Why You Must Prioritize BEFORE You Create a Plan with Kathryn Hofer

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It’s 2020 – a new year, a new decade, a new plan to tackle your business goals and excel! But where do you start when it comes to planning? We have Kathryn Hofer joining us on today’s 360 Health Biz Podcast episode to chat all about planning for your life and your business.

First things first when it comes to planning – you need to prioritize what is most important to you. And guess what? Sometimes that doesn’t always have to be business. If you are feeling unhealthy or having a family crisis – that is your priority because your business will not be successful if you are not able to dedicate your full self to it.

Kathryn gave us a history lesson on the word priority – that’s right priority, not priorities. It was a singular word for over 500 years until the 1900s when it became plural. So when did we go from having one important priority to having multiple? We are only one person and can only put 100% effort into one thing at a time. Thus priorities is simply unattainable.

In this episode, Kathryn discusses:
- approaches to planning, including the next step and project planning
- determining what your maintenance tasks are (no, this isn’t changing the oil in your car..though you should do that a few times a year)
- “no means not now” and creating boundaries in business
- the 2x rule when it comes to learning tech stuff
- time management tips
- planning as an action word and creating the framework to activate

Kathryn Hofer is the founder of Modern Planner, an online community designed to take the dread out of planning and help people live more intentionally. Lovingly referred to as the “champion of boundaries and guilt-free intentional living,” Kathryn is passionate about helping overwhelmed and overworked people slow down, create space for what matters, and make meaningful progress toward their goals. When she isn’t hosting a Planning Party or connecting with the members of her community, you can probably find Kathryn hanging out with her family, spending time outside or curled up with a good book.

Join Kathryn’s FREE Quarterly Planning Party:  www.modernplanner.com/qpp

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Christine H.: Hello everyone, and welcome to this brand new episode of the 360 Health Biz Podcast. Today, we are a threesome again. So, we have my wonderful co-hostess, super, super sweet and smart and cuddly and I love her to bits, Kendra Perry.

Kendra Perry: Hello.

Christine H.: Hello. This echo is coming in, yes, hello.

Kendra Perry: [crosstalk 00:00:24].

Christine H.: Then, you do have myself, Christine Hansen. Then we have a wonderful guest with us today, and we are going to talk about planning. Just in our pre-check already the word overwhelm is something that we hear over and over and over. So our goal is for you that by the end of this episode that work will not be in our dictionary anymore. You will know exactly what to do. Kendra, take it away and let us know who our mystery guest is today.

Kendra Perry: Awesome. We are hanging out today with Kathryn Hofer. I hope I said your name right, Kathryn. I feel I should check this beforehand, but I'm not organized. Kathryn is the founder of Modern Planner, an online community designed to take the dread out of planning and help people live more intentionally. Love that. Lovingly referred to as the Champion of Boundaries and Guilt-Free Intentional Living.

Kendra Perry: Kathryn is passionate about helping overwhelmed and overworked people slow down, which I know is all of you guys. She helps them create space for what matters. And make meaningful process towards their goal. When she isn't hosing a planning party or connecting with the members of her community, you can probably find Kathryn hanging out with her family, spending time outside. Or curled up with a good book. What's up, Kathryn? Thanks for being here.

Kathryn Hofer: Thank you guys so much for having me. It's always fun to talk about the things that I love. Planning makes me a little giddy, so [crosstalk 00:01:49].

Kendra Perry: I love that.

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:01:51] let's put this aside. Let's just try and wing it, which works too. But I do suspect that it's probably a lot more draining than otherwise. [crosstalk 00:02:01]-

Kendra Perry: I feel like there's a connection between lack of planning and overwhelmed. Would you agree, Kathryn?

Kathryn Hofer: Yeah, I definitely think those things pair together. Then sometimes it's not just the lack of planning. What I've been noticing, especially in the last year, is its people's perspective of planning creates the overwhelmed.

Christine H.: So, walk us through that. What would be the typical thought? And I'm absolutely sure that once you tell us, people are going to go, "Oh yeah, me here." So walk us a little bit through the general perception and what you discovered is actually behind it.

Kathryn Hofer: That's a good question. A lot of people feel like planning is restrictive. That's a huge one. So that they feel like, "Okay, when I create a plan, then I have to do exactly what I planned." But the best part of planning is that it's flexible. It's meant to adjust with you. So helping people shift and realize instead of being restrictive, that planning is actually freeing is huge mental shift.

Kathryn Hofer: Once people understand that, then that tends to help them understand the planning process a little bit more. Because your plan is meant to serve you. You are not meant to serve your plan. So the whole point of planning, like I talk about it this way ... Actually, I just did a workshop last week with fresh out of high school girls. It was so cool to see, even for them, they don't have decades of wrong behavior, or misconceptions about planning.

Kathryn Hofer: But even realizing for them, they all thought you create a plan and you do it. And if you don't do it, then you're not planning. I was like, "Well, planning," I'm like, "what is that? You guys are fresh out of high school." I'm like, "Planning, it's a verb. It's an action word."

Kathryn Hofer: So what that means is that actually if we are planning properly we're constantly adjusting, shifting, making changes so that our plan serves us. Rather than feeling like we have to fit into this little box. So planning being restrictive is a huge, huge pitfall that I find that people fall into.

Kendra Perry: [crosstalk 00:04:01]. I think I've had that perception to some degree, because I like room for spontaneity. I like to, how do I feel this week? What do I feel like working on? So when I see this plan in advance, which we just did because we're doing this year long mastermind, I was like, "Oh, my God, that's crazy. I can't believe that's all planned out a year in advance." But I think I like this flexible framework that you're talking about. And-

Christine H.: Yeah. I think [crosstalk 00:04:28] this mindset bullshit, right?

Kendra Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Christine H.: You have to follow through. What you start you have to finish. If you don't finish you're a loser, or you're flaky. So I think it's just this indoctrination as well, and it just doesn't work for everyone. Not everyone works in a linear structure either. It is funny, because Kendra and I, we say it all the time, we're so different.

Christine H.: So she's like, "How should we plan this and this?" I'm just like, "We can do whatever we want to do." So even if we said the schedule is this way, we can just change it. But it's true, we're so different. Something that would be interesting for me to ask you is actually, either you have people who are absolutely ...

Christine H.: They love to do lists and go in chronological order. And then you have the people who might not go in a chronological order, and who are a little bit more organic. Do people plan differently? Is there-

Kathryn Hofer: Absolutely.

Christine H.: Oh.

Kathryn Hofer: Absolutely. I mean I feel like that's a huge question. But before we jump into how people plan, because I'll tell you four of the really simple planning approaches that I talk about on Planning Parties. But I want to touch on one of the things that you said, because some people are more linear with planning, or whatever.

Kathryn Hofer: So, I believe that a life well planned is a life well lived. Because I think that planning really helps bring structure. But the other thing that I think we can't forget in that conversation is that life doesn't go as planned.

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:05:46].

Kendra Perry: Yes.

Kathryn Hofer: Right?

Kendra Perry: That's so true.

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:05:49].

Kathryn Hofer: But we create these plans thinking that life is going to be totally perfect and that nothing's going to happen, and we don't ever leave white space for life.

Kendra Perry: Right.

Christine H.: Very true.

Kathryn Hofer: So then when life happens and throws us off, or a kid is sick, and home sick for three days of the week, and it throws ... we haven't accounted for that, for that life happening. So that's a big thing with planning that I think is forgotten a lot. I just don't want to leave that unsaid, because I think it's super, super important, and very much overlooked.

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:06:20]. So true, and it also closes you to opportunities I guess. If you are leaving space for either emergency, which would be the negative. But also, when you leave space for opportunity sometimes things just fall into your lap. Or you'll just have a creative spot and you just run with it.

Christine H.: I love it, because Kendra and I have both been saying, "I might do this and this next year off the cuff. Literally, when I feel like it and when it hits me, and when I think it's the right thing to do." It's fixed in the plan, but I have it in my head. And I'd like to do it off the cuff if I want to.

Christine H.: I think having enough space in the plan to just do that whenever you want to, is just crucial, either opportunity ... Or if you get sick or if your kid gets sick, or if ... I don't know, let's say your server breaks down or you [inaudible 00:07:06] website. I don't know, stupid things like that, they just happen. I mean life just happens for sure, so this is a super great point. Thank you.

Kathryn Hofer: Yeah, no problem. Most of us cram and fill our lives, like when we wake up to when we go to sleep, every day, every week, every month. Then we wonder why we're not making the important things happen.

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:07:25].

Kathryn Hofer: It's like, well, we have to create some space first. Yeah, exactly, exactly. Do you still want to touch on how people plan differently, and four of the simply approaches?

Christine H.: Yes.

Kathryn Hofer: Should we dive into that?

Christine H.: I would love it.

Kathryn Hofer: When I talk about planning, I share four really simple approaches. Now, these are not the only four, but this is just a way of helping people realize person, and even sometimes every project can be a little bit different. And then that's totally okay. Getting people just used to experimenting with stuff. Because let's be honest, a lot of planning and schedule and all of this is just experimenting.

Kathryn Hofer: It's like you try something and then you see if it works and you notice, and then you learn from that. So the first one is next step. When people are very creative, maybe they're more a type B, super spontaneous, and they've never really planned a lot, then I say, "Start with the next step approach." All you do is say, "Okay, I want to update my website." Great. Well, that project is freaking overwhelming, and you probably won't get started with it, if you don't break it down a little bit.

Kendra Perry: Right.

Kathryn Hofer: But if someone's nervous about creating a project plan, which is one of the other approaches, then just do next step. Just say, "Okay, I want to redo my website. What's the first thing or what's the next step that I should take to move that forward?" Write it down. That's what a lot of people keep this all in their head. Write it down. Put time in your schedule, do it. Then when you've done that say, "Okay, now what's next? Now, what do I do next?"

Kathryn Hofer: That can be when people are really overwhelmed, it's a huge project, when they're new to planning. So just that next step is just a really simple way of moving it forward. But it's not deadline or timeline driven. It's just like, "What's the next thing I'm going to do?" Okay, write that down, do it. "What's the next thing I'm going to do?" Write it down, do it. And just keep moving like that.

Kathryn Hofer: The second big one is project plan. That's kind of the opposite, where you've got this big project and you say, "Okay, I want to do this. How am I going to break that down?" So, we talked about project planning in the sense like I like to keep it super simple. And be like, decide your direction, figure out what the end goal is and where you're heading.

Kathryn Hofer: Identify the obstacles. What are the things that could stand in your way? If somebody's building a business or creating a website, but they've got their kids. And their kids are all young and not in school, childcare, focused time, that's going to be an obstacle. Maybe someone has a chronic health issue that they're working around. So some weeks they feel great, and some weeks they don't, that's something to be aware of. This is a constraint or a potential obstacle.

Kathryn Hofer: Then what it is, is breaking down the main big milestones. I mean since we went with the website, and was the first thing that just popped in my head, we can use that. But, what would some of those milestones be and those phases be? Say you want to work on your website over three months. Then put together two week sprints. Okay, the first two weeks might be doing a full website audit. And what do I have? What do I need to create?

Kathryn Hofer: Then the next two weeks might be mapping out the new pages, and copy. Then the next two weeks might be finding all the images and the links. And what are the opt ins going to be? Do you know what I mean? Then it's working with somebody who could help with code. You map out this two week big picture blocks.

Kathryn Hofer: Then the last step in project planning is getting really, really detailed. So in those two weeks what are all of the tasks and actions? I mean it can seem overwhelming, but this is why we do this. Because if you can get down to 20, 30 minute tasks and actions, then every time you sit down, and in your calendar it says, "Work on website," you just go to your list and you do the next thing on your list.

Kendra Perry: [crosstalk 00:11:05].

Kathryn Hofer: And you know that it's only 20 or 30 minutes, so you can do it. What happens is most of us keep our projects so big, that then we keep procrastinating and pushing them into the future because we don't know how to start. So that's a big thing when it comes to project planning.

Kendra Perry: What would you suggest for people? Because I feel like some of our people, they're like, "I want to do this. I want to do this," but they've never done it before, so they may not even know, what are the tasks involved in this project? Or, what I've come across a lot is I'm like, "Oh, this will take me two hours, and I'm going to put aside some time for that." Then eight fucking hours later I'm like, "Oh, my God, I'm not even halfway," right? Because you just obviously with online business you encounter tech things, or something's not working.

Kathryn Hofer: Absolutely.

Kendra Perry: How do you plan for all the shit? Or just maybe not even knowing what are the steps of a project?

Kathryn Hofer: What I recommend people do, is you most likely know someone that has done a similar project before, so reach out to some people. And be like, "Hey, you did a rebrand. You did a new website." Or, "You created a new opt in and a funnel, what did that look like for you? Would you be willing to share some of those steps?" And asking people for feedback. Or what was the biggest lesson they learned? Just getting that input from other people.

Kathryn Hofer: One of the things that I talk about a lot of times, is because people always say, "Well, I don't have enough time to plan." Yeah. I hear it all like you wouldn't believe, at least weekly in my Instagram DMs. And on every single [crosstalk 00:12:36] thing I do.

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:12:36].

Kathryn Hofer: Because our culture teaches us to cram everything in and just do it, so we don't actually plan out. But then we run behind and we feel stressed, and it's this cycle. So one of the things that I recommend for people that say, "I don't have enough time," is to always use the two X rule. I mean that's a baseline. So if you are doing something new for the first time, or for the first few times, always double the time that you're allotting in your calendar.

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:13:01].

Kendra Perry: [crosstalk 00:13:02]. That's a good call.

Kathryn Hofer: Yeah, [crosstalk 00:13:05] always use the two X rule.

Kendra Perry: That's very wise.

Kathryn Hofer: Be like, "Huh, I've never invoiced clients before. Oh, I think this project will an hour," at least give yourself two." Even on the personal side like, "Oh yeah, I can go get groceries in 45 minutes, and I'll be back home," just double it.

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:13:23], and I'm late. I'm one of these people-

Kathryn Hofer: Traffic.

Christine H.: ... who's chronically late to every appointment.

Kathryn Hofer: Accidents, right?

Christine H.: Apparently, that's optimistic people, I think [crosstalk 00:13:32].

Kathryn Hofer: Totally, I mean there is a sense of optimism in that. But there's also, we don't understand, most of us anyway, don't know how much we can do in what period of time. And we're not really good at that, so I encourage everyone to track and schedule. So get a really good time tracking app. And every time you're working on a specific project, know how long it takes you. Especially things that are recurring.

Kathryn Hofer: If you're doing things over and over, know how long it takes you. So then you can be like, "Okay, my monthly ..." Writing, scheduling, and creating all of my Instagram content for a month, I've been doing it for three months now. I've tracked the time. I know that it takes me three hours.

Kendra Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Oh, my God.

Kathryn Hofer: And I've learned that I can't do that all in one day. I need to break that up into three different pieces. I need to brainstorm, outline, come up with ideas. I need to write it para-images, and then I need to schedule it. And those need to be three different work blocks.

Kendra Perry: Right.

Kathryn Hofer: Right? So [crosstalk 00:14:26]-

Kendra Perry: No, that's super smart.

Kathryn Hofer: Yeah, so understanding those patterns and how that works, then it's like, "Okay, so I need three hours blocked out on three different day every month to do that." Then when you're planning your next month, you block in those times. That's the only way we learn about those things is actually having data.

Christine H.: Yeah, absolutely. I think that time tracking is something that I adore. I don't do it for me, but I do it for my assistant. For me, it was really interesting to analyze how much time she has on which project. Then also to see, is it worth it? Did we build momentum over the last three months in those chunks of time? Were those chunks of time actually ... do they add to our bottom line?

Christine H.: Obviously, you can't say after the first week, but after a few months it's become very clear which efforts we're actually starting to convert, and which ones didn't.

Kathryn Hofer: Absolutely.

Christine H.: So we could just drop those, because it was just like, "Look at this chunk of time, but we actually haven't gotten any leads from this. Let's chop it." I think a lot of the time we fly blind, completely blind after how much time we invest into this. I think it's because we don't consider it our business. We don't consider money [crosstalk 00:15:38]. It's just time, it's free, but in the end it's a job.

Christine H.: So, it is monetized, even though if you do it, it's different if you pay someone. But because most of our people do everything themselves, they consider it free, which it's not. So, [crosstalk 00:15:52]-

Kathryn Hofer: Yeah, time is valuable.

Christine H.: Exactly, and I think most people don't understand that. Then they just overwork themselves so badly. Kendra, actually I think that's probably something we should integrate into Mastermind. Make it mandatory for our people to just track themselves for a while.

Kathryn Hofer: Yeah, it is really smart. I don't know what you guys are using to track your time, but I use Toggl. It's a free app-

Christine H.: Yeah, we use it too.

Kathryn Hofer: ... and that's what all my assistants and people use to track. They send me the time report at the end of each month, which is really helpful. So they send me that with the invoice. I had a previous assistant in the past where I was looking up the time report and I'm like, "Man, she's taking four times as long to do this one task, and it's been months." This was actually after a certain amount of time I realized that, that wasn't going to work out anymore, because it was just ...

Kathryn Hofer: I realize I do things faster, also I do things shitty, so that's part of it. Because I don't care about things like spelling mistakes and little fuck ups, so obviously someone working for me cares about those sort of things. But eventually I was looking at how long it was taking your assistant, Tamara, to do things, versus the assistant I had at the time. It was four times as long, and I was like, "Okay, this is not working." So I love that thing about time tracking, I think that's really valuable.

Kendra Perry: I do too. That's been [crosstalk 00:17:10]-

Kathryn Hofer: Yeah. It was really key actually time tracking in me figuring out this spring. I was feeling out of alignment with some things in my business. So I was like, "You know what? I'm just going to look at my last few monthly reports." And I looked at how much of my time was going to different places, and I was like, "Well, this is why this feels out of alignment because I literally have no time to do marketing or connect with new people. Or, grow my community because all of my time ..."

Kathryn Hofer: I was like, "No, not happening. I don't want to continue this." So it's really important even just for us as business owners to know where that time is going. Because it's all about prioritizing, right? The more simple and focused we are, the more simple and focused we are the more we're going to move things ahead. And a lot of times we don't want to track because it's so overwhelming. And what we know, we're going to realize about how we're using our time is like, ah.

Kendra Perry: There it is. Yeah, totally. [crosstalk 00:18:05]-

Kathryn Hofer: Yeah. I wanted to just mention I think in the beginning for all you new business owners out here, you really have to put aside a lot of time for the tech stuff. Because some of the people I work with, they can't figure out how to use Google Drive or Dropbox, and these simple things. So I know it's going to take them four to six times as long as my other people who have tech skills. Right?

Kendra Perry: [crosstalk 00:18:28].

Kathryn Hofer: I think when you don't understand tech, you have no idea how long it can take to do things, and learn it. Right?

Christine H.: Great. And afterwards, it's going to go so much quicker because you can streamline everything. And that just takes you a second, but it is a learning curve for sure. One thing that we talked about before as well, is I totally get it, people [inaudible 00:18:48] differently.

Christine H.: When we talked to our people, we saw that a lot of them, for them planning is purely business. Like, "I want you to launch a group course. I want you to launch in 101 signature program. I want to do a retreat. I want to do this. I want to do that. I want to do a platform. I want to get [inaudible 00:19:06] running. All of these staff, I want you to launch a Facebook group."

Christine H.: So we actually asked them, "So where is time?" And it was interesting, because we made them also schedule in their personal project. Some people, it wasn't even on their radar that they should schedule in their holidays, their vacations, their personal projects. That, that was actually valid, I would even say. And that, that time is ultimately contributing to your bottom line. Which seems ridiculous because it doesn't have anything to do with your business per se.

Christine H.: So, I don't we've succeeded quite yet at having them understand. So, if you manage to make people understand why scheduling in your personal goals or wishes, or whatever you want to do, it's just as valid to bring you money. Because in the end that's what we want to do. Then having your [inaudible 00:20:02] and courses and stuff. We both would be so grateful. The world will be so grateful, so maybe you can help us with that.

Kathryn Hofer: Yeah. I think, really it comes down to what's important to you. We have to remember that our priorities ... So, an interesting thing, can we just do down a nerd bunny hole?

Christine H.: Yes.

Kathryn Hofer: The word priority was singular in the English and for over 500 years, right? It wasn't until the 1900s that it became plural. So this created a massive problem because instead of having one priority, now we can have multiple apparently. But it's not really true.

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:20:43].

Kathryn Hofer: Yeah, but it's not really true. In this moment my priority is being here on this call, showing up and 100% focused. If I was also trying to do something else, I wouldn't be successful at either of them. So I think part of the conversation with personal and business goals planning, hobbies, trying to have time for everything, quote/unquote, is realizing that every season looks a little bit different.

Kathryn Hofer: That season could be as short as one day, or that season could be a week. Or it could be a month, or it could be a year. And understanding that we do need to look at all areas of our life. I have a course called Set Vision and Plan Change, which is a big picture of back up, look at your whole year. Look at all these areas of life. There's 18 of them so it can seem a little bit overwhelming.

Kathryn Hofer: But I show everyone like, "Here, professional has three subcategories. Three of the 18 are actually work. The rest of them are all different things. It's personal relationships. It's your health, and health is physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual. You know what I mean? So my helping everyone see, "Okay, these are all the areas of my life," and I make people choose ... I mean I don't make them, I recommend that people choose three to five main areas for a whole year to focus on.

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:22:09]. Oh, fuck, I would die. Yeah.

Kathryn Hofer: It is really hard.

Kendra Perry: Yeah.

Kathryn Hofer: It is really hard, but what it helps us do is ... I mean this is like then touching onto goal setting, which I don't believe in annual goal setting. But that's a whole other conversation. So I think when it comes to this personal and business stuff, it's just realizing that we are one person.

Christine H.: Right.

Kathryn Hofer: And there's a lot of aspects to who we are. Sorry about that. My phone was off, and then it randomly started [crosstalk 00:22:39].

Kendra Perry: It's all right, no worries.

Kathryn Hofer: We are one person. And even though one of our main focuses might be our business, there are still other areas of life. What happens is if we are not making minimal deposits at least into these other areas of life, then what happens is we end up burning out. I have a background of clinical depression, chronic pain. Some massive health issues that I walked through and I changed my life and how I was living. And made some pretty massive shifts.

Kathryn Hofer: But I had to see my health as actually important, and it can be really hard. Like when you're wanting to be in a season where business is important, realizing, "Oh, I have personal stuff." Marriages don't need to fall apart just because you're building a business. But you need to know what's important.

Kathryn Hofer: So some people, that looks like having very set boundaries for working. And when they're not working they're with their family. So when I get home from picking my daughter up from childcare, I don't touch work until she's dropped off and I'm back in. Unless I have an evening meeting or something like that.

Kathryn Hofer: I don't work in the evenings. I don't go on my work social media on the weekends. So for some people it looks when they're working they work, and when they're not, they're not. So that's where I think that priorities and learning how to plan, and how your time works and how your energy works. There's so many things interconnected in this conversation, but realizing these different areas of who we are. How we want to move things forward.

Kathryn Hofer: Then creating a really simple plan to make that work. Creating some boundaries, all of that. Learning how to set great goals for the year, or focus areas, it's all part of that conversation. And maybe your personal life and health is not a priority for you right now. It might not be, but in a year and a half when you burn out and you're in the hospital with a health issue, suddenly it becomes a priority.

Kathryn Hofer: Sometimes, as horrible as it sounds, it takes something really dramatic happening in a different area of our life to realize that we're one person. And we have a lot of different needs. And just focusing on our business isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

Kendra Perry: Yeah, and I love that speak about burnout, because for me, something I've realized is having more time to relax. Like making time for meditation. Getting out in nature and actually working less hours in the day. I'm more productive during that time. I use that time better because I think it's this dangerous thing where you're like, "Oh, well, I'll relax when ..." It's like, "When I get my business to this." But when you get there you're going to have something else.

Kendra Perry: Then you're just going to keep putting off your personal self-care. Which is so important when you're a business owner, because you can't just have your business. It can't be the only thing you have, right?

Kathryn Hofer: Yeah.

Christine H.: Exactly.

Kathryn Hofer: One of the good questions, the book The One Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay ... I'm not going to say his name right. Pasternak, something like that.

Kendra Perry: Yeah, I've heard about it a few times.

Christine H.: I've heard of it, yeah.

Kathryn Hofer: They ask this very specific focus question. And it's what's the one thing I can do, such that by doing it everything will be easier or unnecessary? So I hosted a regret-free wrap up challenge for people who were feeling overwhelmed and unfocused, and all the things to do to finish up the year. In doing that I brought up this question, and I made them choose one thing that they wanted to finish by the end of the year. One, and we created a plan for that, and we put that in our schedule.

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:26:12].

Kathryn Hofer: The comments from people, realizing actually the thing that's going to make everything else easier or unnecessary is actually carving out the time with my family that I want to.

Kendra Perry: [crosstalk 00:26:24]-

Kathryn Hofer: That's what I want to do, and by realizing that ... Yeah, by putting my out of office on my thing, and creating boundaries. We had all these conversations about these amazing ideas. But when they realized by actually carving out the time to be with my family and spend time with them over the holidays, I'm saying yes to this thing. And saying, "This is the most important thing, but it's also going to make everything else easier."

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:26:49].

Kathryn Hofer: Suddenly, because it's like, this is my priority. This is what's most important. And saying yes to this does mean saying no to other things. Life is all about trade offs. But I just think that's a really-

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:26:59] saying, "No," is a big piece.

Kathryn Hofer: ... important thing to think about, right? And it helps us determine what our priorities are, and what we should be working on first.

Kendra Perry: Yeah. I think a lot of our listeners, because they're new business owners, money is a big concern for them. So a lot of the coaching I do with people is telling them what they should be saying no to. Because they're like, "Oh, this thing came up." I'm like, "Yeah, but that's actually not moving you towards what you want to be doing. That's building someone else's business. That's way more benefit to them than you."

Christine H.: Oh, my God, yeah.

Kendra Perry: Do you know what I'm saying? And [crosstalk 00:27:30]-

Christine H.: And they despise it as in this is an opportunity for you, and in truth it really isn't.

Kendra Perry: Yeah.

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:27:34] just read between the lines.

Kendra Perry: Yeah. I would love to know can give our listeners some advice about how to create boundaries in that way? Because I mean I'm guilty of this too, I spread myself too thin all the time without meaning to, without realizing it. Then I'm just like, "Fuck, my week is crazy [crosstalk 00:27:53]."

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:27:54].

Kathryn Hofer: Boundaries are really tough. [crosstalk 00:27:59]-

Christine H.: Goddammit.

Kathryn Hofer: Yeah, I mean it is a big experiment. It really is, because you have to figure out ... What I always recommend people do though when it comes to boundaries or commitments or opportunities, is start with less. I mean one of the things I talk about on Planning Party is just something called Maintenance Tasks.

Kathryn Hofer: So know what the maintenance tasks are in your business. What are the things that every month, or every week, that you have to do in your business to keep your current commitments running? Not the things you'd like to do, but your current clients, the things you do. What do you absolutely have to do? Start with that. Know how much time it takes you to do that. Figure that out, what that number is.

Kathryn Hofer: Figure out whether ... because some people do writing better in the morning, better in the afternoon. Figure out how long it takes you to do your maintenance tasks every week and every month. Put that in your schedule. And basically create a document or a card in Trello, or a note in Asana or whatever about these future ideas and opportunities.

Kathryn Hofer: Basically, what I recommend people do is when they're trying to figure out boundaries and what this looks like, and setting up their ... Trying to prioritize a little bit, I actually recommend that they say no to every single opportunity for a whole quarter.

Kendra Perry: Wow, okay.

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:29:21].

Kathryn Hofer: Which can seem really overwhelming, and let's be honest, but this is an experiment.

Kendra Perry: Right.

Kathryn Hofer: So before we can know all the extra things we can take on, we have to know what our current workload, how much time that takes us. And how much energy that, that takes, and the investment that, that's going to be. What that could mean is, someone pitches, "Hey, would you like to come on the podcast?" "Hey, I'd love to, however I'm fully booked out and not able to do any interviews until April. Would that still work for you, if we could schedule it then?"

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:29:53].

Kathryn Hofer: It doesn't mean saying no. So let's pull this in, no does not mean never.

Kendra Perry: Right.

Christine H.: True.

Kathryn Hofer: No means not now.

Kendra Perry: Aw, dude, that's like Insta Graphic [crosstalk 00:30:05]. Man, [crosstalk 00:30:08].

Kathryn Hofer: But that's a big part of it. So when we're starting out or when we're doing a business refresh, it means saying no to these things which we'd love to do that might grow our community. But we have to figure out this basic, so always figure out maintenance tasks. Start with that. Then what you do is you create a really simple system for what you can say yes to.

Kathryn Hofer: So, I have some examples of my past boundaries that I've had. I have limited myself to one coffee chat a week. And that's actually how it was set up in Acuity, so I couldn't book ... I had my bookings available for one-on-one for coffee chats, whatever. But Acuity actually in the settings, it was no more than one every week.

Kathryn Hofer: Having an auto responder on your email so you don't feel guilty about not replying to emails within 24 hours of them hitting your inbox. [crosstalk 00:30:59].

Kendra Perry: Oh yeah, I love that. Mine says, "I may not get back to you for a week."

Christine H.: I know, and I just got Outlook. We just said that I could have an auto responder for the holidays. Because usually use Mail, and you can't do it. You can do it with Rules, but if someone else has an auto responder, they basically play ping pong until eternity. So it's not working very well.

Christine H.: I just got Outlook and I just typed in the text. It's literally, "Look, I need my beauty sleep, dude. [inaudible 00:31:25] this and this time chunk." And I cannot wait to hit that enable button, and to have that just go out. I mean I think I'm going to cry the day, which is Friday until I hit that button. It's just like it's official. It's official. People know, I'm gone. Totally, this is just what I'd like, so I'm really-

Kathryn Hofer: I have an auto responder on all the time. And when-

Kendra Perry: Yeah, I do too.

Kathryn Hofer: Before my daughter was born it said, "Hey, I'm about to have a baby. I have no idea when I'm going to get back to your email. But I'm taking about three months off from my business, and I'll do my best to get back to you." Then basically, next steps. "If you're new to my community, or you're applying to a newsletter, thank you so much. I'll try to ..."

Kathryn Hofer: It's things like that, that I think ... I mean we're kind of veering away from your original question. But it's like, how do we create boundaries, or shut off shiny object syndrome? Right?

Christine H.: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Kathryn Hofer: So my biggest tip is know what your maintenance tasks are. Know what you have to do to run your business. How long it takes you, get that in your schedule. Create really clear boundaries and guidelines for how often you'll take things on. So maybe it's how many coffee chats you have. Maybe it's, I only want to schedule two podcast interviews a month. Set things like that, and then have this great list of all the stuff you'd love to do in the future, and then revisit it.

Kathryn Hofer: In my community, I host free quarterly planning parties. So every quarter we're planning, we're looking ahead. We're prioritizing, we're planning stuff out, we get it in our schedule. But then I do the same thing every month. So then just encouraging people, whatever that looks like for you, revisit.

Kathryn Hofer: Have that list handy, and when you're planning your quarter, being like, "Hey, is there anything on here I could maybe pull in." Because so many times I think we have this perception of, "If I don't do it right now, I'll never be able to do it."

Christine H.: Yeah. Do you use any tools? Do you have any planners you use? Anything like that, that can guide you through this?

Kathryn Hofer: I use my Planning Party framework. That's what I use, and what my community uses. The goal is to turn that into a planner that then anyone can use.

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:33:38].

Kathryn Hofer: But because I'm working on my own project and my own system, and trying to get that better to share, I don't use another planner right now. If people like big fat books, I used PowerSheets for years by Lara Casey. That was a good tool because it has monthly prep work built in, which is a big part of what a lot of planners don't have. It's just like, "Here, plan your stuff."

Kathryn Hofer: But every month you should be reevaluating what are my priorities? And what's still important to me? So I think it just depends on ... It's about creating that system and that flow of checking in. And sometimes that's a weekly check-in and a monthly check-in, and a quarterly check-in. Creating these rhythms of making sure that what we're working on is still important to us, which is what the Modern Planner framework is.

Kathryn Hofer: So what I teach people about planning is you always start with prioritize. So most people just start by planning, "I'm just going plan." But you have to start with prioritizing. You prioritize and then you create a plan. Because let's be honest, you shouldn't waste time or spend time planning something that you shouldn't be doing anyway. Right?

Kendra Perry: Right.

Kathryn Hofer: I'm not just a plan everything person. I'm like, "No, plan the right things." So, prioritize, plan, and then we act. The acting piece is where all the time management productivity people sit. They teach you how to act well. How to set up your environment. How to manage your energy. How to ... all of these things fall under act. But then that's the fourth step, which is adjust.

Kathryn Hofer: That's the checking in part. So creating that rhythm, whatever that looks like for you, of adjusting your plan, making changes. If you're mid month, and you're like, "Okay, these are the three things I wanted to do. That one's just not going to happen." Then, put it on a list for a future month and just get rid of it. Maybe you're swapping it with something else, that's the beauty of planning.

Kathryn Hofer: So that framework is actually like a circle, that we're constantly doing prioritize, plan, act, adjust, prioritize. And we just do it over and over and over again. That's what makes planning active, and that's what helps our plan serve us.

Kendra Perry: Yeah, and I think there's this big-

Kathryn Hofer: [crosstalk 00:35:47] got to keep-

Kendra Perry: ... [inaudible 00:35:48] around people just wanting to stick with what they said they were going to do. I don't know where I've heard this, but I've heard that people are way more likely to stick to something they committed to do. Even when it's clearly not working, and it's not benefiting them. Because they're like, "I have to stick it out."

Kathryn Hofer: But that's what we're told with goal setting now.

Kendra Perry: Yeah, true. That's true.

Kathryn Hofer: That's my issue with annual goal setting, is that we pick these numbers and these goals so arbitrarily most of the time.

Kendra Perry: Right.

Kathryn Hofer: So what happens is it's like, "Choose a goal for this month. Choose goals for this year." So it's like we pick, "Okay, these areas, and I'm going to pick these numbers. And I'm going to lose much weight, and bring in this much income." But it's not coming from a basis of what's important to us, or what our season even looks like.

Kathryn Hofer: So that's my issue with annual goal setting, because we're taught to, "Stick to your goals. Meet this, see it through." It's like, "Okay." Goals typically set us up for failure, because they use data and numbers. And they create these unrealistic expectations. And these deadlines that mean actually nothing, if we really think about most of them.

Kathryn Hofer: So smart goals or goal setting really only works if you have a lot of clarity about what's most important to you. You're brilliant at prioritizing. You already have a clear vision for your whole year. And now you're breaking those smaller tasks into goals. And being like, "Okay, now, for this next month this is one of my goals this month." But it's achieving something that's tied to a bigger idea.

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:37:14]. Yeah, right.

Kathryn Hofer: That's when goal setting works. So I encourage people to actually write something, what I've experience statements. What an experience statement is, is there are phrases that are about setting you up for success. So describing what you want to feel and experience in an area of your life, rather than just a number that you want to hit.

Kathryn Hofer: So they set us up to win. And they create this framework that gives us freedom to adjust and change easily without having to recreate it. For instance, someone might set a goal, "I'm going to lose 20 pounds this year." "Okay."

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:37:51].

Kathryn Hofer: So what happens, if you eat healthy, you get outside, you work out and you don't lose 20 pounds because you increased your muscle mass.

Kendra Perry: Right. Yeah, good point.

Kathryn Hofer: Now, suddenly we still feel like a failure, even though we made progress. So for me, my philosophy is that progress is perfection, and it's not-

Kendra Perry: Right.

Kathryn Hofer: That is. If you were making progress toward the big things in life that you want to do, then that's perfect. You're winning. So an experience statement of that might be, "I want to experience strength and confidence in my physical body."

Kendra Perry: I love it.

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:38:28].

Kathryn Hofer: Now suddenly we're getting creative with these things that we can do that moves forward physical health, which is an area of our life, in a way that's setting us up for success. So one quarter that might look like cleaning up our diet. Another quarter, now that, that's become a habit, that might look like getting outside more because the weather's nice again, and moving. Right?

Kathryn Hofer: It gives us that flexibility because it's not this goal that's defined like this, that now we feel like we have to stick to it. So it's about getting rid of the guilt. [crosstalk 00:38:56].

Kendra Perry: There is so much guilt. There's so much guilt. It's crazy, and I just feel like people, they put ... I love what you said about deadlines, how most things ... People are putting these deadlines on themselves. They're like, "Oh, I'm making such slow progress. Oh, my God, I'm failing." I'm like, "You're making progress. Who's putting a deadline on this other than yourself," right?

Kathryn Hofer: Yeah.

Kendra Perry: Everyone's going to build a business at a different speed, right?

Kathryn Hofer: Yeah.

Kendra Perry: Some of us have to learn more than others, and it's not an easy thing to do. So, [crosstalk 00:39:27].

Kathryn Hofer: And different people have different obstacles that they have to overcome. I've been pretty much part-time in my business since I started it. I've been in business four and a half years ago. But people that I met when I started my business, a lot of them are further ahead than me in terms of numbers, profit, income, whatever, but I'm okay with that.

Kathryn Hofer: I'm growing at the pace that I can physically handle with my requirements. And I'm still changing lives and selling things. And I'm doing what I love, but it's just going to be slower. And slow growth is still growth. It doesn't-

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:40:01].

Kendra Perry: Yeah, and I think I'm hearing this intentional growth from you. Because what I see a lot of people doing, is they grow just to grow. And I was guilty of this. I remember being at a counseling, and I was like, "Yeah, I'm working all time. My boyfriend's pissed off at me. But I'm doing this, and I got to ..." She was like, "So, what are you going to do with all that money?" I was like-

Christine H.: I don't know.

Kendra Perry: ... "I don't know." She's like, "What are you doing?" I'm like, "I don't know."

Christine H.: Oh, dear. [crosstalk 00:40:26]-

Kathryn Hofer: Yeah. That's something that a lot of us don't think about, or that's we start a business. For instance, I started a business rather than getting another full-time job. Because I knew that if I started my business I'd more flexibility to maintain my health. And be able to maintain some of the things and habits that I'd built that I needed the space for.

Kathryn Hofer: So that's why I started my own business. And I wanted to do something I loved, that I could talk about for days and hours, obviously. And I wanted to do it in that way. But so many times, then we dive into all this stuff of what it is, especially in the online business space, and we forget why we actually started. For me, it's to be able to do what I love in a flexible way that supports my family. And it allows me to spend time with them.

Christine H.: Yeah, and I feel that's like merger of The Desire Map in a way. If you guys know Danielle ... What's her name again? Crap.

Kathryn Hofer: LaPorte.

Christine H.: LaPorte, exactly. But The Desire Map is purely just doing the values and figuring that out. Which is an important piece, but it doesn't give you a lot of structure in terms of [inaudible 00:41:32] and so forth. So I feel like if you'd pull these different things together, which you are basically allowing people to do ... You do have a beautiful 360 holistic framework [crosstalk 00:41:39].

Christine H.: So, speaking of, if we have people who are like, "Okay, it all makes sense, but I'm already feeling overwhelmed. I do understand the benefits of all of this, but I want to have someone guide me through it." Which is what I would [inaudible 00:41:53]. So, how can they reach out to you? How can they get that guidance of basically having you walk them through it so that they don't freak out?

Kathryn Hofer: It's tough, because the thing that's going to make the biggest difference is somebody doing a quarterly planning party.

Kendra Perry: Right, so-

Christine H.: But where do they do that?

Kathryn Hofer: But that is 90 minutes investment of time. You know what I mean? That's where we have to realize for every minute we spend planning, how much time we're spending on the other end. So even though it seems like a commitment, and it is, but if you just visit Modernplanner.com/qpp that's where you can sign up for the quarterly planning party. I do it live once every quarter.

Kendra Perry: Awesome.

Kathryn Hofer: Then in between I provide an option for you to watch it on demand whenever you want so that you can create your quarterly plan now. You don't have to wait until the start of a new official quarter.

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:42:53].

Kathryn Hofer: So even though it's a time commitment that would be my recommendation for people, is to just-

Christine H.: Absolutely.

Kathryn Hofer: ... create your quarterly plan and get clear.

Christine H.: It's a no-brainer, I feel. If you think you don't have enough time, this is what you have to start with. We're going to link to it on our show notes as well. So if you guys haven't heard it, it's going to be on there as well. So, find the blog and just look at this episode, and the link will be there.

Christine H.: Yeah, well, this has been really, really helpful in so many different ways. I think that we have a really good grasp for why we need to do this holistically. Why it's not enough to just ... Why goals don't work, which I find is amazing, and just those different steps. So thank you so, so much. It has been really helpful for me too actually, and just sometimes just realizing what is blocking us [crosstalk 00:43:40].

Kathryn Hofer: Yeah.

Christine H.: So, that was amazing.

Kathryn Hofer: Thank you guys so much for having me.

Kendra Perry: Awesome.

Christine H.: Absolutely. [crosstalk 00:43:47]-

Kendra Perry: Well, thanks so much everyone. Thanks for hanging out with us. We will be back next week with our Biz Bomb series. And in two weeks for another full episode. Thank you, Christine. Thank you, Kathryn. And we love you. [crosstalk 00:44:00].

Christine H.: [crosstalk 00:43:59].

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