How many times a week do you think, “I really need to do that, but I don’t have time / money / enough x, y, z to make it happen right now.”
Most of us have a list a mile long of things we would do, should do, really want to do but can’t figure out where in our jam-packed schedules to fit another thing.
So today we’re talking about finding space, making space, and fitting in those priorities, whether they be personal or business. So you can stop having the “shoulds” and start making space for what matters.
Resources + Links
The Essentials – my marketing membership
Before we dive into this episode I want you to take a moment to think about one thing that you keep saying you need to do or want to do. This could be for your business or it could be personal because checking off tasks in any area of your life helps you trust that you can check off more tasks and allows you to go after bigger, more challenging things.
Keep that task top of mind as we go through this episode so you can untie all of those excuses and figure out how to actually make it happen.
Here’s my task – getting back into a workout routine
One of the things that I’ve been wanting to do more often is to get back into a workout routine. When I was teaching aerial I was teaching weekly which meant that I was on a consistent schedule with my workouts and got myself in the air every week. But when I stopped teaching and stopped training (long story short, I just didn’t want to anymore) it was harder to maintain a schedule at home. I wasn’t getting paid, no one was expecting me to show up, and I wasn’t training for a show or some purpose/goal, so I had to find another way to hold myself accountable.
I tried a bunch of different apps on my phone, I signed up for Daily Burn, I did yoga on YouTube, and I did weight training on my own. But I was not consistent. I would work out four days a week, then twice, then six days in a row, and then I would skip a week completely. I need to figure out a way to fit exercise into my days in a way that I could be consistent.
Sometimes paying to do the thing helps. But for me, signing up for a gym membership actually makes it more difficult because I have to go somewhere to do the thing.
We moved closer to hiking trails and I thought that would be easier. But in the first three months living here I walked the trails maybe 5 times. Again because I had to leave the house and drive somewhere and find parking. I don’t know whether to file that under introvert excuses or anxiety excuses.
So I decided to find the most simple version of getting exercise.
And that was literally putting on my shoes and walking out the door. That’s it. After I’m finished with work for the day I just put on my shoes and go.
And shockingly I’ve been able to keep this up, 6 or 7 days a week, for over a month.
Two other things helped me stick with this plan:
1. I’m a voracious learner so I decided that would also be my time to listen to podcasts which is something I’ve never been able to get into before. Now I’ve listened to podcasts almost every day for over a month as well.
2. I used a step tracker to figure out that if I walk around my entire apartment complex four times I’ve walked about 2.5 miles and it takes me about 45 minutes. Having data to back up what I’m doing helps me feel accomplished and on the days I don’t really feel like walking. Now I know I can be done in 45 minutes or less and even if I just do one lap it’s still 3/4 of a mile.
Sometimes I wear workout gear, sometimes I wear whatever I’ve been working in all day. Sometimes I put on running shoes and sometimes I’m too lazy to go find socks (the lengths we go to for an excuse!) so I just wear my Vans or Uggs.
And if it’s a day when I just washed my hair and don’t want to get sweaty then I just do two laps and call it good.
Now, I know you didn’t come here to listen to my talk about walking, but it’s a great example of finding the most simple way to fit what you want to do into your schedule. And get around all your excuses. Then it’s about committing to do it whether you can do the whole shebang or you can just do a little piece of it.
If I only get in one lap then I walked one lap and that’s fine. But at least I got out of the house and stuck with my commitment. And that is almost more important than doing the whole thing because…
the more you stick to your commitments the more you’re able to trust yourself to do the things you want to do, and the easier it becomes to take on new challenges.
Now let’s talk about this in relation to business. The thing I hear most often is I want to be more consistent showing up on social media.
Let’s say you want to hop on Instagram Stories more often and talk to your audience. What does that look like in your brain if you were going to write down the process. Maybe it’s something like:
- Set up your phone
- Put on makeup
- Change your outfit
- Write some bullet points or a quick script
- Wait for the kids to be quiet / out of the house
- Wait for the right lighting to come through the right window
What happens when your process has that many steps? You can use any of those steps as an excuse for why you can’t do stories. If you’ve got 6 steps then there are 6 potential excuses to push that task to another day.
But what if instead of putting all of those blocks in front of yourself, you picked a topic from a list you already brainstormed, and then held up the phone and just talked exactly how you are?
But then I have to add captions…… Yes, but instead of typing them out you can use an app (I’m using AISubtitle right now) or you can post it as an IGTV which will add captions automatically (that’s under advanced settings).
Also – the more you do something the easier it gets and the faster you get as you keep going through the process.
So it might have taken you an hour in the past to post on Stories and now after simplifying and practicing it literally takes 5 minutes.
This example comes from my own experience. When Stories first showed up on Instagram I did not like doing video without my hair and makeup done.
But two things happened when I did start posting Stories on the fly. First, I started showing up a lot more because I had fewer reasons to not do it. My favorite excuse is that I don’t feel like doing my hair and putting on makeup. So I skipped it. And second, (which is more important) my audience didn’t care. They weren’t less interested in what I was saying or less interested in learning from me because I wasn’t wearing mascara.
As long as people can hear you that is all that matters. It’s okay if your kids are in the background making noise, it’s okay if you’re wearing comfy clothes, it’s okay if the lighting isn’t great, it’s okay if you don’t have your cute office set up behind you.
Because showing up daily looking like a hot mess is way better than showing up just once a month looking perfect.
The other thing that helps to be consistent is to put that task in your schedule on a specific day or a specific time every day. Because if it’s not in your schedule it won’t get done. You need to prioritize the things that contribute to your goals.
But if holding yourself accountable is a challenge even when something has a place in your schedule, you can create accountability by telling your audience what you want to do. If you want to go live every Tuesday at 12PM, sharing that with your audience can create outside accountability. This is helpful for me especially around going live. I am 100% not going to show up if I don’t announce it ahead of time. If nobody knows I can keep pushing it off to another day. But I don’t like to let people down, so I know if I say I’m going to go live I’ll do it.
Another adjustment is finding the best time of day or the best day in your week for that task.
Journaling helps me brain dump and work through what’s going on in my mind. When I launched my Solopreneur Success Journal I decided I was going to do every single journal prompt.
I journaled for 100 days in a row and almost always completed that task in the morning. (Mostly so that I would have good lighting to take video for stories)
But once I was done and started journaling on my own, I discovered that journaling at night with a little cannabis is way easier. Not only is it easier but I actually enjoy it more because it’s a ritual. I do all my skincare, I get cozy in bed with the dogs, and then I pull out my journal and brain dump. If you are having a hard time sticking to a daily task try moving it around to a different time of day or a different day of the week
Finally, let’s talk about how I got 22 women to start posting Instagram Reels last month even though they were avoiding it.
The answer…I hosted a challenge in The Essentials. Every week for four weeks I showed up to remind them, inspire them, give them ideas and examples, and challenge them to post one Reel every week for four weeks.
Most of them had never even tried Reels before and they weren’t planning to because who wants to dance, and point at shit, and lip-sync?
So we figured out some new ways to create Reels and I offered up Etsy gift cards as an incentive. Not only did they show up and take the challenge, but they also got results and started seeing hundreds, even thousands of views on their Reels!
So why does a challenge work so well? First, accountability – someone is showing up and asking them to do something specific. A lot of us can be held accountable by worrying that we’ll disappoint someone else. Sometimes that’s a pain in the ass and sometimes we can use it to our advantage.
Second, collective action. If you are in a group and a whole bunch of people are doing the same thing you are more likely to start doing that thing too. Sometimes that turns out to be weird and bad (saaayyy jumping off a bridge) and sometimes it turns out to be awesome. It forces you out of your comfort zone with a bunch of other people who are also getting out of their comfort zone and having a similar experience at the same time.
Two resources to help you with doing the things you say you want to do or know you should be doing but don’t reeeealllly want to.
First, if you’re interested in figuring out how you personally can be held accountable, check out Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies. This is something I learned about at a mastermind retreat years ago and it’s still something that helps to keep me on track. There’s a free quiz you can take right now and there’s also a book (affiliate link) if you want to dive in deeper.
And second, if it turns out that the way you get shit done best is by having community support, a place to ask questions, and someone to show up and hold you accountable, you can always come hang out with us in The Essentials.
Now that you’ve learned multiple ways to get yourself to do things that you say you want to do, it’s time to take action. Pick something on this list and make a move to simplify your process, ditch your excuses, and hold yourself accountable today.
And one last thing – usually when one of my students or clients figures out their next step they say to me, “I’m gonna do this next week” or “I’m gonna do this next month” or “This would be perfect for the summer” when it’s March. You don’t need to wait. Jam 30 minutes somewhere in today’s schedule and get started!
You can do it!!