Other People’s Podcasts II — My Incredible Experience at Podcast Movement 2021, Nashville.
It’s said that people who enjoy podcasts listen to an average of seven per week and after meeting so many cool podcasters at Podcast Movement, 2021 in Nashville the past summer, I love giving them a shout-out and supporting their shows. Plus the first rule of podcasting is to “Constantly talk about your podcast.” First up, The One Thing hosted by Geoff Woods, which is a podcast based on a best-selling book by the same name.
Need a break from reading articles? Want to just listen instead? Below is a transcript of Episode 16 of my podcast, Stand Up & Stand Out. If you’d prefer to listen, head over to our website or find us wherever the cool kids hang out that do podcasts!
After my first year as an entrepreneur, I was satisfied and dissatisfied with the results. I enjoyed many of the things I experienced over the past year. I managed my own schedule, I spent time how I wanted to, but did you hear that word? “Spent,” in episode 302 of The One Thing podcast, I listened to a show titled, “Struggling to Protect Your Time Blocks? This will Help.” Here the host Geoff talked about the topic of investing your time, not spending it. If I look back at the last year, I was able to invest in my personal development, in my business, in my health, and in my time with the people that matter to me. As I talked about in episode 15, my corporate career required a great deal of sacrifice.
It meant time away from my family and friends and missing important moments in their lives. One of my favorite hobbies has been scrapbooking. If I look through the dozens of books I’ve created over the years, not even a single one shows a picture of me sitting at my desk, replying to emails. Or in a conference room for a meeting. They are the cherished memories of my life experience.
Enjoying time with the people I care about. I made sure this was at the core of my life last year, even with the travel restrictions from COVID. Listening to the book on the drive down to Nashville, I reaffirmed some ways that I work best and some things I still need to work on. It’s not the number of hours I put in that causes me stress personally.
It’s not having control over how I invest that time, which gets to me. So on that, the next topic was about time-blocking. There are parts of the book, which I didn’t necessarily agree with but maybe others will get used to them. Namely planning and time-blocking, all in the name of “productivity,” maybe for me, it’s just this word productivity that gets a bad rap.
Especially since we all vastly underestimate the amount of time it takes to do things. I’m not sure how effective time-blocking has been for me in the past. I did like the idea of event time versus clock time. A concept that I think is actually especially important when we’re talking about creative jobs, for those who need inspiration to do their best work, the process takes as long as it’s going to take.
If you get into a flow state, the last thing you want to say is, “well, time’s up, better stop!” When, you know, another 30 minutes or another hour could create a breakthrough that maybe you are trying to achieve for weeks. One key thing that I want to focus on with time blocking is not only planning, but protecting my downtime and self-care. Like many people this seems to be the first thing that gets sacrificed when things get busy. But it’s the thing that helps me the most to maintain a busy schedule with less stress and anxiety. So why don’t we protect that important time block? Sometimes I compare myself to others and wonder how they do it all? My one friend can work until the early hours of the morning, sleep less than six hours and seem bright and ready to tackle the next day. My boyfriend works nights and when he has to flip his schedule back to days, he does it with ease. He doesn’t complain and he just pushes through to the new schedule. For the small amount of time I worked nights, only about eight months, I was a raging crazy person. I never felt fully awake, or like I had had a good day’s sleep. Mostly because I really have two modes, I’m either a hundred miles an hour and full steam or I am completely asleep in need of eight or more hours of rest. There is no in-between for me, which is why I’ve been known to fall asleep in cars, in parks, in movie theatres, and even at concerts, it’s pretty much a skill I should put on my resume.
But it’s important that we judge how we’re going to do things by what works best for us. There is no cookie cutter approach that’s going to work for everyone. So on that, the next big important advice was about tracking, not just setting goals.
The funny realization I had in that podcast episode came when they started talking about goal setting. Of course, we all know the importance of setting goals and putting time in your week to track your goal achievement. The funny part is that when people were asked, they answered a hundred percent, of course I, you know, set goals all the time. But when they asked the follow-up question of how often do you actually stick to that time block and track how you’re achieving against those goals? The record was less than 25% of the time. That’s not great. One in four, maybe once a month you’re actually tracking against the goals. We don’t protect that time block the same way we do for the times of the week.
Hmm. Interesting, and definitely I found it to be true. The folks at the one thing recommend you dedicate 50% of your time to achieving your one thing. If you subscribe to an eight hour day, that’s four hours a day. Wow. If I think back to my corporate days, that seems like an impossible dream. Versus now as an entrepreneur, my schedule is mine to focus on my goals.
In corporate I spent 10 plus hours a day in meetings. There was no downtime. And I had to keep up with the constant flow of email while I usually ate breakfast, lunch or dinner in front of my computer. I would laugh when people would say, “oh, I can’t find time on your calendar for a meeting,” yeah, me neither guys.
I barely found time to feed myself. It was not fun and it didn’t allow me to be creative and do my best work. I’ve talked about some of my bad habits I’ve learned during my career that I’m trying to unlearn and share with all of you. The bane of my existence, email, is always at the top of that list. In my first job after school at the financial planning firm, we were taught to reply to all emails within 24 hours.
It makes sense when you’re in a service-based business and the difference to your clients about receiving a trade in the market one day versus another day could mean thousands of dollars in someone’s retirement savings. It was also the year 2000 and the use of email was nothing compared to the scale we use it for today.
It did not make much sense, though, when I took that same philosophy and I joined these global tech firms that were on 24/7 covering offices in nearly every single time zone on the planet and over 50,000 employees who could be trying to contact me for everything from a critical software release to how they’re upset that their favorite bagel wasn’t available in the break room that morning.
It’s exhausting and draining to read emails for me. Maybe others get some joy out of it I seem to be missing, but I honestly feel like it’s something we need to revisit in this busy, busy go go lifestyle of our digital world. And it’s impossible to address everything with the same urgency.
My next thought, as I’m thinking about time-blocking and goal setting, is to think about the upcoming month of November. I’m preparing for NaNoWriMo, which for those of you who may not know, or aren’t writers, is national novel writing month and it happens every November. It’s a great time, it’s how I wrote my first book, it creates an incredible community of people that come together that write all sorts of different genres and have been doing it from any number of lengths of time, including there’s ones for youth, so if you’re young or you have young kids, definitely check it out, a link to which will be in the show notes. I’m working hard to block this necessary time each week to work on my book. The goal in this friendly competition over the month of November is to complete 50,000 words during the 30 days, which is essentially the length of a novel, depending on the type of novel that you’re writing.
And that equals about a little under 1700 words a day. Since I know I still need to fit in time for research planning and finding inspiration, I rounded up my daily goal to 2000, which then would give me 25 days instead of 30 so I have a little bit of fudge time and time to do a few other things, like stay with my fitness.
Another funny piece of advice that was in the podcast and the book was to go into a bunker and work. This is another one that doesn’t really resonate for me, especially as an extrovert in a creative field. And maybe after a year of pandemic we were kind of forced to all be in our bunkers. If you asked most writers, most creatives, they’re probably going to disagree too. It’s why writers head to coffee shops and wine bars to be surrounded by people and inspiration. I can see how though, maybe in certain circumstances, I would even agree, like working in an open plan office. This, really for me, was more because I was a manager and I needed to have private conversations with my employees and I was constantly fighting for limited conference space to try to have one-on-one conversations with them. But in general, if I’m really working and being creative, I like being surrounded by people. As we kind of close things off, I want to talk about a few friends I met at Podcast Conference 2021 and recommend their shows if you think it might be something interesting for you.
I learned from some incredible people in the podcast industry, I’ll share more details in a full article on Medium you can go check the show notes for the link. For now, I want to highlight two specific podcasters who I met in person. They’re just really nice people and they’re doing some interesting things so I thought I’ll share.
First up Justin Nguyen of Declassified College offers college advice that isn’t boring, Justin and the team share advice for those still in college in bite-sized episodes of under 15 minutes. They also have a great tech talk channel for those 60 second bites that you’ll love even more. He’s doing some exciting things to showcase internships, entry-level positions in business product and computer science, a link to Declassified College Podcasts, social channels, and of course the job board are all in the show notes, keep an eye on this guy he is going to do some big things. Then during one of the networking events at Podcast Movement, I wandered to the outside balcony and grabbed a standing table despite being vaccinated. It was my first big event in person so I opted to enjoy the Nashville sunset over staying cooped up inside for another hour. Then a very polite man came over and asked if he could join me at my table. He reminded me of a younger version of my great uncle who had just passed away at the beginning of 2021.
With COVID I might’ve been a bit more cautious to be so close to a stranger, but I felt a calm and a peaceful presence come over the table and felt it was a fateful meeting that I should welcome. And I wasn’t wrong, if my uncle had a son he certainly would have been Claude. Charming and personable, plus full of insights about a subject he’s passionate about, which is music. His podcast, How Good It Is, is really great. You should definitely take a listen. Listening to his podcast will give you the same interest in the music topics he covers plus some surprising guests.
Even for extroverts like myself sometimes we struggle with jumping into big crowds with ease. Sometimes I just need one catalyst to alleviate my nerves and my insecurities and get me back into my natural state.
Claude was that person for me guided by the spirit of my great uncle Charlie smiling down on me from beyond. Overall, I’m getting back into my creative state after the last few months of in-person events, doing a lot of reading and researching and listening to lots of cool podcasts. So you’ll hear a lot of cool new things coming up, not only on the podcast, but definitely on our social media channels.
Like I said, I’m working on my second book through NaNoWriMo. I’m hoping to have it published early next year. I’m developing a new online course for “I Graduated… Now What?” to help those in transition from university that’ll be available in the new year as well. And just building towards some exciting new projects for year two of my new business, in the downtime of all those things, I’ve also had some fun doing swaps with other podcasters to be guests on their shows. And we’re going to have some of those hosts on Stand Up and Stand Out in future episodes. If you miss me on The Rookie Leaders podcast, a link is available on our website and more guest spots I’ll be coming out soon.
Anyways, guys, I hope you enjoyed some of these shows and potentially The One Thing book as much as I did.
And if there are any open questions you have on your first step off campus and into work, don’t hesitate to reach out and share them on our social media channels, TTFN!