in and translate it to my planner. Okay, here's what happened in 2018. I kind of didn't know what I was doing every day until the morning of and so really by getting in and every week filling out my week ahead in my planner, it's allowing me to see my week ahead and get really intentional and start preparing my brain for what's about to happen. I found last year I was really responsive and created Jumping into things and I love that about myself, I love that I can just jump into an interview and chat and jump into flying somewhere the next day and packing an hour before I go to the airport. I love that I can do that. But like you said, this year, I want to be a little bit more intentional, and I want my time and things to feel a little more special. I also going back to one of the things I did my first year in business is I was really scared to meet goals. And again, with my goal setting shakiness this year, I'm kind of going back to year one, I was scared to make goals. So what I did instead was a combination of the chalkboard method, which will link to in our show notes. And then also really just tracking what I was doing. So tracking how many clients I was landing. And so I'm using the planner almost as a way to track what is happening so I can uncover patterns and see what's working and maybe set some goals from there.

Emily Thompson 35:58
I mean, it's a great idea. Yeah, I think that's the that's the thing about planners, hey, this is the time of year where everyone is looking at planners and guys, I've been falling down the Happy Planner like hole, which means my whole Instagram, like every ad is like someone else's planner that they've created, like I am inundated with the world of planners at the moment and I do not hate it. But one of the things that you have to do is you have to make it work for you, you have to use it for the things that you want to track and pay attention to. And you have to do it in a way that you will continue doing it. Or you're just going to have another planner that sits there on your desk and never gets us past the first week of January, because I think we all have those. So I love that you're thinking about how it is that you most want to use your planner and what it is that you want it to hold and track for you.

Kathleen Shannon 36:44
And really just starting small like leaning into it. And now I saw your post it note method essentially in your planner, I wouldn't start incorporating post it notes for to do lists that I don't necessarily want to keep in my planner full time or don't feel as permanent. Or maybe I keep them in there but keep them in as post it notes. Things like a doctor's appointment and the doctor's name and numbers, stuff like that, that I necessarily don't want to save Forever, forever. Or maybe I do anyway all that to say starting small and building as I go. And that's the thing that has always worked for me in life and business and my hobbies in all of it. Okay, so let's um, let's include some links to some of our favorite planners in our show notes. So if you go to being boss club, you can find our show notes. And we will post a link to some of our favorite planners, their

Emily Thompson 37:32
planners and pans. And washi too, and washi tape we'll have we'll have a good list of links there for anyone who wants to check out. I also I also want because we've talked about bullet journaling before and I'll tell you a lot of my Happy Planner is being used for bullet journaling, like so the similar style, because still a bullet journal lover to bosses, I'm here to share my secret to getting it all done. And it's simple. I track my time, I have used timely, a fully automatic time tracking software to track my time for years. In fact, I'm tracking my time right now. It helps me stay accountable to doing the work. It helps me focus on priorities. And it helps me accurately diagnose my business health by seeing where my time goes, and that of my team to timely for those who trade in time, start your free 14 day trial and to get 10% off your first year by going to www dot timely app.com slash being boss.

Kathleen Shannon 38:37
All right, so one of the things that we do whenever we're having a real life business bestie conversations is we're talking about our challenges and our struggles and our intentions. We're also talking about our wins and victories and what's working. So I want to take a little bit of time to share what's working in our businesses and in our lives right now and kind of reverse engineer it to, you know, maybe offer up some insights or experience of what's worked for us. And if you all want to try it great. If not, that's cool, too. So let's begin. Emily, what's been working for you lately? Where do you feel like you're feeling successful?

Emily Thompson 39:16
The thing that I love most about the work that we do is that we can work however we want to learn when I want where I want however I want. And so that's always working for me for sure is that I can show up at 10am just as easily as again 1pm or 6am if that is the case. So for me what is always working is my time blocking like how it is that I show up and work for myself and especially like in multiple businesses so you guys just to like refresh you running Big Boss here. I also do a mastermind group over at indie Chef autography and then I also have Almanac supply company. I also homeschool my kid and I love to cook and I apparently have Have a planar habit that I'm gonna have to start really making time for these days. So I'm doing a whole lot of things and is time blocking that allows me to do it. However, I have recently found myself feeling like I was in a bit of a rut. And this really started hitting home probably like mid October, early November or you know, all the way through the year wrapping things up. And I just want something different. And I always feel like a holiday break is really great for me to remove myself from all of my routines so that I can start over fresh in the new year. And this is not like a new year new thing. This is just how the will of the year literally turns for me. And so I absolutely embrace it. So one of the things that's working for me at the moment, is completely restructuring how it is that I time blocked my schedule. And if you guys want to know more about time blocking Kathleen and I did did a totally free training that you can find at being boss a dot club slash time, where we show you how it is that we time block our schedule so we can get all of the things done. But here's what I've done, I've totally switched up my time blocking schedule. So I used to have a really clear schedule, I would come in every day do these things during this time so that I could get everything done. But whenever I feel myself, in a rut, I like to completely switch that up. So one of the things that's working for me these days is a new time blocked schedule. A lot of this came from one knowing how it is that I need to work and when it is time for me to change up my schedule. But I also spent some time during the holiday season reading a really awesome book that I would love to recommend to everyone called rest, while you get more done when you do less. And this book follows several amazing creative, awesome, productive folks like, like Benjamin Franklin, and Tchaikovsky and lots of really awesome scientists and Einstein and people you all will know or any moms are they are they recording any mom's schedules know that any moms are showing up for scientific studies, like too many things to do too many things to do. But they're looking actually you would love this book, they talk a lot about like brain chemistry. And figuring out one of the things they talk about quite a bit is how walking actually affects your ability to make decisions and things like

Kathleen Shannon 42:29
that, in that geography of genius book, which I love so much.

Emily Thompson 42:32
This book is like step two of that book,

Kathleen Shannon 42:36
Okay, then I'll read it, you should totally read it.

Emily Thompson 42:39
It's really, really great. But one of the things they talk about is how creative people make space, usually early in the morning for only that creative arc, which is something that I talked about a little earlier in this episode. So I've made that a priority over the past over the past several days. And I'm really enjoying getting up and focusing on creativity, having an afternoon block where I'm doing all of the like mundane to do tasks that I have to do, and spending a late afternoon blog doing all of my meetings and answering my emails in my inbox. So really thinking about these blocks of time and all the things that I need to get done in which business I need to be working in to make everything happen. It's been really helpful for me at the moment, I'm writing about 1000 words a morning, which is amazing. I have some new articles coming out soon, which I haven't made time for writing guys, since we wrote the being boss book. And before that I was writing a weekly so for me, it's been really great to get back into that writing space. It makes me feel like a total boss to be practicing a craft that I really enjoy practicing. So that's how it's working for me at the moment, new time block schedule has me feeling newly invigorated and excited about the work that I'm doing. And I'm showering more often because I'm giving myself a time block to do that do.

Kathleen Shannon 44:00
I do love that you're shaking up your schedule. So I talked about being inspired by literally moving locations moving from Oklahoma to Michigan. But I think that that's another way to get re inspired is to turn your schedule on its head a little bit or reassess. I think it's so easy to fall into these habits and routines that can sometimes cage us in without us even knowing it like that's where habits can sometimes go wrong. And so I love that you just took the time to really reassess and say okay, what in my schedule is working for me and what isn't. So a hard example of this too is just the other day because our schedules are so enmeshed with each other. We had to readjust some of our regular standing meeting times and use that I'm only taking meetings on these three days from this time to this time, and I love that you're doing that.

Emily Thompson 44:52
Right The thing that I'm loving, not like most about this but one of the things that I'm loving about this is that it reminds me of the past. That I have over my own life, I think oftentimes we completely forget about that, that we have the ability to make our own schedule, that we can be creative in the morning and answer inbox in the evening, not the other way around, or whatever it may be, it's really been fun to remind myself that I have that power to take that power and use it. But then also knowing that if in a week or two or five, I'm tired of getting up and being in here at 6am. To write, I can just stay in bed. So it's fun to it's fun to practice that and beat and to be reminded that we're all here doing this work, because we want the freedom to do things like that. And oftentimes, we'll just create an arbitrary schedule, get at it. Not ever think twice about why we're uncomfortable in it and do nothing about it. Maybe this is a good, good reminder to everyone that if it's not working for you change it.

Kathleen Shannon 45:55

Emily Thompson 45:56
Right. What about you what's working for you these days?

Kathleen Shannon 45:59
Okay, so I accidentally grew my stagnant list by Let me see I have the numbers written down by 2000 new subscribers. So over a braid creative I had 13,000 subscribers, for I would say about 12 to 18 months like it, I just kind of plateaued at that number, and I was fine with it. I wasn't doing any sort of list growth. I'm not as sophisticated over there as we are here at being boss about having growth campaigns or even funnels or stuff like that, right. So whenever GDPR hit when was that this last summer,

Emily Thompson 46:37
it was like it was right before book launch, I will never forget it. It was in May, or March, it was in March.

Kathleen Shannon 46:43
So last March, there was this thing that happened called GDPR. And it was basically where the European Union and Emily correct me if I'm wrong on any of this. But as I understand it, the European Union was like, hey, whenever it comes to email lists, every every business and brand that is collecting emails needs to be incredibly transparent and explicit about one how they're getting those emails, and to how they're using those emails. And it kind of freaks all of us out. So we spent 1000s of dollars and hours here at being boss, really tidying things up so that we were GDPR compliant. And I honestly didn't have the time or money or energy to do that over at braid creative as well. So over a braid my response to GDPR. And really, it's not just GDPR, it was really that caught that started me thinking about list growth and emails and all of that it just came as a catalyst for thinking about all this. And I was thinking about our email list, and I decided to remove every single opt in incentive or upgrade off of our website. So I want to be super clear here. Because whenever I announced this, whenever I said you don't need to give me an email to download a worksheet anymore. Everyone's like, Oh, good, that just feel so icky. I don't at all think that exchanging an email for good information is icky at all. I'm not anti list growth tactics. At all. This was truly just me kind of being lazy. If I'm being completely honest, right? We're like, I didn't want to have to figure out all this stuff to be GDPR compliant, even though I think I actually was GDPR compliant. But also experiment tests and change, try new things. And so I wanted to try and see what would happen if I just made all of the worksheets and checklists, and ebooks and the things that I typically had on my website in exchange for an email, just completely free. So I did that. That was in March. Just last month, I checked my stats on ConvertKit. And my list have grown by 2000 people. And like that was pretty significant growth, a 15% growth rate that I hadn't previously had. Now, I'm not saying that this was from eliminating those opt in incentives or freebies or upgrades. But it is interesting that it happened.

Emily Thompson 49:11
So how did that happen, though, if you removed the forms for them to opt in for those things, how were they adding themselves to your list?

Kathleen Shannon 49:19
I asked them to, I asked them to add themselves to my list. So basically, where I have those downloads, now I say hey, here's a free download, it will be a direct download. You don't have to enter your email or anything. But if you want to make sure that you always get this kind of information and content from me, the subscribe to our newsletter box is right underneath your finger like the I so I made the newsletter opt in right there, and I asked them to opt in if they want to. And so what I think it did, and I've been thinking about this a lot, and it's something that Seth Godin preaches a lot is just building a trustworthy brand. And I think what happened is I re engaged the trust Have my customers by saying like, hey, there's there's no catch here. But again, I want to be super clear that it's also okay if there's a catch, because we are businesses online that have to capture our audience and make a living somehow, right like, and we really truly believe that an email list is one of the best ways to do that. Because you have people that are already interested in what you have to offer. And then they're right there, they don't forget about you, because you're showing up in their inbox. So I just want to make it clear that like, I don't think that list growth and list growth tactics are a bad thing. But what worked for me was kind of going against all those strategies and trying something new. Right, I

Emily Thompson 50:41
think that's genius. Because really, what you did is you just made a different list growth strategy, you didn't see it as a lisco strategy at all, you just saw it as like, I just don't want to become, or I don't want to change everything for GDPR, which high five, right, for sure, I still have nightmares. I know, I still have nightmares.

Kathleen Shannon 51:02
And I was still telling them what to do. So I was reminding them place

Emily Thompson 51:06
that barrier in a different place instead of before the worksheet is now after the worksheet. So if you want more of these, obviously do the thing. Or if you just want the one, here you go. I think that's genius. And I'm so glad that you found growth with that, especially after a stagnant list, because that's always a happy moment. But I also love it, it was because you change something and or went against a norm. Right, you get great results. And just proof here, guys, that blueprints don't guarantee success, whenever someone says do this thing, and you'll get this result doesn't mean that if you do something else, you won't get a better result. The tried and true tactic is not always the only tactic.

Kathleen Shannon 51:49
And at the same time with the best one, I might I might change my mind, I might try new things in the future. I like trying different things that being boss than I do at braid to see what works in both places. And then and you'd like to try different things in the shop autography and then we can see what works and sometimes it just depends on the business like we can be the exact same people, partners that a couple of different businesses and different things are going to work totally differently.

Emily Thompson 52:15
Right, every business is going to be different. So again, beware of blueprints, guys, but where blueprints.

Kathleen Shannon 52:23
But it's another thing, it's another thing that's just bring me back to the basics of like, how I started and what worked for me in the beginning. And can I scale what worked for me? In the beginning whenever I felt like a baby boss, now that I'm like a big boss, you know, and like how can I scale these like more grassroots tactics, or see how they work now.

Emily Thompson 52:43
I love it. Testing, change, test and change always.

Alright, guys, we're coming to the end of this episode. But we want to do something here that we used to do quite often when we had our minisodes, which you can now find being republished over 10 minutes to being boss. But we want to do some quickfire questions that you guys have asked us. I think these are maybe even from Instagram. So DMS, some Instagram questions. Or she doesn't email Hello at being boss club. We are going to be answering some questions right here as fast as possible. Kathleen, can we do this?

Kathleen Shannon 53:23
Let's do it.

Emily Thompson 53:25
Number one, What software do you use to schedule social

Kathleen Shannon 53:29
media? All right, so I'm pretty old fashioned. And I like to write it up in a Google doc and push it manually. That is crazy. I know. I know. I'm crazy.

Emily Thompson 53:40
That's great. I like to do them. Also just right there in the Instagram app. Guys. Isn't that weird? That's weird, too. But I will say whenever I'm being really intentional about a marketing campaign especially or we do this a lot of being bossed because Kathleen and I both have other business accounts, either a braid, or me at Almanac and our personal Instagram accounts as well being bosses, the one that we like to sort of set it and forget it, if you will. We use later later. com they're really great. We do not spawn or they are not sponsoring us,

Kathleen Shannon 54:12
though, if you want to if you want to sponsor us later. Holla

Emily Thompson 54:15
right holla for sure. I'm so old fashioned. We like a good old google doc or later calm.

Kathleen Shannon 54:22
Alright, next question. And we got this over the break in our being boss direct messages. So if you'll have any questions for us, just send us a direct message on Instagram and I will collect it for these quick fires in the future. So one of them was I'm a web designer and my client went missing right before the website was published to go live. They haven't paid the final invoice and they won't respond help. So I responded to them saying like if the website hasn't gone live and you hold the keys to the website, don't publish it. Keep invoicing regularly and you can even automate this through something like freshbooks, which is one of our partners. And then move on, like move on to take new clients. But that's my advice. don't publish it.

Emily Thompson 55:08
Right. That's, that's accent as someone who spend eight years designing and developing websites for other people, I totally feel your pain. But I will tell you after that happened a couple of times, it never happened again, because you I'm sure learned lessons during this process that will teach you what to do and what not to do. So be very mindful of those lessons, whether it was red flags that your client showed you early on, or maybe a different way of taking payments. I did do a course on this rock, your web design business comm is a place where I created a course that teaches you how it is that I created a web design and development process that had me launching every website and my clients never missing a payment. So if you'd like to learn more about that, hit it up.

Kathleen Shannon 55:55
Alright, the last question that we have is what are you reading? Ooh, that's a good one.

Emily Thompson 56:01
So I mentioned a minute ago, the book arrest why you get more done when you do less. I'm not quite done with it. But so far, I'm completely loving it. But to give you something that I haven't mentioned before, one of my favorite books that I read in 2018 was a book called it was called grocery, the buying and selling of food in America, if I'm not mistaking, that was the whole, the whole,

Kathleen Shannon 56:24
like a real light topic there.

Emily Thompson 56:27
Guys, it was fascinating. And not only as someone who loves food, like I do, and loves grocery shopping, and cooking and restaurants and all of those things. But also, as a business person looking at the evolution of a market that is food, it was a really fascinating. And it also really shifted the way I even shop for groceries and now and how it is I think about grocery stores, it was kind of fascinating. If you guys are looking for a deeply intriguing book or something that half of you may find completely and utterly boring. I loved it.

Kathleen Shannon 57:01
But didn't it send you into a little bit of a tailspin.

Emily Thompson 57:04
only slightly in for a short period of time. Now I felt like a much better off for it. In hindsight,

Kathleen Shannon 57:09
you loved it.

Emily Thompson 57:11
In hindsight, it was worth it. But I mean, everyone should know these things about buying organic food. Let's just say that. Okay,

Kathleen Shannon 57:19
so my favorite book of 2018, or one of my favorite books was atomic habits, tiny changes, remarkable results by James clear. So I kind of went on a business slash self help book hiatus, and it's a hiatus I'm still on, I mostly read memoirs. But this book was really good. It articulated a lot of things that I felt about habits and making change, and even stuff around, I don't know, just the key takeaway is to just get 1% better every day. And another big key takeaway was, for example, if you're wanting to start the habit of, let's say, meditation, that's one that I'm terrible at, get in the habit of showing up for meditation first, and I always heard this, like, just tie your shoes and get out the door, if you want to start a fitness routine and work out for five minutes. That seemed really silly to me. But the way that he reframed It was like you're getting in the habit of getting in the habit by just showing up. So for example, the other day I was at the gym, and I thought, you know, I'd like to sit in the sauna and meditate, but I only have 10 minutes, I went to sauna for five minutes only to almost prove to my brain and to set the neural pathways that I'm the kind of person that goes and gets in the sauna and meditates. So I am having a hard time even articulating this. But it really helped reframe some of that habit forming philosophies, and it was just really helpful. I loved it. And it wasn't super heavy or dry. It was really interesting. And then my second book that I read over the break, and it was just so good, was becoming by Michelle Obama. It was incredible. I just highly recommend it.

Emily Thompson 59:00
I love it. That one's definitely on my reading list. If you guys want links to any of these books, be sure to check out our show notes at being boss club, where we will make sure that there is a link to everything that we just mentioned.

Kathleen Shannon 59:16
Okay, Emily, so you busted out this beautiful color coded spreadsheet. And you had listed even in this spreadsheet some of our roles and duties and our marketing plans and our numbers. And it kind of looked a lot like our CEO decot

Emily Thompson 59:31
will you better bet that's exactly where it came from. And it stemmed from these doing some of the exercises in CEO day kit. It really spurred me to think about what it is that we wanted to do in our business for the New Year except a little differently. This year. I use those to create some spreadsheets but it definitely started with the exercises, the worksheets that we include in CEO day kit, a tool that we use every year to plan our year ahead. So it really gives us a chance To sit down and get really clear on all of our goals on all of our attentions, it helped me think about my word of the year and some of my words of the month coming up. So if you guys want to get aligned in the know, so if you guys want to get aligned and in the know with the nuts and bolts of your business, check out our CEO day kit at courses dot boom boss.com. Thanks for listening. And hey, if you want more resources, we're talking worksheets, free trainings in person meetups vacations and more. Go to our website at www dot bien boss dot club.

Kathleen Shannon 1:00:37
Do the work be boss?

All right, here is our final segment for the bosses that stuck around when Kathleen thought she was gonna die.

Emily Thompson 1:00:54
So we've decided we're gonna do this because Kathleen always has a story about when it is that or recent time she thought she was gonna get murdered. So Kathleen, I need to know and I think everyone is dying to no pun intended. When was the last time you thought you were gonna get murdered?

Kathleen Shannon 1:01:11
Well, okay, let's start this off by saying every time the mailman comes to my door, I think I'm being murdered.

Emily Thompson 1:01:17
Right? And I owe every other time you're in the shower.

Kathleen Shannon 1:01:21
Oh, yeah, every time I'm in the shower, I locked my door and I bring my phone into the shower with me. Just in case someone tries to murder me while I'm in the shower. And recently I took an Uber and I got a weird vibe from the guy and I kind of wish that I hadn't put in my home address. Do you do your Ubers drop you off at home?

Emily Thompson 1:01:41
Yes. I never really thought

Kathleen Shannon 1:01:42
about you never think about being murdered afterward? No. Okay. Well, and then there was that one time means I'll be ill prepared. And then there was that one time that you turned on by my friends to see where I was

Emily Thompson 1:01:56
okay there was that there was a one time over the break that I did think that Kathleen was being murdered. And so we're we were supposed to be meeting or we were gonna mark who is when we're going to talk about Dropbox that we talked about this earlier in the episode that we were going to have a little meeting about Dropbox is very informal has been like making plans over Marco Polo. And she was like, I'll be home tomorrow at like, you know two and we can talk then. So instead of like texting her every 15 minutes like are you home yet? Are you home yet? Are you home yet? We have find my friends turned on for each other on our phones. And I decided to FMF her find my friends to see if she was home yet. She wasn't home. According to FMF she was in the middle of a field. And so my first thought is her body's been dumped.

Kathleen Shannon 1:02:43
And I was just like so grateful in that moment that we have find my friends because in the event that my body is ever dumped. I know where you are being shot that

Unknown Speaker 1:02:51
tell ya call the police.

Emily Thompson 1:02:53
Well, I screenshotted it and texted you I was like are you dead? gratefully, you wrote back and said No, not this time.

Kathleen Shannon 1:03:02
So I'm alive. Stay tuned for future segments of to kathlyn get murdered. And I have to say it's a little heightened whenever I'm listening to True Crime podcasts. I'm going to pause, push the pump the brakes on that. You probably should probably shut