How To Balance It All
Office Hours With Dr. Lacy
Transcript of Episode:
Good Morning! So I am going gonna try something different. I am recording a podcast and I'm also going to video record it just to see how it works out. So we are at the time that this would be released, we will be finishing up or coming to the end of August and many of you are just starting your semester really like reality has hit you. And so you may be wondering how to balance it all. I also get the question a lot about how do I balance a nine to five, having a business and writing and keeping my sanity and in general or like my short answer to that would be I don't believe in balance per se. Like in the sense of everything gets an equal amount of time and energy. I believe in harmony in things you choose in life or you schedule out or design it to the best of your ability in a way that works best together.
And when things are in harmony, sometimes some areas. Sometimes some areas in your life receive different amounts of energy and time. So like at the beginning of the semester, you know schoolwork, and writing might take priority over your business or even like your free time with family and friends, right? And vice versa depending on what season you're in. So we all have a season things at different points in seasons take different time and energy and the goal isn't to be perfect, but continuously striving to do your best and to keep moving forward no matter how slow you had to move. So that's the short answer, but I'm sure you're like, okay, well what are more tangible ways to do that, right? And I also don't have notes so this is going to be really dangerous cause I'm going to just be talking off the top of my head.
So let's hope that it's, you know, it's organized in a way that you can best receive it. Right? So the first thing mostly when people are asking me this question, they are looking for very like tangible. Tell me the steps and sure people can tell you steps and tell you like, this is what I do. Right, but is that going to help you. And before we even get to actual like steps or tangible do these things. You first have to start with your mind and mindset. As cliche as that sounds, everything comes from how you think about life, how you think about yourself, how you'd think about the things that you have to do. And one of the most difficult lessons for me was choosing those key things that I wanted to focus on and being okay with letting the other things and other people go because I am a recovering people pleaser and you know, I just want people to be happy.
I want to try to be there for the people that I love. I want to give as much as possible. If you are familiar with the enneagram assessment, I am a two. And so people pleasing is in my nature. I'm working very hard on my mindset to remove the unhealthy aspects of people pleasing. But that was the most difficult thing in my mind. I'm like, I love people and I love the people who are in my life and I want to help them. And doing so as a detriment or neglecting of myself, my needs, my goals from the outside looking in, people would say, but you're still doing so much or accomplishing things. Yeah. But it was at the expense of my health and just general wellbeing. And so something really had to change. And when I graduated my doctoral program and move into this full time role as the women's resource center director, I realized that I couldn't keep doing what I was doing.
So when I first started the role, I would I had moved away. So school wasn't a thing per se, but I still had writing projects or research teams. I was a part of. And, I was really focusing on my business and trying to get that up and get clients and stop playing around like I was doing for the previous seven or six months before. And I was at a new place where I didn't really know anyone. Family, it was like two hours away. But in Milwaukee, not knowing anyone and so starting over. And so I'm always like, well I can bury myself in work until I meet people. And so I would wake up around like five, six o'clock and then I would do like an hour and a half to two hours of work on my business. I would go to work from like nine to five and then from five 30, cause I would drive straight to Starbucks from five 30 to when it closed at 10. I was doing work on my quote unquote business making no money.
I think I had maybe one client who did not pay me very much and I was putting in hours and I was doing this like not only was I doing this Monday through Friday, putting on all these hours, but then I would also go on Saturday and work the whole day from like eight or nine until it close. Like I didn't leave Starbucks, I was still in dissertation mode. But I didn't leave Starbucks. I would order in foods and then I would go home, sleep, wake up and do it all over again on Sunday. And that was like weeks and weeks and weeks of doing that until a, of course I hit a wall because you can only do that for so much, especially when you're not seeing other people in real life or talking to anyone. I mean, I saw people at work, but again, they were unfamiliar because it was a new job and I wasn't necessarily going home all the time either. And so it was just very lonely experience. I was overworked, I was tired. And I was really frustrated because at that point I thought like, time equals money. And so if I was putting in all of these hours, why wasn't the money coming that match the amount of work that I was putting in?
And I had to find something to be like this, this is ridiculous, right? This is not this, not this. It can't work. So now this side of things like I, I do not work seven days in my business. I work three to four days depending on the week and each day is roughly that I'm working is around the anywhere from three to five hours. My goal is to stay under 15 hours total a week for the business. And so that I can have time to still do my job effectively and still have time for writing and writing, setting aside like six to eight hours a week. To do that. I will admit that I haven't been writing as one should. Cause I've been making excuses. But again, this whole harmony thing of it's there, there's time allotted for it. It's just hasn't been my focus of, of late because I've had other major projects that are loosely related to writing and academic side of things.
That will be revealed shortly. But I've been doing that instead of like actually sitting down and writing for publications. Okay. That was a whole tangent. But I wanted to give you an idea of where I am now. I am making way more, like I'm actually profitable in my business. It's, it's steadily growing month after month after month and I'm doing very well at my job getting what do you call it? Getting praise wasn't the word I was looking for, but getting praise for my performance. And actually, you know, being around people and spending time with loved ones and friends and so I feel like it's a more healthy version of what I was doing two years ago. And I'm very excited and so not to say that it's never difficult and at the side that I don't slip back into old patterns because I do have like doing the most and having to pull myself out of there, I can say that I can do that quicker now, pulling myself out of it and I can easily or more easily catch myself when I'm slipping to those patterns and seeing how and correcting myself and taking the time when I need it.
So you're like, okay, well that's great. You've been talking for a very long time. Please tell us how you're doing it. So I started off by saying first was the mindset of having to really think about like what type of life do I want to have? Like in this season that I'm gonna work a nine oh five I'm going to have a business and I still want to be publishing. What does the ideal day look like for me? Right? Like if I could, if I had a magic wand and I could do whatever, how would I feel throughout my day? Cause cause two years ago I was feeling very rushed and very frustrated and very like desperate for things to work. It was just very like desperate, high anxiety energy. And that was just making me feel even more beat down. And so I, so it's easy for us to say how we don't want to feel, but it can be difficult to say how we do want to feel.
And so that's a question that I encourage you to journal on or to think about or to talk into your phone using your voice notes or whatever app that you have and really ask yourself over a several day period of if I could feel anyway, how would I have my day could look anyway. What would that look like? You know, like how much time in a week would you like to spend with family and friends? How much time ideally would you like to work on your side hustle? How much money would you want to make on your side hustle? How much writing would you ideally like to get done? How would you like to feel while you were doing those writing projects? How many publications a year would you like to have? If you're still in courses, how do you want to feel when you go into class?
How do you want to feel when you're preparing for class? How do you want to feel when you're writing? What's your ideal? Would you like to have assignments done a week ahead of time? Now? I don't know these people, I don't, I mean, but there's some people, some of y'all like to do that. Me and my procrastination tendencies, we like to, there's a deadline. There's deadline. That was a tangent. But just thinking about those things of do you not want to be a procrastinator anymore? What do you want? It's the central question. Like what do you want? It could be one of the most difficult questions if it is the most powerful question because a lot of time a lot of us have been socialized to not think about what it is that we want. I was having a conversation where my brother who was saying that a friend of his was saying that you can't when you, cause they were talking about praying, saying doesn't pray or ask for too much because if you asked for too much then you won't get it.
But if you asked for a little, you will you more likely to get that. And my brother was saying how he was listening to Steve Harvey and Steve Harvey said the opposite of, Yeah. If you keep asking for a little, you didn't get a little bit of, you asked for a lot, you make your intentions known, then you'll, that's where the real magic happens. And there's a whole another podcast that I will make a note to go out to get more into that question. But I want to get to the other things that I've done for this episode. But really it comes down to what do you want and don't speak in generalities. Speak in very clear details because you are going to be working, you're going to put in this effort and time and how would you know if you made it to your destination if you don't know what your destination is.
Like how do you know if you're being successful by your own standards if you haven't defined yourself for yourself, catch the quote Okay. Hashtag side assistant. Yeah, if you haven't defined it for yourself, what do you want? So once you figure that out, then designing your life in a way to achieve what you want. Cause that makes it easier. So that's what I did. I sat down and was like, why do I want this to look like? I don't want to be working every day in my business. I don't want to feel like every time I sit down to do something, it's taken me forever and I don't have anything to show for it. I don't want to go to work. And I know I said it was easier, right? But this is how I started. I was like, I don't want to go to work dreading work and not liking what I was doing and I just don't want to go home every night just feeling like, why am I here? So instead I said, it would be nice if ideally I could just work three to four days a week in my business. It would be nice that when I went to work, it was clear that it was a system. I felt good. I felt like I was actually making a change. Uand it would be nice if I could have at least two publications come out every year.
That was what I said I wanted. Okay. So I did that. The next step then was I hired a coach, several coaches actually, but I hired two coaches to start off with. I, I had one before, but I realized that wasn't the fit that I was looking for. And so I signed up to work with two other coaches. One coach was going to, well yeah, one coach was going to help me in organizing the systems for my business too because I was doing too much and I didn't have a set routine or a system to follow because I was just trying to brainstorm and do all these things where I will see something on Instagram and then I would try it again. So I got a set system, right. Hire someone to help me with that and to stop doing team too much. That's, I mean, I know Tamar says it was also like her tagline, so get off the team too much.
And then I found, and then I hired a coach to help me with my health and my like mindset and all of that. Right. So I had some accountability there and it had some support and I had someone that I could go to and ask for guidance because sure you can do this alone alone and you can try to Google everything, but you're going to keep spinning your wheels and putting in all this time like I was doing all those days and hours. And it is 10 times a hundred times a billion times better to just find someone who can help you get there without us and all that time and money. Because you may think, well I don't have the money to hire a coach. Okay. But I would say how much money will, will it cause you not to hire someone and money or at what? Or what would it cost you in terms of your time, in terms of your wellbeing and in terms of everything, like at what costs with friends and family? Will you have to pay for not hiring someone to help you.
Right? Cause that's also another podcast with money, it's just an exchange of energy. And if you're just trying to keep it, keep it and hoard it then you're telling whoever your God is universe, whatever, that you don't need anymore cause you, you're okay with what you have cause you're holding so tight onto it. So yeah. So hire someone to help me to get a plan. Right. And three, I looked at really how I was spending my time and as I was looking at my time, looking at what was I actually producing. So a lot of times we've been told to write a to do list of things that like we may say like emails, grocery store um. Reading assignments, the class a chapter two, right? We might write our to do list like that. And when you start your day, you just may take the list and just start from the top and go from there.
Right. You may not, prioritize it, you may not really think about how long those things are going to take you or if you were like me three years ago you got really deep into trying to plan out your life and made it a whole hobby and had stickers and three, four planners that you would spend hours every Sunday decorating and trying to figure out the best way only to get to Saturday of the week and not have any of it done. But I digress. But yeah, we've been taught to like write out to do lists like that and instead thinking about, okay, what is going to happen at the end by, by you doing these things on the lists, what will that produce? And that's really the list that you should be having is the one, what am I going to produce? What are my results? I got this concept from the life coach school, which is a podcast that I have been listening to for, Ooh, I don't know, like four or five years, six years. It's been a long time. But I'm Brooke Castillo, who is the host of that podcast talks about having a results list instead of a to do list. So what do you want to achieve?
Right. So instead of me saying I need to write my monthly emails, I would say 15 emails scheduled in my email management system and then I would go to my calendar and actually plug in or where I was going to do that and give myself a set amount of time. And that's the only time that I had to do it. So when I'm writing, I give myself like two hours and at the end of that two hours, that is it. We're done, we're done. It doesn't matter if it's not finished, we're looking for like B minus c plus work and we're putting it out because I also know that like I was trying to make things perfect and make sure I didn't have any typos. That's not real life. And I'm not saying that you shouldn't care about the quality of things that you're putting out.
However, a lot of us use that as an excuse to stop making progress or to stop moving forward. So I always am in my head saying B minus C plus work. Is it good enough for that? Okay, we're done. And I move on to the next thing that I'm supposed to do. At first putting everything in my calendar a little bit. It's a little bit scary to open it and see all of it. So I don't do it for the whole month because I can't, my brain cannot handle that. But I do that for the week. And if I'm really having a hard time, I do it for the day just to say like, I'm getting these things, these things done and this is what I'm going to do it so that my brain does not have to think throughout the day and I can just look at my calendar. Okay, I need to do this, I need to do that. Right. It's like your results list, but to go a step back, right? So you have a results list and you have the things that you, you know, want to produce right. Get done. I also, before I even schedule it on my calendar, I say what are the things that only I can do?
I highlight the things that only I can do. Like I am the only one who can record this podcast right now. I am the only one in my business who can coach. I am the only one ethically, I mean the only one who can write my section of the paper or write my article, right? However, there's a whole other list of things that I'm not the only one who can do it. So if I have something that needs to be mailed out to clients, I don't have to do that. Someone else can do that. Um if I need to go get a couple of items from the store, I don't have to be the one that does that. There's Apps, there's other people that can do that. Right? So looking at your list, what are the things that only you can do? And I want you to be honest, I don't want you to, I want you to try to step out of your controlling tendencies. Cause I know you, yes. You step out of your controlling tendencies. Like do you have to be the one to do that? Or you're just doing it because you don't trust anyone else to do it? Remember, if the goal is to do B plus, I mean to do B minus, c plus work. Do you have to be the one that does it or are you just trying to control the outcome or what's happening?
So those things that you don't have to be the one that does it. You need to identify as someone who who can do it, whether that's friends and or family or, or people in your office, nine to five, like especially if you're the director or something like that. Are you doing things that you have no business doing that maybe other employees could do? Or are you looking and holding tight to something and being controlling about it because you want it to be perfect? Are you doing things that is just taken up a bunch of time, but it's very simple to do that. You could show somebody else to do do it.
So what I did was I hired my first person at like a virtual assistant to work to do things for me for five hours a week. A lot of times I was really scared cause I was like, who am I to hire someone? And I don't know if I want to pay that money, but let me tell you that it was the best decision I've ever, ever, ever made. Sure. In the beginning there's going to be a little bit of like slow down a little bit going backwards because you have to stop and train that person and tell them what it is that you need. And be very clear about what you need them to do and how they should do it. Right. But once you get past that point, I cannot explain to you how much that frees up your time, your mind, your capacity to get things done.
And there are so many people out there, you know, people, you know, other people like who just, they need a little bit of money. And five hours a week? Hell if it's even if it's only like two to three hours a week. Because I want you to think about, cause you know, I just did this, I want you to think about how much money you're spending on eating out or doing things or spending money on things that just doesn't, they don't, they don't matter. [inaudible] And you could take that money and say, hey, so and so, would you mind working doing some things or having me out for two to three hours a week because that, I mean it will just be a big help and I'll pay you.
And what you choose to choose to pay is y'all business. But yeah, what you consider to be fair, what agreement you come up with. Would you mind doing this? Also not being afraid to ask friends and family for help too, for things that are maybe more personal that you don't feel comfortable asking someone who may not, who may be a stranger cause your friends and family wants to help you. Cause again, people like me, I'm like, I don't want to burden them. They already have a going on, but that doesn't stop You have a lot going on and it doesn't stop you from helping them and people want to be able to reciprocate, especially if it's a good relationship. A loving, caring relationship. They want to be able to give back and pour into you just like you're giving to them and pouring into them.
So allow people that chance to help you. And, Being very clear about what it is or how they can help you, does wonders too. That will make people more willing to show up for you. So if you say, hey, can you go drop this off at the post office in the next two days? That's very clear. Then like, I dunno, I just need help running errands. That's not clear. Or have you say, hey, so and so, I know you like to go to get your groceries on Monday. Would you mind picking me up some ice coffee on your way? Because you probably only have to go to the store for one thing where they're doing their whole shop or you know, paying the extra whatever, 10, $20 a month to be a part of like a shoppers app like instacart or shipped or Amazon is Amazon pantry or fresh one of those and getting your groceries delivered. I know I'm talking about groceries. A lot of it is because I really hate going grocery shopping and so if at any point someone could go get the groceries for me, I'm all for that. And I feel like it just takes up a lot of time. I don't know what it is about grocery stores is a time suck.
Okay. Some other things that I used to ask, like I asked people to do is I do a lot of writing. I had to do a lot of writing in terms of for my business, in terms of emails, blog posts when I was, when I was doing blog posts Instagram captions or just, or even writing for publications, I would, you know, I like to do the shitty first draft. I would do that. And then I would just send it to one of my virtual assistants to edit. Right. And it doesn't mean that they like this is what they do, that there's like they're like English majors or anything that's not it. It's just helpful to get somebody else's eyes on it and for them to do that like first round of edits so that when I get it back I can read it and I can go faster.
Most of the time when it's emails or something for like social media, I just go ahead and post it because again, we are about B minus c plus work, but when it's like publications and you know reviewer too, I don't want to hear them. I will then go back and like rework it and rewrite it. But having someone that I can just know that I need to send it to and I only have a certain amount of time to send it to them and it's like my virtual assistant that gives me the accountability. I need to go ahead and write it. And it takes the pressure off because I know that's not the final version. Someone's going to give me eyes on it and not have more time to write. It is also helpful. So I just as you are thinking about what it is that you want and you think about writing your results list and you're thinking about the things that only you can do versus the things you need to delegate, I highly, highly would encourage you to hire someone for like two to five hours a week to help you do those things.
And again, I know there's a lot of mindset things that comes with that, but that's why I said you working on your mindset, it's the number one thing and the most important thing. Okay. So talked about that. You know, figuring out what I wanted, prioritizing my time. Hiring out help, getting coaches. And then the final thing that I would say that really has helped me to quote unquote balance at all is making sure that I'm taking time for me. I'm not in a, so self care this also let me write all these down cause you know, self care is a whole other thing. To me. Self care is not necessarily about bubble baths and going to get massages and the capitalistic sort of way self care for me is doing what you know you need to do so you can do what you want to do.
Right. So part of those things that I just shared with you is it's what I need to do. And being more consistent with that. And then the other part that I started to focus on is doing things that I want to do, having a way to give back and pour back into me. So the first thing I did was go to hot yoga. And at first it was the thing that I needed to do. I did not want to do it, but I said that I needed to do some sort of physical activity and at that time I was not, I did not want to go back to the gym. I just wasn't feeling it. It was freezing outside and I wasn't going outside to walk. And so I was like, you know, like yoga doesn't.. You don't have to do too much. And I'm like, I'm a jazz it up and making it one notch harder, I'm going to go do hot yoga. For those of you who do not know the room at any point is depending on the studio is like around 85 to 90 degrees. With like, I don't know, 80 to a hundred percent humidity. And you are doing yoga. It feels like you are running up hill the whole time. But yeah, to Bikram Yoga for an hour hot Yoga. And I said that I had to go at least once a week.
At first it was really difficult. My body just did not move. Being the bigger or the biggest person in the room most of the time, if not all the time was also a whole like mind thing. But I said that I'm going to go at least once a week for a year and see where I am on the other side of that year. While I'm getting close, it'll be a year in October and I have seen major improvements in my flexibility major improvement in my mind, like mindset and I really look forward to it now. It's something that I want to do and it makes me feel good to know that like if nothing else happened for the week, at least I did that one thing, that physical activity. The second thing that I started doing was going to the movies. I love watching movies.
And so once a week on Tuesday I mentioned this I think last week. Well on Tuesday that $5 movie ticket going to watch something. And then that also gives me freedom because I can go and watch awful movies and not feel bad for it because I only paid $5, but it's still something at least two hours that pours back into me. And then talking to people, making sure I talk to family, and to friends is that can also be a person who goes in that like talk to people. So whether I'm doing that or I'm on Marco Polo, whether I'm doing that like through like voice notes or Instagram, that has helped and saved me. So I hope that was helpful. I'm hope it wasn't too long winded, but those are the things that I have been doing to live my life in a more balanced, harmonious way.
So to recap, first figuring out what it is that you want. Writing it out in very clear detail. Second, finding you a coach, a mentor, a somebody who is living a life or who has been able to achieve a particular thing. So whether it's like writing, whether it's organizing your schedule, whether it's like a business coach, dissertation coach, someone who could, who's who you can see actually getting the results that you want to have in your life. Finding a way to work with them to be around them in a very formalized like capacity where they will show you and they can help you and support you and hold you accountable to achieving the same things. The third thing is figuring out what is it that you need to produce or get done, right? Separating that list into only the things that you can do versus things that you can delegate out that other people can do.
Four, is finding people to delegate, delegate to, whether that is that you're hiring someone for two to five hours and, or you're asking friends and family to help you with those, with those tasks and even employees. If this comes down to work things, yes, for a, I don't know what number we're on. Five. putting the things that only didn't you, you can do into your calendar. Giving yourself a time limit that you will get those things done and only giving yourself that time to do it. And only aiming for B minus c plus work. And then the last thing is doing something to fill yourself back up to, to for you to be for your wellbeing. Right? So that's what I've been doing. I would love to know your thoughts on this episode. Please come on over to Instagram. I'm @marvettelacy and I would love to continue this conversation there. Or you can join my free Facebook group, Qual Scholars. And all these links will be in the show notes below. Thank you so much for your time for listening today. And until next time, do something to show yourself some love. Bye for now.