Transcript: Your Task List Can Wait: Prioritize Your Mental Health First

December 20, 2022

AMY PORTERFIELD: “So here's the key. If my team sees me saying, ‘I need a little extra time. I need some space. I need to move this deadline. Can we work together on that?’ then my team knows they also can do that. They're encouraged to do that. I don't want my team working until eleven o’clock at night because they think that they can't move things around.  

“In my last corporate job, I worked all hours, and I definitely worked late into the night most days. Like, I would rarely leave the office before seven or eight. And I just don't want that in my company. But I know it starts with me, and it needs to be communicated that I do not want that.”  

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: Well, hey, there, friend. Welcome back to Online Marketing Made Easy. 

I wanted to check in and see how you're doing. I don't know about you, but this time of year is always really busy for me and my business, probably because we do the Entrepreneur Experience event at this time, and we’re planning for the new year. And then, not to mention, it’s a holiday season, so there's a lot going on in our personal lives. So I bet you can relate. Like, it's busy, but really good stuff to be busy with. So I really love the last three months of the year, so I'm just going to enjoy it. 

Now, even though I've got a solid system in place for scheduling out my days and prioritizing all the craziness that's going on, I still, of course, fall behind on my tasks from time to time. In fact, the Monday after we wrapped up the launch of Digital Course Academy, I got back at my desk, opened up my Asana tasks, and realized that I had pushed way too many things off. Have you ever done that? Like, you're in the middle of a launch, something comes up, and you're like, “I can't even think about that. I'll do it after the launch.” And then I'll do it after the launch. You hear yourself saying it, like, twenty times, and then after the launch you're like, “Oh my gosh.”  

So for me, on that Monday—so we closed the cart, I think on a Thursday. I went to the lake over the weekend. I did take time off. Came back on Monday. I was ready to go. And then, I realized I had three hours of podcast episodes to record because I batch. And normally, I'm really excited to record my podcast. But I won't lie. After coming off a big launch, even though I took the weekend off, I was still really tired and just my head wasn't in the game yet. So I decided to reschedule, along with a few other things that were all my task list. I thought, “I need just one more day to kind of ease back in slowly.”  

So if you've ever been in the weeds like this, then you know that it's, like, a terrible feeling, because not only are you behind on your work, but you start to beat yourself up about it. I don't know. Maybe this is me.  

But here's how this all went down. I looked at those three hours of recording a podcast, and I didn't instantly say, “I'm going to reschedule those. I'm going to have an easier day today.” No, that's not how it all shook out in the beginning.  

I'm going to take you behind the messy mind of mine. Okay, this is how it really went. “Holy crap. I have three hours of podcast recording today, and I'm still so tired, and I do not want to do those. I want to do a good job. I want to enjoy it. I'm going to hate doing those. Now what do I do? Why didn't I schedule these at a different time? What was I thinking? This is so stupid of me.” And then I catch myself, and then I think, “Okay, no. We can change this around.”  

But then I instantly go to, “But what about Kylee?” who's my podcast producer. “What about Kylie? I'm going to now mess up her whole schedule because I know this woman is efficient.” So the minute these are recorded, I know she's got the editor already set up. She's got our social team already set up to put together the assets. Like, I know that my podcast is, like, a really great domino effect. One thing happens and the next thing and then the next thing. Like, we've been doing this for many, many years, so we've got it down. So instantly I thought, “If I don't do this, then I'm screwing somebody else on my team.”  

But then, I took a step back and I thought, wait a second. First of all, my team needs to see that I am willing to take care of myself before all the tasks, and there's no way they wouldn't understand that I'm still feeling a little bit exhausted from a really big launch. And also, as long as I talk to people on my team and make sure that they're going to be okay, and if not, help them troubleshoot how this new reschedule can work for them, then we're okay.  

So I just wanted to kind of share with you, like, yeah, my mind goes a little bit crazy. I get, like, a little bit resentful, a little bit like, “This is not fair.” Waa, waa, waa. Like, I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I have a little pity party for, like, two minutes. And then I realize, wait a second. I'm the boss. I'm the one who ultimately calls the shots. And if I need to change something, I think we can figure this out.  

I also remind myself—and I understand the work we do is important. I know that I can help change people's lives with helping them build businesses online, but at the end of the day, I'm not curing cancer. I'm not doing heart surgery—I know that the work we do is important, but it's not life or death, meaning we can change things around. We can make pivots. We can reschedule.  

Okay. So in my DCA launch, when I realized that I can't do it today, and I can't do a lot of the action items on my list today, so I took a breath and I said, “Okay, it's going to be okay. I’m going to talk to the right people on my team. We’re going to get this taken care of. I’m going to spend a little extra time today recovering.” 

Then I went to my executive assistant, Christine, and I told her that I just needed some help to find a new time to schedule the recordings. And then I went to my podcast manager, Ky, just to make sure that she was okay if we moved it. 

So here's the key. If my team sees me saying, “I need a little extra time. I need some space. I need to move this deadline. Can we work together on that?” then my team knows they also can do that. They're encouraged to do that. I don't want my team working until eleven o’clock at night because they think that they can't move things around. 

In my last corporate job, I worked all hours, and I definitely worked late into the night most days. Like, I would rarely leave the office before seven or eight. And I just don't want that in my company. But I know it starts with me, and it needs to be communicated that I do not want that. 

I recently had somebody leave my company, and she wrote in her exit interview—it was surprising that she left—and she wrote in the exit interview that, like, things were just taking her way too long, and she had missed, like, a memorial service or something similar to a memorial service for a relative. And I thought, wait, what? Like, there is no need to do that. But I had no idea. She wasn't communicating that she was working these long hours. We could have fixed that for her. But I don't want anyone in my company—and I actually addressed this with everybody once she left that there is no need for that. But you do have to communicate. So with me communicating to the proper people when I need to change things, I'm hoping that I'm encouraging them to do the same. 

And listen, I'm the owner of the company. I don't want this happening left and right all the time. But I also know my team is mature enough to not take advantage of something like this. So that's kind of how it all shook out for me.  

And here's something else that's great. When you use a time-management tool like Asana, those of you who aren’t familiar with Asana—A-S-A-N-A—you can see where everything is falling. So I was able to get into Asana, see what it meant if I were to move this, communicate with the right people through Asana so that they know what project I'm talking about, and then nothing’s scattered. Everything is coming down the pipeline as planned. Things can be moved around easily when you are using a project-management tool.  

I can't even stress that enough. Even if it's just you right now, if you do one thing this year—because we're coming up at the end of the year—if you do one thing this year to set yourself up for an amazing new year, right now choose your project-management tool, and every single action item, every single project put in there. I love Asana, but you can use—there's so many: Trello, Monday, there's a lot of different ones. Just choose one and get started and be diligent with it.  

Now, when I have a personal task, when I want to communicate with my personal assistant, when I want to remember to do something personally, I also put it in Asana. I know it's not going to get done if it's not scheduled. 

And I also think that when you have a project-management tool, it allows you to breathe a little bit easier. And also, when you fall behind, it's important to remember that your mental health is just as important as checking off tasks, so changing things around with your tasks is good for your soul.  

So in fact, after that day, after that Monday following my launch, I was reminded that strength sometimes means showing up and being vulnerable. And I know that if I take a little extra time versus powering through, my work is going to be that much better. I wouldn't have had great episodes to deliver to you if I forced it.  

And here's what’s really sweet. When all of that came about, later that day, I got a message, a text message, from Ky, who, again, runs my podcast. And she's like, “Good for you for taking care of yourself today.” An employee said that to me. How cool is that? And when she sent me that text, I thought, “You know what? I want to share this with the team.” So I jumped on video in Slack. So we use Slack just for quick communication, no action items. But in Slack you can now record videos. So I recorded a quick video just directly into Slack, and I just said, “Hey, I wanted to share with you what happened with me today. And I'm guessing that many of you pushed a lot of things to ‘after the launch.’ And if that is you, give yourself some grace. Talk to your managers. You are supported. I want you to take a breath and just know that I know how it feels, and you're not alone.” So I actually went the extra mile and communicated with my team, which I don't do that all the time, but when I feel like, wait a second. If I'm feeling this, they are probably feeling this.  

So whether you have a team or you’re solo, just let yourself be aware of these moments when you need extra time or extra space or extra grace. Give it to yourself, and then ask those around you to support you in that as well.  

All right. So I hope you loved this Shorty episode. Remember, we are not super human. We cannot get it all done all the time, and you should never expect that of yourself or your team.  

So if you are loving this podcast, and especially my Tuesday episodes, which are the short, kind of behind-the-scenes episodes, will you please leave me a review? Reviews mean everything in terms of growing podcasts. And we put so much time and effort into this podcast, I'd love to see it get into the hands of the people that need it the most. So please do leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. I'd be forever grateful. 

And I cannot wait to see you on Thursday for more entrepreneurial goodness, same time, same place. Can't wait. 

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