MARIE FORLEO: “When you know what's important, you can ignore what's not. And I think in our world, especially where online business is today, a lot of folks have received really bad advice, that they need to be everywhere at once, doing all the things at once, at a level, you know, fifty-five out of ten. And (a) it's not practical; (b) it's not sustainable. But that's not how life works if you want to make major progress and be happy and satisfied.
“So in order to prioritize what matters most, you need to decide what matters most. And most of us have never been taught how to do that. We don't know how to clarify what's actually most important at this stage and season of your life. And that last key phrase is so critical, because what was important to you, whether it's three months ago, six months ago, four years ago, is not what you should be prioritizing right now. And sadly, none of us have taken a class in what I call dream clarity, where we're able to go, like, ‘You know what? Right now, this is the most important project in my business. This is the most important area of my personal life. These things need to come first, and everything else has to take a backseat.’”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY: Real quick, I want to tell you about a podcast called No Straight Path. It's hosted by Ashley Menzies Babatunde, and she sheds light on the stories behind shiny resumes, social-media highlights, job titles, and she aims to humanize success. Featuring guests from all walks of life, No Straight Path inspires conversations around the nuanced perspective of success. Start by checking out her episode titled “Success is Maximizing Happiness,” where she talks about defining yourself by the positive impact that you can make versus your profession.
Listen to No Straight Path wherever you get your podcasts.
Well, hey, there, friend. Welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast.
Listen, usually, on Tuesdays I do a Shorty episode, and then on Thursdays I do my longer, in-depth interviews that are more step by step and details and all that good insight. Today, or this week, we are shaking it up. The longer episode is today, Tuesday. The shorter one will be on Thursday. The reason for that is that this is a really timely episode. I want to tell you about something that's coming up. So I thought, “Well, we're just going to switch it up,” because you know why? I'm the boss, and I want to remind you that you are the boss as well of your business. So when you want to change things up, when you want to shake things up and do things differently, you get to. You get to do that. So just a little reminder right at the top of this podcast episode that you are in charge, and if something needs to change or you want to shake things up, you absolutely get to do that. So, anyway, just a little reminder.
So, speaking of shaking things up today, here's the thing. If you're listening to this episode, it's for one of two reasons. Number one, you are a superfan of my guest, and believe me, so am I. Or number two, you are intrigued by this idea of overcoming time stress, what that looks like; how do you do it? Well, if you've been needing that kind of advice to help you get out of the overwhelm, stress, and hustle, you have come to the right place.
So my guest today is Marie Forleo. She's back again. But this time we are not talking about building an online business, which is usually what the two of us talk about. We are talking about time management and owning your time like a boss. I believe to my core that to be a successful entrepreneur, you must have a stellar relationship with time. You have to feel like you are in control of it and take ownership of it, because if you don't, not only will you feel unnecessary stress, but you'll constantly feel like you're one or two or five steps behind.
When I was getting started in my business and when I was getting really serious about figuring out how to manage my time, one of my biggest stressors is that I would wake up in the morning, and I would be ready to conquer the day, and I'd put together a to-do list of fifty things, and by the end of the day, I realistically got done with ten of them. I felt overwhelmed, I felt defeated, and I felt like there was something wrong with me. And I always felt like everybody else owned my time but me. My clients, my team, my students, they all owned my time because I was showing up for them. I was in meetings, I was doing trainings, I was doing action items my team needed, and I felt like everyone else had control of my time but me. That was just a decision. I realize now I was playing victim, and that was just a decision I was making, and there was a way to turn that around. Now, years later, I've been able to turn that around. But geez, it took me a while because I didn't understand what wasn't working.
I think this episode, if you've ever felt that way, that everybody else owns your time, I think this episode is going to shed a light on how to get out of that.
So, when I thought about doing this episode, like, “I want to talk about time management. I want to talk about becoming a genius in terms of owning your own time,” the person I knew I had to talk to is my dear, sweet friend Marie Forleo. She has spent years studying this. She has personally had challenges in this area beyond what you might even imagine. She's going to share what that looked like in this episode. And she's conquered it. She's overcome it. I've seen for myself the transition that she's had behind the scenes, and so I can attest that everything she's going to say is legit and really what she's gone through. So I think you're going to love the vulnerability and the behind-the-scenes look at what Marie's life looked like and what led her to becoming a time genius. She shared things that I didn't even know about her, and I feel like I'm a really good friend. So this was a really beautiful episode in terms of, “Oh, I just saw a different side of Marie Forleo.” I think you’re going to love that as well.
So in this episode we talk about time stress and how you can overcome it, but we also talk about what it looks like and why it's there and how to move beyond it. We talk about how to become a master prioritizer. If you ever think, “I don't know what to focus on. I don't know what's most important,” we're going to talk about that. How to stay grounded and focused during your busiest times, like a live launch. And we're going to talk about mantras to support you when it comes to actually owning your time. Her mantras, you're going to want to steal them. I already have.
So remember I said that this is a timely episode, and the reason I wanted to do it Tuesday instead of Thursday this week is that something's coming up? Well, Marie's going to share this in this episode, but she's got this free masterclass that I've actually attended it before. I will attend it again. It is impeccable. I mean, the girl does webinars better than anyone I've ever seen. And it's called Three Productivity Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make. Three Productivity Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make. It's a free webinar. It's incredibly valuable. You will walk away thinking, “Holy cow, I'm so glad I didn't miss that.” But it's timely. It's happening really soon. So amyporterfield.com/time. There's your link. Amyporterfield.com/time. Go there right now. Grab your seat. And while you do that, while you sign up, let's bring on our special guest, Marie Forleo.
Marie, welcome back to the show for the millionth time.
MARIE: I’m so honored to be back with you. It's a joy.
AMY: Well, I'm extra excited—I’m always excited when you come on the show—but today we're talking about something we have never talked about before. And I have been looking forward to this all week because this is a topic that I could use a lot of extra help in. So I'm going to get just as much out of this conversation as all of my listeners.
So I want to start at the top. You've been talking a lot lately about that time-stress trap, and I want to get into that. But before we get into it, what sparked you to even dig deeper into this concept of time?
MARIE: Because I was basically drowning and depressed and feeling like I was the worst in the world. And so I’ll paint a picture of the story, and then we can kind of go through why I was so passionate about this.
MARIE: So, a few years back, when I was writing my book Everything Is Figureoutable, things were going great. And I was on this track. I was like, “Oh, my god, I'm so productive. This is awesome. Everything's wonderful.” But I started having this feeling inside that something wasn't right. You know, I could feel stuff going wrong with my body. I was watching stuff happening on my team. There was just—you know when you start to get those little inklings that something's not as great as maybe it used to be. And I started to feel myself becoming more exhausted. Even though I had all this passion for what I want to do, I was like, “Wait a minute. Something's off here.” So I started working on this topic years ago and gathering all of my evidence.
Just as some little context, like you, Amy, and like many of your listeners, I’ve been obsessed with time, because I’m a passionate human being and I want to get as much done as possible. As a business owner, it’s important. We’ve got lots of responsibilities. And for those people who are still working their job and also trying to start their business, they know this, right? It’s like you don’t have a minute to waste. And then when you have a family and you also actually want to have a life, it feels like you’re working nonstop.
And so I was paying attention to my own rhythms and then also listening to what's happening in the marketplace. I’m like, “I think a lot of us are struggling with this.” So I had a lot of background in the neuroscience and behavioral science, my own experiments, all the research I've done over the years.
Fast forward to the year 2020—
MARIE: —which was a challenge for most of us. And I'll tell you, Amy, I found myself in a place that I've never found myself before, which was feeling massively exhausted; like I was losing my passion for what I was doing. Didn't realize it, but was absolutely struggling with burnout. And it was to the point where no matter how hard I was working, no matter how many hours I was putting in, I felt like it was never enough. Have you ever felt like that?
AMY: Ah, amen. More times than I'd like to admit.
MARIE: Yes. And I was realizing that I couldn't just, even in the middle of the day, go and give myself permission to put my head down on the couch for even five minutes, because I felt like that would make me lazy or unproductive or not ambitious enough. And it got so bad that I started waking up, and the first thought that came to my mind was, “I can't do this anymore. I want to run away from my life. How did this beautiful thing that I’ve loved for so many years and this thing that I’ve built from scratch turn into something where I don’t even want to exist?” Like, my thoughts were so dark, and they were so scary, Amy, and I’ve never been in that place before, and I didn’t know what was going on.
And so I was doing all the things as someone with ADHD. I was meditating. I was working out. I was eating clean. I was journaling. I was praying. I was doing all the stuff that usually did work, but for whatever reason, at this point, it was not.
And then, I found myself and my body starting to break down. I started having all these unusual pains in my body, which I'd never had before. Getting blood work done. Finding out from the doctor that, basically, my adrenals were shot. She said, based on my labs, “It's a miracle that you're able to even get up every day.”
AMY: Oh, my gosh.
MARIE: Then we discovered all of these tumors inside of me, which were creating all kinds of pain, including one big one, which was a massive, growing tumor outside of my uterus, the size of a grapefruit, pushing everything else out of place. I had to have this urgent hysterectomy to make the pain stop and to get the tumors out.
All of this culminated, and it made me realize this. What most people don't realize is that their innermost thoughts and beliefs around time have the power to create one of two vastly different worlds, and what I believe is one of two vastly different lives. One is this toxic treadmill of never-ending stress and pressure and frustration and feeling like you're always behind and you're never doing enough, and you can’t catch your breath. And you push and push and push, and you're hustling from the morning, from the moment you wake up until when you go to bed. But the really important stuff that matters to your heart never seems to get attention.
And no matter how much time goes by and how hard you work, you actually—at least, this was true for me—having these angry outbursts at people that you love and feeling like you have to have such tight control over everything and micromanage everything because you're feeling so out of control. And you become someone that you don't recognize and someone that you don't want to be.
And you also know that your biggest potential is not being realized. Even though you're driving yourself into the ground, you have this experience, like, you know in your heart that you're meant for more, that more is possible for you. But it doesn't seem to make sense because you want to run away from your life, you have zero bandwidth, you have zero time, and you're like, “What is wrong here?”
So that's the experience that I found myself in, and I was curious if anyone else experienced it. So, quickly, I checked in with my audience. I sent out a survey because I was like, “I'm really passionate about this. Is anyone else, too?” We had over seven thousand responses in less than three days, and I'm not talking, like, one-word responses, Amy. I'm talking novellas, where people were experiencing that same level of desperation and exhaustion and not knowing where to turn.
And all of that to say that this is the world that I have deemed time stress. It's this trap that most of us have been conditioned into, that if you're not producing 24/7, you don't want your dreams bad enough, you're not hungry enough, you're lazy, you're unproductive, and it’s just a nightmare. And a lot of us got caught in it, or are caught in it, and for me, have been. I figured out that there was actually a way out of that world, and so that’s what made me dive into this so hard was my own pain, witnessing other people’s pain, and going, “There’s got to be a better way.”
AMY: Oh, my goodness. I had no idea. I had a little idea of that story, but I didn't know it was on such a bigger level than what I thought. So I really appreciate you sharing that. So this is this concept and what you've created is very personal to you.
AMY: And I think that's where the best work comes from, so I really want to dive into it. So you're talking about this concept of time stress, and I just want to make sure that those listening, how can they best understand time stress? How can they identify it to see if this is something they're struggling with?
MARIE: So if you wake up every morning, and you feel like you have so much to do, and you don't even know where to start, and you kind of feel paralyzed. If you work constantly, but you're not seeing significant progress on your most-important dreams. If you feel guilty for taking a rest or a break; or when you do take a rest or a break, and you're trying to be with your family or those you love, you constantly think, “Well, you should be working on something more important or all your projects are coming up.” If you have angry outbursts from time to time because you feel so overwhelmed, and even though the people that come into your life, whether it's a team member or a spouse or a child or a friend, if they interrupt you, you wind up biting their head off. If you can't focus. If you have so many projects that you don't know which to work on first. If you're constantly beating yourself up or waking up, like I was, saying, “I can't keep going like this.”
MARIE: Especially for entrepreneurs who are like, “Wait a minute. I got into this whole thing because I wanted more freedom, but I feel more chained down and more burdened and more overworked than ever,” there’s a good chance that you might be, like most of us were, or most of us are, stuck in this hellish nightmare that I call time stress. And it's a time paradigm that we've been conditioned into, and, again, thankfully, there is another option.
AMY: There’s another option. Okay. So we’re going to talk about the other option, for sure. But one thing that I’m guilty of is taking on too much and ignoring what the true priorities are in my life, which, as we all know, just leads to overwhelm. But this is easy to do when you’re juggling so many things. And all of my listeners are juggling so many things. They’re small-business owners. They don’t have a big team. They’re taking on way too much because they have this desire to create something beautiful. So how can we become expert prioritizers?
MARIE: This is probably one of the mantras that has served me throughout my career, that I keep coming back to, and using as my foundation for not only my sanity, but my health and also the prosperity and the profits in our business and in my life. When you know what's important, you can ignore what's not. And I think in our world, especially where online business is today, a lot of folks have received really bad advice, that they need to be everywhere at once, doing all the things at once, at a level, you know, fifty-five out of ten. And (a) it's not practical; (b) it's not sustainable. But that's not how life works if you want to make major progress and be happy and satisfied.
So in order to prioritize what matters most, you need to decide what matters most. And most of us have never been taught how to do that. We don't know how to clarify what's actually most important at this stage and season of your life. And that last key phrase is so critical, because what was important to you, whether it's three months ago, six months ago, four years ago, is not what you should be prioritizing right now. And sadly, none of us have taken a class in what I call dream clarity, where we're able to go, like, “You know what? Right now, this is the most important project in my business. This is the most important area of my personal life. These things need to come first, and everything else has to take a backseat.” We’re just inundated every single day with tons of information, tons of data. It comes in through our phones. It comes in through our iPads, through our email. And it’s like we have this gluttonous approach that we should be everywhere at once, doing all the things at once. Yet that is the exact opposite of what not only creates progress but fulfillment, satisfaction, and a sense of ease.
AMY: Yes. Amen to that. I mean, it’s such an important concept to grasp. I wish I had that type of knowledge and understanding thirteen years ago, when I was starting this business, because I would have done things so differently. But I think the beauty of what you're teaching and what you're sharing is that no matter where you are in your journey, you can apply these lessons.
MARIE: Oh, 100 percent. Like, Amy, I don’t know if you can relate to this, but I can. It’s like as a multi-passionate person and as someone who has ADHD, it’s very easy for me to create chaos. It’s very easy for me to take on too much, even though I know better. And so for me, part of this notion of becoming what I call a time genius—which is the whole other paradigm, this whole other universe that is the opposite of time stress, right? It's this place where you know what's important. You focus on that. You don't take on twenty or thirty different priorities at once. You have one primary project at a time, and everything else can fit in, maybe—but my point is this: these are practices. This is not a one-time event. And for someone who’s multi passionate, for someone who's an entrepreneur and has way more ideas than they have time to execute, these are things that we come back to, that not only help keep us sane and healthy, but that actually keep us moving forward in a very profitable way.
So rather than getting distracted and unfocused by the latest strategy someone said, that you need to do this about your webinars, or you need to run your challenge this way, or you should be doing this on TikTok, or whatever the thing is, when you have a primary project and when you decide what's most important, there's this incredible freedom and spaciousness that comes because you can easily ignore the things that are not your priority right now. Doesn't mean that they may not come, and you might not want to reexamine that three months, six months down the line.
But just as a concrete example, when I was creating this program Time Genius, it was my primary project for probably about six months, and everything else that was coming into my world—requests for another book, speaking engagements, opportunities right, left, and center, like we all get—it was so easy, Amy, for me to say, “No. Time Genius is my primary project. I want to create this thing in joy. I want to create it in ease.” And Amy, I'll tell you, as someone who's been teaching for over twenty years, it was the most joyful process to create this incredibly robust thing that's all rooted in neuroscience, neurobiology, behavioral science, my own experience. And it came pouring out of me because I wasn't being pulled in a kajillion directions.
AMY: Okay. That right there, in and of itself, is so important for my audience to hear. When things feel stuck, when things aren't flowing, when you're having such a hard time to create your digital courses or your memberships or whatever, sometimes it's because you're not allowing yourself the freedom and spaciousness to only focus on this for now.
And I can attest to it from being your friend. When I reach out to you, I'm well aware you are deep into one thing, usually.
AMY: It's a very beautiful thing about how you operate. Like, I’ll say, “What are you working on?” And you literally will tell me one thing. Like, right when you came on this call.
AMY: And most people, I’ll be like, “What are you working on?” And they'll name ten different things, and with so much fluster on their face. It's like they can't even think straight. So I’ve seen it in action with you. I totally get it. I love this concept so much. So I want to dive into it a little bit more. So let's say you have a wildly busy day coming up or a busy week or a couple of busy weeks coming up. How do you approach this with grace, and even more importantly, how do you become indistractable so that you can stay clear and focused and energized on that thing that you are working on?
MARIE: So there's a couple of different components to this, so I'm going to answer it from a few different directions. For those of us who have families, significant others, people that are in our lives that we live with and that we're interacting with, if you have a wildly busy time or a stretch or a week or a day coming up, one of the most important things you can do is communicate with the people that are in your life.
So, for example, when I was working on Everything Is Figureoutable, I struggled writing my book. It was a nightmare for me. I was not in flow. I put so much pressure on myself because I wanted it to be good. But again, I was so torturesome it was terrible.
Anyway, the point of me saying that was that I let Josh know, who's my partner of almost twenty years, “Hey, as I'm trying to hit this deadline, I'm not going to be cooking as many dinners at home. I'm not going to be able to say, ‘Oh yeah, let's just go to the movies,’ because this deadline is really important. This is a significant thing. It's not going to last forever.” And so that communication with not only Josh but also my team, to say, “I can't take on anything else. Don't bring me anything.” Do you know what I mean?
AMY: Yes, I do.
MARIE: So it was letting people know, and not trying to be a hero, and then getting that buy-in, that this is what support looks like. This is how I’m going to be either absent or not around, so I don’t have that extra pressure of feeling like I’m letting down people that I love or people that trust me or people that want to interact with me. Same things with my friends. So that communication piece is important.
But what's even more important, I think, than that is setting yourself up for success. Let's just work with the example that you have an extremely busy day coming up. What you want to do is something that I actually learned in my bartending days. So this is something I do virtually every day, but especially when my life is busy.
So in the world of restaurants and bartending, you show up early at work and what you do is something called mise en place. It is a French statement, where let's say you're getting ready to serve drinks all night. What you do is you take an hour and you set everything up. You cut all your lemons. You cut all your limes. You have all your oranges. You have your sugar. You have your little umbrellas, whatever. All the things that you could possibly need, you set everything up beautifully and perfectly so that when the busyness happens and you have that crush of bar customers, everything is exactly where it should be, and you can be present and serve.
Most of us don't ever think of doing this for ourselves the night before we're about to walk into a busy day. So I actually do this virtually every day, and it makes a difference. Here's what that means. So I take a look around my work environment. I take a look around my kitchen. Coffee is one of my favorite things, right? So it's, like, setting up my kitchen so that in the morning my cup is set. My little vitamins are set. I can just hit a button. When I come downstairs, there’s not dishes in the sink. The couch isn’t all a mess. Like, for me there’s a feeling of calm that comes over me when I come down and the environment is preset for me.
Even in terms of my morning routine. So when my morning routine entails, most of the time it's meditation and journaling, I have my journal set up with my favorite pen. I have my little eye mask set up for my meditation, with my headphones that are plugged in.
So this notion of mise en place, I know it sounds like it might be trite, but it makes a huge difference. You're not waking up scrambling. You feel like a queen or a king, like someone has set up the spa for you, and it was you in advance. So that's another thing.
And then I'd say one more tip I would let people in on—and this is great, especially if people have variable schedules, like they don't necessarily have to go to work the same time every day, or there's a little bit of variety in how they do what they do—it is making your success plan for the next day the night before.
MARIE: Exactly when you're going to wake up, which, obviously, reverse engineers when you should be going to sleep. And it's a little version of an extension of that mise en place. It's like, what do you need to do first? What do you need to do second? Can you time block it out so you create a runway to make a very successful, busy day as high probability as possible, meaning that you're hitting everything that needs to be hit.
For me, if it's a shoot day, it's like, “Oh, wow. I really do need those shoes and that belt. Let me pack them up the night before.” Checking for your passport if you’re traveling, all of these little things. It’s like, yeah, it’s common sense, but how many people don’t do them? They’ll wake up, look at their phone for twenty or thirty minutes, they’ll see something that will piss them off, and then forget about it. They’re off to the races.
AMY: Okay. I am obsessed with this, and I don't do this enough. So this is absolutely going to change my nighttime routine and morning routine.
One thing I want to add that I've talked about before on the podcast that has helped me immensely is when I have a really busy day the next day, the night before, I make sure that every task that's in Asana, which is where I keep all of my tasks for the day, has a place in my calendar so I know that it's doable. You know, when you have a to-do list of, like, fifty things, and there's no way you're getting it done, right?—
MARIE: No way.
AMY: —and then you feel terrible at the end of the day? I make sure that if I have a to-do list of ten things, there's actually slots with generous time in my calendar so that my day feels doable. So that's one thing that I tend to do. But the other things about setting up even the coffee and my supplements, I love stuff like that. Coming down and the day is ready for you.
MARIE: Yeah. And you've set yourself up for that success. And I love what you said, Amy. That is part of what we talk about in Time Genius as your success plan. Everything is mapped out. Your most important task of the day is there in a time chunk that feels doable for you. And this is one of the things that’s helped me. You were referring to this notion, and we've all done this before, but there's, like, fifty things on your list. There's no way you're ever going to get that done. It's not a success plan. That's, like, a failure plan. That's, like, beat-yourself-up plan.
So a success plan for me in the realm of being a time genius is putting in three things, max. And usually, by the way, people can't see this right now. We're doing it—obviously, it's a podcast. But right over from where I'm sitting, it is a simple two-dollar, college-ruled notebook, right? That's what I write stuff down in.
You know for me, people’s like, “Oh, what kind of planner you use?” I'm, like, being a time genius has nothing to do actually with external expensive tools. You can use those if you like, if they make you happy. But it has naught to do with the right app on your phone. I don't even think it has to do with your team, quite frankly, because if you don't make an adjustment to what's happening internally—to your own thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and language—around time, the overwhelm will never end. The frustration will never end. You'll never find your ability to focus and flow. You'll keep recreating the same pattern again and again because time is ultimately an emotional experience. It doesn't have to do with what's happening on the outside.
And even though, of course, we talked about these fun little tips, I just want to underscore that because, Amy—and I'm not kidding—the health challenges that I went through, that I am 100 percent convinced, were a byproduct of how stressed out I was making myself, because I was caught in this paradigm of time stress. I couldn’t even have bread anymore. The doctors told me, “Girl, you can’t eat gluten.” As an Italian American, do you realize what that means? Like, that's misery to me. I went through years of going like, oh, my god, I can't have this; I can't have that.
I have healed this thing. Like, this stuff works so much. I just have to tell you this. I can literally eat anything again. When my doctors went through my labs, my body, I've reset everything. And yes, of course, I eat clean and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I'm not going to fill myself up with crap that doesn't actually fuel me. But the fact that I was able to heal from all of those things that were ailing me, the fact that I haven't been suffering from the anxiety and the depression that was, I was like, where is this coming from? and I felt so much shame around that, just from changing my own internal narrative about time and the pressure I was putting on myself, that's why I'm so passionate about this.
AMY: Okay. I love that you literally have experienced transformations from looking at how you spend your time, because it's very doable. This is something that everybody can do.
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One of the things that I've learned from you over what you've been teaching is that, like, this is the biggest lesson, really, realizing that I—and I repeat I—am in control, and I get to take ownership of my life. I love that you said it's not an extra tool. It's not even your team. I'm not at the mercy of some imaginary time god. So can you share what it's like to take total full ownership of this? And how has that changed your relationship with time?
MARIE: Yeah. And I think this is really important, and it can feel really sensitive. So I just want to say this, you know, as someone who, while I don't have biological kids, you know, my stepson came into my life when he was about nine years old, and he's almost thirty now. And it was at a time when my business was in its baby stages. And Josh and I, we were all living in this tiny little New York City apartment. I'm bartending. I'm waiting tables. I'm teaching fitness. I'm trying to get my business off the ground. So, like, I remember very well what it's like and I'm sure what many folks in your audience experience, right, where you feel like your time is not necessarily your own and you feel like, basically, you're taking care of everyone else. You have all these obligations, and you can just feel like, ugh, just kind of victimized, to be quite honest, with your life.
And one of my favorite quotes ever—and this is not my quote—it speaks so clearly to how I think we can have a healthier, more empowered relationship to time is this: the bad news is time flies; the good news is you're the pilot.
AMY: Ooh, that's good.
MARIE: I’m going to give that one more time. The bad news is time flies; the good news is you're the pilot. And so what has made such a difference for me in taking ownership of my time—and these are often conversations I have with myself, by myself—is any time I was noticing that things were getting a little too chaotic, if I was swirling around in overwhelm or feeling bad, like, “I can't handle. There’s so much going on,” I would sit down and go, “Oh, Miss Marie, who decided to start a business?”
AMY: Yes. I do it all the time.
MARIE: “Who decided to partner with a man that had a nine-year-old? Who decided that she wants to also bartend and teach fitness and teach dance? Oh, who decided that she wanted to write this? Oh, you created this.”
MARIE: “You are the one that made all these choices. So now here's your opportunity. You can either complain about that and victimize yourself, or you can say, ‘Oh, if I created a lot of this chaos, that means I am powerful enough to uncreate it.’”
And so that notion of “the bad news is that time flies; the good news is you're the pilot” speaks into taking ownership and starting to look at your choices from a more empowered place and starting to—and we go deep into this. I love teaching about this. And we won’t be able to unpack it fully here—but I think that there is so much freedom and humility that can come from looking at any of the places where we feel like our time is not ours. And just trying on, from a place of curiosity, from a place of experimentation, how might I be more responsible? How could I say, “Wow, I've created all of this, so what would I like to create instead?”
And when you're coming from that playful place, from that place of ownership, I find that there are so many more windows of opportunity that open up to see your own patterns that may be dysfunctional, but then to also see your possibilities of how you can have a whole new relationship with every aspect of your life and start to unwire some of the unconscious patterning of overpromising, of over-giving, of always being there, of taking on too much, of people-pleasing, that, honestly, it just doesn't serve you.
But it comes from, first, that place to say, “Oh, no, no, no. My time is my own. And if I have been powerful enough to create this chaos, that means I am powerful enough to uncreate it.”
AMY: Ooh. I love that. Absolutely. You know, when you were saying, “Time flies, but you're the pilot,” I was thinking what mantras—that’s such a great saying—what mantras do you have that you found are really powerful with staying organized or feeling like you have an abundance of time? Are there things that you tell yourself?
MARIE: Oh, yeah, I have many of them.
AMY: Oh, good.
MARIE: So some of my famous Time Genius mantras. First of all, when you know what's important, it's a lot easier to ignore what's not. When I say that mantra, if I'm like, “But what is important?” that means that I haven't clarified, in a crystallized way, what is the most important primary project of the stage and season of my life? So I get to go back and I go, “Oh, this is the most important thing.” So that's one.
The second one is there's always time for what's most important. We live in a culture right now where many of us repeatedly program ourselves with “There's never enough time. I don't have enough time. There's not enough time to do x, y, or z.” And so we literally create that reality. One of the things that we know to be true about the brain, the brain will believe whatever you tell it most. So whatever you tell it most about you and your experience of time, it will create. It has no choice. It is like a supercomputer that follows the directions that you program it with. And when you start to bring a conscious awareness to your unconscious programing around time, it is wild what most of us believe. And again, this is kind of the deep work that I've done.
And one of my favorite mantras that I used to tell myself, which was the wrong one, was about overwhelm, how overwhelmed I always am, how overworked I always am, how busy I am, how I don't have time, how there's so much on my plate. Amy, I was like a fish in water. I didn't realize that this was something I was doing to myself. And so one of my new favorite mantras, which is actually rooted in quite a bit of deep neuroscience, is I don't do overwhelm.
AMY: Ooh, I need that one. I find myself still saying, “I'm so overwhelmed,” but I tell my students not to say it, and then I find myself saying it.
MARIE: Stop that ish. Again, I will be your buddy on this.
MARIE: This is something that I am so happy that I have not said that, Amy, and this is the truth. Like, there's so many things that I fall off the wagon, too, just like everyone else. So there's many different areas of my life that I'm like, “Okay, I need to pick that back up. Great. I need to reinvest in that. I need to get that practice back.” This is one that I can tell you. I have not said, “I am overwhelmed,” literally in years. That doesn't mean I don't get near the edge of it. That doesn't mean that I don't feel myself wanting to go back to that pattern. I'm like, “Uh-uh, nope. Marie, step back from…Nope, you don't do overwhelm.” And it gives me this moment of going, like, I am not going to allow myself the indulgence of that toxic emotional space, because I've seen firsthand how it can destroy my body and destroy my creativity and destroy my joy in my life. And so I don't do overwhelm.
You know, I told this to a friend of mine, and I was explaining to her about how this phrase, “I don't do” something, is actually empirically proven to be eight times more powerful than other language choices when we want to break a negative habit. So for instance, this is all based on research done by Dr. Vanessa Patrick, who found that when we human beings base a refusal and say, “I don't,” like, “I don't eat chocolate cake,” versus “I can't,” it is wild how much more successful you are.
By the way, I freakin’ love chocolate cake. So this is not about chocolate cake. This is just about looking at how we state something.
So saying, “I don’t,” is three times as more powerful than saying, “No,” and eight times as powerful as saying, “I can’t.” So you might be asking yourself, “Okay, well, Marie, that’s fascinating. Why?” Part of the reason is this: when we say, “I don't” to anything, it is a choice that we're making. We're empowered, right?
MARIE: You're expressing our identity. We're expressing our standards. And we feel like we are at choice. When we say, “I can't”, no matter what it is, the moment we say those words—pay attention—we start to feel just a little restricted. We start to put ourselves in this place of feeling a little bit victimized, as though there's some external authority or external circumstance that’s stopping us, so it doesn't come from an empowered place.
And so, you know, when I was telling this to a friend of mine, she was, like, “You know, Marie, my thing isn’t overwhelm.” She wasn't addicted to overwhelm like I was. She said, “You know what my thing is? Guilt. I am so guilty because I always think I should be spending more time with my toddler, even though in reality I spend a ton of time with my toddler. But this guilt thing is exhausting me. It's making me miserable.” And I said, “Okay, great. Here's your experiment. ‘I don't do guilt.’ Try that on. Do it with conscious intention, emotion, consistency, and see what happens.” She called me back a few weeks later. She's like, “Totally changed my life.” It's because neuroplasticity, right? Neurons that fire together, wire together. We have the ability—we know this. It's rooted in science—to change our brains, which changed our beliefs, which changed our thoughts and feelings, which changes our experience and our reality. And nowhere is this more consequential in today’s day and age than time.
AMY: Whoa. “I don't do.” I will absolutely be using that, and starting with overwhelm, for sure. Probably the biggest gift you can give me today. So I so appreciate that.
Okay, so let's talk shop a little bit because you have a course called Time Genius. And I absolutely am obsessed with this. I think everybody should check it out.
But first, let's talk about Time Genius and what this looks like. And I'm assuming—well, now I know the answer—everything you teach in this, you use.
MARIE: Oh, my gosh. Yes. So, you know, we started the story with myself going through—
MARIE: —this enormous breakdown and having all of these experiences and then recognizing that so many people in my audience all around the world—Amy, it was heartbreaking. I'm like, “Oh, my god. People are struggling just how I am. Different stories but the same core things.” And I said, “I know I can help as the person who says everything is figureoutable, and I'm going to help heal myself, and then I'm going to share this with others.” So I was like, look, we're all overwhelmed, so I want to create something that is powerful and potent and that people can get through fast.
So there's actually five parts to the Time Genius framework. People go through it literally in five days, less than two hours a day. It is all rooted in science. So it's verify—all of the research is there.
It's also my own personal stories. It's probably the program, like, I knew that people are curious, right? Well, how do you get everything done? What are your actual routines? So I literally took a camera out. I'm like, from the moment I wake up until, like, here's my whole morning routine. I take people through my journals. This is how I set up my day. This is how I set up my week. This is how I plan my year. But again, it's not just me, me, me. It's, like, here's the science that proves this is why this is going to help you, especially for people that have neurodivergent brains, like I do. Or it's just you're in the normal world, and you're like, “Yeah, it's chaotic. I'm having a lot of trouble focusing. Please help me.” It's great for people like us. It's also great for multi-passionate people because when you're multi passionate and you have many different things that you want to do, you don't necessarily have to fit yourself into a rigid system.
Time Genius is not a rigid system. It's basically, the way I like to explain it is let me give you the very best of behavioral science and neuroscience and neurobiology so that you understand how this big, beautiful brain of yours and how your body is going to work optimally, and then blending that with who you are as a human being and what's most important to you right now. So you have this beautiful buffet of Time Genius strategies to choose from.
And then here's the thing—and Amy, you might remember this from the program—I don't allow people—you don't need to do seventy-five things. You just pick one.
AMY: Yes. Yes. I loved that.
MARIE: Yes. Please, go for it.
AMY: Yeah. So fantastic, where you do not need to—sometimes you take a course and you feel like, “Oh, my gosh. There's so much I have to do.”
AMY: Well, after Time Genius, you don't feel that way. You feel like, like we talked about before, you own this. You're in control of this.
AMY: So you get to pick and choose how you want to navigate.
MARIE: That’s right. And so everybody, so for some people, like, you know, one of the first things that we work on in Time Genius is how to completely remake your time mindset from the inside out. Like, I want to get people out of time stress permanently, and we can show you how to do that, because if you don't change what's happening on the inside and your mindset and your psychology and how you speak to yourself, how you speak to your team, how you speak to your family, there's no app or scheduling system or methodology that's going to help you. So we tackle that first.
Then, it moves on to helping you clarify what's most important and what's not at this stage and season of your life, down to such precision that if someone asked you, like, “If you got on this call with Amy, if you got on her podcast,” and she’s like, “Hey, what are you working on?” you would be able to say, “This is exactly what's most important right now.”
MARIE: “This is on deck for a little bit later,” but you would feel so spacious.
Then, we walk into how to really set yourself up for the highest levels of success. Really, how to make your success inevitable every day, every week, every month, every year. How to do little check ins.
Then, it's about how to get it done joyfully. So this is the in-the-trenches part. Like, what do you do when you wake up and then your dog vomits or your kid’s sick or technology—? Like, the stuff that we all deal with, real life, what are the tools that we can use so that you can stay in the time-genius zone and not go back to time stress? We've got all that covered.
And then, finally, it's about teaching people how to stay clear and how to stay motivated, but not motivated from, like, a rah-rah place; science-backed ways to help train your brain to stay really excited and passionate about what you do and just, again, stay out of that overwhelm zone.
So it's very, very fast. It's extremely effective. I think we've had thousands of people go through it, and we have almost two thousand pages of feedback. I'm going to hold something up. A lot of people can't see this because it's a podcast. But it is insane how fast people's lives are transforming. We had people go to their stress doctor before they came to Time Genius, and in five days their stress is down 40 percent. People are less—
MARIE: I'm not kidding you. I have—
AMY: Oh, I take this very seriously.
MARIE: I have never seen anything like this. People who felt like their partners, basically, were saying to them, “Who are you? I don't know who you are. You've turned into a monster.” They're like, “Oh, my god. My husband feels like he's got his wife back. My kids are not saying, ‘You’re a zombie mom’ anymore.” Amy, it is bonker pants how quickly people are shifting.
AMY: That’s a technical marketing term, bonker pants. And what I am so excited about is that, you know, I have been promoting B-School for, I don't know, ten years or something, and that it’s my most favorite program. And you've been on the show many times to talk about B-School. But this is so dramatically different in the sense that it's not only—I have tons of people here building businesses.
MARIE: Of course.
AMY: But Time Genius will help you immensely in your business, but immensely outside of your business as well. Like, you've created something that goes so far beyond creating an online business.
MARIE: Well, this is—I’m so happy that you brought that up, because a lot of people who have done B-School have now done Time Genius.
MARIE: And they’re like, “Oh, my god. Now I'm going to go back to be… I can finally get the things—”
MARIE: “—done that I’ve wanted to get done forever.” And I did not expect that. Like, there are all of these wild byproducts.
So we had someone who, she is a writer, right? That's her business. She was so behind on it. She'd finished her novel in the two weeks that we did Time Genius. And she started singing lessons because she had time. She's like, “I've been wanting to do that for years.”
I had someone else who raised her rates four times and outlined four programs in five days. These are business owners, right?
Another woman who, she runs an independent bookstore in rural Alaska. Like, talk about a salt-of-the-earth entrepreneur, right? And she's got little kids. And she's like, “Oh, now I'm starting my second business. And my husband's happy because I'm finally going on hikes again, and we're going snowmobiling. The person that he married is finally back.”
I'm literally sitting here, watching these business owners get done things that have been on their list for so long, and they're feeling more spacious and joyful than ever. It's basically, they're experiencing the freedom that they became an entrepreneur for in the first place, but they didn't know how to get there.
AMY: Okay. There's three words that have come up a lot that I love: spacious, joyous, and freedom. Such amazing things that so many entrepreneurs would love to have in their business and their personal life. And I believe that's what you give them in Time Genius.
So, I’m so glad that you kind of broke it down, because most people don't yet know what it's all about. But here's the thing. If somebody is interested, they're like, “Okay, all right, Marie. I want to check out Time Genius,” but a lot of people in my audience, they like to ease into it, well, you have a webinar coming up. And the webinar is Three Productivity Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make. And I want you to tell people—it's free, so you guys can go sign up right now. Now, you don't want to wait. It's limited time. Go sign up, amyporterfield.com/time. But Marie, tell people what they're going to learn in this free webinar.
MARIE: It’s probably one of the best free classes that I've ever done. I'm so proud of it because it's extremely tactical. First, we're covering one of the big breakthroughs that I had, again, when I was trying to deconstruct my own toxic beliefs around time. And so one of the first mistakes was, basically, I want to teach people how a little bit of simple math can free you from this idea that you don't have enough time for all the things that matters. So that's mistake number one.
Then, I'm going to teach people my rule for getting way more done in less time. It's the most powerful planning principle that I've ever come across. I use it every single day, and it saves my butt, especially as someone who's multi passionate, especially who has someone who has more ideas always. So you need to come and find that one.
And then, finally, we talk a lot about how being a time genius, whether you join us for the program or not, it's all about upgrading your internal beliefs, your narrative, and your mindset around time.
If you can take one thing away from this conversation, I promise you this: If you struggle in any of the ways that I've shared that I've struggled—with anxiety, depression, feeling burned out, feeling like no matter how hard you work or how many hours you put in that it's never enough, if you can't take a break without feeling guilty or being with your family without thinking that you should be doing something for your business—please, for the love of all things holy, just allow me to show you an opportunity to not have those things be true anymore. You can be a more effective entrepreneur. You can be a happier, more-present partner. You can be more creative, more joyful. And you don't have to torture yourself.
But it's not about an outside app. It's not about finding the right COO or the right team member or the right delegation. It has nothing to do with that. We have to detoxify from this toxic hustle culture that we've all been absorbing, probably for decades. And there is another way, and it doesn't mean that you're not ambitious. You can actually be even more successful, but more sustainably successful, if you're just willing to look at what you've got going on in the inside and just be willing to try on a few different possibilities.
AMY: I love that term “sustainably successful.” It's very different than the hustle successful. So I am so excited for my audience to check this out. My friends, it's free. Marie does some of the best webinars on the planet. Amyporterfield.com/time. Go grab your seat. I will absolutely be there with you.
And Marie, I just absolutely adore you. Thank you so much for being here, and thank you for your friendship and support for all these years. It’s such a pleasure to know that we still have this beautiful friendship.
MARIE: Thank you, Amy. And thanks, everyone, for listening today.
AMY: So there you have it. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take ownership of your time as an entrepreneur. Not only will this help you grow your business more quickly, it will create a business that you love, one that allows for time and space. Remember those words she talked about? Capacity and freedom and joy, so that you can love the work you're doing, and you can love your life outside of your business.
It's important that you start owning your time, and let's do that now, not two years into your business, not once you're making x amount of money. No, right now. I wish that I learned how to own my time on day one of starting my business. It was years and years of painful overwhelm until I figured this out.
So the more you let time dictate your schedule, the harder it will be to reel it in and stick to a schedule that feels good to you. So I had so many years of bad habits with not owning my time that it was a painful transition to get to where I am today. It doesn't need to be that way. You don't need to make the mistakes that I've made.
So I think the very next perfect step is to get on her free training. So it's Three Productivity Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make, amyporterfield.com/time. I want you to go there right now if you haven't done so already. And just remember, she's going to talk about truly understanding the cost of time stress, why the most important things you need to get done never actually get done, and the importance of upgrading your mindset regarding time. Those are the three things she’s going to talk about. So go grab your spot. I will see you there live. This is something you don't want to miss.
And for all of my marketing students that love a good webinar or doing webinars themselves or want to do webinars, whenever you get a chance to get on a highly valuable, really well-done masterclass, you always want to learn from that. So get on the masterclass to learn how to own your time, but also see how an expert does a really well-done, valuable webinar. Amyporterfield.com/time.
All right, my sweet friends. I will see you Wednesday for Wisdom Wednesday, and then Thursday will be my Shorty episode this week, where I'm actually going to be riffing on—that’s such a funny term. I learned it from Tony Robbins. Like, let's riff. Let's talk about—one very specific topic that has to do with a mantra that Marie mentioned in this episode. I'm going to take one of her mantras. I'm going to dial it down even deeper, go behind the scenes of my business, and share with you how I've used that mantra to change how I view time and what my schedule looks like now. So I'm taking you behind the scenes in my next Shorty episode. It will be this Thursday. I'll see you there.