Episode 185: Show Notes
Today on the podcast we have Sarah Peck, who is a writer, startup advisor, and yoga teacher based out of New York City. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Startup Pregnant, a media company documenting the stories of women’s leadership across work and family. Inside today’s episode we are talking all about planning ahead for this year, how to eliminate 50% of your workload, and we’re going through the process of the system she used to really figure out how much time she realistically had so she could plan accordingly.
If you’re a momma, or you’re busy, or you’re a human, then you just need to pay attention because we will take you step-by-step through an exercise to reduce your to-do list in a cray way so that you can have a happier and more fulfilled life. Sarah is an incredible human being with a lovely soft radio voice that we often try to mimic, so we really think you are going to enjoy this episode just because of the sound of her voice alone. Don’t miss out!
Following Through With Cutting Down
Often times when it comes to running your own business, people are in one of two camps: they’re either at the very beginning of their business and they feel like they need to say “yes” to everything; or they are in a place where they just have too much on their plate that they are desperate to identify the things that are actually going to move them forward. Now obviously there are benefits to getting exposure to as much as possible when you are just starting out. However, if you can get really good at saying “no” it can actually become a magic skill to have in your business. One of the things that is really helpful in making decisions is having data. Sometimes you don’t have enough data to make a decision, so your job is to experiment. Go into the year running experiments and evaluating which strategy is the most effective for you and your business. Then —and this is the most important step — cut 75% of what you did as experimental strategies and only stick to what created the absolute best results for your business.
Prioritizing For Effective Decision Making
A lot of times we make decisions like we are going into a shopping center with a grocery cart, simply picking whatever looks good from every isle. This is not actually a strategy and it is not actually planning. What it comes down to is taking a step back and having a good planning regiment, knowing what your goals are and what you want. If you don’t have a clear sense of what you want, it’s really hard to figure out what to do next. The biggest problem with task management software is people put in all of their items thinking it is somehow going to give them some sort of prioritization. When in fact, you as the human have to prioritize at the beginning and decide exactly what is most important to you and your business. Once you have outlined what it is you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it, then you have much better data to make decisions on whether or not the strategy you have set out for yourself is working.
Implementing the OKR Goal-Setting Strategy
For Sarah, every quarter she does an OKR report for her business; Objectives and Key Results. This basically helps you determine what your goal is and how you will know once you’ve achieved it. A lot of people set goals without actually creating measurement parameters that allow you to see if you have actually reached your goals or not. The Key Result is asking yourself three months down the line, “How am I going to know that I have achieved my goal? How do I know that it worked?” For example, your objective might be to grow your audience. The key result would be to have triple engagement in your Facebook group, triple the number of Twitter followers, and 500 more subscribers on your email list. Do this at the beginning of every quarter to have those three months to garner the perfect amount of data. Break your goals down into steps with results analyze at the end of the quarter without going a full year realizing that you were going in completely the wrong direction.
Planning Ahead to Balance Business and the Mom-Life
Sarah had her first child almost two years ago and now she is in the stage where she has to decide if they are going to have a second child. If so, what would it look like for their careers, for their lives, and for their businesses? According to Sarah, her first pregnancy was no walk in the park! She was sick for half of it, she was vomiting a tremendous amount and spent most of her time in bed. It really surprised her how hard it was. Now that she has the data from her first pregnancy she has decided she is going to plan the next pregnancy differently! She had to do some hard thinking on where she truly wanted to spend her limited amount of energy, especially with not having as many hours as she has now.
Sarah used a time-mapping project to answer three questions. First, how many hours do you have in a week? This includes daycare coverage, nap time, and how many days a week you work. Then take into account your time for exercise, doctors appointments, commute, lunch time and add everything up. All of those things are part of your normal day, and pretending they don’t exist is falsifying the data. Once you have your number of hours, step two is finding out how many weeks you have in your ideal year. If vacation and sabbaticals are something you want to plan your life around, add that time in, and don’t forget to include sick leave for you and your child. Then you can determine how many work hours you have in a year.
Creating Your “Don’t” List and Focusing On What’s Most Important
Once you’ve gathered all the data on how many working hours you have in a year, now you have to look at your business data; what do you spend your time on? This can include categories like writing, marketing, team meetings, public speaking, podcasting, lead generation, and relationship building. Include wish list items, because it is important to know what’s important for your business that is not getting done. Once you have your categories set up, calculate how many hours you spend on each per week. Often you will realize you are planning a week that requires way more hours of work than are actually available. This is where your “don’t-list” comes in. Determine what’s most important for your business, and spend your energy there to give you the biggest return — bang for your buck! Cut out the things in your business that are not worth the return, even if it means saying no to clients or stepping away from speaking events.
- Following Through With Cutting Down In Your Business. [0:05:20.1]
- Prioritizing For Effective Decision Making Strategy. [0:06:34.1]
- Implementing the OKR Goal-Setting Strategy. [0:07:54.1]
- Planning Ahead to Balance Business and the Mom-Life. [0:12:38.1]
- Creating Your “Don’t” List and Focusing On What’s Most Important. [0:21:25.1]
- How many hours do you have in your best week?
- How many weeks do you have in your ideal year?
- How long do things take you on average, in any given week?