The Gist Of This Episode: This business thing means nothing if we aren’t living life as well – the goal is to make time for this! Join Rachel as she teaches you her “Vase” method and gives you an introduction to the podcast!
What you will learn:
How to manage your calendar so you can put family first
How to prioritize your activities so you can focus on what is most important to you
Examples of things to consider when scheduling out your time
Hello and welcome to today’s podcast. I am your host, Rachel Brenke, and this is the Business Bites Podcast where you can get really good information in a really short amount of time so you can get back to running your business and being with your family. I wanted to talk to you guys about filling the rocks first. What do I mean by this? Well my entire goal is to give you some quick tips to calendar management that actually puts family and yourself first ahead of your business. It’s really easy when we’re running our businesses to get caught up in the different things that we need to do. We’ve got marketing over here, we’ve got social media over there. Not to even mention the legalities and all the other back room stuff that needs to be done in order to even keep the entire business afloat. Notice I didn’t even talk about creating up the content or service, or whatever it is that you provide your customers or clients, or however you make your money. You see we have so much going on. I don’t need to tell you guys about that. You totally know because that’s why you’re here today.
What do I mean by filling the rocks first? Well before I even go into telling you what the rocks are, let me tell you a little bit about who I am and why that I found that this method works so well in business. As I said, my name is Rachel Brenke. I am a mother of five wonderful, almost all the time, wonderful children. I have a husband who has a full time, very successful career himself, and I have multiple brands that I work with. With a whole bunch of things going on I don’t really actually have a large team behind the scenes. I am very hands on with all areas in my business, which can be a downfall sometimes. A little bit more control oriented than I probably need to be, but it’s worked very well for me in the last few years. I have grown multiple brands to very successful levels and they’ve maintained and continued to grow.
Now along this process I’ve learned a lot about myself, I’ve learned a lot about managing, and also the relationships in my life. I know that anytime in growing a brand or a business, it is very, very easy, especially with the type A personality that I am to fall into this trap of must work all the time, get it done. I get this fiery passion in my stomach, you know? So excited to do it all. I must touch everything. I must do everything. I must get it done as quick as I can so that I can get it out there, so I can help other people. That’s my mission. That’s why I’m here talking to you guys today. When that pit in my stomach is just burning hard, it makes me want to work all the time.
Admittedly one of the issues that I found, and my weaknesses, when I first started out in business on my own, was that it was easy for me to succumb to this fire. This fiery feeling in my stomach would consume me. The businesses were on a good fire at that point. Things were starting to grow, but it became a negative fire because it started to burn out my personal relationships within my family, my marriage, and just with my friends, and who I was as a person. I became very overwhelmed and tired. It’s not necessarily a persona that I always showed online, but if any of you have followed me for a while you know I like to share vulnerabilities. I think it’s a key way for y’all to learn. Through my success and my growth, that it’s not always been peachy keen. My husband and I have had our issues in the past. I’ve not been the best parent. I sat down and gave myself a really hard look when we had a really hard year one year. I was like, “What is the common denominator here? What is it that I need to do?”
Yeah, everyone’s hurdling these ideas out at me of you need to outsource, you need to get more team members, but with that comes a host of managing people plus having the money to do it. Being able to release control. All these sort of things. I went back to the very basics. I sat down at my desk one evening and I was like, “How do I do all of this? How do I fit it all in? I only have 24 hours in a day.” I seriously laid my head down on my desk one evening after I had spent trying to get the kids to bed, my husband was deployed at the time. There was a long list of things I still needed to do. I just was crying. I’m like, “What is it? I only have 24 hours.” Then I went, “Yeah. I only have 24 hours. What am I filling my days with? What is it that I can do that doesn’t require extra money or extra taking on of obligations?”
At this point I was boot strapping. I boot strapped all my businesses. I’ve never had investors. Was reinvesting as much as possible from what I was making. I’m like, “What is it that I do have?” I had time and I had a calendar. The analogy, which is the title of this episode is called filling the rocks first. Something that hit me really hard when all of this felt like it was crumbling was, what is the one thing that has been sitting here? What has been my rock through this entire process? Even if they haven’t always been so happy, it’s been my family and myself. Those are the rocks. I want you guys to visualize. This is exactly what I do with my calendar anytime I take on a new project, anytime I decide whether or not I’m going to take on a new big client or grow, make another action in one of my brands. I always take and identify, what are the rocks in my life at that time?
It’s really super easy if you have a family, whether you have kids or not, married or not, significant other. You can identify right off the bat. Family is a rock. Hopefully you have a really good relationship with your family. If you don’t then maybe perhaps you have people in your life that you’ve had really good relationships with. Those become the rocks that you’re going to put into this vase, which is the contained, confined amount of time that you guys have. It’s the 24 hours in the day. That’s your calendar, hint hint, if you haven’t picked up on this. We’re going to pick those rocks and put those into the vase first.
Then we want to think about, “Okay what’s next? What is really important?” Another thing I learned was I needed to do something for me. At the time, as I was growing all the businesses and everything was going on, we were also growing our family. With that came, and unfortunately this is really weird to share with you guys, but it also came with the weight gain of having the children and then trying to get back to pre-pregnancy weight, or to a fitness level that I wanted to be at. On top of that also it was, what can I do that is mentally for me? I share that with you guys for you to identify a rock that maybe could … One rock could be for your personal well being, whether that includes having a hobby or physical fitness, or there’s a personal goal such as lose weight, get fit, or learn a new craft. This can be a variety of rocks. It doesn’t have to be one.
My rocks change out. That’s the really awesome thing about it is that at the time of this recording I am training for a half Iron Man triathlon. A year ago that rock wasn’t even anywhere near my vase. I wasn’t even thinking about it, and here I am. I’ve taken some things out, one rock out. I’ve put another rock in. All of these go in the bottom of my vase, bucket, whatever it is that you want to identify your calendar in life and time to be. The items in your life are family, your friends, yourself, your mental health. All of that needs to go in first into your calendar, first into your vase, and then you fill it with sand. Then you fill it with all the business stuff and all the other things you need to do.
Now, that sounds really fine and dandy. Well how do we actually apply that? I sit down with myself. I come up with my goals and my plans for the year. This is an ever changing process. I sit down with my husband and we talk about what kind of family vacations or home improvements, or different things that we want to do for the next year. All that goes on the calendar. We have a joint calendar so we always know what one another is doing at the time. Again, that was one of our rocks. It was really important that we have the communication that we are going to know what each other’s doing. In the beginning it was so busy we were scheduling over one another and then all of a sudden it would be like, “Oh no. We don’t have someone to watch the kids” or “Oh wait. You’re going to be in California. I’m going to be in Florida. How are we going to do this?” That was one of the ways that we were able to coordinate and communicate to know where our rocks were going to be. We were going to put each other first, we were going to make sure our kids were taken care of, the house was taken care of. Even our puppy dog. We utilize that with a calendar.
Everything goes on the calendar. It’s a fluid process. It’s not like we only meet January 1 and then this is it for the year. We talk about it throughout the year. Things change. I may get new speaking jobs. He may have to travel for work. I may have to reschedule a few things. That’s okay because my rocks are going to come first. All this other business stuff can be rescheduled but we’re going to try to put our family stuff as much first as possible, and then we will decide and have communication say if something big comes up in business about whether or not we want to shift those rocks. Those scheduled things that we had already agreed upon down.
Then from there we take and we fill the rest of our time, the rest of our calendar, with the sand which was business, which is all these other things that we need to do but are not necessarily a priority. To me there’s no sense in running a business if at the end of the day you’re not going to have your family there to help you, to be there for you. I don’t ever want to be laying on my death bed and go, “Man I’m so glad I spent another hour cleaning up my Instagram feed” instead of, “Man I’m so glad I spent that hour to go to my son’s recorder rehearsal or performance.” That’s my goal. That’s my goal for you guys to fill your vases with the rocks first, then put the sand in.
It sounds so common sense, but I’m going to tell you when you are getting busy and you’re overwhelmed and bogged down, sometimes just pulling out the piece of paper where I wrote down my rocks and looked at the calendar, it refocuses me. Not only it shows me what my why is and what I’m doing this for, but it refocuses me to know what is really important because it’s easy to get caught up when that fiery feeling in your stomach starts going. It’s easy to get caught up in that feeling and success or pleasing other people, creating business relationships, making money. Whatever it is. Knowing that, none of that really matters. My kids don’t really care at the end of the day that I have 50 more Instagram followers from one post. They don’t care about that. For me, yes, long term I need that for business. The rocks come first. Then the sand comes next.
That’s essentially in a nutshell a Business Byte for you guys of the calendar management to put family ahead of business. Put your rocks in your vase, then fill it with sand. If you ever need to shift anything around, you’re the business owner, you get to do it, and that is what the best part of doing this as an entrepreneur is that you’re in control of your business and what you want to do with it.
Thank you for joining me today on Business Bytes. Please share with any friends that you think would absolutely love to have this byte sized content to help grow their business while also having a life and being happy as well.
Rachel Brenke is a lawyer, author and business consultant. She is currently helping professionals all over the world initiate, strategize and implement strategic business and marketing plans through various mediums of consulting resources and legal direction.
Hi, I’m Rachel Brenke
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