If you know me at all, or have been listening to these past few episodes, you know that I am not one for those cliché hacks that seem to be constantly thrown around in the self help world. Instead, I try to rethink and shift my approach towards things, which helps keep my sanity (for the most part)! Last week I was so fortunate to talk to Katie McNamara from Little Lentil about her motherhood journey and founder story. Though quite a few things stood out, the most lasting has been her approach to time management. Get this — it’s not a one size fits all hack that alleviates all stress and gets rid of time all together (( still working on finding that hidden gem))! Instead, she talks about how she has shifted her mindset and approach to time management in her day to day life. I am not going to sit her and tell you that I am a changed woman, who is stress free and that my days flow with ease (ha, I bet a lot of people wish they did), but I WILL tell you that I am making small steps to finding a place where I am happy and appreciative for what I have been able to accomplish in a day/week/month, while still striving to get more (and more and more and more) done. I am so grateful for Katie as she opened my eyes to something I have been actively working to incorporate in my day to day life, both as a mom and business owner.
I hope you enjoy this episode and make sure to listen to the end for two surprises!
Last week, Katie McNamera with Little Lentil Clothing joined us for another honest and inspiring conversation about entrepreneurship and motherhood. I loved her perspective, and the fact that we covered several topics I think most moms, entrepreneurs, or both, can relate to. But the biggest takeaway for me was her mindset on time management. When I say that, I intentionally say her MINDSET on time management, because we didn’t necessarily talk about how to physically manage your time better. What Katie DID focus on was how she VIEWS her time management. So much of our day to day life is a direct product of our mindset, and that narrative you have running through your brain 24/7. So if we’re constantly telling ourselves, oh my gosh I do NOT have time for xyz, how am I going to get this done, all it does is add stress to your already overloaded schedule. What I just said out loud is one of the things that makes me LOATHE productivity blogs and podcasts and instagram posts. I basically just said telling yourself you’re too busy is just going to make it worse. Well freaking duh. That’s like my husband telling me to calm down when he can clearly see there’s steam already coming out of my ears. So for that I am sorry… but it does set us up for how to move past that.
So let’s rewind. Working at home, which a huge percentage of the population is right now REGARDLESS of being a new entrepreneur, is SO challenging with babies and kiddos in the picture. You have so many goals to get things done and to get them done quickly, but kids can make your life straight unpredictable. At this point in the COVID game, most everyone has embraced the chaos – this work from home with kids life, but it doesn’t mean you feel at peace with it. In fact, you probably feel like that anger character from the disney movie Inside out.
SIDE NOTE: If you don’t know what I’m talking about, search “anger inside out” in your Gif search bar in a text message for a visual. It’s in my top 5 favorite gifs for SUREEEEE.
But who wants to feel like that every time they are too busy and out of time?! NO ONE. Exactly, legitimately, no one.
So Katie told us to view whatever you’re working on – a business, leveling up your motherhood, being a better friend or co worker, as a long game. She encouraged us to view it as a marathon and not a sprint.
There’s going to be times when you need to ebb and flow more towards one role you play, be it mom, wife, business owner, daughter. When you’re putting in more time into one role than another, just ACTIVELY tell yourself that you know you’ll eventually be able to lean back the other way and be able to focus the time and attention needed for that side of your life.
Tell yourself, out loud, on paper, in your head, whatever it might be, that everything you’re trying to get done in the day is part a long game. Your business, your relationships, all of it.
Does telling yourself this help you in the moment? For me, it 100% would NOT have helped me in the moment up until the past few months. I would have rolled my eyes at this advice and said “I don’t have time to think grandiose thoughts like that, plus it’s not going to help”
But I finally gave in and started small. Everytime I would feel totally overwhelmed, I would literally stop pacing around doing 5,000 tasks, and go “okay, I can’t get to all of this now, but I WILL be able to at some point. I’m moving on to check the next box RIGHT NOW.” It weirdly did calm me down just a little…
So I started taking it a step further. I would use my brain dumps each night to realistically go over what I DIDN’T get to that day, and say okay, I’ll get to this tomorrow or the next day. This was reminding myself that although it would have been amazing to get all those things done, I have another day and more opportunity again tomorrow. But I made steps forward – there was still forward progress. It eventually became a mantra I would tell myself several times a day!
Katie also mentioned viewing your days as a dance – and it’s genius. It has helped me so much since we recorded that episode a couple of months ago! You take each day and try to balance all the different tasks in the different “to-do” buckets. Just like in an actual dance, you have to practice. The goal is to move from one task or activity to the next with ease… and the only way that’s ever going to get easier is with practice.
So in those in between those moments, stop and tell yourself what you’re going to do next, without focusing on the 15 things that you HAVEN’T gotten to yet. Then tell yourself whatever forward moving mantra you have. Stressing about those is only going to make the transition from your last activity to the next a slower, less seamless process.
And then, when the day is done, go back, brain dump, and you will have ALREADY told yourself that forward moving mantra 10-15 times. Wrapping up your day having already accepted the things you accomplished, and the things you didn’t, is a MUCH better way to ease into your evening and bedtime routine than JUST learning how much you haven’t done.
So for a real life example… let’s talk about the last few weeks of my life. If you’ve listened to the show (namely episode one) you know that my husband Sean has been overseas for the past 9 months, and will be there another 3. He was able to come home last fall for a couple weeks, and fortunately for us, got in town for another visit two weeks ago.
While I knew I wasn’t putting the business on hold while he was here, I did obviously know I wanted to dedicate as much family time as possible to the few weeks he was able to spend with us.
So last week, I released a guest episode instead of a solo show, even though that’s not what technically should have come next. I already had the guest episode recorded, so it took a significantly less amount of time to get up and out to you all. Plus I have been dying to get the episode with Katie out ASAP because I just loved it so much, but that’s a side note haha.
It still irks me to my core that the shows are now out of order and my pattern was broken, but I just have to tell myself that it was just one week, and I did it to spend extra time with the kids and Sean his first week home. And it was worth it, and this was just a small dip on the rollercoaster that will go right back up here shortly.
So, yeah, I didn’t manage my time perfectly. But I know that this is just a season of life and I did the best I could. I have to be okay with doing less in the season that requires it, and in the long game of this business, I am still taking steps forward.
And while we’re being honest, I can tell you I’m not at peace with that. That’s the perfectionist in me. But that’s my GOAL. It’s my GOAL to put myself and my family first when appropriate, and be at peace with the fact that in that moment, my business was not the top priority.
And the good news? I already am handling it 10x better than I would have even 6 months ago. So Katie, thank you so much for blessing me, and now all these listeners, with that perspective. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to bring such inspiring women into my life – and into yours!
Thank you all for listening to another episode of Amidst The Chaos! I do want to go ahead and remind everyone of a few things before we hop off today. First, I still have my mobile presets on my website! If you’re new to presets, they are essentially like professional filters for your iphone photos.
I am a light, bright, but true to color photographer, and my mobile presets reflect that. They do NOT make your photos bold, contrast, or sepia – there’s no intense style to them. BUT, they were specifically designed for moms who take photos of their kiddos in all sorts of lighting scenarios.
I mean, who has the time to turn their toddler to face open light when they are already in the middle of whatever cute thing they were doing?! So these presets are made for those sticky lighting situations – to bring them back to usable, lifelike photos with a bit of pop.
Head to www.danagrahamphotography.com for the link in the shop!
Last thing – I have released this opportunity to my clients, but wanted to extend it to listeners as well! I am opening a beta course for moms who want to learn how to use those dusty DSLR cameras… you DESERVE to have high quality photos of your babies throughout the year and in between your professional sessions!
If you’re interested in joining the beta group, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you with details.
I think that’s all for this week! Next week is going to be an AWESOME episode with another mom and entrepreneur Ilana Eck – she’s the founder of The Stylish Spoon and you need to go check her out NOW so that you have her amazing product in your hand to eat while you listen to her chat about her business next week. She has created gluten free, dairy free, and soy free foods for on the go mamas. If you’re nursing a baby with food sensitivities or allergies right now… RUN, Do not walk, to her website and use the code amidstthechaos15 at check out for 15% off your purchase!!
Okay, we’re really done now haha. Thanks for listening, and I can’t wait to see you next week here on Amidst The Chaos.