Episode 49: Jenn Uren - It's About TimeJan 11, 2022
Jenn Uren often found herself saying things like "If I only had more time" or "I need to find the time" or "I just don't have time for that"? As a mompreneurs we are even more focused on the challenge of time than most. But what if we have it all wrong? What if it's not about time at all? Jenn proposes a new and different way to approach time.
This is a transcript of the This Mom Knows Podcast - Episode - 49
Do you ever catch yourself saying things like, if I only had more time, or I need to find the time, or I just don't have time for that? If you're human, then you probably have as a mompreneur, I think we do it even more. But I'm wondering if we actually have it all wrong. We focus heavily on our lack of time. But time is the one thing that we all have an equity share of 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year. You can't save it, and you can't really spend it. It rolls on regardless of what you choose to do with it.
So what if it isn't about time at all, but it's about energy? What if we've been saying it wrong, and the conversation is really about energy.
Energy is what fuels our decisions on how to engage in our time, energy, lets us figure out how to use our time to propel us forward and to focus on our priorities. As a mompreneur, you wear lots of different hats. You're the head chef. But then you're also often the busboy. You're the CEO of your company, often interrupted to put on your judge and jury hat, and intercede or intervene in a conflict amongst your kids. One minute, you're working in the mailroom, distributing the mail that just came in. And the next year, the head of accounting, cutting checks and balancing accounts, you wear a lot of hats.
Energy, unlike time is not linear. It ebbs and flows. And this means that you can allocate time to an activity and still not get it done. Not because you don't have the time, but because you don't have the energy. Energy comes in different forms. We have emotional energy, mental energy, physical energy. And I bet you can relate to this. Maybe you've had a DAY,! You have battled all the battles, and you have faced the unexpected challenges, and you've exerted all the energy, every button has been pushed, and you are done. And then someone asks, If you can do something for them. Still that evening, you know, something that requires a lot of your mental energy, and you tell them no, it's not going to happen. I just don't have the energy. And then they offer to offload a low energy task, so that you can free up some time to tackle that high energy task. And doing so as thoughtful, because in their mind, it's an even exchange of time. But you certainly still don't have the energy to do it. And so even though they are equal amount of times, they are not an even swap.
The secret to time is having the energy to do the things that you want to do when you want to do them. It's not saving time or finding time, not even about whether a schedule or time blocking is better. Those are just tools. One way that we can measure our energy is with our ability to focus. So we want to do high energy tasks when our energy is high, when we can focus on them.
One of the fastest ways to increase energy is to leverage systems. Simple but strong systems. Now in Episode 48, we talked about how a system is merely a systematic way of doing something more than knowing what to do, it's in documenting it that it becomes powerful because like we said in that episode, when you document it, you can duplicate it. You can repeat it on your own because you know what you need to do. And you can also teach someone else to do it so that they can delegate so you can delegate to them.
When you have a good system, it gives you energy and it gives you energy because it uses a different part of the brain. So when you first use a system, it takes energy to think about it and actively engage and do it. But as you practice it, it shifts from the part of your brain that has to actively think about it, and to the part of the brain, where everything is automatic, where it becomes routine. So in fact, the only difference between a routine and a system is that a routine is a practiced system, you're tapping into a different part of your brain.
So you never start a new routine, but you implement a new system, and you can practice it until it becomes routine. Another way that they can give us energy is by helping us use our time more efficiently. In Episode 15, we talked about rhythms and routines, and again, using systems or routines interchangeably as a term, but using those in conjunction with our natural patterns, or rhythms is one way we can do this. So doing this can give us energy because it allows us to use our energy at the right time.
So for example, we can put into place a great evening routine that will become a great - system, sorry, - that will become our evening routine. Try to have some clarity here. When you have a good evening routine, it's going to set the stage for your morning. So let's say that you are a morning person and you have a strong evening routine where you lay out your clothes for the next day you prep your breakfast, maybe you have oatmeal, ready to go in the Instant Pot. So it's already it's gonna cook for you. You've looked ahead to the calendar, you see that you have some appointments, and you've laid out your backpack or bag so that you have everything you need to take with you. In the morning, when you leave the house. You've got everything set and ready to go. So when you get up in the morning, you have time to tap into your energy and do all the things that you want to do. So see it gets a little confusing with we've set aside time, but we're leveraging the energy. It's confusing, but it's powerful if we can understand the difference.
So when we can use that time and tap into our energy, we can do the things like reading journal or exercise. But if you don't use your routine the night before, and you don't leverage it. Now you're using up your energy in the allocated time to prepare for the morning instead of to do these things. So you're now finding your clothes, you're making your breakfast, you're getting your things ready to go. And then when you come home at the end of the day, when your energy level is low. You just don't have the energy to do the things that you were going to do that morning, exercise, reading journal, those types of things.
So go back to Episode 15. Listen to that. And then use that to begin to figure out your patterns or rhythms. That's going to help you see where your energy lies. what energizes you what drains you? When is your energy high? When is your energy low? These are things to pay attention to.
Now sleep is an obvious one. Having a good evening and morning routine around sleep can really help us use our time more efficiently and sleep generally without exception energizes everyone. Sometimes though, what energizes you drains someone else and vice versa.
So time with people is a perfect example. So this past August, I went with several members of my mom team to Podcast Movement. And it was so fun. We rented the cutest little house in Nashville, where the four of us stayed each day. And then we drove over to the Gaillard every morning for the conference. We spent a lot of time with people. Now these were people that we had met online form friendships with and we were now seen in real life. So these were relationships, and the four of us. Three of us are more on the extrovert end of the scale, but Kelly is more on the introverted, introverted end. In fact, she has a great podcast for introverts called the Social Savvy introvert. And so if you're an introvert, you really need to check her out because she will help you leverage your energy to get your message out clearly and not be drained by social media. But as the week progressed, it became super obvious how all this people time impacted her energy.
Now the three of us were, we were tired. These were long days, but we were energized. Kelly was tired and she was drained. And we quickly learned though how to negotiate our morning party separation, the conference schedule and our evenings back of a house in a way that gave space for both of these so that we were, we were recharging. We were resting and we were we were using our energy well.
So as you look at your entire week, your days, your week, all of those things, see how they play together? Where are you getting energized? And where are you being drained. Ultimately, you want routines in places where they can support your energy. But the irony is that you need to expend energy to implement a system. And that's why we want to only tackle one at a time. But remember, a good system that you practice will become a routine that will let you use your energy more efficiently.
My challenge to you this week is to look at your days and your weeks, look at those patterns and figure out where you can move things around. If you're a night owl, what is the best use of your evening energy and what systems can support that? If you're a morning person, what is the best use of your morning energy and what systems can support that?
I look forward to continuing this conversation. I've got some good things planned in the next few weeks to help you start implementing systems so you can maximize your time as mom and entrepreneur and thrive at both.