About this Episode
On this episode of the Brainy Moms podcast, balance strategist Leah Remillet returns to share more tips on how to organize the “busy” of your life in ways that help you manage your energy and your mind. From setting timers with messages to remind you about tending to relationships to scheduling time for joy and fun, her advice is about regaining control of your time in ways that feel healthy. If you’re constantly telling yourself that there “just aren’t enough hours in the day” to get it all done or you’re constantly feeling unbalanced in your work-play life, this episode with Dr. Amy and Sandy is for you!
About Leah Remillet
Leah is the host of The Balancing Busy Podcast, an international speaker, and a Balance Strategist. She helps women do less, but better. Simply put, if you’re a woman with a mission, but worry that growing your dreams means failing at home, then Leah can show you how to spread your message, make an incredible income, and do it all in less time!
Connect with Leah
Balancing Busy Podcast: http://balancing busypodcast.com
To see examples of Leah’s systems: Gift.BalancingBusy.com.
Listen or Subscribe to our Podcast
Watch this episode on YouTube
DR. AMY: Hi, smart moms and dads. Welcome to another episode of the Brainy Moms podcast, brought to you today by LearningRx Brain Training Centers. I’m your host, Dr. Amy Moore. My co-host today is Sandy Zamalis and we are super excited to welcome back to our show another conversation with Leah Remillet. Leah is the host of the Balancing Busy podcast. She’s an international speaker and a balance strategist. She helps women do less but better. Simply put, if you’re a woman with a mission, but worry that your growing dreams mean failing at home, then Leah can show you how to spread your message, make an incredible income, and do it all in less time. Welcome back, Leah.
LEAH: Thank you so much for having me again. I was so excited all morning that I got to see you two again today.
DR. AMY: I know we had so many cool things to talk about the last time. And I just remember at the very end saying, “We got to have you back because we want to talk for another hour.”
LEAH: I love it. Let’s do it.
DR. AMY: All right.
SANDY: Well, before we get started, for our listeners who maybe didn’t hear the last podcast, why don’t you tell us your zoo story again? And that about how you ended up devoting your career to helping women find balance.
LEAH: Absolutely. Okay. So I, like many other women started a business. I had a goal. I had ideas of wouldn’t it be amazing if I could contribute in these ways to the household income and all those things. And I went after it and I started working and I didn’t understand yet how to set up the boundaries, the systems, the automations, all those things that give you the space to be both a great entrepreneur, great business owner, and also take care of your health, be a great mama, take care of your spouse, your friend, your sister, you know, all the things. So in order for me to try to get all the things done, I basically gave up sleep. And so what I would do is I had, my kids were still really little. They weren’t even full time in school yet. So, you know, that is a hard time to be a mama business owner when you’re trying to fit it in all the cracks. So what I came up with was that I’d put the kids down to bed at about eight and then I would go into the office and I would start working. And it was this time where no one distracts you and bugs you and the phone doesn’t ring and, and I would just work and work. And my intention had been, “Oh, it’s just going to be a few hours,” but it just kept growing. Until my hours became, well, all day because I’m still sneaking work in every second I can. But then in addition, I put the kids down at eight and I am working until often 5 a.m. Literally many times what stopped me was that my head hit the keyboard because I was so exhausted. I would just like, fall asleep working, drag myself to bed, then the kids would start waking me up at about 7 a.m., and I would start the day. Of course, I’m exhausted, I’m groggy, I’m, you know, less patient than I want to be, all these things. But I kept ignoring them, because this was how I was doing it. My husband was in graduate school at the time, I was our sole provider. And I’m trying to be a stay-at-home mom. And I believed this lie that success had to be hard, that it had to hurt really. And so I just kept going and going. I would, and I figured out that I could work this routine for about four or five nights in a row. Then I had to have one night where I got about six hours and then I would do it again. And I just kept doing this. And to compensate for the guilt that I felt for never really being present with my kids, I had these different memberships. So, the children’s museum, the zoo, the forestry center, and once a week on Wednesdays, I would take them and we would go to one of these places. And it was just the few hours of the whole week where I honestly felt like a good mom because I wasn’t distracted from them, smartphones weren’t very smart back then, so you really couldn’t work from your phone. So I mean, I was there. I was present. So one particular day, we’re in the alligator exhibit. We’re looking at the alligators and I, all of a sudden I start feeling funny and I’m like, “Oh my gosh.” And everything starts, it’s like I was going into a tunnel. Everything just starts closing in around me. Everything’s going black. I’m losing my hearing and I’m realizing that I’m going to pass out. And so I was trying to get us over to like a bench, basically like somewhere where I could, I could get myself to basically blackout, but being as little of an inconvenience as possible. And when I woke up I was on a stretcher getting ready to be put into an ambulance and my three tiny little ones are being left; their mom is being taken away. And I locked eyes with my oldest who’s holding her little sister’s hand and then her baby brother’s in the stroller. I mean she’s like, you know, is also holding the hand and looks at me and she’s so terrified. She is so scared. And it was in that moment that I knew I was either going to find a better way or I was going to walk away from my company. And I love entrepreneurship. I mean, it is in my DNA. I didn’t want to walk away, but I refused to fail at home for this business. And so I set out to just discover if work-life balance exists. You know, a lot of people want to say, “Oh, balance isn’t real. It doesn’t exist.” And I’m going to be honest, that like broke my heart. Like when I would hear that it was terrifying to me that they were right and that this was as good as it gets. Like this is just what it’s like. And so I set out to, to figure out if they were right or if there was a better way. And spoiler alert, obviously I’m here talking because I found a better way, and as I found that I instantly just felt like I cannot be the only one struggling. I cannot be the only woman who, no matter how much she gives, still feels like it is never enough. And as I started cutting back my hours and feeling more present and having these boundaries and feeling like, “Oh my gosh, I am a good mom! I am a good wife!” I knew I needed to show how I was doing this in my business, how I was doing it in home, just everywhere, how it was happening and share it with other women. So that’s what I do.
DR. AMY: So, I was struck by something that you put on Instagram recently where you said, “You don’t have a time management problem. You have either a mind management problem or an energy management problem.” I gotta hear more about this.
LEAH: Okay, absolutely. Okay, so first of all, let’s think about the idea of time management. Now, am I still going to use that term? Of course, because everybody recognizes it. But if we’re really being … if we’re looking at it from a logical perspective, you cannot manage time because time cannot be adjusted. Like, I can’t add any more hours to the day. And I’m going to be honest, there was a long time where I kind of tried, right? And I like, I had this this very negative kind of toxic relationship with time. I felt like time was out to get me. I felt like somehow time was just nicer to everybody else, but it just like stole hours from me. And I just, I felt really frustrated with how I always felt like there was never enough hours. I was always behind. I was always trying to play catch up. And so we can’t manage time. What we actually need to learn how to do is manage both our mind and our energy. Now, by mind management, what I mean is we need to learn how to be committed to the results we want, and that starts with habits. So our habits, those are going to be based off of our commitments. Our commitments are going to be based off of our desires. Our desires are based off of our faith and our feelings. And there’s just this track. And so as I started realizing I’m not trying to manage time. I’m trying to manage myself better in the construct of time. And then I was able to shift from feeling like there was a never enough time to truly feeling like time is abundant. I have enough time for everything that is important for everything that is valuable. And I want to say that one thing that I think is really important is how we talk about time. Like it’s, we hear this about money as well, right? If we talk about time, “Oh my gosh. I’m always running late. I never have enough time. Oh, I’m so busy.” If everything that we’re saying about time has a negative connotation that basically is saying time isn’t good to me and I’m not good with time, it’s gonna stay that way. Same thing with our, our money and, and the way we speak about, about wealth. If, on the other time, on the other hand, we start speaking about time in a way that says, “I’m gonna be able to get everything that really matters done today. I am gonna be fully present. I am going to show up and get through the things that are on my list because distraction does not get to have a place in my day.” Like just shifting the way we talk about time, I think can be really powerful. And then that second component, as we talk about managing our energy, is just recognizing that we are not the same at all times of the day. We each have times where we feel more productive, where we have more energy. Learning to see when that is and then really trying to schedule in those tasks that are going to make an impact during those times. You know, I think about how often there, I’m sure you have a lot of listeners where maybe they’re still in the corporate world and they have a side hustle and they would love to replace the corporate job, that income, with their side hustle, like that’s the dream. But they’re struggling because they work all day, they come home, they take care of the kids, or the family, or whatever chores need to be done, and then they’re like, “Okay, now I need to work on the side hustle.” And they were able to do it for a while, probably because they had the motivation, you know. They were just feeling so inspired and so excited that that was carrying them. But after some time, it gets really hard and they think like, “Oh, I should work on the business.” But then just being able to like collapse on the couch and watch a show and, you know, just veg out is so appealing that they go after that one and then they beat themselves up because they’re like, “Oh, I should have worked on the side hustle.” When the truth is, it was an energy management problem. They were depleted of energy. They were running out of those stores of energy that were going to give them what they needed to be able to work on the next project. So it’s really looking at and thinking about what are the stories we’re saying about time? How are we thinking about time? How do we talk about time? And then are we paying attention to our energy and where our energy is? And are we taking care of our bodies to improve the amount of energy we’re going to have? So that’s the idea around that.
DR. AMY: Yeah. It was funny before you hopped on, Sandy and I were just talking about, so I speak at conferences and this one conference chose all four of my workshops, but it’s a two-day conference. And I said, “Well, I can’t speak after 4 p.m.” Like I’m done, right?
DR. AMY: I’m out of neurotransmitters. I’m out of energy. I can’t do it. So hopefully the speaker committee can figure out how to get four workshops, you know, into two days. But not have me run after four o’clock. So, like, I recognize that I’ve learned that about myself. And so that’s a boundary that I have to hold.
LEAH: I love that. So I just got done speaking at a conference last weekend, actually. And. It’s interesting, you know, when you’re in a completely different type of situation, to really see how you go. Now I’ve spoken a lot of conferences and retreats and events, you know, over a decade and I know that whenever I’m at one of these, it’s like there’s a switch and you have to be on. You have to be on basically the whole time you’re there, right? Like, you walk into the room and you are on. And you stay on and you stay on and you stay on. And then, I know that as soon as I’m like, getting to the tail end of that event, the switch starts trying to turn off and a lot of times I’m like, “No, we can’t turn off. We’re not done.” Right? And I know like when I get home, oh, like it’s going to be done. And I’m going to honor that. And, you know, if someone’s like, “Oh, let’s go do this.” Oh, nope. Not happening for the next 48 hours. Cause I just got to decompress. So, you know, recognizing that energy, right? Like, where is my energy stores? How is it going? Is maybe the reason I’m not doing the thing that I say I want to do, not so much because of a, you know, maybe like motivation problem or beating ourselves up in that form, when it’s really an energy problem.
SANDY: We were I was sharing with Amy too. I have this goal. I had a goal for September. As a business owner, I feel like sometimes this can be harder from a business owner perspective if you’ve got staff, right? If you’re trying to delegate out tasks, and then all of a sudden the tasks end up back in your lap, right? So that’s what happened to me. I had this whole plan. I had a goal. I met the goal, but it only lasted, I think, literally 30 days because then some staff decisions shifted and a lot of those balls ended up back in my lap. So, do you have suggestions for business owners that have employees that, you know, they have clients, they have employees? How do you set aside some boundaries where you … You know, I’m a people pleaser, so I’m going to try to pick up all those balls and make sure my clients have good care in my center. And I’m not going to, you know, let anybody see me sweat while I’m doing it. But, you know, you have good intentions to do these things, but sometimes there’s outside factors that come into play that really affect those boundaries you’re trying to set for yourself so that you have good energy management and you have good mind management. Any suggestions for, you know, think about a business owner who has employees. What do they do?
DR. AMY: And then let me just add to something that Sandy didn’t mention that she did say too. She picks up those tasks because she can. She has the skills to do them so she believes that she should be doing them. And so I think that’s an important piece of information. It isn’t one of those things where, you know, she has employees that do it, but then if the employees leave, “Oh no, how’s it going to get done?” She’s like “Oh I know how so I’m going to do it.”
SANDY: Right, exactly.
LEAH: Okay, so Sandy, do you find it hard where you give the task to the employee and then you accidentally end up taking it back? Or was it a situation where the employee would have done it, but you know, outside circumstances, something happened, they’re now gone or something changed and so it’s like, “Well, it still needs to get done and they’re not here.”
SANDY: It was that. So it wasn’t a, “I gave it to you. Psych. Not so much.”
LEAH: Because that happens. That happens also, right? There’s, there’s this idea of like, “No one does it as, as well as I do, but I care so much.” And then they take it back and they end up working on it when they …
SANDY: I don’t struggle with that one. “This is yours. Okay, though.”
LEAH: Oh, oh, you gave it back. Okay. All right. So, so in that situation, I mean, really, you’re kind of in a stuck position. However, I do think it’s really important to ask yourself how necessary that task was. Now I absolutely believe in and love taking care of our clients and our customers right? Like the last thing we want to do is leave them hanging and be like, “Oh, well, sorry, you’re going to have to suffer because I had and employee leave.” Right? Like we’re the business owners, we have to take radical responsibility and we have to own it sometimes. However, I do think it’s so important to check what this task is and like rate it. Like how important is it that this gets done? If I told a client, if I promised “We’re going to get you this thing by this day,” and the employee who’s supposed to be in charge of that is gone, I’m probably going to suck it up and I’m going to, if I have the ability, I’m going to try to get it done and I’m going to try to honor our commitment. But if I said something, or there’s something that we do, but it doesn’t really have to be done, I’m going to question and say, “Is this the right thing for me to be doing?” Because we have to remember, every yes is a no somewhere else. So while you’re saying yes to taking back on the project and, you know, whatever those balls are, are they saying, is that making a no to more critical, important, only-you-can-do tasks that now those are being shelved? So it’s, and this is where, you know, we start getting back to that mind management because we’re getting better at asking the good questions that are like, “Is this actually the best thing I could be doing? Is this the right thing for me to doing? Is this a critical thing for me to be doing? And how quickly can I give it back?” So maybe you do have to take it for a moment, but we want to have a plan very quickly to give it back. Cause that’s the other thing that happens, right? Yes. Yes. Like give it right back. I find often it’s like, you know, maybe we have a team member who’s been doing something, and then they leave, and now it’s back on, on us. And then we’re feeling kind of overwhelmed because, you know, we just got new things handed back to us and then we’re, we’re waiting to find the next person. Cause we’re like, “Oh, and then I’m also going to have to train them. I’m going to have to write …” And so we need to make sure that we have that plan to be like, okay, I’m handing it back over as quickly as possible. Or maybe there’s someone else on the team that you could hand it to.
SANDY: I think in that mind management piece, like, I really have to also think through for myself, like, like, “This is okay. Like, this is okay. I need to set up, you know, a system for myself for when this happens again, and it will.”
LEAH: I mean, that’s the truth, right?
SANDY: Right? Yeah. How will we switch things over? But then, you know, Amy and I were talking too, like this happens in the corporate world too for moms who have a corporate job. So, you know, how do you set boundaries there when you have people, you know, delegating things to you and it’s getting to be too much?
LEAH: I always, I’ll say, I always feel kind of sad when I hear somebody say, “Oh, they lost this employee so now I’m doing both of our jobs.” You know, and I’m like “Well, that doesn’t sound like that’s probably gonna feel good long term.” And the problem is, in the corporate world, is the honest truth is, the better you do, the more they’re gonna think, “Hey, we don’t need to hire someone else.” But they didn’t just double your income. It’s not like they said, “Hey, you’re making a hundred, they were making a hundred, now that we have you doing both, you make two.” Right? And you’re like, perfect, I’ll hire my own assistant to help delegate this out or something. Right? That’s not what happens. So often, somebody leaves in the corporate world, their responsibilities get shifted. You know, let’s say in this example, to you, and then because you are a great employee and you do great work and you care about doing a good job, you perform incredibly well, and they’re like, “Well, this is awesome.” So I think having very honest, open conversations from the very beginning. Right? When that manager comes and has that conversation and says, “Hey, so-and-so is leaving on maternity leave,” or they’re leaving, you know, they’ve taken a different job or whatever it might be. “We’re going to be bringing these responsibilities over to you.” Really talking about, “Okay, then I need to know what are going to be the high-priority tasks and what things I should shelf during this time. I also need to know, what is the timeframe? How often does this look like?” And even asking what is the compensation going to be, since I am taking on these additional roles? So having that very open dialogue very early, I think is a critical component. Otherwise, you know, nothing gets said. Then resentment comes in. And then, you know, possibly this, job that had been something that you had loved before becomes something that creates bitterness and resentment and frustration.
DR. AMY: Yeah. And I think the whole people-pleasing thing comes into play as well. Like we really have to manage that. And so one of my jobs is, is mostly project based. And so I have this plan, right, of what projects I’m going to get accomplished, which quarter based on, you know, the company’s needs. But they might come to me and say, “Hey, we need you to do a, B and C.” And so I’ve gotten really good at saying, “I would love to do A, B and C, but I need you to rack and stack that order in which you want me to accomplish the other projects on my list because I can’t just add a project, right this quarter, it has to push something else.” And so I was thinking the same thing as Sandy was talking, you know, where you say every yes also means there’s a no. So if there’s this critical task or this critical job that you have to take over because you’ve lost an employee, where else in your life can you say no to something that’s less important but is time consuming. So I felt like that was kind of an extension of how we have to manage our minds in regard to what’s most important right now.
LEAH: Yes, I totally agree.
SANDY: I always think of that quadrant, and of course I can’t remember all the pieces. It’s the, you know, what needs to happen right now, what can happen later, like what’s really …
LEAH: The Eisenhower Matrix?
SANDY: Yeah, is that what it is? I can never remember the name of it.
LEAH: Yeah, so there’s the Eisenhower Matrix.
SANDY: But you want to focus on like two of those squares and let the others go.
LEAH: Yes, yes, yeah. Within the Eisenhower Matrix, I love to use it with a brain dump because, you know, sometimes we’re just, we’re overwhelmed. There’s a lot of stuff that we want to do or thinking about doing or need to do or, and I love to just get it all out on paper. But then we need to go from, so when we’re just splattering it kind of onto a page, that’s very right brained. But what we need to do is we need to shift it into more of a left brain where it becomes a linear format so that we can recognize like, and this is step one and this is step two. And then it loses some of its power in feeling so daunting. Well, sometimes it can be a little tricky to recognize, well, what should be step one and what should be step 97, right? Hopefully it’s not that extensive, but you know, sometimes it feels like that. And so when we’re using the Eisenhower Matrix, basically you’re just envisioning and imagining a quadrant. I actually have on Balancing Busy, there is an entire episode about the brain dump to the Eisenhower Matrix. But within the Eisenhower Matrix, we have block one being urgent and important. Block two is important but not urgent. Block three is not important but urgent and block four is not important, not urgent. Now, when we look at all these things, and this would be a great way to look at like maybe when all of a sudden a whole lot of new balls just landed in your lap, right? And so you’re looking and you’re like, “Okay, what are the important and urgent?” Those are probably going to be the very first things that need to be tackled. What is important but not urgent? This is the quadrant that gets severely neglected and it’s what stops our growth. Because things that are important but not urgent, those are the things that move our business forward. Those are the marketing strategies we should be implementing. Those are the goals that would, you know, “If I put these automations and it would really create a better experience and save me time.” If I write like the important but not urgent are the things that cannot be neglected, but are so often. They are because urgent seems to always get, it’s louder. And so we’re looking at that. But let’s say in a moment where all of a sudden you are inundated with extra things, that might be the thing that you say, you know what? I can put that on pause for two weeks or one week. And I’ll come back to that. Then we’re going to look at urgent, but not important. Those are things that we question. Is this actually necessary? Or am I just making up that it is important and necessary, right? Like, “Oh, do I really need to be scrolling to get content ideas to get that post out this week with everything else?” Maybe not. And then not important, not urgent. Either it should be fully outsourced or it should be just let go of completely and you just get to be like sweep, sweep away, you’re gone.
SANDY: I like the prioritizing of that quadrant and I have done it in the past where you’re just kind of, okay. Because you can’t do everything, right? You’re saying you have to say no to some things. There’s no way you can handle everything. That’s the same at home too, like, I won’t talk about the doom piles I have currently in my house, but they are important, but not urgent. So I should probably make some time to handle the doom piles I currently have. Let’s talk about calendars. So on one of your podcast episodes, you said that “Calendars are not the boss of us. We are the boss of them.” So share with us how to make calendars work for us. What do you, what do you recommend?
LEAH: So, first of all, I think everyone should use whatever calendar system works for them. Like, there’s a lot of people who are like, “You have to do it this way. You have to do it this way.” No, you don’t. You just need to find for your personality, for your style of execution, the one that works for you. I use a combination of a digital calendar, where we can all see it’s a family calendar. It’s color coded. I’m just using the Apple version of, you know, iCal and I can have calendars that the kids and my husband and I see. I have calendars that I just see. I have calendars that my husband and I see. And it’s all there and I can see what goes where. So first it’s just finding a good system that’s going to work for you. So I’m using a digital calendar, but then I also have a giant paper calendar. And that is used slightly different. It’s not for every single detail. I have two giant paper calendars. I have one that is a marketing planner. And so I can literally see the whole year at once and I can put in where we’re doing launches or promotions or where I’m speaking at events. And then I’m able to see and recognize, “Oh, this is a pretty full month because we’re doing a launch” and maybe I’m speaking, so I’m going to be really, really intentional about keeping that month very light for everything else. But this month, “Oh, this actually has a lot of space, so this could be a great month to really work on,” you know, maybe I’ve been saying I’d like to rebrand and redesign or you have somebody help with the website. So maybe that would be a good month to fit that in because it doesn’t have too much other stuff. And “Oh, this is when,” you know, if I was in retail, I’d maybe be thinking like, “Oh, this is our Black Friday, like November. There’s a lot going on.” Right? And so I’m very intentional about where things are going. Plus, once I put in that launch date, I can then reverse engineer backwards to figure out where my starting point is. So I’m able to say, “Okay, well if the launch is two weeks, then two weeks from there, we need to have all of our material done. And then two weeks from there, we need to start brainstorming and two weeks from there we need to …” And so I’m able to say, “Oh, well, if we’re starting on November 15th, I can reverse and recognize that I wanna get us … If we’re … Sorry. “If we’re launching on November 15th, I can work backwards and say, Oh, in that case, I want to get the team working on it on September 1st, so that it’s not rushed and feeling you know that chaos and frantic.” So I have one for that and then I have one family one. And the giant family one is like, “Okay, where’s the family vacation going? Where is the reunion at? Where are the big things?” And one of the things that I really think can make a huge difference for owning our calendars instead of our calendars owning us, is that we put in the fun stuff first. So yes, of course, I have lots of meetings and I have lots of time blocking things. And, you know, I’ve scheduled in like, “Oh, I’m writing podcast episodes” and “Oh, on this day, I’m recording podcast episodes. And on this day, I’m working on batching this thing.” But I put in the fun stuff first because I learned a long time ago, if I’m waiting for the time to spontaneously show up for the good stuff, it’s not going to. Because I will have accidentally filled it with all kinds of other things that are me feeling productive, right? And so I literally schedule in date night and movie night. I mean, to the most mundane things where I’m like … My daughter and I are very excited about a movie that’s like, it’s some rom-com that’s coming out on, I can’t remember if it’s Netflix or Amazon. Anyways, it is on the calendar that like we are getting Thai food and watching that rom-com on the day it comes out. So I purposefully look to schedule in the things that are gonna bring joy. Looking at the holidays, the holidays can fill up so incredibly fast with all the things that we feel more of an obligation to? And how many times have you heard a mom, have you had a conversation where you’re like, “Oh, we didn’t get to go do so many of the things! We didn’t make the gingerbread houses, or we didn’t go look at Christmas lights this year, we didn’t have time to…” Whatever it might be. First of all, I’m gonna point out the way we’re talking about time. I didn’t have it versus believing that there is enough time and it can open up. By me just shifting, and actually scheduling in, “This is gonna be gingerbread house-making day. This is gonna be Christmas caroling day, This is gonna be us,” I don’t know what it is, you know, some other fun tradition. Now, I’m not at all concerned about being rigid about where it is. Maybe we get an invite, and now there’s a Christmas party that Saturday that I had set for going and looking at Christmas lights. No problem. I’m gonna just, I’m on a digital calendar, I can easily drag it and pop it in on another night. But I didn’t forget. I didn’t miss it completely, because I was letting all these other things fill up first, and then missing out on the opportunities of what I really want my life to feel like.
DR. AMY: Yeah, it’s interesting. I use a color-coded calendar as well. I actually use the Google calendar and it’ll link to, you know, my counseling automated counseling scheduler. It’ll, you know, link to our podcast scheduler so I can see everything in one big spot. And I really enjoyed transitioning this year from using an old-fashioned paper and pencil calendar to being able to manipulate the different squares like you’re talking about. But I’m actually writing two books and I’m getting a second doctorate and so I’m super busy and I had said a couple of weeks ago, “Hey, I think I’m going to stop seeing counseling clients on Fridays. I’m going to front load them on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so that I can have Fridays for writing and working on my second doctorate.” And so last night I’m looking at my calendar at dinner with my husband, I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, look at Friday. I am packed.” And he said, “I thought you were not going to schedule Fridays so that you could work on your book and your doctoral project.” I looked at him and I said, “I forgot.” Like, I forgot that that was the plan because I did not block it off. I didn’t use the calendar to meet that goal, right? I left it open.
LEAH: A hundred percent. It’s so, so true. And so I scheduled quote “dates” with myself, all through my calendar to just remind me of the things that I want to do. Right? And I, and for my, for me, my personality, and I really do think this is powerful, I like having certain days that are certain things, exactly what you’re talking about. Monday I’m front loading and that’s gonna be this kind of day. Being able to just know in your mind, Friday is writing day. Like, this, this is the day I write. It’s gonna help you mentally prepare to be ready to write on Fridays, right? But, if it’s not blocked out, if it’s not like, there’s a four-hour block time, all of a sudden, “Oh, the calendar looks wide open” and you know, it just starts getting filled with other things. That’s why I started putting the fun things in because if … I forgot, right? I get to the very end and I’d go, “Oh my gosh, I really wanted us to do” whatever it was. I remember one summer. I was really excited because there was this weekly outdoor movie night in the park thing. And I thought, “Oh, that just sounds so fun. We should do that. We’re going to do that. Like any Wednesday night, we don’t have something. We’re going to go down and do it.” I completely forgot. I never put it into the calendar, got to the very end of the summer. You know how many Wednesday nights we could have gone? So many! But I forgot that I had this idea of doing it. So I started being like, “Oh, I’m going to put in when the farmer’s market is, when that movie night is when that activity,” right? Like these different things, or if there’s just something you want to do, I just place it somewhere fully intending to move it, but I won’t forget that way. In fact, over the summer, I set a little date that said, “Schedule family pictures.” And then four days later, it was like a five-minute, I mean, it’s literally, it’s a five-minute date. It’s a little five-minute appointment. Schedule family pictures. Two or four days later, there was another one. Five minutes. Did you schedule family pictures? You are going to regret if you have not scheduled family pictures because she is going to be gone and you’re going to miss it. Because I knew my daughter left for college in September. If I didn’t get family pictures done before we took her to college, our family Christmas card was going to be missing her because she was going to be at school, right? So, I mean, that idea of instead of giving myself any grief because I forget things, because I missed out, I just, I just look at it and go, “Oh, okay. How am I going to set a little trigger for myself so that I protect myself really from myself?” And I, you know, set alarms to say, “Did you schedule the family pictures?” And you know what I did and I’m so happy. I’m so grateful. We got him done and I felt so proud of myself. Like, yeah, I did that!
DR. AMY: Dopamine mean hit, right?
DR. AMY: I’m the type that would put something on a checklist just so I could check it off, even if I totally have to, right? Like I gotta have that extra dopamine.
SANDY: Yeah, I think one of my like character flaws in some ways is that I am like, I like to have fun, but I never plan fun. My husband is the fun planner. Like I just never occurs to me. I am an in-the-moment person, so like, I’m never planning for something, you know, six months down the road. Whereas my husband’s like, “Okay, we need to get the calendar out. When are we camping? When are we going to do things?” And it’s really important to him. And sometimes, I don’t always make it the priority to, and I hear about it, but in a loving and kind way. Well, last night was that a loving and kind reminder. My husband wanted to go out to dinner. And I just, I had to tell this story because it fits so nicely in what we’re talking about, because it was so funny. He wanted to go to a restaurant that was a little further away from, where we are. But it was a small place. So we knew we were going to have to make a reservation. Well, we are a notorious for like, “Let’s go out to dinner tonight.” And then there’s nowhere we can get in. We’re at Arby’s, right? So we’re like, “Okay, well, we’re going to need a reservation.” Well, we think we’re doing really good because it’s a Wednesday night. And so we get on the internet to find out if there’s any reservations for Saturday. Not at all. We went through six restaurants to try to find a reservation, and nobody had it. And finally I just said, “Well, I guess we’re going to have to plan for two weeks when there is an actual reservation open for on Saturday night.” And he was like, “Okay, let’s do it.” So we did. But it was just really funny because, you know, we are notorious. We’ll be like, “Oh, it’s a great night. We have some time. Let’s go out.”
LEAH: And then there’s no options. We do the exact same thing. Like we are that way. And you know, my marriage is very much like yours. My husband loves fun. Fun is like, it’s a core value for him. It’s a high priority. And thank goodness, because for a lot of years, I think we would have had zero fun if he was not there. Because I love having fun, but I deeply love efficiency. And I literally sometimes have to say to myself, “You were not put on this earth to be efficient.” And I’ll question, like, “Are you sure? Because I am so good at it.” And it’s like, no, that’s not why you’re here. You were not put on this earth to be productive. You were not put on this earth to be efficient. You were put on this earth, you know, when I’m thinking of me, I was put on this earth to be a mother, to be a wife. And then to make an impact and help women do the exact same thing. Right? Like I believe in happy families and that is my ultimate goal is to help women create happy families while they do that thing that was placed on their heart that is not on accident and it is intentional and they need to, they need to share it with the world. But trying to have both of those. And so I’m the same way I. I kept missing those things like getting, you know, to Christmas and being like, “Oh my gosh, we never did any of this stuff,” right? Or getting to the end of the summer and being like, “Oh, I had had some really fun ideas. Kids, we were gonna have fun, but you know what? Efficiency won and mom forgot.” Right? And so that’s why I just started. I’m just gonna put them on the calendar. I’m gonna place them and something like date night. You know, if you know, okay, we have weekly date night, this is the efficiency part of me, but like, I will sit down and batch, and be like, “Okay, I’m batching out the next four date nights. I know we’re going on Friday. I’m picking four different things that we want to do, and I’m scheduling them all, so it’s all just done and ready for us.” Because yes, otherwise, I’m not going to think about it until we’re literally walking out the door, and then it’s like, like you said, Arby’s. Because every single other place is like, “Seriously, you thought you were going to get in? Ha ha ha.”
DR. AMY: Yeah, it’s so funny. Like, I think I need to start doing that because I love to take off my work clothes and throw on yoga pants and a t-shirt at the end of the day, right? It just feels so good.
LEAH: So good!
DR. AMY: Right? So yesterday I get home, I throw on my yoga pants and a t-shirt. And I walk into the living room and my husband goes, “Hey, you want to go out to dinner?” Could you have asked me that when I walked in the door before I changed my clothes? And that’s exactly how I said it. And then I thought, well, I don’t want to give up an opportunity to have a date with my husband. So I gotta go redress now, which I did. Got home from dinner and put my yoga pants and t-shirt back on. But if I had had it on the calendar, if we had thought, if we had been intentional about it, right? I did get redressed. Yeah, which is not efficient, by the way, and a little disappointing.
SANDY: I’m almost liking the idea of like a big, gigantic paper calendar on a wall, like in my dining room, just to help remind me that we’ve got things planned for us, right?
LEAH: Yes, and that’s the, and that’s why I like it, is I’m trying to put the fun stuff in. I’m trying to see and say like … and what really helps me is so, so … Okay, I’m totally going to plug myself because we have a printable, huge digital calendar. It’s not digital. It’s, I mean, it’s a digital download, but it’s a huge 30 by 40 or 20 by 30, 20 by 30 calendar that everyone can go. If you go to my Instagram, it’s right there when you click my link. And I just order it through Office Depot. It is like four or five dollars to have it printed. And, and if you, and it’s like, it’s amazing. And if you want to up-level a little bit, have it laminated so that you can write with a grease marker so that you can shift things around super easy, right? But I love it because it’s like I get the kids schedule, their school schedule, out and I start putting, “Okay, here’s all the days that they have no school.” Cause there’s those random weird ones you didn’t expect. And you’re like, “Dang it. Why didn’t we do something fun?” Because you didn’t know it was coming. Right? So I like, I get all those on the calendar and then I’m like, “Okay, family vacation. When are we wanting to do it? What do we want to do?” My husband loves camping. I’m going to be honest. I cannot stand camping. But I do it because I love him. And unfortunately, he’s really good at remembering that you have to schedule that like an entire year ahead because a lot of people seem to think that camping is wonderful and they all book it so early. So like, you know, we already know when those camping dates are going to be. So those are in there and then we’re looking and we’re like, “Okay. What are the other things?” You know, we know that we throw an ugly sweater Christmas party every year, right? So we looked at the calendar and we’re like, “Okay, when, when do we feel like we want to fit that in? What day should it be in?” So it’s just the idea of like actually putting in the fun stuff. And then yes, you can put in like the kids’ activities and all that stuff, but you just, you start to see. And you can see, like, I love being able to see the whole year at once because I start to see like, “Oh, that’s got a lot of color right there. There’s a lot of writing in that section.” So that helps me to recognize, “Okay, pause putting things into August. Like, let’s start moving some things around and put them, you know, somewhere else.”
DR. AMY: I love that. Okay. We need to take a break and let Sandy read a word from our sponsor. And when we come back, I want to talk a little bit about how you use timers and alarms to kind of increase your presence with people who are important to you when we come back.
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DR. AMY: All right. And we are talking to balance strategist, Leah Remillet. I love that I can actually get that word out. Strategist. You should hear some of our bloopers of my inability to say some words. Okay. So you talk about setting an alarm. I think you wrote something about that. You actually set an alarm with a particular person’s name next to it to ensure presence with them. Right. Talk about that. That really intrigued me.
LEAH: So we began the whole conversation talking about time management is really mind management and energy management. Now, in order to have a better control over my mind, I need to be aware of where I slip up, where it gets hard, where maybe I start to go down a path that I really don’t want to. When I’m thinking about, you know, how to show up as the very best version of me, that isn’t the way I want to conduct myself. And yet we slip up and, and we, you know, we get, we get down, down a path we don’t want to go. Well, I started using alarms when my kids were really little because I found that there were times where I wanted to be a present mom. That was what I said I wanted, but my actions were not necessarily reflecting that. And so, I would set an alarm that said, “Are you being fully present?” Or it would say, “Nothing will matter more to you in this moment then showing up for them. Are you still showing up?” I mean, I’m very clear. I’m very specific to myself and I have these different silent alarms. I mean, they’re literally, you know, we’re, we’re using our iPhone alarm to wake up at 6 a.m. Well, I’ve got dozens and dozens of alarms that are set to go off at different times that help me just remember all the different things that I want to do. And so it’s everything from an alarm that says, “It’s time to have lunch. Stop for 30 minutes, set the timer, and then come back ready and strong.” To, “Are you being fully present and intentional with Addie Ellen Payson right now?” Or, “Are you,” you know, in, at night time, am I, “Are you making sure that Taylor feels like he is a priority?” Which is my husband, right? Like just these different alarms that I put throughout my life, throughout the week to help me to recognize and show up the way I want to. Viktor Frankl asked the question, “If you could do this day over again, what would you do differently?” But he didn’t ask it at the end of the day when we have regret. He asked it at the very beginning, right? Or maybe it’s, if you could do this situation, if you could do this experience, right? Maybe you’re getting ready for a family vacation, or the holidays with in-laws, or, you know, some really big project at work, right? Like, there’s a lot of things that we’ve all we’ve all finished up and been like, “I really wish I would have done that a little differently.” So I’ve started asking myself that question as often as I can. “If you could do this again, how would you do it differently?” at the very beginning. And then I really think about it. I write it down and then I figure out, “Okay, well, based on what I said, I know I mean this right now,” but it’s kind of like what you said, you know, where you’re like, “I meant to and then I forgot.” I’m going to forget. So how can I put in triggers into my life that are going to help me do this? So we had a house fire back on February 3rd, 2023. We have not lived in our house since then. That is why my background looks like this. Like, I’m not in my home. I’m in a temporary office until we get to move back in. And the day after it happened, I was just overwhelmed with how grateful I was that we were all safe. I mean, that’s all I could think about was, it was in my son’s bedroom. We had a massive explosion. He could have and should have been in his room. He had literally just been down there and in his room, and he was going to play Oculus with a friend, and his friend’s Oculus was dead. So he, charged his, put his, plugged his Oculus in, came upstairs, and said, “Hey, will you guys play a board game with me?” And we were like, “Yeah, sure, why don’t you set it up?” So instead of being downstairs in his room, he was upstairs setting up a game. The explosion was so big that it actually knocked him off the couch, but it was down in his room. And so all I could think was, “Oh my gosh, I’m so grateful! I’m so grateful, like, we’re safe. Everything’s good. Things can be replaced. Everything’s fine.” And I had this thought, I was actually in prayer and meditation and I was just pouring out like, “Thank you. Thank you for protecting him. Thank you for keeping us safe.” And this thought came to me that was, “You’re starting a trial.” And I was like, “No I’m not. Like, we’re fine. Everything’s great.” And it was like, “No, you’re starting a trial.” And I was like, “What?” And so I, I really started thinking about, “Okay, if I was going to do this experience again on day one …” Right? Like this is, we’ve literally left our house. You know, the fire department has, you know, said, “Okay, you cannot go into your home.” We’ve got a hotel room. I have no idea what’s going to happen next, but this is the very beginning. And I was like, okay, how would I do it different?” And I really sat down and I wrote it out and I wrote out like how I wanted to show up for our kids, how I wanted to show up for my husband, how I wanted to show up during this experience, just all these different things. And I never imagined it would take as long as it has. I thought we might be out of our house for a couple of weeks. I thought, you know, maybe a couple months. We’re on nine months. We are about to go home in the next two weeks. I can’t even tell you how excited I am. I cannot wait to go home! But really, you know, using this strategy of, “If I could do this again, how would I do it differently?” And then I set out the plan of how I would do it. And then I implemented these different systems to help me stay true to that best version of myself that I wanted to show as.
DR. AMY: I love that illustration. I hate that for you.
LEAH: You know, I mean, it has been quite the learning experience. And I mean, I won’t even pretend that it hasn’t been hard. There have definitely been moments where I did lose that best version of how I wanted to show up. And I got too caught up in the everything that was, you know, not working out, not working the way I wanted to. But overall, I can definitely say that I’m pretty darn proud about how I handled it. And I don’t think that I would be able to say that, had I not set that intention at the very beginning.
SANDY: I’s almost like having that, you know, little you on your shoulder, right, just giving you a little encouragement. “Hey, where are you right now?” I think that’s an ingenious idea of using alarms or, you know, reminders, you know, little task reminders or something, just some encouragement or some sort of like, “Hey, you said, well, I’m gonna be this way.”
LEAH: Yes. Yeah. “How are you doing? Are you doing it?” No, no, I am not. Time to fix that.
DR. AMY: Well, and I think that you can take any goal-oriented mindset and use that strategy, right? Like, you know, you chose Viktor Frankl’s, you know, philosophy, but you could look at anything that you value or any way that you want to show up in the world, right? And then use—You know what? I was reading the transcript from our last episode and I say, right, way too much, way too much. Okay. Let me start that sentence again. And so you can, you can plug in anything, any prompt or reminder that aligns with what that goal is that you’re trying to achieve in life.
LEAH: Yes. And it needs to find what works for each of us, right? Like maybe the prompt that I use wouldn’t serve another person as well. Maybe they need something a little bit different. And that’s where I love that we’re each the architect of our own lives, and so we can utilize the tools or the prompts or the resources or, you know, whatever is going to work best for us and not beat ourselves up because, well, everybody else says this is the way to do it and this is what’s supposed to work, but it’s not working for me, so therefore I’m broken? No, we just need to find a different system or strategy that does work for that person. And I know that, I know for me, I’m very visual. If I can see how other people do that, that inspires me. That really, really helps me to then be able to, I then adjust. Like I typically do tweak and adjust to make it work for me. But just being able to see how someone else does something, I’m like, “Oh, okay, there we go. Now, now I’m getting it.” So if anybody wants to get like a better idea of just seeing some of my systems, like this is what my weekly checklist and my monthly and my quarterly checklist look like, these are these things, here’s how I implement it, make sure that I actually remember to do it, which is literally just a date with myself on my calendar. They can go to Gift.BalancingBusy.com and they can download and actually see examples of what this looks like in real life for me.
DR. AMY: Gift.BalancingBusy.com.
LEAH: Yep. Gift, like I have a present for you. Gift.BalancingBusy.com.
DR. AMY: Fantastic. Okay, so what if listeners want to work with you one on one? What would that look like?
LEAH: So we have a membership available where there is live Q& A calls with me and all kinds of opportunities and getting to see systems for every area of a business and what they look like to be able to save those hours. I also have other courses that are available. One for when you have no time, but you still want to clean home. One for learning how to use chat GPT as a virtual assistant. I mean, just all kinds of different resources. And so they can find all of those things by going to BalancingBusy.com.
DR. AMY: Fantastic. Oh my gosh, this has been another great hour with you, Leah. Thank you so much for coming back and for sharing more great tips. Phenomenal wisdom. I’m inspired. How about you, Sandy?
SANDY: Oh, very much so. I’m going to be buying a calendar and making some reminders to myself.
LEAH: Yay, yay. I, you know, I think anything, just these little tiny things are just little needle movers. And we put them in place and we get to have just a little more happy, right? Like just a little bit more joy in our lives. And I believe that we’re meant to be happy, we’re meant to have joy, and sometimes there’s so much to do. There’s so much responsibility that we forget to have joy. We forget to laugh. We forget to have the fun. And I’m so guilty of that because, you know, efficiency is one of my love languages so I will accidentally efficiency up our life so much that like, there’s no fun. I didn’t even remember like, “Oh yeah, we should like have fun together.” Right? So these are all just ways that I have, I have kind of saved us from me to make sure that, that we can have that lifestyle that I, I say I want, but I’m kind of prone to accidentally not give us.
DR. AMY: All right, listeners, thank you so much for being with us today. If you like us, please follow us on social media. We’re on every platform at the Brainy Moms. You can also find Sandy on TikTok at the Brain Trainer Lady. And find us on Apple Podcast, leave us a five-star rating and review if you think we’re amazing. If you would rather watch us, we’re also on YouTube. We will put Leah’s, [uh. Yeah, my mind just went blank. We might edit that out. I don’t know.] handles and website contact information, all in the show notes so that you can follow her and find out more about everything that she has to offer, including the gifts that she talked about today. So look, that’s all the smart stuff we have for you today. So we’re going to catch you next time.
SANDY: Have a great week.