185 1 Small Shift to Make to Improve Your Productivity
As a people pleaser, I previously found myself putting everyone else's needs before my own, leading to resentment and decreased productivity. Realizing the need for change, I decided to establish boundaries and communicate them with my family.
The two boundaries I set were not working on weekends and dedicating three hours per week solely to my CEO duties. By having an open conversation with my family, I was able to explain my needs and how it would impact our lives. This led to improved productivity and personal time management.
For fellow people pleasers struggling with boundaries, this episode highlights the importance of setting clear boundaries and communicating them to achieve work-life harmony. By protecting our mental health and prioritizing our own goals, we can maintain a balanced life.
In this episode, you will be able to:
1. Break away from unproductive customs blocking your personal and work growth.
2. Spot when you're putting others before your own needs and restore your work-life balance.
3. Create and maintain strong personal and professional boundaries.
4. Share your new boundaries effectively with loved ones to improve understanding.
5. Prioritize objectives for both mental well-being and work-life synergy.
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00:00:00 Hey. Welcome back to Work + Life Harmony. I had a realization maybe about a month ago that I had let a previous bad habit start sneaking back into my life. That was actually starting to, one, decrease my productivity, and number two, kind of harboring some resentment, which is never, ever good.
00:00:26 I want to talk through what that is with you guys today and then share what a possible solution to make sure that this doesn't happen to you as well. So if you are someone that's typically a people pleaser, maybe a little bit of a martyr and I'm talking to myself here a little bit, this episode is definitely for you. So let's go ahead and jump in.
00:00:50 Welcome to the Work + Life Harmony Podcast. I'm your host, Megan Sumrell. I'm the creator of the top program and top planner, teaching all things time management, organization, and productivity for women. I'm also a mom and wife, and just like you juggling #allthethings while running multiple businesses and a family, guess what? You don't have to feel constantly overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out.
00:01:11 There is another way. When you have the right systems and tools to plan and manage your time, you can live a life of harmony. This is your show to learn from me and other amazing women how to master your time, planning, and organization, to skyrocket your productivity so you can have work + life harmony. If you're ready to stop feeling overwhelmed, this is the show for you. And if you're new here, I'd love to get you started with my Work + Life Harmony assessment.
00:01:35 All you have to do is DM me on Instagram @MeganSumrell with the word Harmony and my team will send it right over.
00:01:45 Hey there. Welcome back to work life. Harmony. So today I'm going to be telling on myself a little bit. I had allowed some old bad habits sneak back into my life.
00:01:54 Thankfully, I recognize them and I have rectified them. But I think that this is something I see a lot of other women do. So I want to share this with you and then more importantly, share with you kind of a three step fix or solution that you can put in place if what I'm about to share with you resonates with you. I think that it is very often that people who tend to fall into the people pleaser category, I am one of those for sure and or martyrdom category where we would just rather let it pile on than ask for help. Don't know why, but again, all things that I have struggled with in my life and when we do that, what can subtly start to happen is that we start shifting when we do certain tasks in such a way to make sure that we aren't inconveniencing anyone except ourselves.
00:02:52 Now, I first recognized this in myself when my daughter was very, very young and she was in one of those very clingy stages where if I left, there was tears. I mean, a lot of kids go through that. I remember this very pivotal day, the fact that I could even remember the errand I was running. It was a Saturday, it was a nice spring day, and I needed to go to Bed, Bath and beyond. I was like, yeah, I'm just going to go do that.
00:03:16 She was outside in the yard. My husband was doing yard work. I got in the car, started backing the car out of the driveway, and she lost it and was crying and was screaming my name. And I looked over at my husband and I just saw that look of dread cross his face. Now, I know if I had just continued on my way, she probably would have stopped crying in about 15 seconds and it would have been fine.
00:03:41 But I didn't do that. I stopped the car, I got out, I got her and I put her in a car seat and I took her with me to run the errand, which meant it took twice as long and I was frustrated, but it was a 100% on me thing because I instantly well, see, don't want to inconvenience him with dealing with a crying child. Right. And thankfully, that night, when I was kind of reflecting back on the day, I realized I was doing this all the time. And it was part of the reason why I was so exhausted was I was aligning a lot of the tasks that I do in my role as what I call COO of our household in such a way to make sure that I was trying to not inconvenience anybody.
00:04:26 Now, the type of task I'm talking to when I talk about being COO of our household, it's something we jokingly say here. In our house, I am the one that typically handles all of the appointments, the scheduling, the dentist orthodontist the well checks. I run a lot of the errands, we do split the cooking. My husband's an amazing chef, but I typically do a lot of the grocery shopping and then just all of the school related stuff. The forms of this, of that, right?
00:04:49 It can be a lot. And so what I had been doing was making sure that I was working on all of those tasks when it was maybe nap time, where I'd be doing it in the evening after she went to bed or aligning it with a babysitter. Instead of using all those precious pockets of time for myself, I kind of had that wake up call and started changing things. And it made a tremendous difference. Just in my own mental health, my happiness, resentment went away, all of that.
00:05:19 But here's what I noticed creeping in a couple of months ago, and here we are, what, it's like nine ish years later. And I started noticing that even though I'd been doing my weekly planning the exact same way I started noticing several weeks in a row that by the time Friday rolled around, I had a growing number of tasks that I had put into my weekly plan that had not gotten done. Things that should have been done comfortably by the time I was done working by Friday weren't happening. And it wasn't just a one week thing because sometimes we have weeks where that happens. But I noticed this was starting to get worse and worse.
00:06:00 I did what I coach all my students to do when there's a problem like that, that we're seeing. And I conducted a time audit for myself, a very detailed one for the week, because I was trying to figure out was my estimating getting off? Was I aligning my tasks wrong? Was I not planning in enough white space? Was there a growing amount of uncertainty, what I call planning for uncertainty in my life, where I wasn't creating enough space to accommodate those unplanned things that pop up.
00:06:27 None of that was happening. Here is what was happening instead. So we do our weekly planning, at least for those of all my top students out there listening. You're doing your weekly planning right. And over the course of every day, there's always going to be things, what I call pop up tasks, new things that come in, right, that we didn't know about when we sat down to plan our week.
00:06:47 And I have a very set process for how we handle that and how we can actually plan for that. But here's what I realized I was doing. I was letting that old I don't want to inconvenience anybody creep back in. And so when a pop up task would arrive, that was something that really falls into my COO of the household bucket. I was using the white space that I would preserve for pop up tasks, for my business, for true work, and was putting my household stuff in there, which meant that by the end of the week, things that I wanted to accomplish for either my own personal goals or for work, they all weren't getting done.
00:07:32 Because instead I was using the time to not inconvenience others, that precious time that I would have by myself to do things in service to my family, to things that did not fall into work time so that I wouldn't have to inconvenience anybody either in the afternoons, evenings, or over the weekend. So here is what I and I'm so glad I realized this because I want to share with you the three things that I had to come back to, that I had put in place all those years ago that I had slowly let go. And they all really center around boundaries and then how you're capturing those in your weekly plan. So first I needed to go back and recognize what boundary had I let slip or was there a new one I needed to put in place and quite some time ago, I had established a boundary that I don't work on the weekends. Clearly I had let that boundary go because what I was doing instead was waking up early on a Saturday or Sunday morning and getting caught up on work tasks, which is very, very hard for me to do on the weekends.
00:08:39 There's a lot of distractions, even my family's, like, why are you working on the weekend? I needed to reset that boundary of work time is work time and I don't work on the weekends unless there's like some huge emergency, right? I'm not one to put that word. Never. That was step one, was recognizing what was the boundary I needed to reestablish.
00:08:59 And it is that I don't work on the weekends. Now the second part of that was then saying, okay, I have this situation where these bunch of tasks that fall into my COO of the household role, I need to establish when and how those are getting done in a way that doesn't just hurt me at the expense of not inconveniencing others. And what this means is communication. It's so important. And so I sat down with my family and said, okay, over the course of the week, just this last week, here are all these things that popped up that fell in my lap that need to get handled.
00:09:41 So I either am going to be doing this a little bit on the weekends or in the afternoons or the evenings. That's when I have that time. And I'm not going to cut into my work time to do that. So what this has allowed now is there is a new expectation of if I need to either be in my office, maybe on my computer doing something that is in service to the family, that is COO household tasks. Now, if it's a weekend, I can say, well, I'm going to need maybe an hour and a half or 2 hours in my office this weekend to do these set things for our family.
00:10:13 And that opens up the conversation of maybe there's something someone else in the family can do to minimize that so we can have more time together. Maybe it's just an understanding that if I am the one that wants to do it or I'm the right fit for it, that then the rest of my family is off entertaining themselves and doing other things in service to the family as well. And then the third step of that is to now capture that on my weekly plan. So I went back and looked at all of those weeks that I kept seeing this trend happening over and over and over again and recognized I am going to need about 3 hours a week to be in that COO of the household mode. There tends to always be things creeping up that requires my time.
00:10:59 I mean, anything and everything from researching flights for an upcoming vacation, filling out forms, taxes, is that time of year know to be doing all this stuff for that. And so now that I know that, now I can build that into my weekly planning while still honoring the boundary of keeping my work time, my work time and not always swapping out and also time for me working on my personal goals, not swapping that out in such a way that I'm not inconveniencing others. So I would encourage any of you that feel like you're always short changing, you're always getting shortchanged and the things that you wanted to do are instead being hijacked by other things that pop up that now you feel responsible for doing. There's so many opportunities here. Are you the only one who can do it?
00:11:52 And if the answer is yes, okay. But think about how you want to accommodate that in your weekly planning and recognize as I have to keep reminding myself, I don't always have to be the only one to do it. And it might mean that I am doing things at a time that maybe aren't convenient for others, but if it's in service to all of us as a whole, then that's okay. So I thought I would just kind of share this thing that I uncovered here that I have fallen back into those bad habits in my life. I've now been adjusting and planning for that kind of 3 hours of COO time during the week, not during the very small pockets of time I have to work.
00:12:33 And for the last two weeks, guess what? As Friday afternoon has rolled around, all of my important work tasks have been done again and I am rolling into the weekend only focused on things in service to my family and my outside life and I am rehonoring that boundary of not working again on the weekend. So I hope that you have found this helpful and I will see you back here again next week.
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