229 Busting Productivity Myths for Mompreneurs

Busting Productivity Myths for Mompreneurs


Tired of one-size-fits-all productivity hacks that ignore the chaos of balancing business and babies? In this episode, I'm tearing down the unrealistic expectations set for women entrepreneurs. Wave goodbye to the guilt of not waking up at the crack of dawn and discover how setting rigid office hours can be tossed out the window.

We're not about the typical grind here; we're crafting a symphony of your schedule that works for you. Join me as I offer tangible, mom-tested strategies that respect the multifaceted dance of managing both a flourishing business and a booming family life.

In this episode, I'm covering:

  • Why context matters when looking for productivity advice
  • Rigidity in planning may not be feasible for individuals with dynamic schedules
  • Tailoring time management strategies


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Hey there. So here we are it is. You know it's not the new new year, but we're still pretty early into the new year and I have been I'm always watching you know other names and stuff in the whole productivity planning space, which is very, very much male dominated still, and I'm seeing so much advice coming out right now on how to make the most of your year, how to make 2024 the most productive year ever, and there are four key pieces of advice that I'm seeing in lots of different flavors over and over again, and today I want to tackle those head on and tell you why, for you in particular, it might actually be terrible advice. Alright, so let's go ahead and jump in. 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, I'm juggling hashtag all the things while running multiple businesses and a family. Guess what? You don't have to feel constantly overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out. 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 an 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. All you have to do is DM me on Instagram at Megan Sumrell with the word harmony and my team will send it right over. Hey friends, welcome back to the work life Harmony podcast.

I want to take some time today and really talk about and highlight some really bad advice that I see given out there in the entrepreneurial community. Now, what I'm going to be talking about. It doesn't matter if you label yourself as an entrepreneur or not. I really think it applies to women in general but where I see this advice happening often really is inside of the community of people where they are building a business you know of their own, whatever that looks like. A term that I resonate with is called mompreneur. I am very proud to label myself as a mompreneur, meaning I am an entrepreneur. I have built a business the pink be while also being a mom and figuring out how to jungle all of that, and for a while I even had a corporate job mixed in there, and so you know I am always following and reading up on all the latest trends in the productivity and time management space. It is still highly dominated by men, which means that sometimes the advice that is there, while it's not bad advice at all, it just often is bad advice If you are in a stage where you are juggling a lot of family responsibilities along with everything else, and so I really want to highlight some of these, because they're ones that are popping up a lot for me, explain why this just doesn't work, why it may be really bad advice for you, and then talk about what some solutions might be instead, and I've got five things that we're going to be talking about here today. So the first piece of bad advice and again, when I say bad advice, I'm meaning situationally bad One of the keys everyone says to unlock your productivity, to make, you know, get the most out of every day, is to wake up around 5am and work for an hour or two before the rest of the family is in motion, and I see this all the time with men, and they'll even talk about yeah, I've got young kids at home.

But here's the difference, and they will subtly. When you start seeing images, you see that maybe they're waking up at five and working from five to 7 am, but when the really littles are getting up at six-ish or so, they have a spouse that is jumping in and handling that first hour of the day and then they're coming out, maybe the family's sitting down and eating breakfast together. Now I would say, single Megan, way back when, getting up and having those first couple hours to get a bunch of stuff done was really great advice. I tend to be a morning person, but the reality is for so many women today I, you know you would have to get up. If I needed two hours of time for myself just for work before I had to be in motion for other people, I would have to get up at around 4.15 in the morning to get those two hours. It's just not realistic. And so I see women beating themselves up constantly saying I should just get up earlier, I should just get up earlier.

Well, if you have little kids that are waking up at 5.30 or 6 in the morning, the reality is your life in this moment probably is not going to support that. So quit beating yourself up. If you're not getting up at 4 am to harness those first couple hours of the day, All right Now. Also, you may be someone that really hits your stride better late morning, mid-afternoon. You know everybody's different. So if you are feeling bad because you're not waking up at you know 5 am and getting those most important work things done for the first two hours of the day because the realities of your life don't support it, that doesn't mean that you need to start waking up at 3 am. All right, so let that go. I don't do that and I get a lot of stuff done in small pockets of time. All right Now. And again, if you are using an overarching planning system for how to plan and manage your time that says that's how you have to start each day, you need to throw that system out the window. Throw that advice out the window, for now it probably isn't supporting you well.

Now the second piece of advice that again is bad advice if you are in the trenches, you know as a mompreneur is that you need to set consistent daily office hours, meaning that you get into the routine of every day during this. You know a particular chunk of time is when you are working. Now again, I agree with the theory behind it that the more we can make things routine and consistent, the easier they are to implement. But I know from my own experience and from all the women inside the top program community, it's pretty unrealistic, when you've got young kids, to have chunks of consistent time because schedules are constantly changing. You know there's the 8,000 pediatrician, dentist, orthodontist appointments, different preschool schedules, you may have kids in different schools that you know have conflicting schedules, different activities, all of that. And so if you have a schedule that is very fluid and changing, you need to be using a system that actually accommodates that and then talks about how do we plan for flexibility?

All right, so if you are constantly and I made this mistake years ago, you know, probably about 11-ish, 12 years ago I kept every week trying to set these consistent chunks of time to work on my business and 90% of the time something came up and it didn't happen and I kept thinking I was doing something wrong. Like what was wrong with me as a person? Nothing. The reality was I kept trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. All right.

Now the third piece of bad advice that I'm seeing, and I'm seeing all sorts of influencers out there now offering up their like one-page daily planning sheet that you fill out the night before you go to bed, meaning they're implying that every night before you go to bed, or maybe as you're wrapping up, you know your work time for the day is when you plan out the next day and there's a one sheet or piece of paper that they have you filling out. There's different flavors of this out there. Some are called daily sheet, productivity sheet. I've seen them called a power sheet. There's lots of names for them and here's what I want you to think about If you're doing this at the end of the day.

There's really fascinating brain science here going on that we need to understand. All day long we are making decisions. Everybody is right. What do I have for breakfast? What do I have for lunch? What should I work on now? What should I wear? I mean, it's a day full of asking our brain to make decisions, and asking our brain to make decisions is the thing that taxes our brain the most, meaning it zaps the energy.

So if you are sitting down at the end of the day whether it's 4 pm, 7 pm, 10 pm, and filling out your plan for the next day. You are doing this when your brain is done. It is tired of making decisions, it's not going to think very logically and you are going to make choices based on the state of mind you are in in the moment, meaning you're stressed out, you're probably exhausted, and this is why a lot of us, myself included, make bad food choices late at night. It's not because you're a bad person. Your brain is like I have no good decision-making skills left. So if you are waiting till the end of the day to sit down and say, okay, now I'm going to get ahead of the game, I'm going to plan, I'm going to plan out my day for tomorrow, but you're doing it when your brain is not making good choices.

What's going to happen is the plan that you are going to put in place for that next day is going to be one that is highly reactive, meaning what your brain is thinking of at the end of the day is, all of a sudden, it starts rattling off all those to-do things. Right, there's a reason we wake up at 2 AM, sometimes going oh my God, I can't remember this, this, this, this, this, and those are the things that are going to get into your plan and a lot of times they're not the things that are most important. You're just going into reactive mode oh, let me handle this, let me handle this, let me handle this Instead of really assessing all right, what's all the things competing for my time? And let me put some real thought into how to do this in the most efficient way to make sure that the most important things are getting done. So that just really is not a great way for you to set yourself up for success for the next day.

Now the fourth thing and I've talked about this often, and I do believe this is bad advice for almost anybody, whether you are in the trenches with young kids or not is this concept of you start your day every day identifying what are the top three most important things that you need to get done and then saying, ok, I'm not going to do anything else until those three things are done. Now, the only time that that has worked for me in my life was probably well over 20 years ago, when I had a corporate job, not married, no kids, and we didn't walk around with smart devices. We didn't have computers in our pocket, we weren't having to multitask and information wasn't coming at us at that same rate, Meaning when I got to my office, I could sit down in the mornings, I could what are the three most important things here at work? And I could feel pretty confident that I could do that. All right, now fast forward to the world we live in today.

Well, if I were to think about the top three most important things and when they talk about this they're thinking about your goals, your projects, like if you're running a business, as I am what are the three most important things that I could do for my business every day? Well, I know what the top things are for the business as a whole, but there are days where none of those things are being worked on, because that's the reality of the kind of day I have, and guess what? I'm not gonna feel guilty about it. So what do I mean? Well, I had a day last week where it was just riddled with all of these commitments in the form of both some work, some personal. Where it was, I had a meeting with somebody, then I had an interview with somebody, and then there was the orthodontist appointment, and then there was the morning where it was drop your kid off at school and stay and meet the teachers, and so it was this day peppered with all of these commitments that the time in between them was never a long enough stretch. That would have been a good opportunity for me to sit down and work on any of those things, because, just as I would have been settling in, it would have been time to have stopped and moved on.

And this again, this is kind of related to the one before. We're talking about planning your next day before you go to bed. If you are in this daily operating mode, oh my goodness, you are in constant firefighting mode and it's exhausting. So it doesn't mean that you aren't working on those important things, but when I'm thinking about what's most important, when I'm sitting down to do my planning because it's weekly, I'm being realistic about when can I have that time? And maybe two days of a week, none of those top things are being touched. Now, other important things are, but not the top three, and I can rest easy not working on them because my plan shows me when I can. So maybe there are days where those top three things are just keeping people alive, right, keeping them fed, bathed, maybe, maybe, maybe not and surviving that day, because it's a day that's absolutely crazy. Now the last piece of bad advice that I wanna touch on is just very generically please avoid following planning and productivity advice. If you are what I would call a mompreneur, meaning you are assuming most of the primary caregiver responsibilities while building a business, maybe reconsider following planning and productivity from advice from somebody who is not that primary caregiver. Now, it doesn't mean that the advice that they are giving isn't great advice, but it most likely is not going to be great advice for you.

I was recently watching a comedian and I felt like it really hit the nail very hard and he was doing a bit about how the school called him and he basically was like so you had both my wife's name and my name and yet you chose to call me first for that, requesting this information, like assuming I would have this. It was done very, very well, but that's kind of one of the litmus tests I use At home. Here I am the primary one. If there's an issue or something that comes up, it's gonna be my phone that rings first, and guess what that means. I need to have a planning system that doesn't ignore that. That doesn't go. I hope it doesn't happen this week. It actually accommodates it and it supports that All right. So this is why I'm so passionate about teaching what I teach inside of the top program.

Top stands for time management, organization and productivity. The way I go about talking about how we plan and manage our time acknowledges uncertain schedules, and how do we plan when we have a ton of uncertainty? It teaches strategies on how to be productive in small pockets of time, because you probably don't have a four hour uninterrupted, undisturbed window, right? It integrates. It creates plans that integrate your home life, the realities there, and your work life. We talk about morning routines. I actually have a whole mini program that teaches you how to create a morning routine that's realistic, right Not to wake up and have two to three hours to yourself every morning. How to build plans that accommodate change, how to avoid constant multitasking and context switching. That's, like, I think, the underlying theme of all of it.

And then here's the best part it's not a system that just works for one stage of life. It is a system that works for all stages of life. It's just that your inputs are different, therefore creating a different output, meaning a different weekly plan. And I love it because when I get on these monthly calls with all my top program students, we have women in their 20s, single, climbing the corporate ladder of doing amazing things. We have women who are home full time. We have women that are juggling children and careers, children and businesses. We have women that are now empty nesters and like I wanna make the most of my time now, like this is like a whole new life, right, and anything and everything in between. But we're all using the same system, it's just different inputs, all right.

So if you are interested in learning more about the top program, got a couple great options. I have a free video training out there where I give you actually like three time management tips. You do have to do some homework if you wanna make the most of it, and then I really go a deep dive into telling you everything you need to know about the top program so you can see if it's a good fit for you and to go watch that training. You can just go to theworklifeharmony.com and sign up for it and I'll send it right to your inbox. Or just feel free to email into team at megansumrell.com as well and say you know what? I'm ready to join the top program, and so just remember, with everything in life, if you are following an expert and you're continuing trying to implement their advice and it just feels like you keep running up against a brick wall, chances are it's not you. It's just that the advice is not one that's going to work well with your particular life. So quit blaming yourself. All right, have a great week.

Getting on top of all things time management, organization, and productivity doesn't have to stop just because this episode is over. If you want one-tap access to all of my training and current top podcasts, go to the app store or Google Play and download the Pink Bee app. It's one word the Pink Bee. It is jam-packed with simple yet powerful tips and strategies to get you out of overwhelm and into harmony. And if you have a question you want me to cover on a future episode, go to iTunes and ask your question in the podcast review section. And while you're there, don't forget to leave a five-star review.


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