Ep 185 | Take Back Your time in 2023 with Chelsey Newmyer

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It's a new year. You might be thinking about resolutions and changes you want to make in your personal and professional life. One thing I'm always working on improving is my productivity. I love my job and the work I do, but finding success doesn't mean spinning my wheels and working 16 + hour days. Chelsey Newmyer is here to help share some strategies for how you can find more efficiency in the work you do and how you find balance in your life.

What you'll learn:

→ easy ways to see big impact in your productivity.
→ what your personal style is.
→ how to time block.
→ ways to move through perfectionism.

Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:

[5:38] Two of the fastest paths to productivity. #1 Inbox management – it helps remove overwhelm when your inbox is clean and helps you to not to miss an important email. #2 -Permission to work how you work best. There is no one way to being productive. Be honest with yourself to work the. way you work best. Once you know how you work best come together as a team and communicate how you'll integrate that together for workplace productivity.
[8:5] How to figure out your personal style. Determine what your natural daily rhythm is – you can do this with a chronotype. Use this information to build your personal and professional routine. This can also come into play with how you manage the tasks on your schedule, when you book meetings with donors, team meetings, etc.
[15:07] Time block your schedule. Give yourself blocks of time that are at least an hour to get tasks done. Really it's about taking control of your calendar. Ensure you task list for the day really only has 3-5 big things to accomplish. Don't get stuck in planning mode and forget to move into doing move. 
[25:10] Perfectionism is. atype of procrastination. When you find yourself in those moments, take a minute and ask yourself, “what's the holdup?” Identify where the block is coming from so you can move through it and move on.


Find your Chronotype

Chelsey Newmyer

Chelsey Newmyer

Founder, Chelsey Newmyer Coaching

Chelsey Newmyer is a nerd for all things time management and productivity. After years of reading frustrating productivity advice that didn't match her life, she started her coaching business to help small solopreneurs and Military Spouses maximize their time by getting the personalized productivity they need to reach their goals. She’s a Navy spouse and currently live on Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba with my husband and their dog, Leia. Learn more: https://chelseynewmyer.com

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Full Transcript

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Welcome to 2023 Can you believe it? I cannot believe we are already here. And what better subject to kick to kick off in the new year then to talk about productivity and how to get our time back. January is all about new resolutions, new ideas, a new way of doing things trying to set those good habits. And so I'm so excited for this episode.

Chelsey Newmyer, is a nerd for all things time management and productivity. After years of reading, frustrating productivity advice that didn't match her life, she started her coaching business to help small so small solopreneurs and military spouses maximize their time by getting the personalized productivity they need to reach their goals. She's a navy spouse and currently lives in Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba with her husband and dog. Yeah, we have such a great conversation about ways to think about how you spend your time.

And what I love about this conversation is, it's very personal, she's not giving you some cookie cutter outline and telling you that this is the way that it is right. She's giving you some really great advice to really look inward and figure out how you yourself operate, and what's going to make the most fit for you. And then how do you integrate that within your team space. So whether you work for yourself, or you work in a team, small or large, you're gonna get great tips and resources. So I really think you're going to enjoy this episode.

But before we get into it, it's brought to you by our office hours, our digital marketing therapy sessions, head on over to https://thefirstclick.net/officehours, and book some time with me, it's a new year, walk me through your plans, what you have for your goals. And we'll help you refine your marketing strategies. These 30 minute sessions are great if you just need a little bit of help from a nonprofit marketing consultant, but don't want to hire on somebody full time. So again, https://thefirstclick.net/officehours. Let's get into the episode.

[INTRO] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business. 

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hey, everybody, please join me in welcoming Chelsey Newmyer to the podcast. Chelsea, thanks for joining me today.

[Chelsey Newmyer] Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah. And we are talking about time management today, which is oddly interesting, because we're recording this podcast in September, but it doesn't go live until January you are my first episode of 2023, which I'm so excited about. And so just a lesson in getting ahead of schedule. Love it. Love it. So Chelsea, you are all about time management, and all about fitting in the important things into your life. Why is this such a passion of yours?

[Chelsey Newmyer] Oh, my gosh, it's such a great question. So I was inspired to start my business. Because I was reading some really terrible productivity advice. And I've always been a nerd for All Things To Do lists and organized and I was always that kind of that go to person to help things go faster. But I was reading some book on time management was written by this high level executive at some big company. And he talked about taking a nap in the middle of his day, and how his assistant just prepared everything for all of his meetings. And he would multitask during those meetings, because he didn't actually really need to be there. When I was just so frustrated, you know, at the time, I was working in a traditional office environment and going in every day. And I thought to myself, Okay, who's going to tell my boss I need to couch in my office. I'm so sorry. I need to block out an entire day for deep work. You can't call me. Right. I just felt like so much of the productivity advice out there was written for people who were just at a different level or had more control over their day. And as someone who was working again, in that traditional work environment, and starting my own business, it just didn't apply to me. And so I wanted to create something that made productivity personal, right, we are all built so differently. We some people are morning people, some people are night people, some people are all digital, some people like pen and paper. And so I really wanted the opportunity to talk with people about what's going to work best for them. And so I love a good to do list, I can geek out about technology hacks and tricks. And again, just making everything a little bit faster and easier. But really what it comes down to is you have to find a system that works best for you.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, and that's the pros and cons of the books, right? Like they give you all these amazing tools but sometimes they almost make you less productive because you're trying to integrate all of these things that other people think works but it does for them. I mean, obviously it's helped them be successful that just isn't the right fit for for you. I think that's what really smart?

[Chelsey Newmyer] Yeah, I never want anyone to feel like they have to copy paste anyone else's system for like, just because those big rich guys wake up at four o'clock in the morning does not mean that you need to wake up at four o'clock in the morning to be successful. So again, it all goes comes down to trial and error and practice and talking it out about what's going to make sense for you.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love that. So as you've worked with clients kind of what impact have you seen just in overall, like productivity in a company or even as a, like a small shop? Like? How have you seen this really kind of dramatically change the way that a company can operate or a business can grow?

[Chelsey Newmyer] Absolutely. So there's two observations that I see the fastest. The first is honestly inbox management, which sounds really silly. But people are so overwhelmed with their inboxes usually, and I see one of the biggest holdups tends to be response time tend to be emails getting lost or misplaced or mismanaged. And so when I can work with someone to just show them some different kind of tips and tricks in their inbox, and honestly get rid of a lot of the junk and the stuff that they don't need, so that those good important things don't go missing. That honestly, just expedites productivity because people are more confident and comfortable with what's coming in and how they can manage it. And then the second one is just getting people permission to work in a way that works best for them. So oftentimes, that looks like someone who loves to take notes on pen and paper. And then we'll go back and retype all of the notes so that they're digital, which is just not a great use of time when there are so many different ways that you can utilize paper notes and work that into a strength and work that into a system that keeps everything that important that you need, you know, make sure nothing gets lost, make sure you share notes with your co workers, like there's a lot of different ways to do it that don't involve you duplicating those efforts. So those are probably the two fastest things and other permissions come up as well. Like sometimes people think that they have to do something, again, because they saw someone rich and famous do it or because that's how someone a coworker does it when it it just honestly makes things a little bit harder for them.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, I think also, the pressure of I'm getting emails from my boss at three in the morning, now I have to respond to them right away, because that's when they work versus like, you know, I think like your to your points, how do we set those expectations for us as a team to work collaboratively but still work? When we're at our best but not put other pressure on other people?

[Chelsey Newmyer] 100% it's so important if you are in a company or our shop to have those communication expectations established, right. And, again, some people do like working late at night. And so you can use things like delayed delivery, or even just having the conversation with someone who reports to you or someone you report to to say, Hey, I see you're emailing me at this time. What is your expectation for that turnaround? Or what is my What is your? The I don't expect you to reply to me at three o'clock in the morning. I'm just that's what I'm most clear headed. That's when I like to work, right. And so that conversation is so important to manage expectations in the office.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah. Okay, so we're at the start of 2023. It is the time of resolutions and change behavior. However you feel about all of that. I don't really care. But January does just feel like a fresh start. And kind of a way to maybe create some new habits and productivity. So if we're feeling inspired January, like what would be kind of the lowest hanging fruit as far as really kind of tapping into what our personal productivity style is.

[Chelsey Newmyer] Yeah, such a great question. I think the first one is understanding your natural kind of strings and rhythms throughout the day. So this is something called a chronotype. You can if you do a quick Google, it's like the night owls or third birds, there's lions, dolphins, there's all kinds of animals that represent these different Chrono types. So we can certainly talk more about but having a good sense of when you are going to be at your best and when you can do your most focused work whether that's in the mornings and the afternoons or at night. That's a great place to start. Because from there you can start building your what I would call an ideal day your ideal workday, right? Like what time would be the best for you to wake up. For me, for example, I'm not a super I am not a morning person per se. I cannot like hit the ground and go run. But I can wake up early and do my little morning routine, and then go for a workout and then get into my day right and but for years, I tried to force myself to like get up and go get up and go for a run and it failed every time for years. And so once I started once you start recognizing when those natural rhythms are when those strengths are going to show up. From there, you can really start building that ideal day and time and you will maximize your productivity because you're blocking out the time to do the best work at that time. Well, and so if you're working in a team, and everybody has like different productivity, I

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] mean, I think that to some degree, this is a little bit easier with more of us working remote, like it's a little easier to kind of manage your schedule, but how do you like if I sit down and I say, okay, like, I'm a more I am a morning person, I get up between 530 and six and just straight up work the first hour and a half of my day, and then I go into, like, get kids ready for school, all of that stuff mode. Um, and we were kind of laughing about this before we got on the call, but like, I might afternoons like from one to three, like, there is nothing happening that is like really requires lots of things. Pardon podcast is great. I love to talk. But like, what if our rhythms are very different from other people on our team? Like, how do we kind of maneuver through that so that we can kind of boost that productivity for everybody?

[Chelsey Newmyer] Yeah, so I love having the opportunity to do like Team retreats, I've offered a few of them, and then from participated in quite a few of them. And that's really a great place to set some of those expectations. So again, it's going back to some of the communication expectations. But also, maybe you can agree to have no meeting Mondays, or, you know, picking certain blocks of time giving people more permission and more autonomy to block their calendar, about when they're going to set meeting times. Right. So I love having conversations and getting people in the room to start understanding how they work. Like, if you're in an office spot, if my doors closed, does that mean you can knock on it? Or does that mean, I really need to be left alone? Because I'm focusing on something? What about if you're out? If you don't have a door to your office? What about your headphones, right? Like, what's the signal that someone has to say, Please don't disturb me? How do you utilize slack or the chat functions that are there's a gazillion of those. So again, it goes back to just setting expectations and managing those expectations. And I think a lot of people unnecessarily give up the power of their calendar to appear more accommodating. And I would challenge those people to, again, just block the calendar. And so people can't just keep throwing things on, especially if you are in an office space where you have a shared calendar. So you may have more power than you think. And I

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] think it's a mental thing to like, we think if a donor wants to set a meeting, and we and we don't say I can do it right away, like oh, no, like, now they're going to be upset with us. Or, like if we don't respond to somebody right away, oh, no, like, now they're going to be upset with us. But like, you know, as a solo, or solopreneur, when I first started my business, and now I have I use acuity that does all of my automatic automated scheduling for like my podcast or for consulting calls, I really had to go in and set specific parameters, because I suddenly found I was losing complete control, and have no time to actually do the work. So like now you can only schedule podcast with me on Tuesdays and Wednesdays like I only take consulting calls on certain days, and I've never had anybody complain. I'm so happy you said that. And I think the lesson that I think the shift started with me when I started reaching out to people about calls and stuff. And I would notice that people would book things out like even six weeks later, like, oh, like, you can do that. And it's okay. Like it's okay. Yeah.

[Chelsey Newmyer] And people also respond well, to availability. So going back to the donor conversation, whenever I would do outreach to donors, I would say, Are you available at this time or at this time, you know, you give them a choice, but if you just say, let me know what works best for you, you're setting yourself up for 10 back and forth emails. And so, you know, kind of again, telling them are providing them some options. One just greatly reduces the number of back and forth emails you're gonna have, but also lets you control the calendar and the meeting times a little bit more accuracy and what's gonna work best for you.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Okay, so, you know, like, most of our listeners are like small shops, they only maybe have a handful of employees if at all, or they're solopreneurs. And so if we've kind of taken some time to figure out this is how we best operate and when we best operate. We're communicating with our team on how we can all kind of work together. What would maybe kind of be that next cuz I don't give people too many things to do right away, but like what would be then the next kind of step As far as now, taking advantage of the time that I've sort of figured out is my best work time for different tasks.

[Chelsey Newmyer] Yeah, so then that's where like time blocking comes into play or scheduled blocking, people call it a couple different things. But I love time blocking as system. And that's the Calendar tool I talk about when I talk about time blocking, I mean it in a pretty broad terms, I don't recommend people time blocking 30 minute intervals. And actually, you can probably even go longer than an hour. Because where people are resistant to it is, well, what if something takes too long? What if it takes longer than I expected it to go? What if something has to shift around. And so by giving yourself longer blocks of time, and then theming, those blocks, you're much more likely to be able to stick with it, you're much more likely to be able to jump back in if something does distract you. So again, if you get a call from a donor, or from a client, in the middle of that block, you want to take that right, like those things do come up in those emergencies, and you can feel empowered to react to those. And then you know exactly what you're going to come back to you don't let it derail you. So that would be my first recommendation is start, again, controlling that calendar blocking out what you're going to be working on within those times and a loose terms. And then give yourself kind of a daily task list that has no more than like three to five items on it again, we can be super easily overwhelmed by all of the work we have to do because it is so much stuff. But if you give yourself three to five things, you know that that listen at the end of the day is probably going to be 10. But at least you can feel good that you've got those three to five things done. If we start with 10, and you end up with 20, you're going to end your day feeling really overwhelmed and defeated, because you didn't get quote unquote, more done. So set realistic expectations for yourself every day, that you feel good, because you can always do more.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I know you can always do more. So it's like, you know, like the things that you would put on those lists? would those be like the main, like, if I only get this thing done, then at least I know, I'm moving my business forward. So you know, like, a lot of times I think we spend and spin our wheels on things like social media, or like planning something not actually executing on it, or we you know, we spend a lot of time energy on the tasks we like to do versus the things that we know we need to get done. So would you put on that list, like really be honest with yourself about the core things that are going to drive things forward?

[Chelsey Newmyer] 100%, I am such a procraft, the planner, I will I will make beautiful plans or my social media or munching something or rewrite my to do list all under the guise of being productivity, when in reality it is is just procrastination, right, I would better use my time actually crossing something off my list rather than rewriting the list. So 100% be really strategic about what you're putting on those top three things, but in the same vein, make them really actionable, right? So for example, if you are, let's talk about, you know, marketing, the task wouldn't be create 2023 is marketing plan. Right? Like that is not, that is not a task that goes on the task list, right? You, you want it to be a super small step that you can conceivably do at the beginning and an end in the amount of time that you've allotted for it. So, you know, maybe that's brainstorm for 20 minutes, email ideas, right? Like, you know, again, whatever that task may be, but give yourself something really concrete to start on. Because if the task is FY 23 marketing plan, that is a recipe for procrastination. Yeah. Because where do you even start with that?

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Pick it off the list? Like Exactly. There's no way that would get checked off? Yep. No, that's so good. Okay, so I want to touch on the fact that I know you work with a lot of solopreneurs. And you work with a lot of nonprofits. We work with a lot of nonprofits that are founder LED or have like, maybe one main person. And so the work so much bleeds into our personal lives. I think it's hard to find that that balance. So how can we kind of find these routines? Or how can we integrate this like I work from home, I'm working right off my kitchen, like my computer, everything is always here right now. Like there's no reason my husband walks in, at the end of his day, because he works a corporate job and says, Are y'all done? I'm like, Oh, I'm never all done. Right. Like that feeling. Yeah. So kind of do you have ways to just kind of shut down and how do we, if we are working at three in the morning? This is a very long winded question. But I think you know, like if we're working with like, this is when I work best and I have the flexibility to do that in my home. How do we not let that just take over?

[Chelsey Newmyer] Oh, it's so hard. I think especially with so many people working from home there. The lines are so blurred. And even if you don't work from home, you have your phone on you all the time people bring their work laptops home, it's it is really hard. And I don't have a real clear response because it's easy to say, Oh, just don't check your email. If you don't, I mean, like, that's, it's so easy to give those kinds of quick advice. And it's not, it's not practical. So honestly, my best advice is go back to that little bit of that time blocking, right, trust that if you set aside between five and seven to be family time, and that's when you've done dinner and bedtime routine with your kids. And you know, like, spend time with your partner like, if you you know, you can, you have the choice afterwards with what you get to do with your time, and I talk a lot about intentionality. So whatever you're going to do with that time, just being in deciding to be intentional about it. So if you're going to take a break, because you absolutely should take a break is that breaking the deal, walk outside, or are you going to spend that 10 minutes scrolling on social media, you accidentally end up spending 10 minutes on social media that doesn't feel like a break, it doesn't feel good, and you don't feel refreshed. So I think just being starting to be really intentional with what you're doing. And that time can make you just feel more present wherever you are. And that way, if you choose to jump back to work a little bit later, after the kids go to bed or after you know life kind of wraps up, it's okay as long as that's your choice, and you know what you're doing, and you're not clicking around and your emails or clicking around on different articles, thinking that you're being productive. And thinking that you feeling like you have to work when really you're not actually getting anything done.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] What I love about the whole theme of this is that if we are instituting some of the things that you're talking about, we're working on that like smaller to do list, we're really honoring our own cycle and the day, our productivity will increase. And so hopefully right then that downtime, that feeling ability to kind of step away, and that pressure will will go away a little bit. Because you know, at the end of whatever day, you've said that you've accomplished those key things that are going to push you forward. And then probably even more than that, because you're honoring yourself and the work that you need to do.

[Chelsey Newmyer] Yeah, absolutely. Hopefully, there's less guilt when you take those breaks.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Oh my gosh, always Michael. I know, I think every day I'm like, I'm gonna take the dog for a long walk this afternoon. And like, that's gonna be my break. And then it's like, 130. And I'm like, but I just want to get these things. Yes, it's a work in progress. So where are we? Oh, my goodness. Um, well, like I said, I don't want to give people too many things to work on. Because I think that also, we don't want to continue to progress to plan how we're going to be more productive. That term came, I've learned that term for the first time, like two months ago, and I am obsessed with it is perfect. So true. So true. Um, I had one last question for you. And then I'd love your last takeaways. But I can't remember who said it or where it came from. But the philosophy of we will give ourselves as much like if we give ourselves two weeks to do a project will take the full two weeks versus if we give ourselves an hour and a half. And it's Parkinson's Law. Is that what it is? Okay, thank you. So, could you talk a little bit more about that, and kind of how perfection plays into some of the productivity or the lack of productivity with with that?

[Chelsey Newmyer] Yeah, absolutely. So Parkinson's Law is that work will take will fill the time that you've allotted for it. And so that's another reason why time blocking people can be really worried about it, because they think things are going to take longer than they do. When the reality is like they do take longer because you are not focusing on one thing at a time, or we are just be bopping all over the place. It's so hard to concentrate these days, our phones are going off emails, everything. So being more focus, and that's why I love that the three to five things and the to do list approach as well. Because you can really just focus on the one thing first be the one thing and sometimes I'll say this out loud to myself, like okay, Chelsea, one thing at a time. Like, it's so hard, I'm gonna say it out loud to myself. So yeah, it's Parkinson's Law, it is making it just guidelines so that we can give ourselves the appropriate amount of time. And sometimes this takes practice. I recommend people practice, right, like, learn how long things are going to take, right? You cannot schedule all you know, a month's worth of Instagram in 20 minutes like that is just wildly impractical, right? You're going to need more time. So give yourself that time give yourself some practice with it. And, and yeah, I think that's also why we see those really funny memes that's like, I just, you know, me celebrating the five minute email that took two weeks to send right and so set yourself some deadlines, block things into into those time blocks, and give yourself some grace and practice to get that all right.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love that. Do well any final kind of tips or words of wisdom that you would love to share with folks about how they can ramp up their productivity?

[Chelsey Newmyer] Yeah, well, one last thing you mentioned kind of that perfectionist tendency which I talk a lot about procrastination when I work with clients, and procrastination is 100%. A form of perfectionism is 100%, a form of procrastination. So we talk a lot about that. And there's different ways to overcome procrastination. So also just being really thoughtful. If you find yourself procrastinating, just ask yourself why, like, what's the holdup? What's causing you to have that block? And if you can, starting to identify the why behind it, you're much more likely to

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] break that habit. Oh, my gosh, and that is like a whole nother podcast episode that we could go down. Because I agree with you. We have so many clients that we work on websites for and the things that hold them up from launching. I'm like, Are you kidding? Like, it's gonna be okay.

[Chelsey Newmyer] Yeah, no one's paying more attention than you are.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] And I think it's like entrepreneurs and founders, like that hurts us. We're like, Wait, you mean, I'm not going to launch this insert, whatever, like Program website, whatever. People aren't just going to flock to it immediately. Because they think I'm still amazing.

[Chelsey Newmyer] No, it's not that they're not going to point out every spelling mistake you have. And

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love it. Well, Chelsea, I love these tips that you shared, I hope that you will take these to heart 2023 will be an incredibly productive year for you. I know I feel it. If people want to learn more about you, and how they can learn from you and get in touch with you. How do they do that? Sure. So

[Chelsey Newmyer] my website is Chelsea neumayer.com. And that's Chelsea with a why. And then my Instagram is Chelsea and coaching. So ch e l s eyn coaching most of my stuff on Instagram, but I'd love to chat with you there.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love it. And we will have all of these links on the show notes at the first click dotnet forward slash 185. Chelsea, thank you so much for joining me today.

[Chelsey Newmyer] Thank you so much. And it's great.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] How incredible was that, I am so excited to sit down and just kind of re journal my day and what works, rethink about my kids school schedule and how I want to kind of operate within that. And really pay attention to how I'm going to use my time and hit the goals that I want. I know we have so many things on our plate, but really drilling it down is incredible. And I love the idea of only having a few things on my to do list to really just make sure I'm making the biggest impact. Now it will be a challenge for a lot of you but you can do it. I thank you so much for listening, and I can't wait for all of the fun episodes that we have queued up for 2023. It's going to be an incredible year and I'm so excited to be by your side throughout it. For now, I hope you subscribe where you listen so you don't miss a single episode. And make sure you head on over to the first click dotnet forward slash YouTube to watch video versions of all these episodes. For now, I'll see you in the next one.

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