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A podcast where you join me (Colie) as I chat about what it takes to grow a sustainable + profitable business.
CRM Guru, Family Filmmaker, and Host of the Business-First Creatives podcast. I help creative service providers grow and streamline their businesses using Dubsado.
Is it time to get your time under control? In today’s episode, Brittnie Renee joins us to share how she’s incorporated time blocking into her schedule to get her time on track. Listen in as she shares how to get started, when to perform seasonal time audits, and introduces you to her own techniques for business productivity.
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Brittnie is a family and newborn photographer with over 13 years of experience. In 2021 Brittnie started using her extensive photography knowledge to coach other photographers on how to build a profitable photography business in less than 15 hours per week.
Brittnie is also the host of the Capture The Chaos Photography Podcast where she shares tactical tips and tricks photographers can use to run their business without experiencing the burnout.
When she isn’t working, you can find her recreating ridiculous TikToks with her husband, chauffeuring her 3 wildlings around, napping, or working on a DIY home project.
Today’s episode is brought to you by my Client Hub Template inside the DIY Systems Template Shop. Business owners often have their client information spread across a variety of different tools, making it hard to access the information they need to make critical decisions. That’s why I built the Client Hub Template for Airtable, to take the guesswork out of building your own!
Here are the highlights…
[1:48] What is time-blocking?
[2:13] Getting Started with Time-Blocking
[6:06] Performing a Time Audit
[8:05] Brittnie’s Rock Bottom Moment
[12:24] The Details of Your Time Blocks
[17:15] Time Audits through Seasons
[24:30] Time Investment as Your ROI
[32:18] Building Systems
[39:01] The Planner to Help You Audit Your Time & Create Your Time Blocks
Mentioned in this Episode
Connect with Brittnie
Buy Brittnie Renee’s Planner | Get 15% off with code COLIE15
Review the Transcript:
Colie: Hello. Hello. And welcome back to the Business First Creatives Podcast. Today, I am chatting with my new friend, Brittnie. In case you are unfamiliar with her, Brittnie Renee is a lifestyle family photographer and business productivity coach. I know you guys know that’s what we’re going to talk about today based on that title.
Brittany, good morning and welcome to the podcast.
Brittnie: Good morning, I’m really glad to be here. I’m so excited to be here.
Colie: Well, I think that this is like a part two of our conversation from last week. So guys, Brittany and I have a lot of people in common in our like photography and business circles. But last week was the first time that we’d actually had an interaction and met when she interviewed me for her podcast. So when that airs, I will be sharing it with you all.
But today we are going to talk to Brittany about Time blocking. So Brittany, to kick us off, what is time blocking?
Brittnie: Time blocking is, I’m gonna, I’m not going to do the scientific or the Webster’s dictionary version of it. Okay, I’m going to say what it is to me. It is organizing your day into blocks or into buckets of time where you’re spending your time. So, I have a work block. I have a home block. I have a, Do nothing block,
Brittnie: and I have a morning routine and an evening routine.
So kind of like when you were in school and you had a school schedule, right? So you had science in the morning and then you had writing, reading, I don’t know, whatever. It’s been so long since I’ve been in school, I don’t even know what the subjects are anymore. But you had specific times that you were doing specific things.
It wasn’t saying exactly what you were doing. In those specific buckets, but it was just kind of like a, a dedication of time if you would,
Colie: Okay. So, and I think that as someone who calls herself organized, but is mostly really not organized with outside of my systems, I think that I have a problem with creating time blocks because it makes an indication that I know what I need to do. So how is it that someone comes into time blocking when they don’t have a really clear indication of like the things that they need to do in their business or the tasks that really need to be done that week?
Like how does someone get organized enough to actually jump into time blocking?
Brittnie: well, first of all, this is not just for your business. Okay. As creative entrepreneurs, a lot of times we’re at home and a lot of times we’re working for ourselves and we have, it just, it meshes in, right? Like everything bleeds into everything. You’re in the carpool line and you’re checking your emails or you’re during your work time and you’re doing laundry, right?
Right. So it’s really impossible to separate these two things, um, as a business owner, especially whenever you’re working for yourself. Of course, a business owner works for themselves. Don’t mind me. I, you said you believe yourself to be a naturally organized person. I know, I know with no doubt that I am not a naturally organized person.
In fact, when I was in high school, my room and my bathroom got so messy to the point that I could no longer sleep or use my bathroom. And I started using my mom’s bathroom. Okay. This is, yes, I am naturally a messy person. My bed is made right now, but that was only because I was going on to the podcast.
I don’t make my bed every day. Anyways, so your question was. How do you come into time blocking whenever you don’t have any like sense of that organization? Okay, the first thing that I have people do is because if you don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t know what you’re doing, right? I’m just do a time on it or a brain dump.
You can kind of go either way whenever I tell people to do a time on it. They’re like, I’m sorry. No, I’m not doing that. It’s A time audit is where you sit down every 15 minutes or an hour, for an entire week, and you write down everything that you had done during that time. So let’s say I set my alarm for every hour and I say, okay, I, in this last hour, I dropped off my daughter at school.
Oh, I made her lunch, dropped her off. I got gas. I got my energy drink. I came home. I got distracted and started updating some emails
and then I hopped on this podcast. So that would be my last hour, right? And then I would do it the next hour and the next hour and the next hour. And that’s kind of an overwhelming thing for people to do, but it is the best way to do it because then you’re seeing what you’re actually doing. I’ve heard people, I’ve had people say, I thought I was being productive and then I realized that I’m on my phone.
A lot. Yeah. That, that was the biggest mind blowing thing for me is like how much time I was spending on my phone doing nothing. I was marketing, right? But I was just scrolling.
Colie: Okay. So we start with this time audit. So let’s say that I sat down and I actually did this every day for a week. I wrote down what I was doing hour by hour, which I also feel like mine would be like a lot of blank space. I feel like if I’m working on the same one thing for an entire hour, I think that at the end of that hour I will feel guilty.
Like, Oh my God, I spent an hour writing this email sequence and it’s still not done. But it’s okay, Brittany. I’m going to sit down. I’m going to do the time audit. I’m going to write down everything that I do for an hour every single day. And then what? Like, what’s the next step after I figure out how I’m actually spending my time in any given day?
Brittnie: It’s not going to be pretty by the way. It never is pretty at the beginning. Okay. It’s a mess. And that’s okay. Um, we’re giving ourselves the grace to let it be messy because we’re not organized yet. So then what we’re going to do is we’re going to take those. I’m a color coder. I love color coding and a paper girl, obviously.
Um, yes, yes. I mean, I have my whole bucket
Colie: Guys, I’m holding up my very colorful markers for Brittany to
Brittnie: I know I have my gel pens, my highlighters all in here too, right next to me at all times. so we’re going to, we’re going to color code it. And the color codes are going to be based on whatever makes sense to you. I’m not going to tell you it has to be a certain way, but I, I personally like to have my work, my work duties or tasks.
are in green for money, I have my kid tasks are pink, stuff I do for my kids, the household stuff is yellow, my appointments are blue, kind of like, so I’ve bucketed everything, so to say, and then I also go through and write a D, W, or an M, or a P, a D for daily tasks, something that I do every single day.
A W for weekly, things I have to do weekly, or would like to do weekly, even if I’m not doing them weekly. Imp or monthly, and then a P would be like projects, or you could do it like C for clients, or E for editing, whatever it is that you’re, whatever makes sense to your brain. So, you’re just gonna go and you’re gonna color code your little tasks that you’re doing.
Then, you can get into the good stuff.
Colie: Okay, so after all of this is in lists. What do we, do we create our time blocks based on those categories or where do we go? Like, once we figured out, like, is there a calculation? I’m sorry, the math person in me can’t help, but ask it at this point. Do we ever do a calculation of like, how much of our week is spent on household tasks versus work tasks?
So that we can see. You know, how much of our time every week is being divided by these two things that, like you said, often mesh together, but also compete against each other.
Brittnie: You know, I’ve been doing this. Okay. So it was back in 20, I want to say 2022 that I had this like rock bottom moment. Okay. Uh, where I all, I don’t want to say all I had was I was just trying to run a photography business. I was literally the only thing I was trying to do. Okay. And I was a mom. I have three kids.
And. I remember literally sobbing on the phone to my business coach because I was like I can’t do all of this in two hours after they go to bed and I have to clean the kitchen. Literally sobbing. And by the way, this is a live call with a bunch of other photographers. Okay. And I’m sobbing on it. So I’m sure they were like, I feel you girl. And, um, so I know that feeling of just being like, so overwhelmed. Like, I don’t even know where to start. Right? Like I get that feeling. But I think you need to take a step back and look at, okay, I don’t want to work 40 hours in my business, right? That’s not something I want to do. My goal is to work 15 hours or less.
Like. I didn’t start. I’m a photographer. I know you don’t have all photographers on here, but my goal of starting my own business was not to work 40 hours anymore. I do like working for myself. My husband would joke. He’s like, you work more than I do.
Brittnie: That wasn’t fun. Um, a fun real estate, but he says, you’re always working.
Cause it’ll be like late at night and I’ll be on my computer. But anyways, I digress. So I didn’t, yeah. Want to be spending that much time on my business and I wanted to get my hours down to the times like certain times when my kids were in school. Now I have my daughter in school 3 days a week and that’s glorious.
And that gives me like 12 hours uninterrupted to work. And then I give myself a couple other hours throughout the day to get stuff done that I know that I know I can handle. When my kids are at home, I can edit till the sun goes down with my kids around, like running around screaming at me and it doesn’t bother me at all.
It’s the email writing, the, um, you know, all these like brain power things that I just can’t do when they’re home. And so I knew at the time when I first started doing this, it had to be at night when the kids went to bed because my daughter wasn’t in school very much. So I had to kind of assess what my schedule looked like, assess what tasks I could do, when for me at that time, it was 8 to 10.
That was whenever I was running my business. I had, we’re doing the things for my business, so I could not fit in. Cleaning my house at that time either, right? Like I could not clean, you know, kids are messy and you clean something and then they unclean it, right? That’s it’s the joys of having them but I started instead of cleaning when they went to bed I would reset my kitchen at night while they’re awake.
So I finished dinner. I’d send them off to clean up their room They’re old enough to tidy up and stuff like that And I would start cleaning up my kitchen at that time that kind of became this evening routine I don’t I don’t question it anymore. Well, there are some nights that I’m just like, nope, not doing it.
And I pay for it the next morning. So having an evening routine was my very first step into this creating like blocks for my life. And then I just kind of started stacking them on each other and got a little bit better. So, I am not because I’m not, it does not come naturally to me. Right. I had to take little baby steps into getting there.
And the first thing was just the evening routine, just putting these blocks here. I’m going to focus on just this one.
Colie: okay. So, and I think, okay, so I’m getting a better picture, especially I had this aha moment when you called it your time blocks of life. I’m like, okay, so if it was me, I would start by creating like a block of time for work and then a block of time for personal. And basically I would do my entire week like that.
And then I would get more nitty gritty. But is that something that you do like within a block of time that you have identified as work time? Okay. Are you actually going in and specifying, this is when I’m going to answer client emails. This is when I’m going to edit. This is when I’m going to do like my monthly bookkeeping.
If that’s something that you do, I don’t, I pay professionals, but I’m wondering how, you know, how much in the weeds you get, because like you said, for you, you also are creating blocks of time, but within those blocks of time, sometimes it’s quiet. Because everyone is at school and sometimes the kids are at home and you are working while you are not in a completely quiet space.
So, you know, how detailed do you get with your time blocks?
Brittnie: When I first started, it wasn’t very detailed. It was very basic. It was like, okay, this is my work block. Okay. I sit down, I sit down and I figure out what the most important things are. And I start doing that. It wasn’t very organized in the past few months. I’ve gotten a lot more organized. Thursdays are podcast days.
I do everything regarding my podcast every Thursday. And if I don’t. That podcast for the next week probably isn’t getting scheduled. So, I have always said that I don’t like to do something when I’m not in the mood to do it.
Brittnie: hard, right? But, I’ve kind of started changing my mindset around that. So, I’ve always been like, oh, I can’t sit down and write a blog post if I’m not in the mood to write a blog post, right?
Also, I outsource that now because I just hate it. That’s a whole other conversation. But, realized that let’s go back to the clean the kitchen. Cause it’s like the easiest one for me. If I don’t, if I don’t feel like cleaning the kitchen at night, if I don’t feel like prepping lunches in the morning, and if I don’t feel like.
Getting coffee ready to be made in the morning. When I come downstairs the next morning, I’m going to be a mess. I’m not going to have time to sit down and drink. I have time to sit down and drink coffee every single morning before dropping my kids off. And that is mind blowing to me, that I have time.
Because, lunches are made, breakfast is relatively easy. All I have to do is wake up, make the kids get up, they get dressed, I make them breakfast. I sit down and I drink coffee. That’s all. It’s amazing. So, I have to remind myself that while I don’t feel like cleaning my kitchen and doing these things tonight, it is going to serve me tomorrow by doing this.
Same thing for my business. Even if I don’t feel like doing things to get my podcast ready for the next week, if I don’t, I’m probably not gonna have that podcast launch on time. And I’ve learned the hard way by, you know, Tuesdays is my day that my podcast airs. Sometimes it’s Thursday because I forgot to do it or just didn’t plan like I was supposed to.
So it’s this like mind shift, mindset shift that it’s not that I have to sit down and write these emails. It’s not that I have to sit down and do the bookkeeping. It’s that if I do this now, it’s going to serve me better. Later.
Colie: So I feel like I also hear you talking a little bit about prioritization, even though that’s not the word that you used because yeah, morning coffee is a very big priority for me. I don’t know if you know this. I have a very fancy espresso machine in this house. My husband makes my coffee before he leaves.
So whether it’s an Americano or a latte, he makes it, he puts it in a warming mug and he puts it by my bedside. So I’m a little different than you right now, Britney, because when I wake up in the morning, I actually don’t have any responsibilities other than making sure that I’m getting up. Chloe is 13 now.
She gets herself ready. I mean, now she’s walking to school. It’s a miracle except for today, because as you know, I told you we were going to start a little late because I drove her to school because it’s cold, but she makes her own breakfast. She gets ready for school. I don’t have to do any of that anymore.
So when I wake up first thing in the morning, I’m literally reaching for the bedside. Right. Getting my coffee and I’m actually mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, which some people are like, okay, that’s a really weird date, really weird way to start your day to Colie. I’m like, yes, but it helps me because it is time limited at eight o’clock.
I am either taking Chloe to school or I am yelling down the stairs to make sure that she is getting out the door, but that’s like my cutoff. So. depending on what time I wake up. And if I don’t have any calls, I will sit in bed for a good 30 minutes drinking my coffee and scrolling Instagram, either engaging with people or that’s when I find a lot of my content for the future.
I’m like, Oh, that real is kind of cool. Let me save it. Let me mark it. Let me remember that, you know, when I’m making my content for the next month. So. But I, I just want to bring it back to like priorities. I mean, my morning coffee is my priority. So I try to make sure that I don’t schedule things first thing in the morning or that other things are taken care of so that my coffee time is absolutely sacred.
Brittnie: Exactly. And I love that your husband does that for you. Mine makes me breakfast in the mornings. Otherwise, I would not eat.
Brittnie: Making food for myself is not a priority apparently, but he makes it for me so I get to eat. I
Colie: okay. We’ve talked about the time audit. And then we’ve talked about creating the time blocks based on how much time you’re spending, you know, what your schedule is, all of this good jazz. How do you determine if it’s working? So we’ve got this list of tasks and we’ve, we have these time blocks like.
Is there any sort of, once you start to implement this, is there any sort of audit that you do? Because I’m imagining like everything, including like our first 10, 000 photos. I mean, there’s rarely good ones in there. Just assume your first 10, 000 are all going to be shit. Right? So if we’re talking about time blocking and we’re, you know, we’re baby, we’re just getting into it.
How do we make sure that it’s working? And if it’s not, how do we make adjustments?
Brittnie: like to re time audit every few months. So I do it by season because you know, your life changes, right? Like sports change and all that stuff. So that’s one thing that I do, but also there was, you know, once upon a time ago, I said I was gonna make my bed every day. And I didn’t, I did not make it because I’m also a napper, Colie.
Um, I am like queen of naps. I take a nap every single day. That’s a
Colie: Oh, that sounds like a priority.
Brittnie: It’s a priority. I’m not going to get a nap today, which is really sad, but that’s okay. I knew, I knew that was coming in. So I do, it is a priority. I love naps, not because I’m tired, not, you know, I just love it. And so I make sure that I get my nap in.
And my husband knows this about me and he’s kind enough to let me do it. So back to the pen making. I. Realize that I wasn’t doing it and it wasn’t a priority for me. So I just got rid of it. I got rid of that idea and you know, if you are realizing that this goal or this priority that you made up for yourself or, you know, this time block that you set out for yourself and you’re not doing it, then either one, why are you not doing it?
Is it because you don’t need it because you don’t care if it’s not a priority, it’s because you need to outsource it. So I think these are questions that you just need to ask yourself, like blogging. I have every second Wednesday of the month is supposed to be me blogging. And today. I didn’t do it.
It wasn’t second week because it was supposed to be last week or yesterday. Anyways, whatever day this of the week is, I’m lost. I realized that I wasn’t doing it and I didn’t want to do it. And so I reached back out to the girl who used to write my blogs for me and I was like, I need you back because I’m not doing it.
So. I think just asking yourself and being real with why you’re not doing things or, you know, just being honest, you know, is this working?
Colie: and it’s funny because you mentioned what I was going to say without me even having to say it. I was going to say, if there are tasks that you must do in your business and you start these time blocks and at the end of every week, you are determining that it’s something that you can’t do. It’s something that you don’t want to do.
That’s when it’s time to look for someone to outsource it to. I mean, you talk about having somebody write your blog posts. I have people who manage my podcast. So like literally Brittnie, you and I are chatting. I invited you in Dubsado with my amazing Dubsado scheduler. It automatically sent you the confirmation and the reminder emails.
And I’m sitting here with you to record. But I literally don’t do anything else. Haylee, my podcast manager is going to listen. She’s going to edit. She’s going to write the blog post. She’s going to publish it on Buzzsprout so that everybody can download it from Apple and Spotify and all those places. But like, that’s where my responsibility ends.
And then my virtual assistant picks up and does all the social media graphics and stuff. And I’m saying this, I know people listen to the podcast and know this, but I’m saying this again because, well, it’s something that I used to enjoy. It was very time consuming for me. And so after I did it for four months straight, and I found a routine that I liked, that I could tell someone else how I wanted it done.
That’s when I hired. And the funny thing is I hired Haley and Sarah in the same week. That’s a lot of money to add to my expense line in one week. But in one week, I probably took A good five hours off of my weekly schedule. And now that I’m doing podcasts more than weekly, I mean, it’s way more than that.
I mean, between the two of them, it is a lot of time that I would spend doing tasks that I don’t need to do. And I’m sure if I did that time audit, I would be doing those tasks quicker now than I did when I started this podcast 18 months ago. But it’s still time that I don’t need to spend. And it’s not time that at this point is making me direct money.
So let’s get back to the priorities. Brittany, other than what you want to do, is there a different way that you should be prioritizing your tasks? Because I would, of course, prioritize the tasks that make me money first, but is that a good idea?
Brittnie: Well, that’s a really good question. I mean everything we do in our business technically To make us money, right? Like what would you, would you agree with that? Like, I’m not doing
Colie: not, not, well, kind of, but not necessarily. Like, for example, I know that writing blog posts, Is eventually going to, you know, be the benefit of SEO, which is eventually going to bring me clients. But even though that’s going to bring me clients in the future, it doesn’t directly make me money now. So I guess what I’m saying is I prioritize client tasks because the clients have directly paid me money.
And when I do those tasks, I basically earn the money that they’ve already paid me. So I guess that’s what I mean.
Brittnie: So, that’s like a really good question because I personally in priority, well, yes, I, I have certain times dedicated that I am doing client work, which mostly is Voxer hours with my client, my one on one coaching clients. And then, which is. Done all day long. I don’t have any blocks for that. Honestly, if I’m being completely honest, it’s just happening all the time.
And then the other thing is editing for clients, and that is usually done from the hours of three to four, Monday through Friday, or eight to nine. Okay, so I don’t edit any more than two hours a day, at max. Like that is, if I’m doing two hours, that’s a lot of hours for me to doing.
Colie: You had a lot of sessions, Brittnie. That means you made a lot of money.
Brittnie: Exactly. I made a lot of money.
Also, sometimes I’ll outsource my editing if it’s gotten to, when we could talk about outsourcing all day long. but anyways, so then I have these specific hours that I’ve dedicated to that what you consider not directly making you money. But I know, I know that doing these tasks are going Instagram.
Okay, like I prioritize the things that I have to do the least of,
Brittnie: so, you know, I post on Instagram for fun. I don’t do it because it makes me money. I don’t do it because I have to. I literally just changed my Instagram name the other day because I was like, I’m tired of just being niched into being a photographer on Instagram.
I want to post whatever I want to post because it’s fun. So I changed my name, which was a bad idea because now I have to go through and change it all on all my podcast show notes. I’m like, dang it. What was I thinking? But
Colie: See, I would just change it back. That’s me. I would wait the mandatory, what is it, 14 days, and then I would change it
Brittnie: I know, but no, I’m not going to because I’ve already gone through and started changing that or I could, I could outsource that too, if I wanted to, if I don’t want to, but it’s, it’s easy. It’s, it’s my list, but that’s not what we’re talking about. Get me back on track, Colie. What were we talking about?
Colie: We were talking about prioritizing and then you were talking about the things that you are doing that are not making you money now, but are going to make you money in the future.
Brittnie: Oh yeah. I, I love to prioritize things that I know are going to make me money while I sleep. So my website, blogging, email marketing, you know, things that have a good ROI for me. Okay. And in this case, time investment is, is my ROI, but so,
Colie: pause, Brittnie. Okay. So yeah, you just hit, you hit a mark. Okay. So guys. I want to make sure that we are really listening to what Brittnie is saying when she’s talking about a return on investment, an ROI, because I feel like once you create these time blocks and you have kind of made these buckets where maybe this is your bucket for blogging and this is your bucket for writing your weekly newsletter or writing your sales emails or your launch strategy or whatever it is. Now that Brittany is encouraging us to do time audits, guys, you now have what you need in order to calculate that ROI on these different activities. Because a lot of times when I tell people to calculate their ROI, they’re like, Oh, but. You know, I don’t know how much time I’m spending on that. Okay. But if you do a time audit, like Brittany just told us, you are going to know how much time you are spending on these activities.
You should be going into your Dubsado or into your Airtable and figuring out how many sales you made that you can directly attribute to someone coming in from your website, who Googled you, someone who contacted you because you did a guest podcast interview, whatever it is, you should have a way of segmenting.
Everything that you sell, calculating the time that you spent on that activity, and then doing a very simple division to find out how much money you made per hour doing that particular activity. So, I’m sorry, Colie, you know, and I wish I was standing at like a blackboard. No, that’s a lie. I hate chalk.
Whiteboard. I wish I had a dry erase marker so I could be doing this math for you. But just like Brittany said, you should audit your time quarterly after you audit your time. Please calculate the return on investment for these activities that you were doing in your business. Okay, Professor Howe, back off, continue.
Brittnie: don’t you have. A template that will do this for people.
Colie: So technically it won’t do it right out of the box, but yes, and it’s funny guys, when Brittnie interviewed me for her podcast last week, we were chatting about making sure that you know what’s going on in your business, like the big picture, and when we stopped recording, I shared the Airtable Client Hub Airtable template with her on the call, you know, I shared my screen and then when we were done, she immediately went and bought it.
Brittnie: I don’t know.
Colie: have that template in there. It is
Brittnie: I don’t know if that podcast interview was, a good return on investment for me, or if it made me spend money, which it does in the end I learned actually. So I went in and manually added, so I’m selling a planner. I don’t even know if we’ve talked about that yet, but I am. So I’m selling a planner.
And then I also have a workshop or. By the time this airs, it’ll have already happened. And I wanted to know how many people from that workshop were already, had already purchased the planner. And then I want to know who purchases the planner after that. And
Brittnie: it’s gonna be there. It’s amazing. I was like, that was so worth every, every dollar that I just gave you for that.
Just for that one thing. And then I have so many other segments of my business that will eventually, it’ll eventually add into there. But I was like,
Colie: Well, and the thing is, you have to remember, I think it’s really easy for us to calculate the short term gain, if you will. I think it would be really easy, even if you were doing it with like manually writing a list right after your workshop, you can see who buys your planner and you can manually match it.
No problem because it just happened. But the value of having your client hub done in the future. is if I attend your workshop and I don’t immediately buy your planner, but in six months, I’m like, okay, I’m ready for this planner, or I pay you for additional coaching. I mean, you’re going to be able to track now that that person came in on that workshop.
And so you are going to be able to watch and calculate the return on investment for scheduling that workshop, the time that it takes you to actually give it the time that it took you to create the slides and do all of that. You know, in six months, in a year, in two years, you are going to be able to attribute sales back to that particular instance.
If people came in on that workshop, that’s the true value. It’s not the immediate calculation because all of us can do that, but it’s making sure that long term. You are setting yourself up to be able to calculate returns on investment for time spent way in the future so that you can make a decision.
Hey, that workshop did really well for me. What’s the next workshop idea that I have? You are going to be more likely to implement the next one if you can show a really great return on investment for this first one.
Brittnie: And I know you love calculation, so I am timing how long I’m working on the workshop and, you know, the workshop is three hours. Okay. So next week, or, well, podcasting is weird because like we’re
Colie: It is. This is not going to come out until the new year. So
Brittnie: So the
Colie: talk about it in the past.
Brittnie: workshop happened and I spent three hours live in the workshop and how many, but way more hours prepping for it.
Because I wanted this to be so much value, for people. So I want people to walk away with like this. Aha. Life changing moment, right? And so I’m putting a lot of effort into it. So I need to know how many hours that I spend and how many planners that I sell from that workshop. And it’s really important for me to know because if, if I don’t sell any, I’m never going to do a workshop again.
Cause that was not a good ROI for my time.
Colie: Well, and I mean, maybe it’s not that you never do it again, but maybe you change the format. Maybe, you know, that this particular format, three hours live, like all of these kinds of things did not yield a return on investment. And so what can you do to tweak it later? Cause I mean, it’s, it’s one thing if you do the workshop and you don’t sell any planners and then you write email marketing, you know, For your list and you don’t sell any planners.
Well, maybe you need to change the messaging about the planner, but if you end up selling a lot of planners on one channel and you don’t actually make any sales from the workshop, I don’t necessarily think that we toss the workshop. I think you got to try things two or three times before you’re like, okay, really good idea, but this doesn’t seem to be working for me or this doesn’t seem to be working for my audience.
But. I do think, Brittany, it would be really interesting, you’re tracking your time for the workshop, but I’m assuming you’re also tracking your time for writing the emails and those kinds of things. You’re going to be able to compare your ROI between those two activities to see which one yields you a higher return.
We’re going to have to chat about this after this happens.
Brittnie: love timing how long, like I, I know how long it takes me to edit a single session. I know how long it takes me, you know, to do everything in my business because I time everything, which I know seems like really tedious. I didn’t start this when I first started time blocking nearly two years ago.
This is, this is not where it was. I have slowly built these blocks in my life. And okay. So if you’re a photographer, you know, that the fall is the busy season. That’s when we’re doing our most work. That’s when people are like.
Brittnie: In their editing cave, I’m not in my editing cave, um, I am doing DIY projects, I’m drinking my coffee, I’m about to go to an antique store, like I’m doing all the fun things because I have, one, got my editing down to like a science, or I outsource it if I have too much going on, but I also just, everything is just more organized in my life, okay?
I have tasks batched. I have days planned to do it. It’s just what’s really funny to me is that people are like, I don’t have time to manage my time. I don’t have time to learn how to manage my time. That’s what I’m getting so much right now. And this is, this happened yesterday. And so I’m a little, it’s like the wound is a little fresh, but I was called an ableist, which if you don’t know what ableist is, it means I was like, Colie, I have ADHD.
So I know that I can help you get your time under control because I have it and I suffer from the same things you do. Okay. So, it’s just really funny when people are like, I don’t have time to manage my time. And I’m like, If you just carved out a couple hours to start your life is going to be different in a year, completely different.
My life this year looks nothing like it did last year. It’s beautiful. I love what’s going on in my life right now.
Colie: When also you need systems. I think I want to go back to like earlier in this conversation when you were talking about the fact that you have to feel motivated to do something. And I will say that is me to a T when it comes to making films and I don’t have diagnosed ADHD, but I swear later in life, like, I just can’t concentrate now.
It’s very hard. And I told you before we recorded this episode, like the amounts of time I have time blocks. And I didn’t choose time blocks. Like before I take Chloe to her midday school, I have two hours to work. And then after I drop her off, I have two hours to work. That is my life Monday through Thursday right now.
And it has nothing to do with me choosing this. This is my life right now. And so I have these time blocks and it makes it very difficult for me to make films. And it was difficult before because I feel like I have to sit down and I have to have an uninterrupted block of time. So, and I also have to feel motivated.
So I feel like if I start and it’s going really well, I’m not going to be able to stop in order to pick her up and bring her home or do whatever it is that I need to do. But what I have started doing is, okay, instead of trying to like actually make a film in one, in one sweep, I need to do it in steps.
So like one of my time blocks is just, Bringing all of the footage off of the cards onto my computer and then putting them inside of Premiere Pro and making a project. That doesn’t take two hours, but that is literally all I allow myself to do for task one. Task two is finding music. Well, if I need to find music, I’m listening to music bed in the car while I drive.
So that’s not something that I actually have to sit at the computer for. I just need to listen to a bunch of music and find a song. that fits the mood of when I was in their house. Now I will only make a film on Saturday. Why on Saturdays? Because it is uninterrupted. Unless I have a photography session, I don’t have to do anything on Saturdays.
So I wake up in the morning and immediately start making the film and whenever I’m done, I’m done. But I’ve already done two tasks that sometimes eat up the time. I’ve created the project and all of the footage is there waiting and I’ve selected the song and put it into the project. Now all I have to do is watch footage and make a film and do these kinds of things.
And so I figured out a way to do it in time blocking without knowing that I was doing it in time blocking. So, I mean, it really does work, but if I’m not in the mood, I still force myself to sit down at the computer. Cause I think that’s one of the things that we struggle with. If we’re not in the mood, we don’t start.
But I think what’s really helped me is forcing myself to not do anything else. So if I’m not feeling it, that’s fine, but I still have to sit at this desk in front of this computer until I am ready to start that. And I tell you what, sitting in silence is very motivating. Brittany. It’s very motivating.
Brittnie: So Colie, what would happen if you didn’t force yourself to make that video that day? What would happen?
Colie: I mean, I wouldn’t have another time until the next Saturday. So, I mean, for me, it’s a little bit more detrimental because I can only do some things on certain days. And so if it doesn’t get done that week, it’s literally another week before I can sit down because. Like, once a film gets going, like, I literally can’t stop because otherwise, even if I try to do other tasks, my brain does not turn off.
Like, I’m writing an email, and I’m thinking about this one part in the video where, oh, I should have cut it a little earlier. And then when I sit down to do the film, like, I can’t remember what was bothering me. And so then, you know, it takes me a while to remember. Now, if I was really smart, I would just jot these things down.
But I’m not there yet,
Brittnie: But then you like, you’re doing the stop and go thing and you’re like vibing, you’re in the moment, right? And. Like, I get this, if I get into the mood to, like, write emails or something like that, I can’t stop, right, because then I’m gonna lose that motivation, and that’s kind of hard, like, I was doing that right before our call, and I should not, I know I should not have done that, but it was like, boop, I had this idea that I needed to do this before the call, but fortunately, I looked at the time, just in time, I was like, oh my gosh, I need to stop doing this now, but it’s, I, Being creative is really hard because you have to have the right juices for it.
And I think part of the time blocking is knowing when those juices are the strongest. Like, are you a night owl? Like, are you the most
Colie: morning person. So my brain does not work after 2 p. m. And if I, you know, I don’t officially have time blocks again, but like, if I ever created an actual time block to do work after I pick Chloe up at 3 o’clock without, without fail, I would fail miserably every single time because it would take me so long to do work.
To remember what it was that I needed to do and to put myself on task. And like, I think to get organized, to just do the thing, um, the entire time block would be over, but if I tried to do that exact same thing at eight o’clock in the morning, I could probably get it done in like half the time that I allotted.
So it is definitely knowing when your brain works best for the different kinds of tasks that you need to do, not only in your business, but also at home. Uh huh.
Brittnie: time, like, time audit is you’re seeing when you’re doing these things too. So if you’re finding that you’re only editing at night because it’s quiet and it’s peaceful and your brain is just, you’re like, you’re in, in the, in the mood for it, then Okay. That’s when you need to be editing, you know, like I don’t, I like to be in bed by 9pm.
Like that’s my priority. You don’t usually catch me editing past 9pm. And if I do, I’m probably gonna have to reedit it the next day because my, my brain’s just not working, you know, functioning. So your time audit will tell you when you’ve done these things and when you’re most. Productive, I guess. And you’re probably kind of naturally creating some blocks for yourself, like you did, right?
It’s just, you need to cone it in a little bit and like organize it. And it’s, you know, with, if people like us, people like the people with creative brain stuff that you feel like, I can’t possibly put into a box like that. Could never do that. I promise you, I promise you, your life will be changed. I am living proof.
I went from crying to Doing whatever I want to do because everything’s super organized.
Colie: Okay, Brittany, I know that you have an amazing planner that you have created. That’s going to help us with the time audit and the time blocking.
So tell me some of the features that are included in this planner.
Brittnie: Okay, I created this planner to be a tool to teach you how to create routines in your life. Okay, so it’s not a planner that someone just hands you and like figure it out yourself. I’m literally walking you through how to create your time blocks, how to create your routines, how to use that to create daily schedules.
It also comes with a course so I can help you set up. Your planner, right? So at each section has its own little special course or module to teach you how to do it. So the first part, I have a section for time auditing in there. And we also in the mini course, we go over a block A days and B days. If let’s say you don’t have a very static schedule.
Colie: That sounds like middle school, Brittany.
Brittnie: I mean, there’s a reason why they do that. Right? so I have A days and B days, like, let’s say you’re a nurse. And so your weekly, your week changes. It’s not always going to be the same. That’s okay. We still can time block your life. And then I have a section where you can delete, decide what you need to delete out of your life, like making your bed.
Automate, batch and outsource. So you add those into the blocks there. And then I have a section for you to create your block keys. Like what goes in each of those blocks? What goes in your home block? What goes in your work block? And then. The section to actually create your time blocks, um, like a time block template.
I use a new time block template every season. So, I’m in my fall block right now, and then I’ll be in my winter block, because things change, you know, if you have kids in sports, and then it gets cold outside, and you don’t want to do things outside. Whatever, whatever, your life changes.
Colie: I will say though, I think that’s important to note is that. Because you mentioned it, but maybe we glossed over it, and I think that this is the thing that we should end on. Guys, these time blocks, just like I talked to you about your systems, these are not set it and forget it. You should be doing it quarterly, and if you’re not doing it quarterly, you should at least be doing it for every different season in your life, whether that is a season of business where you are busier in the fall than you are in winter, or if it’s that your kid’s sports schedule changes.
And so you have less time for your business because you need to allocate more time to driving your kids back and forth. Hello, dancer. All right, Brittany. If people are interested in learning about the planner, where can they find it? Because we are also going to have a 15 percent off discount code inside of the show notes.
Brittnie: You can look at the planner. I have two different covers for you, and I also have a digital version if you’re a tech, a tech geek. The website to look at them is BrittanyRenee. com slash planner dash collection. And then the code, can I give the code to people right now? It’s going to be Colie15 and that gives you 15 percent off of your planner.
It is for 2024. So, well, I guess we are in 2024 or about to be in 2024. So it’s perfect timing.
Colie: All right, guys, I hope that this episode has motivated you a little bit to get your time under control before we head further into 2024. There is a reason. Why I am airing this episode in January this month. You all need to take the time to think about how your business and your home life could look different in 2024 with a little planning and a little time blocking.
Brittany, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today.
Brittnie: Thank you for having me.
Colie: All right, everyone. That’s it for this episode. See you next time.