People ask me this question All. The. Time…
“With three kids, a husband, a business with 24 employees, and living a healthy lifestyle — how do you do it all??”
It’s not that I magically have 47 hours in a day, I have the same amount of hours as you do! But I am extremely diligent about maximizing my time.
And in this episode, I teach you how to do the same.
You’ll discover how to be more strategic with your time with these 3 simple tips:
- The #1 most effective tool to assess WHERE your time is going
- What to spend WAY LESS time on (even though it makes you feel productive)
- How to free up a MASSIVE amount of time with this one word
In case you hadn’t realized, time is a limited resource. You can always make more money, but 24 hours in a day is all we have (unless we start living on Mars or something)!
BUT, if you are intentional with those 24 hours you can truly create the life you dream of.
If you want to stop saying, “I don’t have enough time,” then you gotta listen to this episode!
After you listen, I’d love to know – what are you going to start making more time for? Slide into my DMs @EmilyHirsh
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READ THE EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
Intro: Kind of what I’m going to talk about a little bit today and maximizing your time and also my planning process that I’ve shared before on the podcast to just constantly stay in that proactive place. So, I’m just feeling so inspired and refreshed. I always feel amazing after I get a lot of time in nature.
You are listening to The Not For Lazy Marketers Podcast, episode number 391.
Emily: Hello, everybody, happy week. I hope you guys are doing amazing. Starting this next quarter, I have been feeling really busy, but in a good way, because a lot of my time has been put towards time with family, celebrating my kids. I think I shared on the last podcast that, when it came out, I was going to be in Arizona, just got back from Sedona, Arizona and did some incredible hiking. We had a great trip as a family. I feel like my kids are getting to the age, especially the youngest, where it’s not too much work to the point where it’s not a vacation at all. It’s still not really like a relaxing vacation at all, but it is worth it. And it is so much fun having quality time. And this time we did a lot of driving, because Phoenix is two hours from Sedona. And then, we went to the Grand Canyon, which is another two hours. So, it reminded me of road trips and vacations with my brothers. I have three younger brothers. So, it was so much fun.
I am feeling very organized and proud of myself, because we were gone over Easter. And then coming back the next day is my five year old’s birthday. And then two days later is my seven year old’s birthday. And then we have two birthday parties. They insist on separate birthday parties being hosted at our house. And I have helped coordinate all of it. I had all of the Easter stuff. I just felt very organized. And on top of it, which comes from kind of what I’m going to talk about a little bit today, and maximizing your time. And also my planning process that I’ve shared before on the podcast to just constantly stay in that proactive place.
So, I’m just feeling so inspired and refreshed, I always feel amazing after I get a lot of time in nature. And I hiked 14 miles by myself on two different solo hikes. And then, we took the kids on hikes, which was a whole thing that I shared on my Instagram, because they had some meltdowns. We pushed through it. It was great. But I did tons of hiking, so much time in nature. And I just come back so inspired and refreshed and it just is so good to step away from your business. And I think it’s easy to really lose sight of that and have such a tight grip on your company that you think you just don’t want to step away. I kind of run into that, where I end up not wanting to step away. Then, I force myself to, and I realize how good it is. Just how we sometimes put a sense of urgency on things that’s not there and we cling so tight, answering every message and being available and like, “What if this?” And it doesn’t need to be there. Whenever I take an extended period of time away, completely, from my business, and don’t even bring my laptop, totally unplugged, I realize I can relax a little, I don’t have to have that urgency that I put on things just because I almost enjoy it.
So, today, I want to talk about maximizing your time as a CEO. Last podcast was very heavy on Facebook ads and marketing. The last couple have been. I want to talk about this, because a lot of people ask me this. When I get interviewed for podcasts, they ask me questions like, “How do you do it? You have three kids, you have a business with 24 employees, you’re a wife, you’re healthy, you work out, you do 75 Hard.
How do you do it all?”
Part of my answer to that question is I have support, because I do. In my house I have a chef, I have a nanny, my husband is very supportive. Although, he has his own business too. I have a lot of support, so I don’t do it all. But also I’m really good at maximizing my time as an individual. This is one of my secret superpowers.
I’ve shared this before on the podcast too, but as a kid, I hated wasting time. There is something in me that I just can’t stand it. If I get on a meeting and someone’s late and I’m sitting there for two minutes, I hate it. I don’t like to waste people’s time. I don’t like to waste my time. I was probably eight years old when I came home and told my dad at school, I said, “Dad, I can do this in three hours. Everything I’m doing in school. And you’re making me go there for seven hours. You need to take me out of school because this is boring. And I could learn so much more and move so much faster.” So, since I was little, I’ve had this in me just, “I cannot waste time.”
Now, sometimes, it’s a flaw for me, because I will choose not to do things or to say no to invitations, or I have a really hard time with social invitations, going out to dinner, meeting somebody for coffee, even if I want to meet them and I like them, it just doesn’t feel like a good use of my time. And that’s not always correct. Sometimes just connecting with somebody is a good use of my time, but I’m not good at saying yes to that. I’ve historically said no to all of those invitations, because I’m just extremely intentional with my time.
On the flip side of that, this is a massive strength of mine, because the one asset, seriously, you guys, the one asset that we have in limited supply and it’s truly the only thing is your time. You cannot make more hours in your day. You never will be able to. You can always get more money. You can always figure that out. You can add any resource. You can figure out a way, whether you believe it or not, to add that into your life. You cannot make more time. Everybody has the same hours in the day.
And I know that there was the whole thing, I didn’t mean to just repeat what Kim Kardashian said, whatever. I get that some people have different hours in the day, but regardless, you have the same amount, right? We can’t change that. We cannot add another person, duplicate ourselves, have more hours in the day. So, the way you spend your time needs to be so strategic. What I’ve kind of realized coming back from this trip, and I have this realization every time I step away from my business, is how it’s so easy to slip into a place where you’re doing things that you really shouldn’t be doing in your business, or you’re letting distractions like Slack and email and Voxer consume a huge percentage of your day without even meaning to. So, if you do anything for the next couple months, the biggest impact you could make on the success in your business and overall happiness, fulfillment in your life and business really is how you use your time. So, I’m going to give you some tips and things that I do in the hopes to help you with that.
So, one thing that I love doing is time study. This actually was taught to me by one of my original mentors and good friend, Alex Charfen, where you literally write down everything you’re doing every 15 minutes for two weeks. And it sounds absolutely horrible, it sounds like, “Oh my gosh, it’s going to take me so much more time.” But it really doesn’t. It actually doesn’t if you’re doing it. It’s very quick and you get in a groove and it doesn’t take a lot of time. What I have found is, just by the act of doing this, just by writing down what you’re doing, you already become more productive. So, I’m not saying to do this every day, but I do think every three to six months that everybody should do this. We do this in our company. If somebody’s overwhelmed or not meeting deadlines, or we think we need to hire support. Before we do that, we typically do a time study. Because we want to make sure that we can see how much time is going into things. Maybe it’s too much time. Maybe we’re putting too much effort into that thing that’s not really producing ROI. We should take that away and add something else in. Or maybe we really do need to hire another role. So, this is something we do internally, because data, you can’t argue with data, right? So, turning your time into a study and looking at how you’re spending your time is extremely powerful.
So, all you have to do is spend one or two weeks. I do recommend two weeks, because you get a better picture if you do two weeks, in case there’s nuances that don’t normally come up. You want to get your day to day, what does that look like? And you write down what you’re doing every 15 minutes. The thing is, you can’t, at the end of the day, go back and write the stuff. It needs to be detailed where it’s like, “I spent five minutes responding to Slack messages and then I did this.” Not just a general like, “Had this meeting, but also I did these other seven things during that time that I didn’t document.” It needs to be very detailed and thorough in order to be successful.
Then, you zoom out and you summarize it and you look at where are you spending the most of your time? Are there things you’re spending time on that you can delegate, you can hire support for? Are you spending your time in a strategic place as a CEO? Are you super tactical doing day-to-day stuff? Depending on what season you’re in your business, this is going to vary. There’s times where we’re missing a key role or I’m training somebody new and I’m going to be doing a lot more tactical things than if I have all of my direct reports trained and everything’s working and I’m not having to step into a certain area. Then, I’m able to stay more strategic.
So, depending on where you are at in your business, just starting out, just starting to hire team members, you already have an entire team, it’s going to vary how much time you spend strategic versus tactical. But what’s really good is to be aware of it and to look at this and ask yourself, “Could I be more strategic with my time? And am I doing things that I shouldn’t be?” So, that’s one thing that I really like to look at is, can I delegate this? Because if I were to ask you like, we’re just having a conversation, we probably wouldn’t be, because I don’t have conversations and coffee with people. Just kidding. But if we were having a conversation and I asked you what do you value your time at? What’s your hourly amount? I’m curious what you would say. Then, if you take that hourly amount, let’s say you say, “I’m worth $500 an hour.” What you’re doing when you do the time study, is it worth $500 an hour? Is spending an hour editing your reels or writing your ad copy or building your funnel, is that worth it to you? It might be. The answer might be yes. But if you could delegate that for less and put your time to something else, would that be worth it?
I see a lot of entrepreneurs who wait too long to get support, because they think about the expense that it’s going to cost them to get this support. And then they go, “Well, I’ll just do it anyway. And I can do it for free.” But your time is not free. Where you put your time has an evaluation and you need to understand what that evaluation is and then make decisions accordingly.
So, saying, “I’m just going to do this because it’s free if I do this,” is really not accurate, because what if you could be putting your time into something more strategic? What if you could launch that podcast you’ve been waiting to launch, redo that webinar that needs to be redone, create those ad videos. All those things that truly only you can do, that you haven’t done, because you don’t have time, could you do that if you got support?
The other reason entrepreneurs wait too long to get support is they don’t know how. And they’re just waiting for somebody magical to fall in their lap. And it does take an effort to find somebody good in your business and hire somebody. Likely, you’re not going to get a referral dropped in your lap if you ask someone, “Hey, do you know anybody who’s good at this?” If they did, they’d probably hire them. So, that’s a side note. Regardless, do the time study, look at how you’re spending your time and then ask yourself, can you delegate it? How can you be more strategic if you’re in that season of your business? And what are you spending your time on that is really not maximizing it?
The next thing to look at and really ask yourself is, are you pulling yourself into easier tasks and messages? Because responding to Slacks and staying up to date on email and just overall communication, especially if you do have a team, it feels very productive. In the moment when you’re doing it, you’re like, “Oh, I’m getting everybody what they need. I’m replying to them. I am staying up to date. My inbox is at zero. My Slacks are at zero. My Voxer. I’m staying up to date.” So, it feels productive and we tell our brain that it’s productive, but it’s seriously not.
What happens is, every time I go on vacation, I don’t check my Slack. I don’t check my Voxer. I don’t check my email and I have these piled up Slacks and Voxs. I come back and within 90 minutes I clear it all. I’m like, “How am I able to spend that long clearing a week’s worth of stuff when I spend an hour or two every day on a bad day?” I try not to do that. But let’s say I’m doing that. The thing is, because it’s not actually productive to be nonstop checking your notifications and jumping from I’m working on this thing to respond to three messages. So, I’m working on this thing to respond. It’s so hard to not do this. It is so hard. I have every notification turned off, I get zero notifications on my computer, zero on my phone. I don’t even have the badge icon on my computer or my phone, because it’s so distracting. Even then, what I find is, when you start to work on a harder focused task, your brain is like, “This is too hard. I’m going to jump over here to Slack and respond to these four messages, because then I’m still being productive and this is way easier.” So, your brain’s tricking you.
So, every time I step away, I realize how much time I’m wasting responding to messages. So, constantly being aware of this and trying to minimize that to a couple times a day, you batch do it, maybe even one time a day. Because the other reality is, if there is such a huge emergency that if you don’t respond that day and things are halted, that’s a problem in and of itself, because you want to get to the root of why are people so delayed and held up from doing their job that they have to hear from you? That is the root of the problem, not that you don’t have enough time for Slack. So, I always find that I feel it’s productive to keep up with all my messages. I’m constantly trying to achieve this inbox zero, message zero status. I’ll never get there, because I always have messages coming through. But if I ignore that and focus on very focused tasks, my time is much more maximized.
The next thing I want to mention is just, if you were to go on vacation next week, you missed an entire week. You walked out. You’re like, “I’m going on vacation. I’m not bringing my computer. I’m not checking email. I’m not checking anything.” What would break? What would not continue in your business? Would you still get leads? Would you still get sales? Would you be able to deliver to your customers? Would you be able to support your team without you being there? Could they support themselves?
Asking yourself that, what would break? Because that tells you what you need to build and what foundation is missing. Because maybe you’re not there today. Maybe you don’t have the team that you need to be able to do this today. But that should be your ultimate goal, because your time and your business is so much more valuable if you can still generate leads and sales and fully deliver to your customers without you being involved. That is also the dream, because I can tell you, being able to walk away from my business at any time I need and, yes, there are things I need to do. I need to record this podcast. For example, if I was gone one more day, I didn’t get ahead enough in this podcast, we wouldn’t have the podcast go out. That’s the one thing I need to get ahead on and only I can do that. Content is pretty much the only thing. But I can plan ahead for that pretty far.
If you realize that’s the ultimate freedom, being able to do that and have your business not only run, just like survive, but grow and generate leads and generate sales is the goal. That’s where you’re trying to go. That’s also why I love paid ads is because that stuff can start happening in the background while you’re not there and you’re not constantly on and creating content.
So, ask yourself, if you stepped away from your business, what would break? Now, don’t go stepping away from your business next week and just go, “Let me see what happens.” I see coaches teach this and I’m like, “No, you have to build the process and you have to build the systems and then you can go step away from your business. You can’t just dump it on your team and be like, ‘Good luck, I hope you figure it out. I haven’t done any foundational work and I am not prepared for this, but I’m going to see what happens.'” No, you have to build the process and the systems and then you can do it and then you can see what breaks. But you have to have the support in place first.
The final thing on maximizing your time as a CEO that I want to talk about is not being afraid to say no. This is where I am naturally really good at this, because I have no problem saying, “No, I don’t want to do that podcast interview. No, I don’t want to go out to dinner. I don’t want to go to coffee. I don’t want to get on that Zoom chat. I don’t want that opportunity. Thank you. No.” So, a lot of people struggle with this and a lot of people say yes to every opportunity, every call, everything that comes their way.
Sometimes, you’re going to say yes to things that you thought were going to be amazing and they don’t result in what you were looking for. Sometimes, you’re going to say no to things that you might miss the opportunity and you didn’t know. But you have to be willing to say no. That could be saying no to an opportunity that someone brought to you. That could be saying no to an extra Zoom call. That could be saying no to a project. Adding in that funnel. Doing that new offer. It can even be saying no to yourself sometimes to keep you focused.
So, looking at your time through a time study, analyzing it and where you’re spending it and then readjusting as needed and making sure you’re not just doing a bunch of easy little things to feel productive and avoiding the bigger projects like boring work, hard work. What do they call it? Like swallowing the frog and doing those hard things. Then, whenever opportunities come your way or ideas pop into your head, again, sometimes this is saying no to yourself, to that new idea, to that new funnel, to that new offer, to that thing you got at the mastermind. Sometimes, that is just enough. There is so much information out there and so much that’s going to be coming your way, that the more you can say no, the more you can stay focused, and the more you realize every yes somewhere is in no somewhere else, because we all have the same time. We have a limited time. We cannot add to our time.
So, anytime you’re spending an hour doing something, that is an hour you could be doing something else. I don’t know what you would be doing. And you may not know what you would be doing, but if you put in that reflection and you figure that out, then you’ll be able to say, “Is this something I want to do?” So, I think it’s a good goal to get better at saying no without feeling bad. Because, again, your time is the most valuable asset you have. And if you spend it wisely and you maximize it, and you’re intentional with it, you can do amazing things.
That kind of brings me to the question I get asked on how I do with my kids and my business and my health? It’s just how I spend my time. It’s just what I prioritize. I never want to hear someone say, “Well, I don’t have time for that.” And I know that’s an easy thing and I say it and then I stop myself, because you do have time. You have time for whatever you want to have time for. So, when you say, “Oh, I don’t have time to read. I want to read more, but I don’t have time.” Do you? Is that true? Or do you spend an hour and a half every night watching TV and sleep in, in the morning, when you don’t really need to because you stayed up too late watching TV? Most people like, “I don’t have time to work out,” or, “I don’t have time to start a podcast,” or, “I don’t have time to record that webinar.” You do have time. It’s just how you prioritize your time, because you do. And if you think about the things, like when something really important comes up, do you make the time for it? Do you adjust things? If someone said, “Hey, I’m going to take you tomorrow on your dream trip and I’m going to take you to go do the number one thing you want to do in the world.” Would you make time for it? Would you drop everything to go do that? Probably.
So, if there is something that you want to do, a goal that you want to accomplish, a habit you want to instill, at least don’t tell yourself that you’re not doing it because you don’t have time. Because you do have time. You just might have to reprioritize. You might have to get help. When I incorporate, I work
out an hour and a half a day, because I have it as a non-negotiable. I work out. That means I may have to cut into my work time. That means I have to have my husband help with the kids’ breakfast. Whatever’s going to work for me is going to be different for other people.
But the point is, I define how I spend my time. Other people don’t define how I spend my time. And I don’t do things that I don’t want to do. I’m known for that. If I don’t want to do it, I’m not going to be there, because life’s too short. I’m not going to do things for other people. I have an empire to build. I have kids to raise. I have a body I like to keep healthy. And I have fun things I want to do. So, everything I’m doing is moving me towards those goals and those places that I want to be. And I’m saying no to everything else. Even if that means saying no to myself, because I have this idea that I want to add this thing, but it’s just, it’s not going to work, it’s not in alignment with my goals. I need to say no.
So, I hope you guys found this helpful. If you loved it, if this gave you some ideas, send me a message on Instagram so I can hear about it. Otherwise, I’ll talk to you guys next week.
Thanks for listening to The Not For Lazy Marketers Podcast. If you loved this episode and want deeper support with your marketing, head over to helpmystrategy.com to see how Hirsh Marketing can help take your market to the next level no matter where you’re at today. We help our clients scale faster than ever, find hidden leaks in their funnel, experiment with new creative marketing strategies and help their business explode and be more profitable than they ever dreamed possible. Head over to helpmystrategy.com and see if you qualify for a free strategy audit with team Hirsh.