178 Juggling Multiple Businesses & Family with Taryn Sowa from The Pink Bee
Our very own Taryn Sowa from The Pink Bee team joins the podcast today to share her journey to Work+Life Harmony. I love bringing you examples of women who have a lot on their plate and sharing how they are ditching overwhelm when it would seem impossible.
Taryn Sowa is a business manager and podcast producer who has been running her business from home for four years. She supports multiple women's businesses while growing and prioritizing her family, and supporting her husband's busy career.
When Taryn joined The Pink Bee team, I also welcomed her in as a student of the TOP Program because we practice what we preach! After joining, Taryn began to tweak her time management and planning processes, creating systems and tools to prioritize tasks across multiple businesses. Through trial and error, she was able to master her time without sacrificing her business or family. Today, she happily shares her wisdom and real-life results from The TOP Program.
In this episode, we discuss:
1. How to manage time and plan effectively while juggling multiple businesses and a family
2. Strategies to make the most of time while in the trenches of motherhood
3. The benefits of combining both paper and digital tools for time management and productivity.
You can follow Taryn on Instagram @taryn.sowa or check out her website at www.tarynsowa.com.
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Today, I have a real treat because I get to share with you all someone that I get to work with, well, almost every day, but definitely every week. I have the amazing taryn who actually supports me here in the The Pink Beeeach. She is my director of operations. She keeps everybody on track, myself included. She is systems geek. Sometimes I feel like she makes me look like I'm not productive. That is how amazing she is. But she also juggles more than your average bear does. And so today we're going to have an honest conversation. One of the things that I always encourage anyone on my team to do is go through the Top program yourself. I want everyone understanding how we operate as a team and how to bring harmony into our lives. And so we're going to have an honest conversation with some of the things that have been easier for terence, some of the more things that have been more challenging to get on top of in terms of juggling all that she juggles, which she's going to share with you. But most importantly, the real treat for me is to just share her with all of you because she really is someone special. And after you hear our conversation, I know you will feel the same way I do. 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 hashtags 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 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. All you have to do is DM me on Instagram at Megan Summer with the word Harmony, and my team will send it right over. Hello, everyone. Welcome back to work, work life. Harmony. I know every time I have a guest on, I'm like, I have the most amazing guests, and they're one of my favorites and all of that. And every time I say, but this time I mean it. But I'm going to say it again today because I have the amazing taren here with me. Not only is taron really what I call my secret weapon behind how I keep my entire business running, she's also a great friend and a student of the Top program herself. Obviously, anyone that joins my team here with Work Life harmony and the pig bee. The number one thing I do is say, and here is my gift to you, the top program. I want you going through it as well so that we are all living a life of work life. Harmony. So, taren, why don't you give everyone a little background about yourself and that? I'm excited for us to be diving into some of the key struggles you have had with managing your time, because you've got a very interesting nuance to juggling that. And then we're just going to share some wins and strategies with that as well.
Awesome. Yeah, of course. So I am taron. I have been running my business now for four years, and before yeah, I just had my anniversary. Like, a little memory popped up. I was like, oh, my God, so cool. So before starting my business, I was actually in physical therapy, and that meant I had a very structured schedule. It looked pretty much the same every day. Like, I came in and it was there for me. I left that when I had my two kids. I had my son first and then my daughter, and at that time, I started my own business.
How old are they now?
They are four and two.
Now you're in the trenches.
I'm in the trenches. And I've had them home for their whole life, except for the last six months, they just started going to, like, a little preschool. So I've been doing my business completely from home through COVID, and I'm married as well, and I've been doing it through my husband's multiple job changes as well. So that kind of throws in a wrench to what I do and that's kind of me. Do you want me to explain what my business is? Yeah.
So I think there's a couple of nuances here to share. One, as you mentioned, your husband's work, he is a professional chef. And so for anyone that understands what the restaurant lifestyle is, it's no joke in terms of very challenging hours. No, regularity I wanted to just kind of throw that out there because that speaks a lot to some of the time management and planning challenges that you've had. And then yeah, I'd love for you to share a little bit about what your business is because you don't just support me and work here at the The Pink Bee. You've got a lot of moving parts.
Yes. So I work as a freelancer in multiple women's businesses. I started off as a virtual assistant, so that meant I did a little bit of everything under the sun until I narrowed down to I do online business management for two clients and then I do podcast management for clients as well. So I am in other people's business alongside of running my own business. So there has been quite a few challenges that I know. I've picked your brain about trying to manage all of this.
Yeah. And that's what I'm excited to share with today because taron has been through the Top program more than once. And also at a time I make tweaks to it, you typically are watching all those videos and leaning into how to bring that into your own life as well. What would you say maybe a year ago? We'll start with about a year ago. What was your biggest struggle when it comes to managing your time and getting all of that planned out? I remember what I think it is to see if it's what you okay.
So about a year ago is actually when I started going through the Top program the second time because I was editing it, because we launched a new version of it. So I was like, you know what, I'm going to rewatch all of this. And I think the biggest struggle then that I was having and I was operating from a to do list, like I would make a to do list every day. And I operated from a daily plan. I don't even know if you call it a plan, a daily list of.
All the things to get done in a day. And I remember when we were looking at that and one of the things that we teach in the program and that I harp on a lot about that difference of the daily task list versus plan, I guess. Important to know. You spend about 10 hours a week in my business, along with, you know, chunks of time into others, was saying, hey, there's a lot of efficiencies to be had here where there's the opportunity for you to say, guess what, I'm working on stuff for the The Pink Bee x amount of days per week. Maybe it's only three days a week. And I go in at 2 hours a time or 3 hours a time and then walk away from it instead of touching every single business, every single day with completely varied tasks where your brain is going in 15 different directions there.
And I think that was one of.
The things that we looked at early on, was to say, okay, how do we minimize context switching when you are supporting lots, maybe one business, but that business itself supports so many others? Each client is almost like you putting on a different hat as opposed to just your well, I'm working now kind of a hat, right.
Yes. And you know, what I would do from there was then I would take all those tasks and then I would write them on said list. So I had multiple places I was trying to look to figure out what I was doing that day. And I was stressed, so stressed.
What were some of the initial changes that you started making?
So I went to a weekly view on my calendar and I gave myself blocks, just what you were saying, where then I knew at this time I was going to be hanging out in the The Pink Bee, maybe. From my calendar view, I didn't know exactly what I was going to be doing. But then I would go into our project Management tool and I had it all mapped out there so it was in one spot. So I had a calendar to be able to see what time I was doing kind of the block of tasks. And then I would go into the project Management tool and see what I was doing specifically.
Yeah, and I think that's a great solution for folks that support lots of different I'll call them smaller tasks or big tasks, but lots of maybe 15 minutes things over the course of a two or three hour window. It's like, no, I can't write each one of those in on my calendar. No, you may not need to. That's where if you are operating from a project Management tool we use, click up here at the The Pink Beeeach. There's other ones out there. asana trello monday.com are kind of the big ones that most people tend to be using. You may still have your specifics of what in a project management tool, but then you're prioritizing and creating appointments on our calendar for the times of which we know we're going in and actually doing the stuff that's in there now. How have you found the minimizing? Your brain feeling like it's trying to think about 20 different things at once, supporting so many different businesses.
It feels better. It is definitely still a work in progress. I think the nuances there is online businesses move fast. So I know that now. And I have had to build in a longer weekly planning session. Then you may be recommending the top program because I know there's just going to be so many touch points and things move quickly. So I actually block out 3 hours on Monday morning.
But you're planning across multiple businesses then?
Multiple businesses and my life. So it's not like I'm like hanging out in your business for 3 hours. You get a 30 minutes block. My other client gets a 30 minutes block. I'm just taking that weekly planning and putting it into everywhere.
Love that now. I know. And one of the biggest questions I get from other moms at that stage of what I was called in the trenches where your kids are home full time, there's potty training, all the stuff that happens from zero to kindergarten. What are some of the strategies that you have found that has helped you have some pockets of time where you actually are feeling like you're able to focus on work versus the time when you're all in the trenches of motherhood?
Yeah, that it evolves all the time. I think that is something I'm coming to terms with now, is that that's okay, that it constantly evolves and changes. So there are seasons when like right now it's winter time where we're at and I get up before the kids do and I'll work a big pocket of time, whereas in the summer, my kids tend to get up a little bit earlier because the sun is up. And so I don't get that long time, and I will then put it somewhere else in my day. It might be at night, it might be nap time. I might plan accordingly to what we have going on. But the biggest thing I've learned is I have to be flexible, and I keep my fridays actually wide open for the things that I don't get done because I will not get it all done. And so fridays are my day where it kind of just is like here's where you got to catch up.
Yeah. And that's one of the things we teach with weekly planning, too, is not to have every minute of every day booked with things that have to get done, because then you can't recover if something happens. There's a sick kid or whatever, and what you were planned on has got to move. I used to do the fridays open, and I've now shifted to two days a week where I try and keep a two hour block to be able to move things around for that. And I love that you brought up that it's ever evolving, because I think it's so important for us to know. At least for me, the benefit in the planning and the working through those challenges is that I feel like the older my daughter gets, the more things I've tried, the more things we've pivoted and shifted around through different seasons and stages and needs and all of that. But now I feel like I have a bigger collection of tools to draw from. And so sometimes we'll enter, like, when we pulled her out of her in person school this year and now she's home, I'm like, I've got years of different tools. I've tried when we were in similar ish situations that I felt like we were able to adjust to that new season a lot quicker than maybe six years ago. Because we've tested and tried different things and we can start to go. This feels like, oh, a snow day. Feels like a summer day when everybody's home. I kind of know what to do when I'm in this zone. For any other working moms out there, where would you say some of the biggest wins are initially? To feel a little less frazzled, get.
It all out of your head and into your project management tool, your master backlog somewhere. Even the little things you do every day, like those tiny things, put it on your daily checklist, and then you pull up your checklist when it's time to go through it and you don't have to think about it. That has been my biggest win.
Well, yeah, and I think we all jokingly refer to it as mom brain. Oh, I can't remember. It's mom brain. No, it's not mom brain. It's that you have maxed out your brain, it can't remember all the things you have to have somewhere to put it.
Yes, I love that you have to have somewhere to put it. And it probably shouldn't be on the Post It note that's at your office because you forgot.
One of the things that I love about working with you is Taryn's always brutally honest, but in a good way, in terms of she will come to me sometimes on our weekly call. We chat once a week and say, okay, let me show you how I'm now planning this. Or here's what I'm struggling with. And that gives us the opportunity to brainstorm and come up with some stuff. And I know you've been working with some other coaches from it. What you do as a business manager tool there. How often do you think you are tweaking and refining your planning processes?
Oh, gosh. So I would say every month. Yeah, every other week that I'm tweaking it, I'm improving it. And I know not everyone's life is like this, but I have different changes with clients. They go into different seasons where maybe they're launching something, and I'm like more in one client's business versus the other. And I'm always bringing out the tools that I've learned from the top program and tweaking and improving. So it's not a destination. I think maybe that's what I thought it was at first. I kept being like, hey, what's the tool? What's the system I'm going to use? And then I'm just going to be perfectly planned all the time. And that is not true. I now have tools that I use and I reiterate over and over and tweak and improve and adjust, and that's okay.
Yeah. And I think I love that you're saying it's not a destination. There may be layovers where we are somewhere for a really long time, because all of a sudden everything's working well, things are kind of status quo, and we're like, yes. But then when a big change comes into our lives, we need to be able to accommodate that. And that's what I think is so important to understand the output, meaning what the plan looks like, is going to evolve and change as your life evolves and changes because the inputs are changing that are going into it. Oh, now we're at Summer, now I've just had another baby, now I've launched another business. Whatever all those inputs are, they're changing. But the core foundational principles inside of the top framework of the we're not operating from task list. What does a plan look like? What is that? Step by step process, those fundamentally stay the same, but the inputs change, therefore the outputs change. But the sooner we master the tools that's my hope for everyone, the easier it is to accommodate the changing inputs to then figure out what the new output needs to be as well. Yeah, I would say I'm physical tools.
At it like you said, too, I'm quicker, and I can share one thing. The biggest thing that I struggle with as far as when it comes to tools, where I cannot decide where I want to live is paper versus digital. I keep trying to go all digital, but for some reason, it doesn't fully stick in my head when it's all digital.
Well, it's interesting, and I think the push for I know you're not alone in this. When I look back when I was first taking my very first time management productivity class, I was in my 20s. No cell phones yet, just getting the cusp on the Internet. But, I mean, no one had home computers. We weren't doing all that, right? And so I had my Franklin covey course and my Franklin planner, and I used it for the next 20 years, and everybody was coming into meetings or pulling out their calendar, right? That was the world in which we lived in. But now, here we are almost 30 years later, and everything is so digital and electronic that I think sometimes we're quick to assume everything paper is bad, and therefore we need to throw it away. In order to be efficient, everything needs to be electronic. And this is why I always tell people, both can work fine, but don't assume that it has to be, oh, we're in the digital age, therefore I need to do everything digitally. I had a short stint of being fully digital, but again, I was working 60, 70 hours a week, starting at a computer all day. So I was in the digital world. I'm not sure I could go back to old digital calendar again now that I'm back on paper, but I love the digital tools to organize my information.
Yes, I couldn't live without click up.
And so I think that's important for people to understand. You can have certain parts of your tools be electronic and others be paper, and it's okay. And I think we're drawn to paper because there's just something to me, it just feels more tangible and just the act of writing it. I feel like solidifies things for me. Plus, I like stickers and pretty pens, right?
Exactly. I'm like I want it to look pretty. And there's something amazing about it coming out of your brain and leaving through your hand and not through clicking amounts or typing, literally.
And it's so easy when you just look at it real quick and start finding the right app to bring up or something like that. So for anyone, that feels like because when I look at all that you're juggling, you're at a true busier stage of life than I am in terms of just the ages of your kids, all that comes with that. I think one of the biggest things people worry about is thinking, well, I understand that those time management systems and all can work for certain people, but not me, because I'm spread too thin or I'm juggling a lot of balls, what would you have to say to them?
I think I was in that court for a while, too, and there's no way that this is going to work for me. I've got a very unique case, and that's not true. It just, I think, took me a little bit longer because there were so many inputs that I had to consider to finally get my output, and I had to play with it multiple times to get it to be something that works for that moment. So even if you are juggling a lot of things, this can work for you. There is a way to even if it takes, like, 50% off of your brain, that is worth it. 25%, like, something to help you manage all of the things. And I had one more thought that completely just slipped my mind, but Mumbai, I know, literally preparing for this, and I'm like, I should have wrote it down. It is worth it to be able to have some of the pressure taken off of just me by utilizing this system. And I remembered the one thing that I really wanted to say was when I'm coming to the point where I feel like I can't fit it all into that weekly plan, I've said yes to too much, and it's not like, how can I fit more in? It's like, no. This is what you have available, Taryn. If it doesn't fit, you can't do it. You need to readjust your priorities. You need to have some conversations. You need to ask for help. And that's, I think, the biggest that I've had as of just recently, and.
That'S one of the nine components in the framework, is that realistic aspect. Right? That's why it's one of the first things I teach on in the program, is you have to understand realistically, how much time do you have, and guess what? You can't fit more into there.
You just can't fit more in. No matter leave me a try. No matter how productive you are and efficient, and I am pretty darn efficient. You can't fit more in.
No. The freeing thing about that, then, is it makes it a lot easier to say no to some things or to let things go. Like, sometimes I have to let some stuff go around the house because I'm like, oh, well. And then I don't have to be upset about it, because it was a thoughtful process as to why we say no to things or have to let things go for a season or sometimes forever, whatever that is. Nothing makes me happier when women come in and share. Like, hey, guess what? I said no to this today. I'm like, awesome. Celebrate the saying of the no. I do want to take a quick minute, because I know folks listen to this are podcast listeners. I'd love for you to share a little bit about your podcasting business, especially if anybody is listening that is managing their own podcast right now or thinking about starting a podcast. Because as you guys have heard, and I share it openly and often, the only reason my business has been able to do what it has been able to do is from the amazing women that work here with me, alongside me at the pinky taron. Being at the head of it all, she literally tells me what to do every week, and I love that. But her systemizing and organizing skills to be able to get as much done as we do is incredible. And you have now brought this into your own podcast management business, which I'm always telling everyone about. So I'd love for you to share just a little bit about that as well.
Yes. So I here at the The Pink Bee, as in the online business management realm, and that I have learned through going through the top program. I can't do that for every business, right? I only have so much time. And so I just last year, kind of launched podcast management as a solo service that I now offer instead of within my whole package. So you can find [email protected] I do audio editing, video editing for female entrepreneurs who are looking to get rid of managing their podcast. You hit record, and I take it from there.
And I love that you have brought that out because I've had so many people who share how I run my business and show them all the systems and all that, and I'm like, well, terrence the brainchild behind this. And then people will be like, I need a tarn. I'm like, well, you can't have her.
But if you have a podcast, you.
Can have taron your podcast. And so I love that. Now I can be like, yes, I can share taron with the world. But I truly, I want to thank you for all that you do to keep everything running so smoothly here, for your honest and genuine feedback about the program. As someone who is in the trenches trying to figure all this out and for anyone listening, Taryn will always give her a very honest input. If you've got questions about anything that we do here around the time management framework as well. But just thank you from the bottom of my heart. I really appreciate everything that you do, of course.
And I have to say I appreciate you right back because you make it so easy to work with you, because we both think the same way.
I think that's one of our core values here at the company is that we practice what we preach and so we're planning, we're not last minuteing. We have everything organized and prioritized, and so it makes it a smooth sailing most of the time way of operating. Yes. And we all have those moments.
Exactly. We call it out when we get that little overwhelmed and we start going through the process of, like, what are we going to do to improve this? Yeah.
Thank you again so much, taron.
Yes. Talk to you later.
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 The Pink Bee apps. One word. The The The Pink Beeee. It is jampacked 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.