Have you ever wondered how you can create more white space and be more creative during this year’s back-to-school season? In this episode, Camille shares her tips and tricks on how you can use time blocking to create more productivity in your life during different seasons in motherhood and business.
If you’re interested in learning about how you can increase your productivity, listen to this episode to hear Camille’s advice on how you can plan and manage your time by setting your goals, priorities, time blocks, and white space to live a happy and content life.
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CAMILLE WALKER [0:00]
So, one thing that I really love to do especially when it comes to household chores and different things like that is I like to set a timer for motivation.
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.
Hello, beautiful people. It is Camille with Call Me CEO. This is episode 99 and I am taking you through three special episodes of how to make the most of your time and prepare for a busy season. Now, for most of you, you might be going back to school into the routine, which opens up a lot of opportunity for creating space, for productivity, and also getting things done that you want to get done.
So, if you’ve missed one and two of getting back into a busy season, make sure to go back and check those out because we talk about a lot of amazing things. This episode specifically is about what we can do to create more white space and be more creative in our day. Let’s get started.
All right. So, with today’s podcast episode, I’ve been thinking a lot about where to start if you were just starting out in time blocking and trying to create more productivity in your life. And maybe you have kids at home, maybe you are in a place where you have more scheduled time blocks that you can work with because let’s be honest, summer is crazy, whether you’re working inside the home or not.
But for me, in particular, this is going to be a brand-new season of having all my kids in school for the first time ever as a stay-at-home working mom and I am thrilled. I can’t believe I have so many hours because typically, the way that I’ve had to work and build my business in the last decade is in little pockets of time.
So, if you are in that place where you’re like, “I don’t have hours upon hours to get things done or to work from 9 AM to 5 PM, or whatever it may be,” I’m going to tell you tactics that have worked for me and also what I plan to do with this new scope of time that is brand new to me.
The very first thing that I want you to do is to take inventory of how you are using your time. This may be something where you simply jot it down and be aware of how you’re using your time. When are you fitting in time for yourself? Are you running from one task to another? Are you feeling frazzled? Do you feel overwhelmed? Do you work with a to-do list? What is your process now?
And I want you to think about what is working and what is not because awareness and knowing where we want to go is one of the very best things that we can do for ourselves. Because if we don’t know what it is that we want, we won’t know how we can get here. So, very first thing, I want you to take inventory of how you’re spending your day.
The second thing I want you to ask yourself is do you feel replenished and whole? And what I mean by saying that is are you creating white space for yourself to connect with yourself, your mind, your body, your spirit? Are you creating time to connect with your friends and family and replenishing your energy? Are you creating time to feel like you have something to give more than what you’re already giving?
If you do not, I would encourage you to create a very strict policy of creating space and time for yourself. This can be one of the number one things that as I’m coaching many women as I do business and life coaching with them that they so often put their own needs and their own time in the backburner and life seems to be coming at them instead of you feeling like you have space to create and to live and to grow.
That can be a hard thing. And depending on the season of your life, that can change. There can be times that perhaps you have a pregnancy, a sick child, you yourself are sick, a new baby, a new job, moving, whatever the thing may be, so a checking balance of where am I now, how am I feeling, and what do I want to do moving forward is a place where many of us have to revisit over and over again to get a really good idea of are we living a balance that is true to our own needs and what we want for our lives? And that’s something we all have to do.
So, if you’re listening to this right now and thinking, “Man, I’m really feeling overwhelmed. I’m feeling tapped out. There’s not one more thing I can do,” I hope that this episode helps you because we’re going to talk about tools to help you get out of that stuck in the mud feeling and give you a moment of fresh air. So, number one, take inventory.
Number two, I want you to write down your priorities. What is it within a day that if you could have a perfect day, what does a perfect day look like? How are you spending your mornings? What are you reading? What are you seeing? What are you listening to? How are you interacting with your family, your friends, your work, your creativity? What is it that you love that if you could wave a magic wand, you would have that ability to create that perfect day?
For me, I’ve discovered that being a night owl, which is something that I love and I’ve done for years and years, is not the best equation for me showing up as the best version of myself as a mother, as a friend, as a daughter. It seems like the times that I’ve created routine of waking up and doing something physical and taking time to reflect before looking at a phone is something that helps me to feel so much more in tune with who I am and what I want, so I can show up more authentically and with so much more kindness, so I don’t lose my mind when the kids start coming at me with their questions or needs or demands or whatever the case may be.
One of the number one ways that I’ve been able to create that space for myself in the morning is I’ve made myself accountable to someone else. There may be a scenario where you have a friend who wants to be your workout partner or there may be a scenario where you have someone who you can report to or maybe you have enough self-awareness that you could keep yourself in check.
But the number one thing, and I’ve had ups and downs in this believe me because depending on kids’ ages and whatnot, it really can change, but this past year, I have become a member of a Pilates program, which I have to pay beforehand. And you actually have to reserve your spot. And a lot of times, I’m reserving it two weeks in advance. If you do not give a 10+ hour warning of you not being there or if you cancel or show up late, you pay a premium for that.
And so many times, I will have scheduled them out in advance and the night before, say 11 PM, rolls around and, of course, by then I’m so tired. I think, “Man, I don’t want to go tomorrow. I’m so tired.” But because I’ve already committed to it and I know that I’ve paid for it, I show up and because of that and because I’m paying a premium, I have been more consistent than ever of being a morning workout person, which I never, ever thought I would be the type to wake up at 6 AM every day and to get moving that early in the morning consistently.
And it has been such an amazing gift to wake up at that hour and have my body automatically now wake up early in a place where I can go greet the morning on my own speed, work out, feel the endorphins of that workout, get back home, and even have a minute or two before my kids wake up and their demands start for the day.
And it’s something that I think when you first start a new tradition of trying something at a different hour or your power hour or discovering time, which we’re going to go through some of these steps, you almost feel like you’re cheating the system. You are being awarded this magical time, which we know time is a commodity that all of us share equally. You can’t buy it. You can’t exchange it. It’s something that it’s such a precious commodity that we have.
And so, this new habit that I have waking up in the mornings and greeting the morning, working out in the morning, having time for meditation, prayer has been transformative to my health and my confidence and in turn, my family, my business, my mental health. So, if that’s something that there is even a space for you even to move 10 minutes in the morning, I promise it will make a positive change in your life.
And that’s the thing about habits. I love the book Atomic Habits by James Clear because he talks very much about stacking micro habits one on top of the other of things you’re already doing. So, if getting up in the morning and having a glass of water is something that you want to work on, start there. And then, if maybe it’s putting on your shoes to work out. And then, eventually working out for 10 minutes, and then 30 minutes, and then 50 minutes.
Chances are if you get into the habit of getting up and start moving, you will be able to stack habits in a much more natural way than trying to take on a new morning routine all at once where you’re going through drinking a detox smoothie and lemon water and meditation and prayer and journaling and working out and all these other things.
So, start small. Find something that feels doable to you. And that takes me to my number one tip. which is to prioritize yourself and prioritize your values. What are you values? How do you want to spend your day? And decide what you care most about first. Because as we’re going to talk about, blocking out time and creating space for you to create a schedule and a time that works best for you, you need to decide first of all how you want to spend that time and what you care about.
Obviously, for most of us, if you’re listening here, it’s going to be the people we care about most are the people that are our highest priority. That’s who we love and for me, personally, it’s my husband and my children and I want to make sure I prioritize time with them. And that means that there are seasons in my life where the demand of what they need from me is higher and sometimes it’s lower. So, take that into account as you’re creating this time block. And I promise you that there is still time for you to create a passion to building a business or a job or whatever it is. There still is time for you to accomplish your dreams.
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I’ve shared so many episodes here on Call Me CEO from people who have written books, created inventions, started boutique businesses, started a brick-and-mortar and online businesses. There are so many things that you can do and they were able to build upon it one step at a time in pockets of time in the beginning. And then, eventually you can devote more time as your life allows you to.
Number two is I want you to create a to-do list. That’s something I like to do the night before the next day of my to-dos. And if for some reason, you write down a to-do list and you don’t get to it that day, that’s okay. Just know that it wasn’t meant to happen that day and that you did the best you can.
I think too often, we write down a to-do list that they all have to get done. And the truth of the matter is we take the day as it comes. As moms, life happens to us, kids have things they need. And sometimes, what we need done doesn’t always happen. That’s why I really like to stick to three major to-dos and I try to get them done as early in the day as possible when I have a block of time that’s open to me.
Now, for many years, my time block that was the most available was in the early afternoon when my kids were either at preschool or had a nap or maybe their afternoon show or whatever it was where we would go out and explore and have fun in the morning hours, have lunch, and then that pocket of time say from 1 PM to 3 PM was typically a magical time for me to get some things done.
So, figure out what time of day works best for you, but creating a to-do list really lets you know what it is that you need to get done and how to prioritize those things based on the values that you discovered in the step one.
Number three is to task batch. Now, you hear a lor of people talking about that with social media. They’ll say if you’re going to create reels, it’s a really good idea to, on one day, create and discover things that you want to decide to share about on social. And then, on another day, you do the filming. And then, on another day, you do the captions.
I’ve found a lot of success in that, but I think this also applies to task batching in general. Are there things in your life and in your to-dos that you could get done more efficiently if you weren’t skipping from one thing to the next to the next to the next?
So, that’s where you get to decide, what is my most meaningful work and when am I getting my daily work done? So, that meaningful work, that thing that you need to do to really move that needle of your business or the growth that you’re looking for, developing a skill, developing your business, whatever that thing is, focus on that meaningful work first before you get to those daily tasks that can come and go and don’t make that big of a difference in your life.
Number five is to set a timer. So, one thing that I really love to do especially when it comes to household chores and different things like that is I like to set a timer for motivation. Many, many times, I will come into a kitchen with a sink full of dishes, a counter full of junk, mail, whatever the thing is and I will say, “Ugh, I don’t feel like doing this thing. I don’t feel like cleaning the kitchen. I don’t feel like doing the dishes, whatever the thing is.”
And in my mind, I will say, “But I can do anything for 10 minutes or I can do 5 minutes,” whatever that time block is because once you get started, a lot of times, you’ll be surprised how much you can get done in that 5, 10, 15 minutes. Another thing that can happens is you can get the motivation to do more within that 5, 10, 15 minutes that you have.
One thing that I also love to do that’s in a similar way to get something done within a quick amount of time is I have a song that I always listen to when I know I have a little bit of time, but I need to hurry, but I don’t want to be too stressed about the time crunch, if that makes sense.
One in particular is if I’m getting ready and I have to get out the door and, this is so random, but I’ll just share it with you, the song I always listen to is Between the Lines by Sara Bareilles. And it’s a sad song. It’s like a breakup song where she’s talking about a relationship with someone and she’s trying to read between the lines. It’s a song I love singing to. It’s like a ballad type song and I know singing really makes me feel more relaxed and happy. And so, sometimes I’ll listen to peppy song, but for whatever reason, I have that song as like, “By the time this song is over, I will be done with XYZ.”
And if you have a song like that that either peps you up or calms you down or something you can belt to, that has been so helpful and fun for me to measure time in that way rather than a simple ticking clock. So, figure out what works for you.
In different scenarios, I do different things. I like the timer. I use it with my kids all the time where sometimes, if they don’t want to help me clean or whatever, I’ll say, “Let’s just see what we can get done in 5 minutes,” or if they need to clean their room or something, I’ll say, “I bet you could finish it in less than 6 minutes,” or whatever the thing is. And they’re like, “No way.” And I said, “Just give it a try.” And we’ll set the timer and it really switches it from that hump of, “I just don’t want to,” to “I can give it at least this much time.” So, try that out.
And number six is I want you to find your golden hour. So, this is something that I referenced earlier where it’s finding a time that you are really productive. In my life, this has transferred many times where for years, it was that nap time hour where I could power through and get a whole bunch of things done.
Sometimes, when I’ve been launching a course or doing something that has a big finish line at the end, I’ve found that my golden hour has been really late at night when I know there’s going to be no disruptions and no one asking anything of me.
And now, more recently, my golden hour has become after I finish my workout and before I help my kids get ready for the day. And I’ll do some journaling or some work done in that time and it’s really been a good pocket for me to get things done. I can’t believe I have so much time coming my way. And I hope you do too because with kids going back to school, it just gives you a little more flexibility hopefully in your case as well.
Number seven is I want you to use a calendar or an app to track your productivity and actually create time blocks. So, what does the time block look like? For example, you may have examples each day of the way that you’re spending your time where you actually physically look at your calendar from 6 AM, some start at even earlier, let’s say 6 AM to 9 PM and you go through each block of time and decide what tasks or to-dos you want to get done during your day.
This is where going back to that survey or writing down what it is that you’ve been doing and find a proficient way of scheduling the time where you can check out that golden hour, make time for yourself, make time for your kids, knowing when and where they’ll be with you, personal time, and then creating space for the meaningful work, which happens in that golden hour, and the daily work where you get those tasks done that don’t take a lot of brain power, but you know you need to get them done.
If you have a lot of daily work that is keeping you from getting your meaningful work done, this is where I would suggest that you should get a virtual assistant. If you’ve heard me talk about this before, you may know that I train virtual assistants with my 60 Days to VA program, which is a business that you can do from home as a stay-at-home mom, but I also talk to a lot of entrepreneurs that I coach who need to hire a virtual assistant.
That is also something I can help you with. If you’re feeling like you are so rundown by the to-dos that you have no room to actually grow and expand your business and what it can do with strategy, I would highly suggest that you find people who can be virtual assistants for you that you can take those daily tasks, the things that other people could do without needing your voice.
So, examples of that of what a virtual assistant can do are creative design, it could be with social media, creation, engagement, caption. It could be with copy for your website or your funnel. It could be with putting out newsletters, emails. Anything like that, customer service, invoicing. It could be doing HR or public relations in some way.
Think about what it is that only the things that you don’t have to use your voice for, the things that you’re doing every day like fulfilling packaging or doing different things like that, answering emails, that is something that someone else can help you with. So, I want you to really consider in that calendar as you’re writing down your time and how you’re using it, is there a way for you to offload some of those things that you yourself don’t need to do so you can have more white space?
I can promise you if you create more white space in your life, you will create more space for happiness and contentment in your life. That is a space that no one else can decide for you. You have to figure out what that perfect balance is for you.
My last point today number eight is to put the house to work. This is something that I like to do every morning when I get going during the day. I like to start the day, we emptied the dishwasher because we usually fill it the night before, run it through the night. We emptied the dishwasher, and then I always like to start a fresh load of laundry. And by the time I leave my house, which is typically later in the evening depending on the day, I will start the dishwasher and sometimes even run the Roomba.
The thought process behind that is there are so many conveniences that you can put the house to work for you. So, there are ways that you can get the house running and going if you’re leaving the house, get those things running so when you go back home, you can unload the dishes. You can swap over the laundry and do it little by little each day and make it part of your routine.
What I’ve noticed more than ever is that if I will give myself permission to have help and to create space for more of a community feel in my business, in my family, getting my kids involved with taking care of the home and helping to clean up and all of the different things that we have, we need each other more than ever and there’s no shame in that.
So, if you’re listening to this right now and thinking, “I want to get a better hold on my habits and on my day, I want to create more space and time for me to take care of myself, so I have more to give back to my family and to the people I love,” please, please do it. I promise that you’ll show up as a better mother and wife when you give yourself attention first.
And maybe it can’t be first thing in the morning. Maybe you have tiny kids at home. Maybe you have a demand that you can’t quite get that to work. Get out on a walk. I did so many walks when I had young kids. I also did a lot of workout videos from home and occasionally, I was able to get to the gym depending on where I was in my life.
If you need any help or advice on how to create more space for yourself, how to free the load that you are carrying, please reach out to me @callmeceopodcast on Instagram or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I am cheering for you. I know that you have so much goodness and so much in you to share and I am here cheering you on every bit of the way.
If you are looking to discover your why, I have a free 5-day program. If you go to www.camillewalker.co, you can figure out what is your why. Start prioritizing today and reach your dreams. Thanks so much for tuning in. And I will see you next week for our 100th episode. Don’t miss it.
Hey, CEOs. Thank you so much for spending your time with me. If you found this episode inspiring or helpful, please let me know in a comment and a 5-star review. You could have the chance of being a featured review on an upcoming episode. Continue the conversation on Instagram @callmeceopodcast. And remember, you are the boss.
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