One thing I’ve found that’s helped me navigate this weird time we’re in, is talking to other people and hearing about what’s working for them right now. And sometimes what’s working for someone might change from week to week, and their life situation may not be exactly the same as mine, but I can take pieces and parts of their success story and try it on in my life, see how it works and go from there.
That’s why, in Episode 25, I’ve assembled 12 responses to the question What’s Working for you Right Now from 11 amazing, inspiring, go-getter women. They represent a diverse array of industries, cities and states. There are full time employees, side giggers and business owners in the mix. Some have kids, some don’t. Some have partners or spouses, and some don’t. But what they all have in common is that they’re figuring this out day-by-day, just like you are.
The more we can share – from a safe distance – the better off we’ll all be, together.
Executive Coach, Trainer, Speaker
One thing that’s worked especially well for me, during these wild times, is asking for what I need, and then giving others the space to ask for what they need, too. Honestly, I wish I had some cool new strategy or routine that I’ve developed over the last month, but the truth is, I’ve really just been doubling down on being intentional and how I communicate with others.
See, over the last few weeks we’ve all been forced to pivot into social distancing. Some of us are working from home for the first time ever. Some of us are homeschooling. And some of us, God bless the ones who are, are doing both. There’s not a single person I know who hasn’t been impacted by this crisis. And even though we’re all experiencing the same crisis, we’re each experiencing it a little bit differently. So now, more than ever, it’s been really important for me to be clear about what I need – professionally, personally – and then offering others the opportunity to do the same.
In fact, I recently was facing a big deadline at work and I knew I would need some time to focus. I knew I would need to put my phone and my email on Do Not Disturb, on a Monday of all days, in order to meet that deadline. So on the day of my deadline, I woke up a little bit earlier and I crafted an email to my team. I reminded them of that deadline and I asked them to pitch in for me while I was off the grid. And I let them know that they could get in touch with me if something was absolutely urgent. That day, I knew that meeting my deadline was my absolute priority, but I also needed my team to know that. And making that ask ahead of time, instead of going about business as usual and getting upset when my needs weren’t met, saved me a lot of unnecessary stress and frustration.
And if you sense someone you know is overwhelmed, it helps to ask them what they might need as well. Let’s be real. Right now you may or may not be in a position to directly help them, but it’s entirely possible that you may be able to point them in the right direction. And – truth be told – they may not have an answer for you about what they need, but at least you’ve given them the space to consider what would help them most during this moment.
Getting clear while communicating is helping me to stay sane during this time. You might need your partner to hold down the house while you go for a solo walk. You may need to take a break from virtual happy hours. You may have a day where you just need some extra encouragement from a friend or a family member.
Remember, Coronavirus or not, no one is a mindreader. It’s up to each of us to ask for what we need and to give other people the chance to express what they need, too.
Wedding Photographer, Photo Educator, Host of Mistakes Make Magic Podcast
One thing that’s working for me right now is having a set of three goals per day and working toward accomplishing them in my best daily hours. So, everyone has their best daily hours. So, everyone has their best daily hours. For me that’s between the hours of Noon and 4PM, but that very well may be a different set of hours for you.
In those hours, you feel like you can do anything. So I would encourage you listening in to move forward A) understanding what 3-4 hour block of the day where you’re most efficient and B) setting a list of 2-3 goals the night before that you can tackle during that time. I truly believe that if you and your loved ones are well, that this time is something we can be grateful for and use for personal and business projects with vigor.
Co-Owner, SoSis Boutique
I own SoSis, a women’s boutique with my sister, Annie Claire Bass. One thing that’s working for our business right now is staying committed to our weekly strategy meetings. Before all of this, Annie Claire and I religiously met at a coffee shop at 8AM every Tuesday morning before our store opened at 10. We brainstormed ideas for the week and set our priorities for our business together and really set our goals on what to work toward.
When we had to close the doors to our storefront on March 17th, our schedules changed quite a bit. We both have children – I have a 2 year old, and Annie Claire has two little girls and a brand new baby boy. So, at that time, we stopped meeting weekly. We quickly realized that by not getting that focused meeting with each other to think creatively and think of new ways to reach our audience right where they are right now in this weird, weird time, we were really missing out.
We have adapted our schedules, 8:00 a.m. on Tuesdays no longer works. Annie Claire is homeschooling her eight year old and six year old. So, now we meet at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday nights. Sometimes we’ll have a glass of wine; it’s after all of our kids are down for the night. Although I’m not really a night person – I’m more of a morning person – we’ve had to bend to make it work. This is just a season. But we’ve had really good brainstorming sessions. I’m convinced that because of those brainstorming sessions, we’ve been able to think really outside the box on how to meet our customers where they are.
We’ve created what we call a LYLAS Box – Love You Like A Sister. Our name, SoSis, stands for Southern Sisters. Annie Claire and I are sisters, so all of it ties in. Our LYLAS Box: Hard Things is at three different price points, and you can send Happy Mail to a good friend. What we realized is that, right now it’s hard for people to buy for themselves, but when thinking of friends who might be going through a hard time or really struggling with this season of life, they want to give something. Right now you can’t go to stores, and it’s just hard to put together a full package on your own. They all come with a hand painted card by Samantha Morgan, a local Louisiana artist, and piece of Annie Claire Designs jewelry, depending on the price point. We decorate the envelope kinda high school/middle school – think middle school letters to your BFF. We decorate it so happy and full of color, and when that appears in someone’s mailbox our hope is that it brings joy and happiness to that person.
Another thing that came from our brainstorm meeting was to have a closet sale. We never offer quite a site-wide discount to our customers. We’re a small business, and our quantities are small. We realize that right now – we have a store stocked with Easter dresses and no one can leave their house for Easter.
We had to think of something that was outside the box that spoke to our customers. So, we launched the SoSis closet sale. We’re wrapping that up on April 15th here. We offered 30% off storewide, and instead of just posting product pictures, we did mirror selfies in our own homes, in our closets to show how our products look on real bodies, and different bodies – and to give the feel of us being at home. This is a peek into where we live and who we are and when you shop with us, you’re shopping with two sisters who are trying to get through this time as small business owners.
We have some more up our sleeves. We had our latest brainstorm session this past week and we chatted until midnight, which is insane – but we really miss each other! We go from seeing each other every single day, to not being able to give each other a hug. It’s really hard for all of us.
So that’s what working for us – sticking to what we know worked when our storefront was open, which was a strategy meeting once a week to focus on what our priorities were for the week ahead. We realized very quickly that when we didn’t have that, we lost touch with who our brand was and who we were striving to be. So we brought that back, and that’s what’s working for us!
Sarah Joy Hays
Since everything changed about a month ago, CounterSpace was really quick to pivot and figure out what could work for us and our community. If you listened to my episode with Anna a few weeks ago, you know that community is at the heart of our mission and our desire to serve.
What we’ve done is extend our hours, which may sound crazy, but we wanted to serve folks that might need breakfast at home with extra kids, so we’ve expanded our breakfast menu, tapped down our sweets and treats menu, and expanded our hours.
We now offer curbside service, so you can call, place your order, we invoice you online, and then bring the goods out to your car. It’s completely touchless.
We’ve also opened up an opportunity for you to call in and place an order for cookies or other treats to be delivered to local hospitals. This has been a way for us to fulfill our mission of loving and caring for those around us, and it’s a safe way for you to show your love to the Baton Rouge healthcare community.
Additionally, we’ve been homeschooling. I am a solo mom and I have a kindergartener. We’ve been working at home to create new rhythms and routines – some of them successful, some not so successful. One thing that I’ve really tried to anchor down is a little bit of schoolwork scattered throughout the day, and making sure that Henry knows that he’s safe and loved and cared for.
One of the quotes Anna took away from my podcast episode was regarding how we all think we need to do more than we are, but we’re all doing far more than we really need to do in terms of parenting. And I think that’s completely applicable during this time. As long as our kids feel loved, cared for, safe and secure, we’re doing exactly what we need to be doing. And then we download a few extra educational apps and make them watch Magic School Bus, because that counts!
Owner, Chief Operating Officer, Principal Architect | Greenleaf Lawson Architects
Architects and other designers are by nature highly collaborative people, structured in studios exhausting their creative juices to problem solve and design solutions that improve experiences. My most recent experience has landed me in a complete opposite position.
The team I oversee as the Chief Operating Officer now works remotely, in insolation and predominantly from their kitchen tables. Our clients still need us to service as the same collaborative, creative team they hired pre-pandemic. Besides operating with a solid routine, mostly comprised of help from grandparents, I have been relying on technology to get through this.
Our firm was already formatted on a cloud-based system, allowing us to share files easily. We’ve also used an instant messenger to not only communicate as if we were all in the same studio but to ensure we maintain an office culture unique to our company. I would say it’s 80% business and 20% memes, Tiger King, inside jokes and the much needed “Good morning, everyone.”
Both our file system and our instant messaging is through Microsoft. Sharepoint and Teams have really helped minimize our overhead as these are tools already included within our Microsoft Suite. And although lately we’ve relied more on Microsoft Team’s videoconferencing feature, charrettes are a crucial and collaborative exercise essential to our process. We share sketches, inspiration, drawings – all between multiple designers at once to help us land on that perfect, proposed solution.
Owner, Truly Haute | Paralegal & Project Manager, Louisiana Department of Justice
One thing that’s working for me during this crazy time is scheduling FaceTimes and happy hour house party calls with my friends and family. I have really enjoyed having this extra time to reconnect with my favorite people and it keeps me distracted from all the chaos going on.
As far as work, I am probably not the best example but we are still sending our littles to daycare since my husband who’s a pilot is still flying. And while all events have come to a halt for now, my workload for the Attorney General’s office has increased because of COVID-related litigation. It’s actually really been a blessing that daycare has stayed open and are taking all the precautions like daily fever screens to keep the kids safe. I don’t know if I could get substantial work done with three kiddies screaming around my ankles asking for juice all day.
Then of course, I’ve also been taking advantage of this amazing weather to work outside.
Time Management Coach for Mama Business Owners
I usually work at home with my toddler anyway, but right now we also have my husband teleworking at home with us, and we’re also definitely missing having grandmas help and being able to go out to our normal activities. Here’s some of the things that are working for us right now.
First, I’ve been giving myself so much grace as we ride the waves of grief. I know I didn’t get a whole lot done in that first week of quarantine, because who knew what we should have been doing at that point anyway. The world felt like it had just stopped. And there was another week that was particularly hard for our family, so when I didn’t have the energy to work, I allowed myself to just take it easy.
That said I also try to make sure I’m at least taking small consistent steps forward, but with that grace, these could be teeny tiny steps. When I didn’t know what to do next in my business, and I didn’t have much energy, I used that time to take a course that ended up helping me build my entire signature program.
This one is something that was working for my business even before the quarantine, but making sure I’m only spending my limited time on stuff that’s definitely going to move my business forward is definitely helping out right now. I can really only focus on work during my daughter Poppy’s naptime, like right now, so when that time comes, I need to know what to work on and I need to know that it’s really going to make an impact.
Lastly, I think it’s really helping to allow Poppy to entertain herself sometimes. We’re both here to watch her, but my husband has a full-time job, and I at least need an hour or so a day to work so we allows some screentime and we allow Poppy to kind of run around the house and explore. I’ll let her make a mess of our cupboards or her room if it keeps her happy. As long as she’s safe, I know she’s still learning no matter what she’s getting into.
Owner, It’s Time for Coffee Productions | Host, It’s Time for Coffee Podcast
One of the things that’s working for me and my family is a really structured schedule. We run this schedule four days a week with a three-day weekend and it has been so nice. Having our schedule written out helps my 13, 11 and 9 year old know exactly what to expect, what to do and how long they’ll be doing whatever task they are on. It also helps me to know when I’ll be working and has helped me set up my expectations for the workday.
Owner & Lead Designer, KaitStudio
For me, I absolutely have to keep my business going during this time and I find prioritizing and scheduling changes everything. I have a five year old, he was in kindergarten and so this was a big change for all of us. I have always been a very strict rule-follower when it comes to my schedule, so if I had to recommend one thing for others that’s working for me really well it’s to make sure, number 1 that I’m getting rest, first and foremost. I’m the best mom, best spouse, best everything when I take care of myself mentally and physically.
On the flip side I do wake up pretty early. My son sleeps in until around 8:30, so I’ll get up around 5AM. I’ll have a few hours to get things done, and then I have the rest of the day scheduled out. So, for example, I will set myself 5-6 tasks within my business and I’ll write them down for every single day. And that way, I know exactly what I’m going to be working on and when it’s due. And then when I’m done with it, I can mark it off of my list and I can be done with the day when those things are done.
Scheduling specifically the actual tasks that need to get done every single day vs. feeling like you’re spinning changes everything for me. If there’s one of you out there who’s maybe starting a business and you don’t know where to start and it feels like there’s a lot to do at one time, write down a list of everything and break it down into actionable steps every single day. So maybe today you’ll focus on social media content, and that’s it. And then tomorrow you’ll focus on your website. And then maybe the day after that you’ll focus on engaging with people on social media. But give yourself realistic tasks and be easy on yourself.
We’ve never done anything like this. We’ve never been in this position. We’re all just trying to do the best we can. And ask for help when you can. Ask for advice, ask for help. Find people that can be your business buddy.
Marketing & Brand Strategist, Ciera Design
One thing that’s working for me right now is to choose just one key task or project each day. I used to have a top 3 but I’ve slashed that down to just one.
Now more than ever, I find it so important to protect our mental health. If there are too many things on my list, I feel overwhelmed or defeated when I don’t get to everything. Or I end up multitasking and not really giving any one task the full focus it deserves.
The only time that I have that I can fully concentrate each day is during my 10-month-old Asher’s naps, so that’s two hours each day, if I’m lucky. So the tasks that need a lot of brainpower like proposals, client marketing strategies, branding projects and business growth become my key tasks and those get these naptime slots.
For example, on Thursdays, my one thing is my mastermind call. If that’s the only work-related thing I get done that day, I’m okay with it. If I get to something else then that’s a bonus and I feel extra productive. Everything else like laundry and dishes or scheduling social media that I don’t need 100% brainpower for gets done while Asher is up and about, or after he goes to bed.
Professional Home & Office Organizer, South Coast Organizers
One thing that’s working for me and my family is our quarantine project list. At the beginning of quarantine, my husband and I sat down and wrote a list of projects that we wanted to accomplish around the house. I wrote a separate personal and business project list on two different lists. Each week, we sit down and go over what we want to work on for the week, and we schedule out our time. I’m currently providing virtual organizing services, so I have to take that into account. My husband is currently furloughed so he has a lot more time to work on his list. We only try to complete, or at least start, one project a day so we don’t get overwhelmed.
We also make sure that we check in with each other and ourselves daily to see how we’re feeling mentally and physically. If one or both of us is not feeling up for the task, we take a free day. I’m talking PJs, Netflix, snacks, and not getting off the couch.
On the days we’re feeling energized, we refer to our list and pick something. This has helped to cut down on the time it takes to figure out what to do with all that energy and allows us to jump right into something we know we want to get done.
We’re giving ourselves lots of grace while still trying to make the most of this situation. We’ve been able to accomplish a lot of projects that we’ve been putting off for years. I’ve even started to organize and rearrange the areas of our home that aren’t working for us. I love to keep busy and it helps to give us a real sense of accomplishment at the end of the week.
Stress & Mindset Expert, Host of The EffortLESS Life Podcast
The one thing that’s working for my business and for our family right now is to give ourselves permission to rest and not work. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but if you’re a high achiever like me, we have to be really extra careful because when you’re doing work you love, it often doesn’t feel like work. So when we take the extra time we suddenly have on our hands and start filling it with the work we already do in our business, plus a million other little projects we’ve been wanting to get to around the house, we can risk overworking ourselves and burning out.
So what we’ve been doing at our household is calling it quits by 6PM every day regardless of how much we’ve gotten done. We use those evening hours to go for walks, to go on bike rides, to cook dinner together, to drink a glass of wine on the back porch while our son plays in the yard – or whatever it is we feel like doing that evening.
And guess what? We go to bed feeling rested instead of restless. This protects our energy, and it helps us to be more patient and present through the long days stuck instead in quarantine.
So the key in making this work is to give yourself permission to rest. You have to allow it. Otherwise, you’re going to feel guilty for resting instead of feeling grateful you’re giving your mind and body the space it needs to stay sharp and focused. So try it!
And if giving yourself permission feels weird or hard at first, just say to yourself, “Well, Courtney gave me permission to rest, so therefore I can, and therefore I will.” I promise you this little trick will make even your rest time become more productive.
SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW IN ITUNES
If you’re enjoying It’s About Time so far, I hope you’ll take a moment to subscribe if you haven’t yet – I don’t want you to miss an episode! I’ve got a few bonus episodes in the works, and you might miss them if you’re not subscribed. Click here to subscribe on iTunes.
If really like what you hear, I’d be so grateful if you left me a review over on iTunes, too. Your review plays a HUGE role in helping others find out about It’s About Time. And honestly, they’re really fun for me to read! Click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what you’re loving about It’s About Time. Thank you!!
NurseNikkiNP – Thank you SO much! For listening, for taking the time to write such a kind rating – I know you’re busy! And for sharing It’s About Time with your friends. It means the world that you’d recommend my show to others, and I’m so grateful to have you as a listener. I’m so excited about the gamechanging work you’re doing in your business and the transformation you’re experiencing at home. Again – I’m so thankful for you!
LINKS & RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
Grab YOUR copy of Do the Most Important Thing: Time Management for Tough Times
Join the It’s About Time Podcast Community!