HAPPY FUCKING NEW YEAR! 🎉Welcome to SEASON 6!
In this episode, we’re breaking the fuck AWAY from the idea of work-life balance.
Tune in as I share the secrets to conquer overwhelm, kick-ass strategies to smash your goals without the burn out, and make 2024 your best year ever.
EPISODE 234 TRANSCRIPTION
I'm back. Did you miss me? If you have no idea what I'm talking about, rude. I was not podcasting for the last couple of months. We have been sending out some of our most popular podcasts, so you wouldn't miss me too much. But here I am in 2024. Happy New Year to all y'all. I'm so glad to be back. But I want to share a little bit with you about why I wasn't podcasting, what was going on with me last fall, and how that pertains to our subject today, which is how to have your best year ever. So, this past fall, really started late summer. We were having some trouble with our marketing team. We weren't seeing quite eye to eye, and we made the decision to bring marketing in-house, which is a huge decision. It's also not a really fun decision to make right before a launch. We normally launch the H2H Playground in both September and in January. But we decided to make that decision, so that was a big deal.
We also decided that the Playground had now had its third birthday, and although it's been a phenomenal success, we have over 200 members all working their asses back there. I say working their asses off, but we're just having a shit ton of fun back there, becoming the best trial lawyers they can be, that it was time for a change and I wanted that change to be in January. Add to that, a lot of overwhelm with just some other things in life. I had a problem on my hands. So, I started looking at all of the things that I could take off my plate, and the answer that came to my mind is, "You can't take anything off your plate. You have to do all of these things."
Now, think for a moment...
How many times have you said the same thing in your life?
"I have to. I have to do this, I have to do that."
The answer my friends is we don't have to do anything. But we trick ourselves into thinking that we do have to do things. That is what I'm going to suggest today, is why we are not living our best lives. Take a look at when I was looking at all the things, would I rather podcast than put a marketing team in place, and have to do some of the administrative things that I was doing this fall? Absolutely. I love podcasting. I missed y'all. I missed putting my ideas in your ear and in the world, but some things had to take precedent.
Now, when I thought about it, I thought, "But I have to. I've never missed sending content out every single week." There may be maybe one or two times in the... I don't know how many years now, maybe almost five years I've been podcasting. But it was a thing like, "You cannot do this, Sari, it's not even an option for you not to podcast." But then I asked myself a question, and I want you to ask yourself this question as you're thinking about this year coming up. That is, "If I continue to just bear down and do it anyway..." Which my lovely husband has consistently reminded me since cancer, I don't do that anymore. I don't push through. But if I was going to do it, if I was going to push through, I asked myself, "Would it be my best work?" The answer to that is no. So, I made the choice that instead of sending out shit, and it wouldn't have been shit because I rarely produce shit, let's just be honest. But it wouldn't have been my best work. My heart wouldn't have been in it.
I made the decision to not podcast for the last couple of months, for the first time ever. Now, I want you to think about this in your life.
We tend to be told that work-life balance is what we're after, right?
That to have balance, there's some secret out there. So, we're all reading articles on how to balance our lives. We're all reading the books on how to balance our lives. You're watching the videos on how to balance our lives.
Everybody wants balance.
Here's the thing though, I don't need to write a book on it. I barely need to even do a podcast on it. I can tell you why, in one sentence, in one phrase, you and I, and everybody else does not have balance, and here's what it is.
You're doing too damn much.
I remember coming into my coaching sessions with my coach and bringing the same topic over, and over, and over again. If you have a mindset coach that you as the client are responsible for bringing the topic, right? "Here's what I want to talk about today. Here's what I want to coach about today." So, my topic was always, "I'm so overwhelmed, I have so much to do, and I don't have enough time to do it." One day my coach, who's fantastic, said, "Sari, you have brought this topic a gazillion times, and I have attempted to coach you around this topic a gazillion times. But here is the truth. We are never going to be able to solve this as long as you have more things to do without enough time to do them. We can sit here all day long and try to figure out how to shove five tons of things into a two-ton container. We're never going to figure that out."
If you want to have your best year ever, you have to stop chasing balance and thinking that it is something that is out there, and you have to start getting real with your schedule and your limitations, and stop saying yes to absolutely everything.
Particularly, you have to stop saying yes to you. At least, that's my problem, because I want to do all of the things, and what I have realized... That's what allowed me this last fall to say, "You know what? I'm going to take a break from podcasting for two months." I have realized that it does not serve me, it does not serve my clients, it does not serve my family, it does not serve my business. If I consistently try to do all the things I want to do at the same time, it doesn't work.
So, here is how I suggest you go about having the work-life balance that I know you all crave. We're going to reverse engineer this. So, for example, most people, when we are talking about how to manage your time, or have work-life balance, or manage a to-do list, what we do is we take all the things that we have to do and then we try to fit it into the time that we have. Then we bang our heads against the wall until eternity, because it never fucking fits. We always have way more things to do than we have time to do them. What I've realized after years, and years, and years of trying to find just the right time management system, and by the way, I found it because I created it. It's called Life by Design. You get it for free in the H2H Crew when you sign up.
But what I found is, there is no perfect system, because there's no system that's ever going to manufacture time. We are always going to have more things to do than we have time to do them. We have to get really good at prioritizing and focusing. So, here's how we're going to reverse engineer it.
The first question you're going to ask yourself is,
"How much time do you have?"
Not, "What do I have to do?" "How much time do I have?" Then, we're going to look at how do we fill that. So, how do you figure out how much time you have? Well, here's what I do. I'm taking a little bit from the Life by Design course, so that's a full course with tons of modules. I'm just going to share with you a couple of things today.
I get a calendar that has the month view, half the month on one side, half the month on the other, and the squares are exactly the size of your standard... I think it's two by two post-it note. I get them from At-A-Glance. It doesn't matter where you get it, but they always have these year-long planners, and there's 12 months in there, and that's what I use. Then I get sticky notes. Those little post-it notes in three to four different colors. They come in packs the four. So, let's just say four. So, as you're looking at your year, and I normally do this the August... Sometimes, even the June before the next year, but it's okay if you're just starting right now, it's fine. The first thing you do is you go, "Okay, this is the time I have. These 365 days, the time that we're working with right now." If you want to do this month-by-month, you can do it that way, too. But I like to look at year in advance.
Now, that's the time that you have. Now, you're going to set that aside for a minute and you're going to then ask yourself,
"What do I want to accomplish this year?"
When you put that list together, it should be no longer than three things. If you want to divide it into business and personal, and have three in each, I'll allow it. But three tops in both of those things. So, for example, the three things that I want to accomplish in the business this year is the rollout of this brand new H2H Playground, we're going to be rolling out a variety of different things. All very exciting. I want to put a leadership team in place. So we have a bunch of new hires that we're going to have to make, and I want to create new content. People have been asking how are we expanding the H2H method beyond voir dire and opening?
So, we're going to answer that question this year, at least we're going to start answering that question this year. There are also a shit ton of other things I want to do. I want to write a second book, for example. There's a lot of other things I want to do, but those are the three... Go ahead and write a list of all the things you want to do, but then you're going to decide if, "At the end of this year I look back and I was able to accomplish these three things, I'd feel really, really good about myself." All right? Now, let's go back to the calendar, but before we put in your work stuff, what we're going to do is we're going to take those post-it notes and pick your most favorite colors. Is it the pink one?
Is it the blue? Is it the green? Can't be the orange. Orange is a terrible color. I don't know why, when we had our company before Forte, we picked orange. It's just awful. I just hate the color orange. Sorry, Kristi. I know it's one of your favorites. So, pick your favorite color and you're going to go, and before we do anything else, you are going to block out all of your time off. You're like, "What? I don't take time off." Well, you need to. For any of this to work, for you to be accomplished in any of this, you got to have some time off. Kevin and I take 10 weeks off. 10 weeks off. We take off the entire week of Thanksgiving, even though we don't celebrate, but most people do. We give that whole week off to our employees as well.
We take off two weeks at Christmas, end of the year. We give that to our employees as well, in addition to their time off that they have. I know, don't you want to come work for me? We take off spring break, so we're with my daughter, when she's out of school. We take off a week for him and I to go to Canyon Ranch. It used to just be me, and then I took him last year and now he's going to tag along til the end of our days. So, we take that week off, we take off a whole month in July, and we're either at the beach, or in Finland, and then we take another week in August just to go to the beach, in case we didn't go to Finland, we haven't a chance to go to the beach yet. 10 weeks, y'all. Now, if you can only do two, that's a problem.
But start there. That's the first thing I do. Anytime I open my calendar, the number one thing that goes on there first is, "Here's my time." That sends a message to your brain that you're important. Do that first. Now, before we go to the next step, which is how you're going to put your life together, we create what I call a time map, and that is here's how my weeks look. So, for me, I don't work on Mondays. I have me time in the mornings and I do my doctor's appointments, chiropractor appointments, acupuncture on Monday afternoons. When I have to schedule one of those appointments, I don't have to be like, "Where in my schedule can I find time?" I always reserve Monday afternoons for that. Once you've had cancer, you have lots of doctor's appointments. It's a part-time job. I work Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
I do some creative stuff for the business on Friday morning, and Friday afternoon I take off. So, that's my week. You might do the same thing for you. Now, it's a whole other podcast on how to create a time map. I probably did it last year around this time, if you go back and look. But the point is, once you know what your weeks look like, then you can start putting those on your calendar. Here are the times... For me, my pink post-it notes are, "Here are the times I can see clients," and I put those all over my calendar for the whole year. "Here are the times that I'm taking off on Fridays." Put those all on my calendar. "Here are the times where I have my doctor's appointments," put them all on the calendar. I literally have a sticky note covering nearly every single square when I'm done.
I know it's a lot of sticky notes. Then, and only then do I ask the question, "Now, what do I have time for?" I start plugging it in. Once I get to the point where I'm like, "Shit, I don't have time for that," then I have to start saying no to shit. Meaning, if it does not go and if it does not fit in my calendar, I do not play Fantasyland and go, "Well, I'm sure I'll find some time." I don't work weekends. I don't think you should work weekends. I don't play Fantasyland and go, "Well, I'll probably find time for it." If I cannot see it on my calendar... By the way, I plan lots of free time on the calendar because I know things are going to come up during the year. So, I have six hours a week, that unplanned time, every week because I know I'm going to fill that super easy.
So, I'm not scheduling every single moment, but I'm scheduling even open time to deal with things, as a business owner would, in my schedule. Now, this makes it really clear, really fast what I can say yes to, what I can say no to. I can look at that right away and go, "I do not have time to write a second book this year, not this year because I'm plugging in times that I'm going to do interviews." We tend to think, "Well, we just going to hire somebody." Yep, that's going to happen in January, and then we never think about it again. I'm thinking here in December, "Okay, I'm blocking out time on my calendar, months in advance to hire those people, to train those people." I'm already putting on our calendar, the week that we're going to do our yearly planning for 2025. That's part of my 2024. I got to put that week in.
See, what I don't want you to do, and what I see so many of you doing is thinking of all these things you want to do.
We get to December, think back to January, and you look at that and you go, I didn't do half that shit. Then you feel bad about yourself, and it's not your fault, but you'll go there. You'll say, "It's because I'm lazy, it's because I'm stupid. It's because I don't know how to do things right, or..." No, it's because you did not take the time to really plot out how much time is available, and once you knew that, get really clear on then what's going to go in that time. I know this is a crazy assed thing to say, but my team can swear to it, and my husband can swear to it right now.
I have every single hour accounted for in my year, ahead of time. If you want to know what I'm doing Sunday, March 3rd. Is that a Sunday? Yes, I think it is. I was just looking at Jim Gaffigan tickets. I can tell you. I at least can tell you what that time is marked off for. Sundays are for family. I can tell you that right now. It's a family day. I don't schedule Sundays. So, that was an easy one. Tuesday morning on XYZ, I can tell you what that would be. It's planned. It doesn't mean that I can't move it around. It always gets moved around, but nothing gets added unless there's time. Now, does this take a lot of time to do? Hell yes. Is your life worth it? Hell yes. Why aren't you taking the time to plan out ahead of time how you're going to create the life of your dreams, and the year of your dreams?
This is where it starts. It's not wishful thinking.
"Here's the things I hope I get done," and then a year goes by and you're like, "Well, what happened?" Now, I know with trial lawyers, your schedule is not your own, blah, blah, blah. Then, leave big huge blocks of time. I know one of my clients had seven trials last year. So, if I was working with him on this, I'd say block out seven blocks of time that you think that's going to happen. Plan out all the rest of it. That's why we use sticky notes. When you finally know when those things are happening, we can move things around, but we're not adding any post-it notes. We're moving post-it notes around. So, Happy New Year. The way to have your best year ever is to really intimately know how much time you have, and then decide... Not the other way around.
What things are going to fit in that time instead of, "Here's all the things I have to do, and I hope I have time to do them." You don't. I can tell you that right now. Get clear, and you'll get happy. That really is how to have success over your calendar. All right, talk to you next week.
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Ready for the address? Go to sariswears.com/jury. Enjoy.
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