176 Think you're too busy to plan?
Think you're too busy to plan? Then I need you to meet Tess! Tess Fjedheim is a student of The TOP Program and is a mom to 3 young kids, runs 2 businesses, AND runs a full-time farm with her husband.
With all the uncertainty that goes with her life, planning has been what allows her to carve out time for herself and her family without sacrificing her businesses. She has since grown her businesses and created positive Work+Life Harmony by using small wins and creating a morning routine.
Tess has become an amazing example of how one can stay on top of their time management, organization, and productivity and still have time for themselves. Structure is freedom!
Listen in as we discuss:
1. How Tess manages to juggle a full-time farm, two businesses, and three young children.
2. How Tess plans for her busy lifestyle with its high level of uncertainty.
3. How Tess prioritizes her time to stay balanced between her various roles.
The best place to connect with Tess is on social media!
Listen to the episode here!
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Hey there. So today we're going to do something a little bit different. I have had many requests from listeners to want to hear some stories from women who have been through my Top program. So we are making a concerted effort to do that this year. And first up, I cannot wait for you all to meet Tess. I have been working with her for three years now. She lives a crazy full life, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to have her on. Plus, she is an absolute delight. She just lights up every single call that she comes on. So Tess is just going to share with you some about her life and all that she has going on. If you think you're busy, just wait till you hear from Tess. But more importantly, just real life experience on putting some subtle changes into how she is planning and managing her time. And so you're going to hear how someone can run a full time farm and have two businesses and three young children and all that comes with it. So without further ado, I cannot wait for you all to meet the amazing test. Welcome to the Work Life Harmony podcast. I'm your host, Megan summerl. 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. All right, everyone, welcome back to work. Life. Harmony. I have a treat for you guys today. I have the amazing Tessel time here with me. How long have we been in each other's worlds now?
Since February of 2020.
Right before I can't believe that you remember that. So three years, it's been more than two years. Tess has become someone that is like one of my favorite people to follow. And you guys are soon going to hear why when you hear about all that she juggles. But Tess, I believe I met you through another mutual connection. And then Tess has been a member in the Top program for years, also in Plant Paluza. And so I wanted to have her on the show today just to have a real life conversation with someone other than me about how you are using weekly planning, other planning practices, tools, all of that. And I would love for you to introduce yourself, tell everyone the realities of all that you have going on in your life. And you all will soon realize why I'm having tests here today. Because every time I hear what she's doing, I'm just like, man, inspirational. So go ahead, take it away. Tell everyone about yourself.
Hey, I am Test and I live in north central South Dakota. My husband and I farm together. We have beef cattle, sheep for wool and meat. And my hobby is chickens. I love chickens. I got my chicken earrings on and necklace, of course. And we have three kids who are eight, almost seven and four. And I run two of my own businesses, a Farm Girl by Test and my life beauty consultant.
And with Farm Girl by test. What is that business?
It is handmade hats. Handcuff shade hats.
Hats. They are beautiful. All right, so if anyone who has been following me, when you look at my life and you say, hey, there's Megan, one child, the business, all of that, you might be thinking, well, that's great that these things work for you, but I'm really busy. Let's pause and assess everything Tess has going on. Three young children still at stages where they really are not doing for themselves, like a fully functioning farm. I always love whenever we do our quarterly planning and then Test is kind of chiming in of, oh, yeah, I need to remember it's sheep shearing season or I see all these other things. Plus two businesses. So the fact that you show up, this stunningly, beautiful thing, I need to run a farm is even like super, super cool.
I don't normally wear this for the farm.
Why not? There's no move to it. So kind of talk to everybody. When we first met three years ago, how are things going for you in terms of just staying on top of the 8000 things you manage on a daily basis? Not at all.
I absolutely felt like I was losing my mind. I was a terrible mom and business owner and wife and everything. I was completely overwhelmed with everything.
First, we're not going to say that you were a terrible mom or terrible wife. I felt like I was a terrible there we go. All right. So when you first started kind of coming into the top program, learning about some different planning skills, what was the journey like for you and today still, even with just that initial shift into getting out of daily reactive mode, to even just a weekly plan in place.
It started with the master of your morning program. You were the first person to give me permission to not have to get up at 05:00 in the morning and feel productive, feel like I could still be a productive person. Because I'm not a morning person. But I did learn if I get up 15 minutes before I get the kids and get that cup of coffee, most everything all going to go a.
Little bit better, right?
Yes. So then after I got that figured out is when I enrolled in the Top program and you helped me realize that being busy is not productive, it's not the same as actually getting stuff done. Being able to go from daily planning to actually seeing everything laid out in a whole week was very eye opening because then I could actually see, hey, on Friday the kids aren't going to go to Moms where we have something else. We're on a four day school week, so my kids are home with me a lot of the time. So to be able to look ahead, even just that week ahead, to be able to say, this is what's going on, we can do this earlier, and being on the farm too, a lot of stuff just happens. Mark will come in and say, hey, the cow got out. I got to drop everything I'm doing and go. But then there's lots of other times where he will know that I have something going on. But then he comes in and says, hey, I need your help with this. So you help me learn how to say, I'm doing this right now. Can it wait until I am done doing this kind of thing? Which has been huge for not feeling quite so overwhelmed or feeling like I can't get things done, because I'm just setting that boundary with my husband saying, this is what's going on right now. I can help you in an hour, whatever it is.
So let's circle back to as I'm sure I mean, it happens to me three times a day that my husband comes into an office and the cows are out, right. But we all have our version of what I call planning for uncertainty, right? And you just have a very cool sounding, but I'm sure a lot more stressful version of it. You are definitely someone with the ages of your kids and the fact that you are on a farm, you likely have a lot of that, including, I can imagine, not having control over the weather, probably upset plans as well on what you want to do. So how are you today handling planning with the level of constant uncertainty that you have in your lifestyle?
So previously, like this next week, so starting on Saturday, our high is zero. So that means, okay, the degree that's the high, that's the high. Currently it is 28 degrees. So it's going to be a big shift.
Sunny and baldy for you.
It is. It really is. When I helped the girls get ready this morning, I was like, it's going to be warm today. It's supposed to get up to 33. And they're like, yeah. So this next week, starting on saturday is going to be very cold. Previously, I wouldn't have looked ahead and seen that that was going to be happening. To know what I need to do now so that when it is very cold and we have to be out there thawing water fountains and making sure that everybody is bedded down between the actually, Mark is cleaning out the chicken coop right now so that we can put in fresh straw to keep them more, which I would not have looked ahead to that to be able to say this next week, I'm not going to plan anything definite. I'm not going to make any appointments or anything like that so that I can keep that open. And it took me over a year to figure that out.
I appreciate that you're saying that, because it's something I always I'm telling people that sometimes they'll roll in the program, it'll be a week later and they're like, I'm struggling with my weekly planning. It's the first time you are, but you can still have small wins along the way without mastering it right out of the gate. So I appreciate that you're like, hey, took me a year to nail down that part of it. And that's where everybody's inputs are so different. A lot of women in the program aren't having to look at the weather a week out to really help them accommodate their plans. Right. But it's important to understand what are the inputs into each person's life that they need to consider with their planning as well.
And then I have two kids in school full time and then one at home still. He will be going to preschool next year, but just all the school germs that come home. Every parent has to deal with that. My kid is sick today. My husband is the one that I will stay in with the kids when they're sick. My husband is the one that goes out and does the farm work, but that means it takes him even longer because I'm not out there to help him with it. So it's that not planning for things like that, but having a contingency plan, knowing what our steps are if we need to make differences like that. And that also you've always taught us about on Fridays, what do you call it?
Well, it depends on sometimes I call it my CYA cover. You whatever you got a little white buffer space just in case time, whatever.
You choose the CYA days. But it took me a while to figure out what day that CYA day needed to be for me, which Fridays can be if my mom has my kids. But otherwise it's whatever day of the week I can plug it in to say this is my least busy day. This is when I can figure this stuff out.
And it sometimes like for me right now, it's split up into a little bit over two different days because that's what's working for me in my life right now as well. So with three kids, a farm, and two businesses, how do you have time for all four of them? Are you staying up till midnight? You already said you're not a morning person. How are you able to do that and still maintain a sense of test? Not just mom or business owner or farm or whatever?
So scheduling the time for myself, like Friday of last week was my first massaging, like six months. Now, I don't intend to make them last that long, but getting that scheduled time can be hard. But also in the evenings, I have my designated time now that I spend either reading or if I want to crochet, I can crochet just that little bit of time for myself to do whatever I want to do.
And so you're getting that every evening? For the most part.
For the most part, yeah.
I love that. And I think it's so important to hear because I think so many of us are we get to the point where we're so exhausted that then it does turn into I need four days off. Instead of recognizing if we could just carve out and prioritize just that little bit of time on the daily for ourselves, it does so much.
I 100% was the person that would not take the time, but then my brain would make me take the time when I'd have my freak out days and I just couldn't do anything. I would end up sitting there on the couch feeling 100% overwhelmed and not able to get myself to get up off the couch. It would just shut down. But now I don't have those shut down days. Hardly ever.
We all still have them sometimes. Fair enough. How would you say you typically I don't know if you know the answer to this or not off the top of your head, divide your time in like a given week across all the different roles that you play or how do you make decisions on how much time to spend in all those different ones.
So sometimes it can be pretty fluid. I can decide like an hour here or 2 hours there, but every day I'm croching. So I know that it's probably going to be 2 hours at least crocheting almost every day, but then the rest is pretty fluid. I have my set things that I do once a month for each business, for my personal businesses, and then there's the farm. That probably takes up at least 50% of the time. Mommy is the other. Once the girls get home, nothing else gets done in between that time.
I love that you brought that up. Was that something you already had in place? Or have you learned or kind of transitioned into stepping away from trying to work on businesses and be with your kids at the same time? Because I know that was hard for me to really get better at.
Yes. And it's something that I've been working at just since this last fall when we started back to school. And I was being overwhelmed with what the girls were bringing home because both of my girls have ADHD and one has autism. So there's extra things that we're doing with them and just feeling so torn between. I want to work, but I need to be able to help them. And then I finally decided when they get home from school is when mom needs to take over. Now, transitioning from business to mom has still been very difficult, but it's getting easier the more I practice it.
Are you taking? I know one of the things that I started doing early on to help with the transition is I actually now plan in. I give myself 15 minutes from when I'm done with work. Before I'm in my mode, I'll do something like a quick sudoku puzzle, like something that I enjoy that just lets me kind of so I'm not going straight out of the frying pan into the fire.
Exactly. Yeah. I have an alarm set on my phone that says, Bus coming home. So it takes about ten minutes from when my alarm goes off to when the girls get home. I spend those ten minutes usually scrolling social media, because then I don't feel it in my brain calling me when I'm trying to be wrong and you.
Get to do it guilt free. You're like, no, this is how I'm choosing to spend this time. Now, have your businesses grown over the last couple of years?
Yes. Well, a farm girl is just now a year old. It was a year old in September. So yes, it has grown. And then my lime life business in this last year has really grown because I now can spend that time on it without feeling like, I'm here, I'm there, I'm everywhere.
And I think that that is what's just the message I want so many people to hear. What you're saying is you have large pockets of your day where you are not working because you're Mommy, which is the hardest job of all. And yet these businesses are growing and thriving even without constantly touching on them. And I think that really I've loved watching your journey over the last three years with this, but I think it also speaks to you can be very successful without hustling 24/7.
Yes. What used to be what everybody said you needed to do has turned into kind of a negative word because you feel like a failure if you're not hustling all the time.
So if anyone out there is feeling a little discombobulated and all over the place, I was curious to know, where would you tell someone that they can start just for some easy wins? What do you feel was something really impactful early on for you?
Knowing that I don't have to get up at five in the morning. That was totally life changing for me. Totally. Because I tried it and I'd fail every time. You know, I'd get up at five for two mornings in a row and then really need sleep.
But yeah, knowing that I didn't have to get up at five in the morning. So knowing where your morning routine needs to be for you to be less overwhelmed throughout the day, I love that.
You brought that up because I did not know that you were going to say that. But for those of you listening when this is airing next Monday, February 13, is the start of me actually holding the Master Your Morning workshop again. It's the only time I'm scheduled to do it this year. So if you want to check that out, just come find me or find Tusks. I'll tell you where she is on Instagram and just send us a DM for Master Your Morning and we'll get you the info to sign up for it. Because truly, I do believe how I start my day, trickles has a trickle impact for the entire rest of the day. And you've heard it from Test. I'm not going to tell you up at 05:00 a.m.. Now that surprises me. Even on a farm, how late can you kind of push off getting up right now?
It doesn't even get light out until about eight. I get up at 630.
Yeah, but before, everybody felt like everything that you're told is that to be successful, you have to be up at five in the morning and then you.
Have to do an hour and a half of all this stuff. And all I'm thinking is that's an hour and a half of sleep, I could be happy. All right, so you heard it here. You do not have to be a morning person to actually create a morning routine that works for you and serves you.
Tess is one of the social media accounts I absolutely love following, because as you've heard here today, at least for me, living outside of Raleigh, North Carolina, I feel like I just get transported into another life, another part of our country, another whole way of living, and it's magical and your hats are spot on. So where can everybody come and find you? Because, guys, you're going to fall in love with her sheep. I got to experience the whole laming season last year and you had a bunch of twins. And I mean, truly, I feel like I'm a guest in your farm. I want to hear your story. So where can everyone connect with you?
So for a farm girl by test, that is exactly my handle on both Social, Facebook and Instagram. And my lime life business is just test fill time for both Facebook and Instagram.
Awesome. And we'll make sure we have those in our show notes as well so that you can easily go out and find tests and truly, I can't thank you enough for always showing up. And guys, one of the things that and I designed it this way on purpose is when you join the Top program, you get the videos on the course forever, but you also still get to come on every month and ask questions and so a new stage of life or, hey, I'm ready to level up. I mean, I've been enjoying spending time with you for three years for one program. And so I think it's important for folks to know that the support network is out there and it includes amazing other women such as tests. I think we've all made new friends in the community and connected with a lot of amazing women there as well. I can't thank you enough. Thank you for your time today. I appreciate it so much. And good grief, stay warm next week.
Yes. Not the layers.
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 B apps. One word the pink b. It is jampacked with simple yet powerful tips and strategies to get 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.