Have you ever wondered how you can increase your productivity in your professional and personal life to achieve your goals? In this episode, Camille welcomes Cara Harvey, the host of A Purpose Driven Mom podcast, a productivity coach, and author of The 15 Minute Formula, where she aims to provide tools and resources for women to reach their goals, empower themselves, and find happiness.
The 15-minute formula really is about a mix of having a really good vision and breakdown of where you want to go, but also proactively using your power pockets on stuff that doesn’t matter as much so you can maximize the time you actually have to do the things that actually matter to you.
Cara shares her journey of becoming a productivity coach and how she helps women increase their productivity not only as mothers but also as entrepreneurs. She shares her best practices on setting the four types of goals and how to break them down into time blocks to make the tasks more attainable. She also shares her 15-minute formula and how you can use it both in your business and family life.
I think when we can realize that the way that we show up in our small chunks matter and ditch the perfectionism that we have in our heads, then we can make some progress.
If you’re interested in increasing your productivity and becoming more effective at goal setting, tune into this episode to hear Cara’s different strategies on how you can achieve your goals and have a life of happiness and fulfillment.
The method is not about perfection. It’s not about showing up all the time. It’s not about staying up until 2 AM in the morning to catch up on your laundry or finishing things. It’s about being international.
Interested in becoming a virtual assistant? Join the VA Course Waitlist:
Access the 5-day email sequence to help you discover your purpose:
Purchase Cara’s The 15 Minute Formula:
CARA HARVEY [0:00]
Basic principles of this, it’s like this mix of intentionality and grace. That’s what I really think the whole thing is. I’m purposeful about the time I have, but I’m not going to beat myself up over what I didn’t do. Instead, I’m going to applaud myself for showing up even just 15 minutes.
CAMILLE WALKER [0:16]
So, you want to make an impact. You’re thinking about starting a business sharing your voice. How do women do it that handle motherhood, family, and still chase after those dreams? We’ll listen each week as we dive into the stories of women who know. This is Call Me CEO.
Hey, everyone. I’m so excited for you to hear today’s episode. It’s about productivity and how as moms, we can take just 15 minutes a day to achieve our goals, not only in our personal lives, but also our business and in our learning and in our fulfillment of feeling good and knowing we can contribute and have time for ourselves and our families. So, today, Cara Harvey is our guest. She has built a massive great group of moms who are achieving goals both in professional and in life. So, I can’t wait to jump into this episode. Let’s go.
Welcome back everyone to another episode of Call Me CEO. And today, we are talking about productivity, goal setting, and how to create big things out of little tiny steps. And Cara Harvey is here with us as an expert from A Purpose Driven Mom. She has a podcast as well as her own program where she helps moms do this very thing. So, Cara, thank you so much for being on the show today.
Yeah, Camille. I‘m really excited to talk about this.
Yeah. We have a lot of synergy. We just started talking right before the call and we’re like, “Oh my gosh, if there’s anything moms need, it’s how to overcome overwhelm and how to create systems for getting it done.” So, how did you get started in helping moms do this and tell me about that journey a little bit before we get into the meat?
Sure, yeah. I’m definitely one of those accident entrepreneurs where I think a lot of people that I meet fall into this category. I was a schoolteacher for 8 years and I loved it until I didn’t. And burnout came hard. And I remember the moment it happened.
I was actually on an admin track. So, I was the principal of our summer school program and last day of summer school overlapped with the first day of regular school. And I asked my principal what I was supposed to do and he told me to figure it out. I just had to be in two places at once and I thought I could not do this anymore. My anxiety was getting really high. I’m someone who’s always struggled with anxiety and some mental health issues. I had lost myself along the way.
So, I came home to my husband and said, “I don’t think I can do this anymore. I love it, but I’m losing myself.” And he is the most supportive person in the world. He said, “Great. We need to make money. So, figure something else out.” And that year, I don’t love the word hustle one bit, it’s not a word in my vocabulary now, but it’s what I did that year.
And I said, what can I do to make some money? And it was dabbling in network marketing and I thought, what if I did the thing and didn’t replace my income, but made enough to be able to do that bare minimum build so we can leave? And that’s what I did that 8th year teaching. And I remember saying to my husband, “We’re going to be fine. This is okay.” And he’s like, “Do it.” And then, three weeks later, he lost his job and was out of work for a very long period of time.
And I thought, I’ve got to figure it out. And so, I went back to what I know, which is hustle, which is working longer hours, carrying my laptop around, glued to my phone and my computer. And listen, I did full-time network marketing in the sense of 40-60 hours a week. I was still doing all those things that burn me out teaching. And I did it for about three or four years.
And on the outside, it looked great. I had this six-figure business, 200+ people on my team, but I was drowning because I realized I only knew how to operate in productivity one way and that was go and that was burnout. And so, when I was pregnant with my son, so my kids now are 15, 6 and almost 5.
So, about 5 years ago, when I was pregnant with my son, I said to my husband, “I think I just want to switch. I just feel this tug to do something else. I can go and stop network marketing. It just isn’t filling me up anymore. What do you think?” And he was like, “We’re making decent money now possibly with this, whatever you want to do.” And again, he was working again. I said, “Do you think we’re fine?” He said, “Yes.” And again, about a month later, he lost his job. And this time, out of work, for almost 9 months.
And during this time period, I was still making money network marketing in the way you make money passively when you don’t really work at it anymore, but you’ve grown a business. But I wasn’t bringing anything in with my business. I was trying to grow it. I had a newborn. I was dealing with postpartum anxiety and depression and I felt stuck.
And so, during that first year of trying to grow my business, having two kids under two at home and just trying to figure it out, I found my passion in productivity. I was trying to throw spaghetti at the wall for a really long time, but there’s recipes. I cannot cook. I don’t know who I was trying to be. It’s a mess.
But when I finally found the thing that lit me up that I was skilled at that I was in my mind a bit more of an expert than somebody else in, things started to link up. And so, that second year, I went in and I said, “I can do this,” but because we had been out of work for so long, we’ve gotten into so much debt. We almost filed bankruptcy. We had actually paid a bankruptcy lawyer, but we couldn’t pay the full payment to go through the whole thing and I felt this tug from God saying to me, “Just go a little bit longer and you can do it.”
So, I wound up getting a second job at a Barnes & Noble working as a bookseller. My husband would come home. He was employed at this time and I would leave and we became passing shifts. And I was working honestly just so I could send my kids to daycare part-time for three days a week so I can have focused work time. And I did that for about a year until 2020 where I think things just linked up and were ready to go.
Moms were home. They needed help with their routines and I had built this consistent thing that I was doing, still wasn’t bringing in a ton of money, but it was there. And then, things blew up from there. I started my podcast, A Purpose Driven Mom Show. Lots of people started following me and now it’s been almost 5 years since I started my business and have been able to help thousands of women in my courses. My book came out in January.
And it’s been wild ride, but I like to share the ugly with the excitement because I think sometimes people see it and they’re like, “Look, you’ve got this together. You wrote a book or you’re doing this thing. You’ve got this six-figure business.” And I’m like, “But I didn’t.” And when I did it, my kids were home. And I think we forget that.
I think we do a lot of that comparison. I mean to say, listen, we look at everybody’s day 500 to our day 1 and we think that’s what it's supposed to be. And I share that just to tell anybody listening that everyone starts somewhere. And people will ask me, “What do you think the biggest thing was for you to have success in your business?” And it’s literally that I just didn’t stop.
Even when I did and life has not been easy the past few years, there’s so much more in that story, but even when it was super-duper hard and I did get off track and I did take days off, I picked it back up. And I think that’s one of the things that’s really important is knowing that doesn’t happen overnight, but it happens through consistency. And I’ve learned just a lot of lessons along the way about what that looks like and how that can align with my life, with my time, my family, and my priorities.
I love that. I love so much that you have that experience of those arcs and those valleys because it’s so relatable. And I feel like I’ve had the same question where I’ve been building online for 11 years through different social medias and working with big brands and businesses and different things. But one thing that’s remained the same is that you cannot stay stagnant in what you’re doing because things online especially, and in any business or in life, they’re going to change.
And so, you have to be adaptable and you have to be willing to show up even when you don’t know if what you’re doing is going to give you a return that day. It will in the long-run, but maybe what you’re working on that week or that month, it may fall through. But if you keep going, it leads to ultimate success which that is obviously true for you.
I love that you’re on such a trajectory of success and that’s so exciting. So, you released a book called The 15-Minute Formula in January. And I wanted to talk a little bit about that, about what is that formula, and how do you create success steps when you’re needing to show up, but you’re not, you just feel stuck?
Yeah. So, the book came out in January and I’m going to tell you, I know there are people who book writing is on their bucket list. That is something they’ve always wanted to do. Not at all, zero percent did I ever want to write a book. And my book came from the fact that I couldn’t find what I needed.
So, we run a book club in my membership and I’m always searching for productivity books for moms. And everything out there has this super masculine energy of hustle and go and do more and if you don’t get up at 5 AM, it’s your fault and you’re failing and you have to want it so bad, and all this trash that’s out there that it’s shame-based.
And finally, I said, it was March of 2021, and I run a virtual summit every year. I was at one of the live events and I said, “You know what?” We’re sharing all of our dreams like a catch-up thing and I was like, “You know what? I think I’m going to write a book next year.” Because me, I had made my plan for 2021, I knew what was on it. And I was like, writing a book wasn’t on it, but I thought maybe we’ll start thinking about this. And then next year, I’ll put it on the goal plan.
And I said that on a Friday and then on Monday, I got an email form one of those virtual mentors you don’t really know, but you get the newsletter. And the title was “I want to help you write your book.” That was the subject line. And I was like, wait what? What is happening right now? Talk about a sign.
It was Mike Michalowicz who wrote Profit First and Clockwork, if you’re familiar with his work. And he was hosting an in-person workshop and it was in New Jersey, literally the town my sister lives in. And I always picked two days that I take off after our summit because it’s such a big event where I’d go to a hotel. It was the exact same two days. And I thought, this is wild. And so, because of COVID, only 10 people got in. So, I applied and I got in and I thought, let me go. So, I left that event.
I teach a system called learn, plan, do and it’s really helpful if you have goals like you don’t know what you have to do. So, writing a book is a step, but I don’t know what I have to do. So, what we often do is we just jump in. We’re like, let me just work on the thing. And then, what happens as we’re working on the thing, a million steps pop us that we don’t know. So, then we didn’t give ourselves enough time to learn SEO or how to use Canva or whatever so we get tossed off course. And then, we quit because we’re overwhelmed.
So, I was like, no, I’m going to go into learning phase. So, I took that as my learning phase and I took a couple months and I learned it and then I planned it using my systems that I’m going to talk about in a second. And then, I was able to get the book from up here in my brain to published in Barnes & Nobles, in Amazon in nine months.
And so, yeah, as someone who’s never waned to do it, it was a wild ride. And I used all the same principles I teach in the book. So, the 15-minute formula is exactly that. It’s going the opposite of what society tells us. You have to give yourself all this time. Your why needs to be bigger than your excuses. If you can’t carve out three hours a day to work, it’s your fault.
And what I found for moms was that life is not like that. Our life is different. And sometimes, we need to work on our goals in the pockets of our day because honestly, when I had three kids, that is all I had. If I had 15 minutes, I would be happy. And I think we instead think that if we can’t go hard at something, we’re failing.
And so, the premise of the book is how can we instead take those big goals and break them down into could be literal 15-minute chunks? Sometimes, it’s 25, 30, you can take what you have. But how can we break it down so that when it is time to work in the pockets of our day, we don’t waste time trying to figure out what to do? We know where to get started. If we get tossed off course, we can jump back in.
And the thing that I found about 15 minutes, Camille, is that I can scroll TikTok, I can scroll through them for much longer than 15 minutes, I can just go forever on that. But if I put on a timer, I can do a lot. I learned through this process.
I teach a time inventory as one of my strategies where you go through and you write down how long things take. Because what we do is we mentally psyche ourselves out because we have unfavorable tasks and we say it’s going to take so long. So, we either over plan or under plan things. And so, instead, I can say, I know it takes me six minutes to load the dishwasher, but I’ll complain for about 20, 25, I’ll whine about doing it. It’s a mental trick to say, hey, can I get this one thing done?
And for moms, I find that we have lost so much confidence along the way that we’re capable of doing anything because we failed a lot when it comes to our goals because we’re so used to putting our own dreams on the backburner. So, what we actually need to do is get our brains back on board and showing up for these micro things every single day like, hey, maybe I didn’t get everything on my list done today for work or maybe I didn’t get everything in my evening routine done, but I did this one thing and I’m going to applaud myself for showing up and remind myself that that progress and that showing up is going to make me become the person that achieves this goal.
And then, we start to believe it and you break all your goals down. I teach four different goals, but you break them down a little bit differently for each one and you figure out where to fit them in your day. And I think when people can grasp this concept of putting less on their plates and actually achieving more, it clicks.
Because what do we do normally? We call it the Monday mentality. If you’ve ever been on a diet, you’ve probably been in this Monday mentality. You’re like, I’m going to go to the gym for three hours a day and never sniff a carb or each chocolate or whatever. And Monday, everything’s great. But then, by Tuesday, you’re like, yeah, no, I’m not doing that. And you say, I’m going to do it again on Monday, which becomes next Monday, which becomes next month.
And if you look back at your vision board, see year after year, there’s things that continue to stay on them and it’s because we’re setting ourselves up for failure, feeling like we need to show up perfectly and intensely for every single goal instead of realistically for our own lives.
Yeah. That’s so powerful. I have noticed that in my own life and I talk to my kids about this too where I’ll say, “If you had just done the thing that we talked about you doing to be able to go play or have video game time or whatever it was, you would’ve been done by now ten times over.” So, I will actually set timers for them too.
And I think that that puts that part in your brain where you’re like, okay, I don’t want to do this, but I can do this for at least this amount of time. And I think you’re right with building that confidence because it is so hard to get huge blocks of time as a mom. And oftentimes when I’ve had people ask me, “How many hours do you work a week or what hours are you working?” And I through having four kids at home and I never had a nanny during those times, I always said, “It’s in the pockets of the day.”
I’m like, so it would take me some time to really figure out how many hours, but I squeeze it in. So, I love that you said it that way because honestly, if you’re a mom, that’s the way it gets done. So, I want to hear about your four different types of goals. Talk about that with us a little bit. I want to hear more about that system.
Sure. And I want to say something about what you just said about the 15 minutes. I think this is a mindset shift we all need to have because we often can get into perfectionist mode and we have this vision of what it’s supposed to look like. And when it doesn’t look that way, we say we can’t do it. I want to do this morning routine, but my kids wake up and get in the way. So, screw it. I’m not going to do any of it. I don’t have this beautiful work block that I want to do so I’ll just put it off.
And I think when we can realize that the way that we show up in our small chunks matter and ditch the perfectionism that we have in our heads, then we can make some progress. And that’s where we go in and we break the goals down.
So, the four goals I teach, and I teach them differently because I realized people look at goals like one size fits all. Everyone just wants, “Give me the Pinterest chart. How do I make this smart goal?” And smart goals are great, but not every goal can be broken down the same. So, I teach a numerical goal, a project-based goal, a habit-based goal, and a learning goal. And these are the four types of goals.
People say, “How many goals should I have?” I tell them if you have these four in your month and for your business, so I have four of these for personal and I have four of these for business, that is fine. And we’re not working on all of them at the same level and the same intensity. I really think it’s important to theme out your months. So, I always tell people, when you pick one theme for your month, and it’s not saying that’s the only thing I’m working on. It’s saying this is what I’m focusing the most on. That’s where the attention goes.
So, numerical goals I think are the easiest. And I like to start with these ones because they’re not emotional. They’re literally math. And every other goal will have a numerical goal inside of it. So, it’s really the foundation and this is so simple. A lot of us know how to do this. If you say you want to read a book and you know how many pages are in it, you’re just going to divide the pages by how many days of the month you’re going to do it, so that you know when to do it.
Now, I don’t recommend anyone do anything seven days. I know 21 days make a habit and blah, blah, blah, but I’m not perfect. I don’t do anything seven days a week. Again, back to the dishes, because that’s one of my goals on my list, my kids play sports. So, we come home late and I don’t want to do the dishes. I’m not going to beat myself up over it. But if I set myself up to do seven days and I miss one day, the Monday mentality is going to kick in and say, never mind. Instead, we leave a buffer for us to be human beings and for life to happen. So, I always say five days.
If you’re doing a numerical goal, you might say, hey, I’m going to read this book. You divide it up. You know your end date and you say, how many days am I going to read? Okay. I’m going to read three days out of the week and let’s say it’s two hundred pages. So, that’s 10 pages a day and divide it by 20. So, this tells me I need to do 10 pages a day.
Now, that’s what a lot of people do. But where I want you to take a step further with your numerical goals then is do some pre-assigning. So, if you’re going to look at next month, for example, and you say, this is the numerical goal that I’m going to be doing and this is what I’m going to work on, you go into your planner on Sundays or whenever you plan for the week and you say, which chapters am I actually reading?
So, my planner does not say, read. It will say, read pages 1-10. It’ll say exactly what I’m doing because I want to take any roadblock out of it. And then, what’s cool is you can customize it. A lot of times, people will over plan and say, okay, I’m always going to read during my self-care block. So, I teach a time-blocking system where you theme your blocks. But that doesn’t always work every day because what if you have a different schedule? What if something changes?
So, each week you decide. What five days this week makes sense for me to hit my goal? And what’s really great is when you plan the month out like this, you can take a step back and at the end of the week, you can say, I missed two days. All I have to do is readjustment on my math now. Instead of what we do like, I’m going to read 52 books this year and then you forget about it. And then, it’s September and you’re like, yeah, I’m really behind.
But if I’m checking in on it every single month, every single week, I know exactly what to do. And so, one of the keys to planning though is once you’ve got this goal, this 15-minute task that you’re going to do, then you plot in your week. And you start to say, it’s 15 minutes. Where am I going to spend 15 minutes today on a numerical goal? And that’s it.
And I will say this. We deserve way more than 15 minutes a day in our goals, but realistically, sometimes that’s what we get. And so, instead of filling our days with everything for everyone else, I encourage people to just break your goals down first and then ask yourself, where am I going to put this goal on which day? And remind yourself. It’s 15 minutes. It’s 10 pages a day. If I keep moving on that, I will finish X amount of books. I will walk X amount of miles. I will get X amount of clients, whatever it looks like for you.
So, numerical goals are always the most simple because they really don’t take a lot of work to breakdown and they’re just basic math. So, that’s always where I start people, but then we get into a little bit of work and this is the project-based goals. So, project-based goals are ones that have more of an end date. These are ones that are I’m going to start my podcast. I’m going to design my website, if you’re at home and you’re going to declutter your house, whatever it is.
And what you are going to do for project-based goals are instead of breaking it down by numbers because there’s no numbers there, you’re going to start to make some batch lists. So, I recommend you go through and you write down all the batch categories for that project.
So, I’m planning my son’s birthday party. This is a project-based goal. His birthday is next month. So, I might have decorations, food, invitations, things to order. I’m starting a podcast or I want to do podcasts, so I might have outlining, images, editing, show notes. And you write down all the subtasks underneath it in about 150minute chunks.
And I say this because maybe you have more time, but I like to do everything in 15-minute chunks. I’m not going to lie. Today, I’m like, no, I’m not really feeling like working much. I have some interviews, whatever. I can still pull one or two things from my list and make moves on it. Instead of if all I wrote down was like, record podcast number 500. Do I have the outline done? Do I even know what I’m doing? It just feels too big.
So, once you’ve broken it down into literally like these 15 minutes like I’m decluttering the kitchen. It’s going to say spice cabinets and Tupperware and plates. I’m not just going to write declutter kitchen. Then you back up a step and it becomes a numerical goal. So, you look at your tasks. So, if I’m starting a podcast and let’s say I have 50 subtasks there, all I’m doing is math. Okay. I have 50 subtasks. I would like to complete this podcast in the next 10 weeks, 5 days a week. I know how many tasks I have to do each day to get there.
And you can customize this. And this way, again, you’ve got the 15-minute tasks, but now you have the urgency that’s based on what you need. And I think this is super helpful especially when it comes to working from home when your kids are around because now you can prioritize the project. You can say these are the actual tasks.
If you’ve ever sat down to do a big project for work and you haven’t done this, come on. Our brains are like, what are we doing? You’re just staring off into the space. We get distracted. We get overwhelmed or we do this. Our brain starts to say, you can’t do this. You don’t have the time do this.
But if you’ve got it in 15 minutes, do I have 15 minutes to work on this? And so, in the beginning, when I was working in the pockets with my kids home, that’s exactly what I would do. And I would put what 15-minute tasks while my baby naps. Where is this 15-minute task going to go?
And I still need to use this system for my own goals now. I’m working on a decluttering goal now and I just don’t want to do it. And here’s why this works. We rely on our motivation. We think motivation’s going to carry us through. You hear this all the time. Be motivated. You have to want it. Motivation’s fickle. Motivation is a muscle.
I am a highly-driven person, but I’m going to tell you, I really like Netflix. I like to read. I like TikTok. I don’t always want to do stuff. I just don’t want to do it. So, instead of telling myself, I’ll just do it because it’s important to me or because I’m motivated, I’m literally going to say myself, from this block, you’re going to go and I’m looking at my office because that’s my project. Tonight, I’m going to declutter that one game shelf. I’m going to put on a 15-minute timer and I’m going to do the one thing.
And then, because I’ve mapped the next steps out, if I feel like doing more, if I have time for more, maybe nap’s longer, whatever it is, I know my next step and I’m not wasting time. But if not, I will pat myself on the back and be like, “Cara, I’m really proud of you. Thanks for showing up.” And I’ve built that muscle. So, after you put those 15 minutes for your first numerical goal into your day, then you add another 15 for a project-based goal and that’s where we do those first two.
I love that. I love that it’s 15 minutes and I love that it’s those when. Okay, so I have questions about that specifically because I think that some of us especially those that are maybe more creative by nature have a really hard time taking something big and sectioning it into little bits like that. So, what would you say to the person who maybe has a hard time breaking up a big goal down into bite-sized pieces like that?
Yeah. I get this a lot by the women in my membership because it’s that. There’s a couple of things. I don’t know how to do it, but then also that creative piece of when I’m in a flow, I’m in a flow. And then also, there’s just some things that our brains are better to do longer.
For example, writing the book. I didn’t write it in 15-minute chunks. I wrote it in 60-minute chunks, but I used the same principles. And so, I was like, I’m not going to write for 15 minutes. I want to map an hour four times a week out to write the book. That’s what I’m going to do.
And so, I think that is where you get the flexibility to say how long is this task going to take and how many chunks do I need? We start with 15 minutes in my framework because that’s something a lot of our brains can wrap around. And so, many of the moms that come to me, the number one thing is I don’t have the time to do it. So, we start there, but once you understand the framework, you customize it.
That’s the cool piece. 15 minutes can fit in, but if you know you’re doing a writing project, for example. If you’re a blogger and you’re writing, it’s not really going to work. Writing one blog post in an hour, but maybe you’re at the stage where you need to be like, I’m going to write the introduction and then my baby’s crying and then I’m going to come back and write this part. If that’s where you’re at, use that. If you’re like, I actually need more time and I have that time, then you just change your time, 30 minutes, 45, an hour, whatever it is.
Because I think one of the things that’s going to hold us back is that we don’t often have that time. So, I think for people who are more creative who want a little more flexibility, do a time inventory first to really see what time you have and how long things take.
I had mentioned before. I think we over and underestimate things. So, go and write that blog post and see how long it actually takes you. This way, you know all the steps and then when you’re mapping out your time, you know, hey, if I have a really good outline, I really can bring this blog post out in 30 minutes, cool, that’s how much time I need.
And the other thing that I always recommend when I teach my time blocking is especially for moms who are working from home is you go through and batch out your task lists and you make your list. And then, what I want you to do is take a highlighter and highlight through the things you can do with your kids around.
I know, for example, I prefer podcast stuff, interviews, recording, I would like it to be quiet. Writing a book, heck no. I’m not going to do any of that with my kids around. But could I pin something to Pinterest? Could I schedule some stuff in a Facebook group or write an email or answer my DMs? Yeah. There are tons of stuff that I can do with my kids around.
And I think knowing that will allow you to prioritize the tasks you need your most creative brain for appropriately. So, like I was saying, my kids don’t nap anymore, but when I was in that time hustle, it was like during that time, here’s my priority. Here’s the order I’m going to get it done in while they’re playing or they’re on the swing or whatever they’re doing.
Now, I don’t want to be glued to my phone, but if that is the necessity of what I need to get things done in the moment. Now listen, I understand. I’m very blessed now. My kids are at school, school age, 9 to 3, I have that time. But if I didn’t, I would say, is there a task I can do right now while they’re playing outside together and I don’t need to literally be hovering over them so that I can maximize my time?
And this works in your home too. We call it the microwave minute. So, I was getting really annoyed with my dishes. As you can tell, this is theme today, I can’t stand doing the stupid dishes. I hate them because they’re just never-ending. It’s really hard. They never end.
So, what I realized was I was at the microwave all day trying to refill my coffee like over and over again. And I thought what if I maximized these 30 seconds to 2 minutes? And I started with unloading my dishes. So, the rule became for my brain, every time you put something I the microwave, just unload a couple of dishes.
And at first, I was like this is stupid. I’m putting cups away. I’m putting a couple of plates away, but eventually, by the end of the day, it meant my dishwasher was empty, which meant I could start filling it instead of getting to the end of the day where the dishes are in the sink and I still have to do that, unload and load.
And so, what I actually recommend is make a microwave minute chart and I think we have one inside the book where it has things broken down. What are the things you can do in your car when you’re waiting in the car line? What are things you can do in the kitchen while you have that time instead of zoning out or scrolling Facebook? What are things you can do in your work blocks or when you’re at the park or whatever your thing is?
And then, this way, when we’re making our schedules, you can fill up the pockets of your time with stuff that doesn’t need the creative brain, that doesn’t matter as much. So, when you have the 60 minutes and you want to play with your kids, you’re not doing the thing where it’s like I still got to do this. I still got to do that. You’re like, no, I can actually focus and hang out with you where you’ve got the 60 minutes to record an episode or do a client call.
So, I think the 15-minute formula really is about a mix of having a really good vision and breakdown of where you want to go, but also proactively using your power pockets on stuff that doesn’t matter as much so you can maximize the time you actually have to do the things that actually matter to you.
Yes. I love that so much. It’s funny because a lot of the ways that you approach your getting things done are things I have done but I’ve never given it a name. So, I love that you’ve done that because I love even the cruise pick-up where you’re like go to a room and you take something and bring it somewhere else. And I think that after years and years of being a mom, you start doing that without even thinking about it because you’re like, if I’m going here and there, might as well take this.
And that’s the same rule that applies here. It’s like if you’re in this doing the thing, why not fill up those moments so that every time you get out of the car, look around for garbage and bring it in? I have a garbage can right by the door before I open into my house and I’ll say, “Okay, everyone. Grab some garbage,” and everyone takes something and we throw it away. And little things like that really add up. So, I really love that approach. That coffee minute, that is such a good idea.
Hey, if you are looking to ways to overcome overwhelm and you are in need of a virtual assistant, I am now offering match up services where I help you connect graduates that have gone through my 60 Days to VA program and are incredible. So, if that’s something you’re interested, please DM me @callmeceopodcast or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are someone who is looking to grow a virtual assistant business from scratch, I can help you do that as well. Let’s get back to the program.
It’s intentionality. And I think that a lot of times, our brains especially depending on your stage of motherhood, we’re everywhere. Our head is thinking about 100 things all the time and if we’re not intentional, the time just slips by. And so, the method is not about perfection. It’s not about showing up all the time. It’s not about staying up until 2 AM in the morning to catch up on your laundry or finishing things. It’s about being international.
And I think once you start to be intentional and you notice, hey, I’m already doing this. Hey, how can it become habit triggers? Get out of the car, we take that. How can I be intentional about the time I have? Then we get to fill it with things that matter because I think we get so stuck in this hamster wheel of doing for our kids, taking care of the house, doing this. We’re like where’s time for mom? Where are my dreams going? They’re always on the backburner until “it’s a better time.”
And what I really want moms to hear, if you want to start that business, if you want to take some more clients, if you want to start a new job, whatever you want to do, you can do it. Your pace might be different. It’s going to look different than you probably think in your head and it’s going to be bumpy, but it’s possible for you to do it. You don’t have to wait until your kids are school age. You don’t have to wait.
And I know that everyone’s situation is different. I understand that, but I think the basic principles of this, it’s like this mix of intentionality and grace. I think that’s really where the whole thing is. I’m purposeful about the time I have, but I’m not going to beat myself up over what I didn’t do. Instead, I’m going to applaud myself for showing up for even just 15 minutes.
Because probably if you’re listening, I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but I wonder how many things you’ve given up on on yourself right now and how frustrated you feel. And I don’t want that for people. I want them to feel that excitement when they’re like, “I loved to read a book.”
I was having a conversation with one of the women in my coaching program and she said she feels guilty about reading because she’s like, “I don’t know. I have so many other things to do.” And I said, “Can we start with 15 minutes?” And so, she was like, “All right. Saturday mornings, I’m just going to take 15 minutes once a week to read.” And she started. And she showed up 2 weeks later to a call and she was like, “I finished a book.” And I was like, “Exactly.” And she was like, “I just started with 15 minutes and then I didn’t want to stop. And then, I started to lessen the guilt.”
I get this a lot. The mom guilt of trying to balance and do it all and I think this is how we lessen the mom guilt. You show up in small chunks until you hit a place that doesn’t work for you. When you hit a place where you’re like, I’m doing too much of this or I feel like I’m not having enough time with my kids, it’s personalized. Then you stop and you’re like, cool. This is my level. This is where I’m at instead of throwing our hands in the air and just saying, screw it. I can never have this.
Yeah. I love that so much. That is perfect. So, we’ve talked about numerical. We’ve talked about project-based. So, what are other two?
Yup. Next up is habit and routine-based goals. And this is exactly how the Monday mentality started because you know how it is in January, you make all these goals and you’re like, I’m going to get up at 5 AM and you’re getting up at 8 AM and then you snooze and then you quit.
And habit and routine-based goals use what I call habit stacking. And this is instead of going all in, we’re going to start small and scaffold. So, I was a special education teacher. I spent 8 years writing IEPs and I feel like I took that into what I do now and I literally write progress plans for helping them do their same things. It was the exact same thing we were doing with our progress. It was saying, what are our tiny steps?
So, you can use this inside your business. You can use this in your home, but look at the routine you want to have. Say it’s that self-care block and you’re like I need to do these things. You start with the vision. Where do you want to go? I recommend it depends on your end date but any sort of routine, you probably want four to six or probably a good number, any more, it becomes more than an hour. The goal is to do it in 150minute chunks. But again, you can decide.
My morning routine now does have 7 things, but I’ve been working on it for a while. And so, you write your vision. You’re like, great. My morning would look like me getting up. I take a walk. I do a meditation. Maybe I do some stretching ad then I journal. Those are the four things ideally I’d like to do.
But what do we typically do? I’m going to do a four and then I’m going to quit. So, instead I want you to say, week one, what are you going to do? I’m going to wake up and I’m going to take a walk. And you can habit stack inside of this. So, you could start with week one, I’m going to walk 10 minutes a day three days a week. And you can grow that. And you just do that.
Because you’ve made a vision, you know what step 2 is going to be next week. If you decide you want to do more, bonus. Pay yourself on the back. Way to go. You’re like, hey, here’s what happens. That didn’t actually take as long or as much time. I have some more time. So, we just start to do other things.
And on the days you don’t want to, you don’t have to because it’s not the plan. And so, you start to build and then you look at the end of the week and you ask yourself, how did this go? Do I want to stack this? Maybe I go from three days a week to four days a week with walking and now I’m going to add in a second habit. Okay. Now I’m going to add meditation at three days a week. And then, you can then week three, you can keep adding and adding until you get to a place that feels good for you.
And what’s really cool about this method is that you can use it for anything. You can use it to increase a habit. You can use it to decrease a habit. So, if you want to get up earlier, say you are like, hey, I want to get up an hour earlier. Again, instead of just jumping in, can you start with 5 minutes? 10 minutes?
We’re doing this now because school’s coming soon and bed times and whatever and I’m getting up late and I was like, I need to be getting up earlier. It’s been a nice summer, but I want this to not be this scary jolt for it. So instead, what I decided to do was move my wake up by 15 minutes. I started this week. I’m like I want to get up by 6:30 and bed by 11. So, next week, I’m going to do 6:15 and 10:45 and I’ll scaffold it back until I get to the place that feels good.
So, when we have to be getting up earlier, then it’s not as hard. You can do this with your kids too and here’s the cool thing about habit stacking with goals, the order doesn’t always matter. I think a lot of times, we’re like, I have to do things in this order. This is my Instagram engagement strategy and if I don’t do it in this order, I can’t do it.
But what happens to the day when you go on and the first thing on your list is answer your DMs and you’re like, I really don’t feel like sitting on my DMs right now, I just don’t want to do it? We stare at it and we wait and time ticks and we don’t do anything. By the end of it, you’ll know your feel and then you can say, you know what? I don’t want to do DMs right now, but I have to post my posts first. Let me just do that first. And then, you start to check and then your brain starts to go, okay, we’re doing things instead of staying stuck.
Works with our kids too. So, when we do our morning routine with my kids, they have four things they have to do. They have to eat their breakfast plates, brush their teeth, get dressed, and make beds. Those are the four things they have to do. Now, here’s where we need to let go of control of our kids when it comes to these routines is do I want my kids to eat their breakfast, brush their teeth, get dressed? That’s the order I would prefer because otherwise we’re going to have food and toothpaste all over clothes.
But it actually doesn’t matter. The end goal is what matters that they accomplished the thing and they don’t do it my way is okay. And so, when I did this with my kids, because we’re always trying to teach our kids routines, but who has to remember to check on the routine? Us. Instead of putting four things on it, do one.
And when we did this morning routine, we did one habit. Do they still get dressed and brush their teeth? Yes, but we were like, let’s work on making beds for 2 weeks. We just stuck on the thing and I made them a chart and then we added up. Whereas now, we’re just in a flow. We’re not getting up at the same time in summer, whatever, but they just know and I can say to them, “These are the four things you need to get done before you go to camp. Take them off your chart when you’re done.”
My kids are 4 and 6. It’s possible, but you have to let go of that. So, with routine stacking, you break your goal down. You make your habits and then it becomes a numerical goal again. I want to complete this in 8 weeks. I have 8 tiny habits, one a week. If you have four habits and you want to complete it in 8 weeks, it’s one every two weeks. You can make your plan and then you can do this with any sort of habit and any sort of routine you want to grow and really angle am I really growing my confidence and moving a little bit further? So, that’s the routine ones that we started.
And then, the fourth one is actually a learning goal. And most moms will be like, I don’t have time to learn anything, but we know that growth is important. So, I teach a few concepts around learning. One is skill-based stuff. We have moms in my community. They’re learning languages, scrapbooking, guitar. They inspire me. I’m like, I want to go learn. One of our coaches, she’s getting her belt in karate. Everyone’s learning stuff. It’s so much fun or mindset work. We’re listening to podcasts. We’re taking courses.
And I didn’t say this with the habit goal, but once you’ve broken it down, you’ve put that down in your planner. So, now we’ve got three blocks a couple times a day, 45 minutes, that’s it. That’s nothing. Now, we’re just going to add one more. So, it’s one hour a day on your goals. And it’s that learning piece because there’s something magical that happens when you show up for you, something that lights you up, something you want to work on and you break these down differently based on the type of goal.
If it’s a book, you use a numerical goal system. If it is something you don’t know what to do, you go into that learn, plan, do. And then, again, it just becomes numerical. For my course, we give them a four-week scope and sequence. I have four modules in my course. Math tells me that’s one a week. There are 10 lessons in each one so they can do two a day to complete it. We literally break it down that way because what happens?
I’m just going to sit down and do this. When I did my life coach certification, I did this. This is important to me. I want to be a life coach. I wanted to help people, but again, I’m tired. I got a lot of things going on. So, I would sit down and watch the lessons. That’s what it would say in my planner like life coach class or whatever. And then, I wouldn’t actually do it.
It was actually one of my community members, we do a Sunday planning each week this process together and she was like, “Did you break it down?” And I was like, “No. I did not.” And I went through and I said, great, on Monday, module 1, lesson 1, module 1, lesson 2. And I knew exactly what it was and I could convince my brain. And I’d be like, I really don’t feel like doing this, but it’s only 15 minutes and I’m going to get this done and you progress through.
So, you take those four goals, the numerical, the project-based, the habit-based, and the learning goals and three to five days a week, you pop them in somewhere, which averages maybe an hour a day. That’s it. And when you look at your plan, you’re like, wait. I can fit it in. And you do the same thing with your business. You make those same types of goals with your business and you pop them into your business hours and you start to prove to your brain that it’s possible to get it done in less time.
And again, it’s really not about putting a huge project on your plate, but it’s like what is the one step? Where are the birthday party invitations? One client, the one step turns into multiple steps which turns into this thing where you look back six months to a year and you’ve started a business. You’ve finished the thing. You’ve done the goal. And you get to look at it and applaud yourself for showing up.
Wow. I loved this so much. This has been so helpful. I’m over here taking notes. This has just been such an amazing lesson for everyone. Tell everyone where they can hear more about you, where to find you, and how to get your book.
Yeah, sure. So, my podcast is called A Purpose Driven Mom Show. You can find me on Instagram @apurposedrivenmom. And if you go to www.the15minuteformula.com/free, we have links to the book at Barnes & Nobles and Amazon. It’s on Audible. I read it. I know I talk too fast. You probably want to put me on 0.5 speed or something when you listen. So, that’s there. If you have an Audible credit, go ahead and use it. But on that page, we have a workbook that goes with the book whether you buy it or not. And I think inside that workbook is that microwave minute chart with some ideas. There’s some blank printables, some stuff to put your word of the year, tons of free stuff in your workbook, so you can go and snag that.
Awesome. Thank you again. This has been amazing and we’ll see you all next time.
Hey, did you hear the news? 60 Days to VA is no longer something you have to wait for to enroll. I’m actually starting to bring on students one by one. It’s a very personal interaction where I do a discovery call with you to see if 60 Days to VA is a good fit for you because in the end, on the flip side, I’m starting to do matchmaking with CEOs who are looking to hire virtual assistants. So, if that’s something that you feel like is a good fit for you, you want to become your own boss and start a business that you can do on your terms and with your schedule so you can spend that purposeful time with your kids, reach out to me. You can book your time www.camillewalker.co or you can DM me @camillewalker.co or @callmeceopodcast and we can set up a time to chat. I can’t wait to talk with you.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode. If you want the link to Cara’s book, please check out that below. And also, reach out to me if you are looking for any help in building and growing your life and your business in a way that is comfortable for you. Have a great week. I’ll see you next time.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.