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Mar 05, 2024 | Podcast

Becoming the Architect of Your Ideal Schedule

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About the episode:

As I’m recording this solo episode of the Prosperous Empath®, I’m enjoying a week with no client calls & focusing entirely on working on my business instead of working in it. I block off my calendar like this every last week of the month and instantly feel more spacious and creative. This got me thinking about one of the most popular topics I discuss with clients: Becoming the architect of your ideal schedule. When you’re a 9-5 employee, being busy is celebrated as a sign that you’re a hard worker or an overachiever, while embracing leisure is frowned upon. When you transition into entrepreneurship and become the CEO of your own schedule, the “busy” mindset has to shift. Why? Because as an entrepreneur, so much of your success is who you’re being and how you’re showing up – instead of how booked your schedule is. In this episode, I’ll unpack the idea of transforming your relationship with time as you grow & evolve and how it’s one of the most challenging (and necessary) mindset shifts to make as an entrepreneur. You’ll walk away with practical strategies on how to lean into CEO thinking, change your perspective, and master your time.


Topics discussed:

  • How to shift your mindset from being a 9-5 employee to becoming the architect of your ideal schedule as an entrepreneur
  • How to create energetic space in your calendar & mind to allow for big, intuitive, and courageous thinking to emerge
  • Exploring the idea that your ideal schedule as an entrepreneur is going to evolve & look different depending on the season of business that you’re in
  • Looking at time management as self-management and allowing yourself to invite more leisure, idleness, and pleasure into your life
  • How to build a schedule that works for you & prioritizes your energy instead of the energy of other people


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Click here for a raw, unedited transcript of this episode


Catherine A. Wood  00:00

Hey there, welcome back to the prosperous Empath cat here. I hope you’re having a beautiful week, if you’ve tuned into the podcast for a while, you know that the last week of each month for me is an off week from client calls. And that happens to follow this week as I record today’s episode. And so I’m just noticing so much more spaciousness in my calendar, so much more flow time, so much more creative ideas that are coming to me, which is just so often how it goes. And it’s actually what I want to cover on the podcast today. So I was recently going through some of the trainings on our mastermind community and looking at some of the data and the statistics about which trainings are the most popular, which ones have been watched and downloaded the most. And I found out something super interesting. And I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. The single training in my mastermind community that was the most downloaded is actually my training on my ideal schedule. And carving out and becoming the architect of my own ideal schedule is something that I talk about so often with clients in the mastermind, and it has been a massive part of my own journey. So in today’s episode, we’re going to dive into how do you shift your mindset from being a nine to five employee, to becoming the CEO of your own schedule, it is a huge mindset shift. And it’s also it requires so much permission giving, I was hanging out with a group of girlfriends a couple of weekends ago in Boston. And we were just spending time together. And we’re making plans for the upcoming weeks. And I shared that, oh, well, I don’t work on Fridays, and Mondays are generally super flexible for me. And the last week of every month, I’m completely free from standing calls. And I just kind of noticed this silence in the room. And I really just want to start by acknowledging my privilege, because I know that I have a lot of privilege in what I’m about to share on this podcast, I, my husband and I are married, we don’t have any children yet. We both have we have two incomes. And we have a lot of freedom in our schedules, and particularly in my schedule as a self employed person. So I just want to name that this episode may look different for different people, designing your own schedule and carving out time for yourself might look really different for you based on your own circumstances. And they have certainly looked different for me over the past decade in business as my circumstances have changed. But I share that story because I really wanted to just start out by by sharing that I was actually a little sheepish to share how much free time I had. Because I know that a lot of people don’t have that much free time in their schedules, they don’t have that much flexibility to make plans to schedule doctor’s appointments to carve out friend dates are solo dates, or just go dunk in the ocean at will. And I felt a little sheepish, sharing that with those girls, because most of them are in corporate and they don’t have the same flexibility in their schedule. And I also can appreciate that that’s often a norm of the culture that we live in today. Right Like so many of us still experience this hustle culture around us where being busy is celebrated and being idle or embracing leisure is frowned upon it his shot and is judged i i often kind of notice my own perhaps resistance, initial resistance to share my schedule with people and I’m going to I’m gonna kind of dive into my own schedule a little bit later in the episode so you have a sense of what it’s what it looks like for me now and how some of it has shifted over the years because I’ve been in business since 2014. My ideal schedule has gone through many different iterations and I’m constantly iterating on it as I get more clear about how I want to design my schedule and when I want to be available for clients and myself and my family, and, and all the things. So I just want to start this episode by just normalizing something, in my experience over the past decade coaching folks who are really in that not only that transition from being a nine to five employee to becoming self employed, but then also once they are self employed, scaling their business and stepping more and more into that CEO role. It is one of the greatest mindset shifts, I have noted over the years, that learning how to manage your time and transform your schedule as you yourself transform and your priorities shift is one of the greatest mindset hacks I have witnessed, it can be really, really challenging for people. And I think it makes a lot of sense when you think about at least here in the States, right? Like the the capitalistic society that we live in that more is better. Busy is it’s just so overvalued, right? Like I noticed, even even to this day, my dad often asks me, Hey, honey, do you have a busy day? And my default is, I want to tell him, of course, Yeah, Dad, I had a super busy day, right? I want to make them proud. But the reality is that I don’t do busy anymore by design. And that’s so often when I take a moment, and I tune in, and I realize like, what’s my, what is my truth here? What do I, you know, what, what actually is my experience of my schedule? And I, that’s just what I get to say, right? Like, No dad, like, I don’t do busy. Not any more. But I do want to normalize, like how much of a shift that is because of the biases and the ways in which our generation was raised. So often being busy is a sign, at least in the nine to five, right, like being busy is a sign that you’re a high performer. It’s a sign that you’re a hard worker, it’s a sign that you’re willing to go above and beyond that you’re an overachiever. And oftentimes, that does equate with higher performance reviews, and often more likely to get the promotion. I mean, specifically in the federal government like that is so often the experience where kind of process is prioritized. At least in my experience, I noticed that process was often experience prioritized more than output more than results, the persona that you gave off, I think once you get into corporate, there is a little bit of a shift where more emphasis is placed on what you produce and the results. But I do think that still, to some degree, it’s the persona you give off around how busy you keep your schedule, how many meetings you have on the calendar, how how booked you are, right? It’s like that, that badge of honor a had eight meetings today, I was so busy, right? Like, Wow, that’s impressive. And when you shift to becoming an entrepreneur, that mindset has to completely shift. And that is really hard for so many of us because as an entrepreneur, our effectiveness and success in business is so much more often a reflection of who we’re being and how we’re showing up in any moment in time in important meetings. It’s essentially the the impression we’re making right? Like specifically for me as a coach, my capacity to give my clients or potential clients my full presence. That’s my job description. And how often do we really do that? How often do we slow down and allow ourselves to be fully present fully in the moment fully engaged with the person in front of us whether it’s a client we would love to work with or even our partners to some degree, or, or people that we’re networking with and looking at well, you know what opportunities for strategic partnerships or collaborations exist in business. So much of business is a reflection of the relationships that we develop over time, and our capacity to deepen and expand Those relationships depends on the impression that we’re making in the time we carve out to build and work on those relationships. And even more. So when, when you’re an entrepreneur, and your capacity to grow and evolve and iterate and scale depends on your ability to generate new creative ideas, right? Like we are the creative thinkers in business. And the truth of the matter is, is that we have more capacity for creative thinking, when our minds are at rest, when we have more access to our intuition, to our inner wisdom, when we can be more in that flow state. And that flow state is the consequence of our parasympathetic nervous systems being engaged. Right? So it’s like when you’re in shavasana, and you’re just having all these downloads of, you know, what are the most important tasks to do today? And, you know, where do I need to focus my time, I don’t know about you, but but that’s often where I get some of my creative downloads is on the mat and Shiva. But for me, that’s, that is the CEO mindset. It’s creating that mental and energetic space, not only in our schedules, but also in our minds, to allow those big ideas to come through. And it’s not just allowing those big ideas to come through. But when our nervous systems are regulated, when our our minds are at rest, we have so much more capacity to be brave in business, to take the courageous action to ask for the sale, and also to prioritize our time more diligently. When our sympathetic nervous systems are activated, and we’re in fight or flight, we have less ability to focus or prioritize time and energy on, you know, the best use of our time, we’re much more susceptible to handling what’s urgent, and right in front of us whether it’s responding to text messages, or handling email or engaging with social media. But when, when we’re at rest, when our nervous systems are regulated, we have more capacity to focus, to prioritize, and to, to really lean into that CEO thinking. Alright, so that’s some of the precursors I wanted to just set to, to lay to set the scene. Now, I also just want to normalize that your ideal schedule is going to look really different for you, depending on the season of business that you are in. So gosh, I remember when I was in that process of working my way out of my nine to five to becoming self employed full time, I burned the candle at both ends, I worked on my business in every free moment that I could carve out from my nine to five. And I was absolutely delighted by it right, I was super committed to maximizing every minute because I was I was seeing myself get closer and closer to my target of being able to give my notice. And I was fueled by the passion of my own dream, fueled by the vision of becoming my own boss, and that that’s a really like, intoxicating mix, right. And I think that that’s absolutely normal, and often how it goes for new entrepreneurs, where when they’re in those early seasons of business, and they’re making big moves. But once you stabilize your business, once your cash flows become more normal and stable and you’ve shifted into full time, self employment, you get to a place where you really need to shift your relationship to time, your time becomes about learning to become smarter and more strategic with your time than learning how to spend more of it. Right that nine to five mindset coming back to the hustle culture when our willingness to be busy, and to give off this persona of being a high achiever and and then over performer like, gosh, I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this in the podcast, but when I lived in the Dominican Republic and I was getting my MBA and working in sustainable Awesome, my boss, he used to say cut d do it. So now McKinna, a mohair cat, you are a female machine. And I wore that compliment for years like a badge of honor the idea that he thought that I could just go and go and go and never stop. I did that for so many years. But that same asset, when you’re in the early stages of business, will become your demise when you’re trying to create a scalable and sustainable business model, because that same hustle mentality will eventually cause you as it did for me as it does for so many of the clients that I work with, and, and so many of you who have heard from over the couple years of running the podcast, that that muscle mentality becomes the source of your burnout, and your exhaustion and your fatigue. And it will become the the demise of thriving in business. If you don’t learn how to shift your orientation towards time, if you don’t come to realize that less is more. And that as the CEO of your business, as a CEO of your business, your job is to actually strategize yourself out of the day to day operations, learn how to maximize and optimize your time through systems and collaborations and having a team and a framework and a scalable model. And also, to understand that your value, your effectiveness in business is not a reflection of just how much you self sacrifice of how much time you put in, as much as it’s about how much you create how many results you produce in the time that you’ve allotted for those tasks. Now, I’m sure you’ve heard this saying before, and I think that it can be extremely annoying for those of us who haven’t yet changed our orientation towards time. And I’m gonna say it because I roll but it’s true, right? Like, we all have the same amount of time in a day. You, me and Oprah, we all have 24 hours in a day. So how are some people more effective than others with their time. And I think I read this in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. And he says that at the end of the day, we can’t manage time, right? We truly all have the same amount of hours, minutes and seconds in a day, and we can’t control the clock. So ultimately, time management is about self management. How do we learn to manage ourselves better with the time that we have? Now in my experience, one of the ways that I have learned over the years to manage myself with the time I have is by having a visual display of an ideal schedule, specifically a future, a future visual display of how I would love for my schedule to look. And something I just want to normalize with our ideal schedules is that this is a practice over a perfect, right, like if you currently work nine to five, five days a week, and you’re wanting to, I mean, even if you’re still in corporate, right, you’re wanting to shift to a four day workweek, because you’re wanting to have more flexibility and be home one day a week to spend more time with the kids or to just carve out more time for yourself and your your family and friends. That’s not going to be an overnight change. And even if it isn’t overnight change, right. Even if you get approved tomorrow to shift your work schedule from a five to a four day workweek, you’re still going to have to do that internal work, to learn how to enjoy your free day a week to actually be permission giving towards yourself and how you want to enjoy that freely carved out time that you’ve created for yourself. So it is just as much a matter of changing your structures and changing your time commitments, as it is an inter On all conversation, of giving yourself more permission to embrace leisure, and idleness and enjoyment and pleasure and all the things that you’re wanting to carve out your time for. So, I just to give you kind of a high level overview of what I, what in my experience has worked with ideal schedules, and I’m going to be sharing a resource afterwards. So stay tuned for that. But in my experience, what works the best is if you create some template of an ideal schedule, which I’m going to share with you, because I have one I love. And you take everything off of your schedule, right? All your current commitments, priorities, work priorities, things you do for yourself and for other people, like just wipe your slate clean. And then start from a holistic vantage point, right? Like, if you were looking at how would you prioritize your time and prioritize yourself so that you could show up in that parasympathetic nervous system in that flow state more focused, and successful to handle all of your other commitments on your schedule? What where would you start? Now for me that has over the years looked like starting with my morning routine, which is just a such a source of energy and focus and self honoring and self love truly. So what are those pockets of time for you? Is it in the morning? Is it in the evening? Is that taking an extended lunch break to get to the gym or to be outside? Or even to you know, maybe meet your your sweetheart for lunch? One or two days a week? Like, truly like? What would you? What would you start with if you are really looking at reworking your schedule? Based on what works for you, rather than defaulting to what works for other people? And then you look from a really like this holistic, 10,000 feet above vantage point. Like if you had your ideal schedule? How many days a week would you work? Now this is going to look different if you’re in corporate or if you’re self employed, and that’s okay. But if you’re self, if you’re self employed, right, like when are you working on the business? Versus when are you working in the business? When are you prioritizing finances versus when are you prioritizing creative problem solving? When are you prioritizing yourself? When are you focusing on relationships, right? Like these are all of the expressions of your zone of genius that only you can do. And you can do so much better when you are operating in alignment with your ideal schedule. So you just fill out your schedule, completely fresh with this new slate. And then from there, it becomes a practice of integrating one item from your actual schedule into your ideal schedule. And as soon as you integrate that new habit that new routine, then the next week or the next month, however long it takes, you can expand and shift and practice implementing the next line item. Now I find that when I’m practicing making these shifts, it is helpful to start with some of the line items that would bring you the most satisfaction or joy from fulfilling on because if you can create those quick wins for yourself and and gain some positive momentum on making change in your schedule, it will really create that domino effect to support you and continuing and, and perhaps in implementing some of the items that may require a little bit more suave or maneuvering or maybe even compromising with loved ones at home or colleagues or employees. So I do think that starting starting with the Lower Lift, and setting yourself up to win quicker and sooner can help you strengthen the muscles to keep going. Now, I want to normalize that your ideal schedule, it gets to constantly iterate as you do. So as I said at the beginning of the call, my ideal schedule has undergone so many iterations over the past decade. When I first started out in business, I would see clients at 7am 12 noon and 5pm So those were literally before I went to my nine to five on my list lunch break, and right after work, gosh, a couple years into my practice, I had a practice that was very international. And I would speak with a client in Bangkok at 5am. And I would speak with a client in Sydney, Australia at 6am i and it was wild. But that was just the season of business that I was in. And I empowered it. And it totally worked for me then. But these days, I don’t speak to clients before 10am. And I only see clients on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between the hours of 10 and four, those are really my days to be in the business. And they’re quite limited at that. Now, Mondays are my SEO days, those are the days that I often record new podcast episodes and speak with potential clients and have strategic conversations with members on my team. And that’s where those are really my days for thinking strategically about the future of the business and the impact I want to have and ensuring we’re aligned with our values. And then Friday is my self care day, I do not schedule any standing meetings on Friday. No, sometimes I make exceptions. And I’ll take a call on Friday, but only if it also works for me. I noticed in the past like have I’ve made exceptions to that, that rule and then resentful. And then oftentimes people will cancel those calls. And I’m like, if it doesn’t work for me, it’s not going to work for the other person. And of course, there’s going to be some flavor of self sabotage. So I hope that this conversation has been super permission giving for you to look at your schedule differently, to gain more tools and inspiration for how you can become the architect of your own schedule. Now, I have been sharing over the past couple weeks that there’s a lot of things are changing in the background over here at amount of potential that I am super excited about. And one of them is that we are opening up our private community for all of our mastermind members over the past six years into a public space for values aligned community members to apply and come on over and join us to really just commune and collaborate with like minded Empath printers. Now, we’re going to be unlocking the doors for that very soon. So you will find the invitation to join us in show notes in the show notes. And when you do and if you come over and join us, I’m super excited to share that I wanted to give you really just a window into some of my favorite tools that I’ve created over the years. And one of them is this visual display for the ideal schedule. So when you join us in our private community, you’ll be able to download your your very own copy of your own ideal schedule. And I’ve never done this before, but I’m also going to make available for you. The super brief five minute video that I mentioned at the beginning of the call has been our most downloaded training in our mastermind, because I think that when we learn how to master our time, we master our lives. And this has certainly been one of the greatest mindset hacks and transformations that I’ve made over the years in business. And it has been the source of just so much more permission, and joy and satisfaction and success in my business and in every single aspect of my life. And I really want that for you. So I look forward to seeing you in our mighty networks community and connecting with you more deeply. If you have been wanting to work with me for a while now, there are a couple ways that you can do that I shared on the last episode that I’m no longer accepting clients into my one on one practice. The only way to work with me, personally is in either of my two masterminds and registration for our emerge mastermind, which is a six month mastermind for early entrepreneurs. The doors are now open to join us for that registration is open until Friday, March 22 at 12 noon, and we begin the following week on Wednesday, March 27. I would love to speak with you if you’ve at all been considering the program. It is a super supportive and accessible way to work with me directly and with my Co Co coach Laura. And it is the last time we’ll be opening the doors for emerge in 2024. So if you’ve been waiting for a reason to join, this could be the reason and again, like zero obligation, I would love to chat with you more about the program and there is zero pressure. We will include both the link for the program information in the show notes for emerge. And we’ll also drop the link to my calendar. If you want to find some time over the next, I guess I should say create some time over the next couple of weeks to connect more I would love to speak with you. Now, I’ll also say that if you’re an already established entrepreneur, and you’ve been looking for a high level mastermind to surround yourself and be supported by values aligned creators, then I would love to invite you to chat with me about the unbounded mastermind. The unbounded mastermind has been my passion projects since 2019. It is a super supportive and high level community of values aligned Empath printers, many of whom have been with me for years. It is just a beautiful, generous, and collaborative mastermind that is a combination of high level coaching, and getting mastermind support from a team of experts in their fields. So you really benefit not only from the coaching wisdom and experience of both myself and my co coach Laura, but she also gained so much more from the wisdom and experience of all the members in the room who are really just powerful creators and successful business people. So if you’ve been wanting to join us and unbounded the doors open next to join to open it if you’ve been wanting to join us in unbounded the doors open in April and I’m speaking with people throughout the month of March. So again, grab some time on my calendar and let’s chat for a zero obligation call. Sometime in the first couple of weeks of March I would just love to connect with you. And last but not least, if you’ve been wanting an opportunity to come and vibe with our mastermind community and just kind of like test the waters. You’re always welcome to join us for our monthly non networking Power Hour. The next round is on Monday, March 13 at 12 noon, we would love to see you there. We will drop the link to register in the shownotes thank you so much for tuning in. I have loved sharing some of my own thoughts and wisdoms and gossip gratitude for becoming better with time management and self management over the years. I hope you enjoy this episode. I would love to hear from you over on Instagram what you’re taking for yourself and I look forward to connecting more deeply with you in the coming weeks.


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Visit this episode’s show notes page here.

The Prosperous Empath® Podcast is produced by Heart Centered Podcasting.

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