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Episode 10 : Ebb and Flow
Listen to the podcast below where we bust through the myth of work-life balance. Give the basis for creating an ebb and flow. And make a few suggestions for how to help make it all happen.
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Read the episode below
Hey, everybody, this is Candace Rusling from Monk and Mills and you’re listening to, Unapologetically Bold, the podcast where we take the big topics of mindset and business that plague female entrepreneurs, and we break them down into bite-size tangible pieces. So you can spend more time with your family and less time on your smartphone. Today, in episode 10, we’re talking about just that. How it’s not actually a balancing act. It’s really an ebb and flow.
Okay, we’re going to get started today by first tackling one very important topic. It is the myth that women can not only run a family, run a business, run a household, run a volunteer team, run everything perfectly simultaneously, without a little bit of help. It’s a myth, ladies. Nobody can do it. Those beautiful photos that we all see and envy over on Instagram. Girl, those are filtered. Those are staged and those are not entirely reality. And if they are really amazing for that girl. But somewhere along the way, I bet you she has a little bit of help to make it happen.
So what I want to start off with immediately is do not get trapped in the myth. You cannot be everything. You cannot be everyone. And you’re not supposed to. When you start to spread yourself that thin, against so many obstacles. At some point, you have to realize that no one thing is getting quite enough of you if you’re trying to give yourself to so many places all at the same time. Nothing is really getting your full undivided attention. So nothing is really getting 100 percent effort.
I am a true believer in going deep instead of an inch deep and a mile wide. Let’s really focus in on the things that are truly important to us and let go of the rest. So how you figure out where the importance lies is by simply making a list. Now you all know I love lists. So let’s grab paper and a pen. And at the very top without really overthinking it. Be as selfish as you can. Do not think about what anyone else would say about you for writing down right now. I want you to write down the most important thing to you in your life. And it is okay if you don’t have an answer right now. That is completely okay. But if you do great write it down at the top of your page.
Now it can be anything but make it a big dream. Like, you want your life devoted and centred around the concept of for example travel or adventure or whatever makes your soul sing. Put that down and then every other sub-priority. Yes, sub, as in underneath this one will only be allowed on the list if it directly influences and brings your life closer to that number one top priority at the top of your page.
So if your priority is travel, for example; you want to see the world, you want your children to experience the world. HINT HINT This might be mine and my husband’s. If your priority is to explore then taking a move to a job that keeps you grounded in one place with a terrible vacation package would not serve your over arcing life purpose. Does that make sense? So, as you start thinking about it, you only want to put on the list things that make sense in the long run.
Now we’re going to talk about where we spend the majority of our time. Now for most people, this is actually a pretty simple answer and the answer is on our phones, on social media, doing the constant and incessant scroll of our news feeds. And we’ve talked about this before and we’ve talked about strategies and ways to curb your social media addiction. But it’s something that I personally still struggle with even with all of those tools in my possession. I still have a hard time getting myself away from the gratification of my phone. So if you’re someone who struggles with that, or even if you don’t think you do, one app that I really really do like is called Moment. You can download it just from the App Store.
What it does is monitors your time spent on your smartphone so it will tell you exactly which apps are taking the majority of your time. You can also set it to limit and there is a suggested limit and I will tell you the first time I did this I failed 16 days in a row. There is a suggested limit you can have it set so that it gives you warnings or you can go all out and have it set that it locks you out of your phone or locks you out of those apps. It’s a really great option just to see exactly how many times you pick your phone up during the day. This will be important later. Exactly how much time you are spending on any social media site. It’s always so much more than anyone thinks it is.
So once you have that kind of written down, you figured out your goals, you figured out your priorities. You go in and you look and you’re shocked by how much time you spend on social media. You can start to see why most of us have a lot more time than we think we do and most of us are trying to multitask our priorities all of the time. Now, there’s a phrase I say a lot that life isn’t about balance, life is about ebb and flow.
I want to explain what the ebb and flow really really means. And simply put it’s just giving 100 percent of your undivided attention and focus to something in that moment. It can be five minutes worth, it can be an hour’s worth, but it means that nothing else gets in. And the reason why using an app like Moment is important in trying to divide your time is that it will give you the shocking look at how often you check your phone when you’re supposed to be doing something else.
The hard part
So one thing that I know I’m going to get tossed over the coals for, a little bit, is I want to encourage you to try to not have your phone on your person or accessible to you when you are devoting time to your children or devoting time to your family. And it’s hard and I know it’s a lot of us say well if I’m at the park I’m using that 10 minutes for me time that’s different. I’m talking about when you are out for lunch with your husband. When you are taking a stroll with your children after school.
You know when you’re doing those things where you can and should be 100 percent devoted to the moment. Put your phone down. Don’t hold it in your hand. Don’t check the time. Stop making excuses for opening up those social media apps. You just have to stop. And the reason why this is so important is that our children are less likely to resent us for working from home. Because we all know that working from home and having children at home is just a recipe for them hating your business. But if we are giving them devoted and undivided attention then when it is time for our business, they are more likely to be understanding. Let’s dig into that for a sec.
Ebb and Flow
It’s all around the concept of IF this THEN that and children really understand that. Kids of any age and adults understand that. Talking about your significant other or your family members or your good friends they understand this tit for tat the trade-off. So if you can say to someone, one of your good friends you haven’t seen in a little while, and you can say let’s go to lunch and you’re going to leave your phone in your bag and you’re not going to check it the entire time and you’re going to devote 100 percent of your energy to that lunch. The next time you need to cancel plans because something came up in your business. They are going to feel more satisfied with the quality time that you gave them and the less resentful towards your business activities. And that’s the crux of it.
Now I understand that there are so many of us out there that work from our phones and we take those five minute snippets and feel like we’re working and feel like we’re getting things done. Especially when we’re talking; take a photo then, “oh I Want to quickly post this to Instagram.” One I’m going to encourage you to remember that everything on Instagram nowadays is scheduled. Nothing is in real time except for your stories. So don’t feel like oh I took a picture. I’m going to immediately edit it in my favourite app and then I’m going to immediately post it. That’s not really how it works.
I encourage you to take photos throughout the day come home to sort them out filter them all at the same time and put them into a scheduling app. My favourite is Planoly. And you can find all of my favourite apps on the blog. I’ve spent a lot of research. I got a lot of apps so you can find them all on the blog too. I won’t go into why it’s my favourite but it just is. After trying a bunch of them.
The point is that instead of taking those distracted five minutes here five minutes there of the inevitable scroll down your news feed, what you have to start implementing in order to be really successful at this is power hours. Because just like people our children our family really benefit from our undivided attention. So does our business. You would be so surprised how quickly you can get things done when you sit down without the distraction of anything else and just work.
The biggest thing that is great for power hours if you’re a content creator like I am or if you’re in direct sales like I know so many of you are, is graphic batching. So you sit down you have a template and you just batch out as many graphics as you possibly can. And you devote one night for 20 minutes then take a breather.
Don’t check Facebook. Not that kind of breather but take a moment. Write down where you left off. Make sure everything’s in order and then go back and do something else. I always get ideas in waves so I try to at least start as many blog posts as possible all at once. Or I take, I set up my camera and I set up my equipment and I take as many photos as I can all at once. And then you just storing them for future use.
That’s how you can start to work smarter and plan ahead instead of working in more of a reactive so we’re getting proactive instead of reactive. Now when you work in power hours the important thing is, is to figure out a system to keep your place because you’re not going to be thinking about your business all day long. It’s an ebb and flow so when you’re done your hour or two hours or four hours or whatever it is for you. You have to turn it off and walk away. So the best management system I’ve found for that other than a simple notebook and pen because I have lists everywhere. And they get lost and they’re all in six different notebooks spread across my desk. I’ve recently been introduced to Trello.
Organize the flow
Trello is a task management system. Again another app or service that can help you streamline your business that really takes the pressure off of figuring out what the workflow of your project looks like. Now when it comes to Trello you can come along the journey with me because I am just learning my way through it and exploring it and I can do a full review of it up on the blog. Maybe next month when I figure it all out. But basically, you’re trying to find tools and systems to help you focus a little bit harder to get rid of the distractions and to force yourself into working on work when it’s time to work and then shutting it off in the in-between.
I know this goes against a lot of entrepreneurial coaches who are saying you know, work all the time, work 24/7. But I have to say that if you’re looking for work-life quote unquote balance, the only way to do it is to set your priorities and to make it happen in a way that works for you. And the only way to keep everyone satisfied with the amount of time you’re giving them is to actually give them 100 percent of yourself.
Because I’ll tell you, think of it as a math equation. 100 percent of you for half an hour is worth so much more than what 50, maybe 45, percent of you for that same amount of time. That same coffee visit with that friend. So it’s about priorities. But it’s also about caring about yourself enough to present the best version of you at every moment possible.
Give it all
Stop selling yourself short. Stop showing up at 50 percent. Give them everything. Give your business everything and I promise it’ll feel like less time you’re devoting but you’ll get so much more work done in the long run.
Thank you so much for joining today. I hope you can start to implement at least some sort of a plan to really set your priorities straight and focus more on where your time is going. Remember it’s just not a balancing act. Stop selling yourself short and thinking that you have to be everything to everyone because you don’t.
If you want more of this remember to subscribe, like, and share it around. Get this lady heard. Also, find us on the blog at monkandmills.com. We always have show notes, it’s very detailed. I’ll get the links out to those apps so you can check them out. And we dive a lot deeper on the blog. So it’s all mindset and business and really tangible strategies. We go deep into self-care and motherhood. It’s all about everything working in a cohesive way. To be as successful as you can, without losing the little pieces of ourselves along the way.
I’d love to hear your favourite tips or tricks on time management. You can reach out to me, again on the blog to leave a comment or find me on Instagram @monkandmills.
This was Candace Rusling and you’re listening to Unapologetically Bold, the podcast dedicated to the readers of the blog Monk & Mills where we help every woman live in Unapologetically Bold life.