Success Podcast Post

How to Plan Your Day with Mridu Parikh

George Grombacher January 13, 2023

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How to Plan Your Day with Mridu Parikh

LifeBlood: We talked about how to plan your day, the three steps for becoming more productive and feeling less guilty and stressed, how to get more done, and how to get started with Mridu Parikh, Founder of Life is Organized and productivity coach.

Listen to learn the best time to plan out your day!

You can learn more about Mridu at, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher


Mridu Parikh

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:00
Hey what’s up? It’s George G and the time is right welcome today’s guest strung apart from Riu Pareek. Maria, are you ready to do this?

Unknown Speaker 0:22
I am so ready.

george grombacher 0:24
All right, let’s go read who is the founder of Life Is Organized. She’s a productivity coach and speaker helping women business owners master their demands and distractions. Welcome back. Tell us about your personal lives more about your work, why you do what you do?

Unknown Speaker 0:41
Yeah, thanks for having me back. This is so much fun. Well, first off, I’m a mom of two teens, just hard to believe. I was just telling you how we moved to Nashville 17 years ago, I thought it was going to be a short term thing. And here we are. And I’ve raised these two kids. I’ve also had my business for 12 years. And like you mentioned, I help women business owners get out of the weeds and squash, mental drama and escape exhaustion. So they can take back control of their business and their home and their personal life. So like many business, women, business owners, they are spread too thin in their business and at home, they end up scattered, exhausted, feeling like a failure, even resentful. And that was definitely me when I started my business. And I would think to myself, How is it possible that I’m working this hard, and still not getting the results that I want. So I jumped into learning all things, productivity, and time management, really just on a personal development path. And after lots of hits and misses, I discovered what worked for me, especially when I was overloaded. So I thought, well, I can either go back to this constant reactivity and feeling behind, or I could embrace some really simple new beliefs and structure. And then that’s what I did. So I went from feeling defeated all the time, to really pretty much on top of all my demands and distractions. So now I’m really lucky enough that I get to teach those skills to other time strapped women who want to take back control of their day to

george grombacher 2:14
so that’s everybody. So that is everybody. It is a it’s it’s a constant battle. And without the right tools, and without being intentional about it, or just kind of caught up in the flow of it. Right, just kind of like, do you feel like a lot of people are just sort of resigned to thinking this is just this, this is just how it is?

Unknown Speaker 2:42
Yes. And I hate it. Right? I hate that. Because it does, it feels like this is normal. Everybody goes through this is how it’s supposed to be. I can guarantee you it is not there are plenty of people who have learned right those skills, to manage their time to use their brain more effectively, to do all the things that they really want to get done. while still having a life, right. And without burnout. I mean, I can definitely conjure up big icons, what how no matter how we feel about them, but like Elon Musk, or Jeff Bezos, we’re like, how do they get all this done? Right? How are they like changing the world in five different arenas and still have the same amount of time that we do, you know, like, it is possible for us to like take control and do the things that we really love.

george grombacher 3:32
All right. So how do we do that?

Unknown Speaker 3:36
Okay, well, before we jump into it, actually, well, I’ve kind of after doing this for many, many years, I really distilled this distilled kind of planning your day, if we’re just talking about, here’s my day, and I’m don’t want to just go through the motions anymore, I want to be really intentional. I’ve distilled it down to three steps. However, before we get into that, I just want to also tell you my definition of productivity, or what again, that I feel that it is because I think it’s a little different than what we typically hear. Which often when we think about productivity, it’s do more, do more, do more, do more effectively do more efficiently. totally got it. Absolutely right, it feels great, we’re going to do more, we’re gonna do it better. But after doing this for so many years, and working with so many women, I really feel like if we can tie productivity back to your emotional state, then you’re gonna get better results. So I think productivity for me, it’s an emotion you feel when you get the results you want, with less time and less effort, and emotion you feel so for instance, I’m sure you have the days I have the days or we’re on I know it’s early in the morning for you, you’re on early. And you know, you’re working all day, and we’re doing all the things we have our head down. And then there can be those days. At the end of the day. You’re like what did I get done? What did I even do today? So frustrating, right? And then there’s other times you’re like, maybe I only put in a couple hours. because for whatever reason, and I feel great about what I got done. So it really it comes back to the feeling. And that’s how I use what I use as a direction for me every day of what I should get done. So this will make a lot more sense as I go through the steps, but I think it’s a great place to start.

george grombacher 5:16
Yeah, totally agree, I think without without defining what that really means to you within? How do we know if we’re actually achieving it? So I appreciate that.

Unknown Speaker 5:27
Yeah. Okay. So the three steps to this, and they’re really simple. Number one, write down your top five goals for the day. Number two, estimate a time. And number three, schedule them. Okay, write down your top five goals, estimated time and schedule them. So on the surface, hopefully, that seems really simple. But there are some pitfalls and challenges with each of those steps. I’ll walk through some of the most common ones. And, you know, hopefully that will help help everyone kind of get through this. Yeah. So you can imagine the first question what the top five goals is, how do I pick up I have 100 things on my to do list. In fact, I have six to do lists. Now they’re all have, you know, a million things on them. So this is where I really tap back into that emotional feeling. And there are matrices we can use. There’s the urgent, non urgent, important, there’s all different types of complicated ways we can sort of prioritize and figure out what’s most important. But I found if it’s, again, distilled down to this one question, if you answer this one question, it’s going to provide a roadmap for you every day. And the question is, what are the top five things I will accomplish to make me feel successful when my head hits the pillow tonight? I’ll say it again, what are the top five things I will accomplish to make me feel successful when my head hits the pillow tonight. And the reason this is so important is because you’re right, you can look at that list, and there’s 1000 things on there. But there’s certain ones you’re like, if I just did it, I’m going to feel so good. So for example, and actually, let me just say, and of those five, I recommend doing three business and two personal or three for your career and through professional to personal. And to look at that list. There’s a lot of things in that moment, that might feel really good, right? I could jump into my Instagram, I could jump into email, I can return this call, or what would feel really good right now if we just go watch Netflix, I feel really good. But when my head hits the pillow tonight, that’s not what’s making me feel good. That’s not what I’m thinking about when I go to bed. Usually when I go to bed, I’m thinking all those things that I wish I did get done. So personally, it might be maybe just go take a walk for 20 minutes. Or maybe I just turn off the electronics by 10pm. Or maybe I spend, you know, 15 minutes with my kids on distracted with no phone. Or maybe I finally call back that insurance company that I’ve been putting off for like three months, you know. So it’s something I can tell you what it’s not, it’s usually not an not an email a typical, you’re falling into emails or your social media. It’s something that you typically procrastinate, that you don’t like doing right? Like you’re like this is a thing. But when I’m in my head, it’s a Philips and I want to feel so good. And you do the same thing with your professional ones. And if you’re still like No, but I have six things and my professional side, right? They’re all equally important. I totally got it right. Like I have six clients at AWS than they do today. What do I pick, just put a stake in the ground, pick something. And I’m going to offer to you and your audience that no matter what you choose, it is the right thing. If you give your product, yourself permission to know that anything I choose that you know is equally important is the right one to get moving, and you’ll build that momentum. But there’s only one wrong thing to do the wrong thing to do is to sit in, in like chaos and scattered nests and confusion and not pick something and then think I’m gonna start this for five minutes and do this for five minutes. And, you know, like, that’s the only wrong thing to do the right thing to do is give yourself permission to say anything I choose is the right thing.

george grombacher 9:07
Because I love it. It does. So you mentioned what’s important, what’s what’s urgent. There’s so many different ways that that we can break these things down. And there’s certainly probably things that well, things that have to get done. Like I drop my kids off here I pick them up there how do those factor in like those are just stuff that that I’m doing no matter what, so that shouldn’t be included on my list.

Unknown Speaker 9:36
Exactly right. Yeah, we’re not gonna have like brush my teeth and take a shower if that’s what you’re doing every day. I hope you’re doing that every day. So yeah, exactly. These are the things that need to get on your list that are not happening.

george grombacher 9:49
Got it. Okay. And I love the idea of when I do close my eyes, my head hits the pillow, knowing that I’ve done these things, these five things, three things for work two things from, from a personal standpoint, what a great way to frame that. And to think about it.

Unknown Speaker 10:11
Yeah, so it’s amazing. And sometimes it’s funny, some people think we’ll three work things that’s too little, right. And I can do eight, I can do 10. Fantastic, that’s great. But get those first three done first, and then you can add on some more, you know, just start with the three, the simplicity of it. And you might find that actually, between all your meetings and zoom calls and appointments, three fits just perfectly, we actually don’t think we have enough as much time as we typically think we do.

george grombacher 10:39
Yeah, that’s an interesting thing, right? And because there’s certainly some days where you feel like, Oh, look at all this extra time I have laying around. And then there’s those other days where there’s no time to do anything at all. So prioritizing the ones that that you’ve decided on, so estimating time. Tell me about that.

Unknown Speaker 11:01
Okay, so this is a step that almost is never done, which is actually sitting down and thinking through how long each step takes. Even when, if you’re somebody who has your tasks, and you’re looking at your calendar, and you’re thinking, oh, yeah, I see all this whitespace, I have four meetings, today, I have all this other whitespace, I can totally fit these in. Right, even when you’re going that far, we’re not thinking through how long actually how long things actually take actions is very big gap between what we think we can get done, and what we can actually get done called belief bias. And so we always underestimate, okay, so, on that list, and by the way, keep these five things, one tip here away from your big giant list of 100 thing. So I mean, just take a sticky note a piece of paper, you want to keep these away, because you want to stay focused on them, you mix it in with the big giant list, it’s all gonna get, you’re gonna get scattered and unfocused and start looking at that stuff. So you have on that list. And then next to each of those items, put an estimated time for how long it takes one hour, 45 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, whatever it is, if you don’t know, because you’ve never timed it, again, put a stake in the ground, don’t overthink this, it’s not a big deal. We’re just learning to be a time estimator. If you do have an idea, write that down. And it’s amazing what can happen again, just by adding that up, you’re like, oh, okay, that’s gonna take me four hours today, those five things. And now I look at my calendar, and I only have two available because I have all these meetings, there’s, it’s incongruent, it’s not going to work. And so something has to change on the list. Because the worst thing is, you put the five things down, you only get to two or three, then at the end of the night, when you go to bed, your head hits the pillow, you feel like a failure, right? Because it didn’t get it done. Not because you didn’t work hard, not because you’re not smart, just because you didn’t estimate your time, correctly, or pretend. And so this is another another pitfall we fall into is that we fake it. Like we can’t fake it. If something really takes you 90 minutes stamp writing that it takes you 60 minutes, I will do this all the time. I write a podcast every week, like you are like you have and I would always put always on my calendar 60 minutes every week, I don’t know why I tried to fake it. And without a fail, it takes me at least 90 minutes every week, I have to brainstorm it, I write it out. I record it, I send it to my editor, right. So all these steps. So it was doing me no good to fake it. So they get 60 minutes just during me behind. So that’s some of the things when estimating as you do it more and more, you get better. And it really helps you then decide, am I just overestimating even these three things. And we’re just overestimating them, maybe just need to take one little piece of it, maybe only, you know, write my podcast today, but I don’t record it and edit it as well.

george grombacher 13:51
It’s fascinating how we as human beings underestimate how much time things actually take. And unless we know that we have no idea. And we are just BS in ourselves, and we end up not getting nearly as much done as we want. And then we find ourselves in the problem that we’ve been talking about. So I think that’s immensely valuable. How do you think about completion versus time spent? Is that an acceptable thing? For example, for me, I was writing a blog post on a daily basis. And I’ve had some other things come up. So I said, You know what, I can only spend 60 minutes on this on a daily basis. And that’s what I’ve been committed to. So it’s not that I completed a blog post, I was able to spend 60 minutes on writing. What do you think about that?

Unknown Speaker 14:40
I love that. As long as you know what your intention is. So if you’re in alignment with your intention, if you’re thinking I’m going to finish that in an hour, which is what I was thinking with the podcast, then you let yourself down then you feel like crap at night right? Then you’re then you have these thoughts of I’m always behind and never gonna catch up. I can never commit to what I say. If your intention is, I’m just gonna get as far as I can in one hour. Write as much as I can. And then I’m a success. Fantastic. Like that is what’s going to energize you. At the end of the night. You’re like, oh, I want to write for an hour, I got it done. I feel so good about myself. Now you go to bed, feeling inspired, you wake up more motivated. It’s just this, like, snowball effect.

george grombacher 15:25
Got it? That makes a ton of sense. So going back to that? How do I want to feel about it? How? I’m trying to find my notes here? What is the term that they use? How emotionally the productivity is the emotion that we get when we get things done?

Unknown Speaker 15:42
Exactly. Yeah. I mean, to me, I think all of us as humans just want to feel good. We want to be happy, like, you know, you want to feel respected and valued and like we’re contributing. So we’re so much more in control of that feeling than we believe we are. We can put this intention to our day, we can we can conjure that up ourselves. We don’t have to rely on external factors all the time.

george grombacher 16:05
Yeah. Love it. All right. So once I have a good understanding, and you probably get way better at it, too. And I bet that as I am paying closer attention to the amount of time that I’ll probably get better and more efficient at these tasks.

Unknown Speaker 16:22
Absolutely. Yeah. And it doesn’t happen overnight. But it really is, there are just Aha, that happen. You’re like, oh, my gosh, I was totally overestimating what I could get done. Or at some cases, I’m under estimating. Maybe I am capable of more, when I actually time take the time to build out a structure, you know, like actually plan instead of just running by the seat of my pants all the time.

george grombacher 16:44
And that’s the step three is actually scheduling it.

Unknown Speaker 16:47
Yes, yes. Another really, I think a kind of undervalued piece of this is, I think a lot of us are pretty good with lists. Not too many, truly estimating or sort of estimating, but then getting it actually blocking on the calendar, again, in our mind, visually, you can see the list, you can see the time like, oh, this fits in great, right, it just totally makes sense. But then when you actually put it like, and I mean, just block off the time for those five things, in addition to, I have to eat lunch, I have to shower, drop off the kids, you know, make dinner, have all my meetings, you know, when you really start plugging them in. Again, there’s just a lot of aha, you’re like, maybe this does fit. But my day is so overloaded, and it gives me no whitespace and no room for error. This is gonna make me vomit, like this is just too much, right. And then you go back and look at it, and you make some changes, you’re like, okay, maybe I was too aggressive with these three things, or five things. Or you put it in, and you realize, you know what, it doesn’t make sense to do these types of activities at this time. And that’s me, but I can move my schedule around so that my energetic work is in the morning, or you know, it just, there’s all these different ideas that come to you this creativity, the strategy, when you can actually see it on paper on a calendar, it’s very different than seeing a list and then looking at your calendar, you’ve got to marry it to merely make it come together.

george grombacher 18:09
I love it. So that was that was really what I was. So how I’ve got you mentioned not mixing it up with my list of 100 goals. So every day, you I should have a piece of paper or how it’s personal preference.

Unknown Speaker 18:27
Yeah, I’d say every day, just grab a grab a piece of blank piece of paper sticky note something easy. And meanwhile, there’s really no I’m a very big digital person, I love everything digital, my big giant list is there, but my everyday stuff, I just gonna grab a piece of paper and write it on there. And the reason is, and I mentioned earlier, when you’re looking what I used to do in the beginning was that this giant list, and I would sometimes just go in and highlight my top three, like top three personal things, or star them or circle them, whatever. But the risk there and always always failed was my eyes was then diverted to that, you know, add other things on there. And then I’d get distracted and start doing that. And you know, it just didn’t work. So to keep them totally separate. Get those down first, get them on the calendar. And yeah, of course, there’s there’s gonna be other things that pop up and you’re doing, but those become your focus priorities. And when something else unexpected comes up that you have to do like truly, truly urgent, then maybe one of them change and you’re cross it off and you put that other one and that’s okay, too. Because when you’re being intentional about it, you don’t feel bad about it. You don’t feel bad, right? When you’re not intentional. It just happens. Life just happens. Then there’s a lot of just like that self doubt and like that lack of self confidence.

george grombacher 19:42
Yeah, that makes sense. When do you advocate that people make their list.

Unknown Speaker 19:48
So I’d say that personal preference. I like to kind of do a combo to be honest at night and in the morning. So I do look at my calendar every night for the next day. I kind of pick out my top things to do it. But sometimes I’ve just fried and I’m tired. And I’ll be honest, like and so that I look at it again in the morning. Make sure that’s really what I want to have things changed even overnight and then kind of do it again. So it’s a combo for me but it’s a do whatever works works for you and I have some clients are like five to 530 day plan or 555 15 overnight before they leave the office, and of others who are just like to make that part of their morning routine and do in the morning. Love it.

george grombacher 20:26
Thank you so much for coming back on where can people learn more about you? How can they engage?

Unknown Speaker 20:31
I am at all things Life Is Organized. My website is Life Is Organized Facebook, Instagram, but also another great tool if you if you like the simplicity of this process, and you’re thinking okay, maybe I can try this. But then also how do I stay focused during this time, I have a great resource called Five smart ways to get and stay focused. So you can get that at life is forward slash focus. Love

george grombacher 20:57
it. If you enjoyed this as much as I did show Maria your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas or for that person who’s running around with their hair on fire all the time. Go to life is and then find the focus piece that Maria was talking about at Life is Yep, perfect. Thanksgiving.

Unknown Speaker 21:24
Thanks so much for having me.

george grombacher 21:26
And until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

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