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TPP #27 – Creating a Profit-Focused Schedule for Your Business with Hannah Murphy


Welcome to Episode #27 of The Planner Podcast.

If you’re a business owner and want to create more time in your day (and life!), you’ll LOVE my interview with productivity guru, Hannah Murphy.

Want to learn more from Hannah? Take her FREE CLASS here www.lovefrommim.com/hannah (referral link).

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Transcription

Mim:
Welcome back. I know you are going to love today’s conversation. It’s with Hannah Murphy, with Hannah and co and Hannah is a great friend and a productivity and planning guru. She helps entrepreneurs create a profit focused schedule that eliminates all of the unnecessary noise. All of the tasks, switching, all of the, and they’re running to do lists the long nights. All of those things that I know you want to put behind you and Hannah has so many gold nuggets to share. She’s going to go into the mistakes that she sees entrepreneurs making, whether you’re a new entrepreneur, whether you’re someone who’s had your own business for awhile. And she has some really great tips to be able to make some quick switches today so that you can create more productivity in your business. We dive into all sorts of things in terms of brainstorming your ideas, streamlining, cutting out all of the unnecessary noise, and also how you can actually structure your day so that you create more freedom because being productive and planning ahead, isn’t about over-scheduling and having a really rigid set routine. What Hannah will share with you is that if you get this right for you and your personality, you can actually create more, much more freedom and much more time in your life for the things that are important. So I hope you enjoy this episode. Let’s dive in right now. Hi Hannah. I’m so excited to be interviewing you today.

Hannah:
Too. Thanks for having me!

Mim:
Anytime. Anytime. Well, I love our chats. Anyway, this is going to be quite a nice chat and informal interview style. So we’ll see where it leads, but I’d love you to start by telling us a little bit about you and your business and how you help people.

Hannah:
Yeah, so I’m a Productivity Strategist, and I basically help people create a schedule that really reflects their personality, the priorities they have in the season that they’re in and the plans I have for, you know, their business and their personal life. And so I’m just obsessed with all things, schedules, uh, systems. I just, I love it. And I’m here for it.

Mim:
I’m here with you. You’re speaking my language already because as you know, as well, all about planning productivity, just trying to save time and make time as well. And you know, that’s what you’re all about as well. And what inspired you to get started with helping others with this?

Hannah:
Yeah, so I honestly never thought I would be a business or not. Like I didn’t even really know the business world existed, but I was in my first year studying primary teaching and I just needed a part-time job to just financially sustain me through uni. And I like, oh man, I try to all I did like before and after school care, I did like random and just nothing felt fulfilling. Like I just hated it. And I was like, this degree goes for four years. I need to find a job that I’m actually going to enjoy for those four years and is going to be flexible with a uni university timetable and all of that. And so, came across this person on Instagram, who randomly said that they were hiring for a VA, literally had to Google what VA was like. I had no idea what a virtual assistant was, what it looked like, what it did.

Hannah:
I just reached out and I was like, look, I’m happy to learn this, no idea how to do it, but you know, teach me. I was very grateful to her because she gave me the job and that was really my entrance into the business world. So from there, I kind of moved into knitting into blog and Pinterest management. So I did that for a few years. Grew really quickly like went from three to 27 clients in six months. And during that time, I then suddenly learned a heck of a lot about productivity. Yeah, it was forced, but I remember like just like a Saturday afternoon and my family was all going out for lunch. And I remember going, I can’t go because I have to finish this work. And that was like a real key moment for me, because I was like, I built a business to support.

Hannah:
You need to have fun during the season of life, but my business, although I loved it and loved my clients, it was like taking over every other part of my life. And that started to be really unhealthy. So I just went down a rabbit hole of researching trial and error, like basically finding all the productivity hacks I could and test it. As time went on, I then kind of got into a rhythm and a habit and I was like, oh, other people are struggling with this time thing too. Like, it wasn’t just me and my blog and Pinterest management clients started asking me, how do you manage this? Like your client experiences so easy and fun. Like, can you give me some tips? So I just started like kind of, I would say consulting like one-on-one with them and then it just transitioned and grew.

Hannah: And so now, I actually last year, so we’re in 2021. So in 2020, I let go of all 30 clients that I had at the time, which was wild. But, I just knew that like, this is the space I want to be in now. And I think it was a, it was a pivot. It was a hard pivot, but I got coaching along the way and that kind of thing. So now I just purely help in, productivity and, you know, creating systems and schedules, but yeah, it was a fun journey. And so now I, so I finished my degree last year. Sso now I still run a business. I didn’t go full-time into teaching, which is wild. Never would have thought that. Yeah, it just, I dunno, it inspired me, I think, because I love that the part of business where you can dream and plan and pivot when you want. And that just always inspired me. So yeah, it’s fun.

Mim:
What an amazing story so much that you’ll have uni students reach the end of their degree and then think, okay, now while you were actually building your business and your empire on your journey while you were studying, and of course everything you were learning as a teacher would definitely of how he came to structure, scheduling, routines, productivity, working with explaining and communicating to others. What are really great way to be able to combine your passion and the methodology that you’re learning as well?

Hannah:
Well, yeah, it’s so true. And I think like teaching really taught me like the, you know, in teaching you’re always told like, know your student and then, you know, design for your student. Like it’s not a cookie cutter approach and same for business. Like same for productivity. I learned that like, you can’t just have a one size fits all approach. Like you’ve really got to learn how to like base it on people’s personalities and stuff. So yeah, definitely helped for sure.

Mim:
I love that. And so tell me when you were working with people and when they were asking for you, your advice and your tips on planning and productivity, could you see like any common errors or mistakes or things that people were working on that you could help them with?

Hannah:
Yeah. Uh, so many and I pretty much made all of them myself. So speaking from personal experience and working with others, I think probably the top, like two, I would say the first is responding to task in real time. Like, I think that’s an ultimate killer of productivity. Like, yeah. Sorry. Easy. Like, I think it’s like the latest set I read was like the average person gets distracted every eight minutes. And if you have children, if you have like all those different things, it’s probably more than that. Right. It’s probably every second. And so it’s like business, you get this amazing time freedom, but then you also, it can be a blessing and it can be one of the hardest parts. Right. And so, yeah, responding to real tasks is like, you’ve, you know, let’s say you’re like writing an Instagram caption and then you see an email come through.

Hannah:
So you switched to that. And then by the end of the day, you’ve got a whole heap of unfinished tasks, but then none actually completed, like, that’s one of a big mistake because every time you switched tasks, you lose productivity. So by the end of the time, you’ve switched tasks so much that it’s so hard to like actually maintain that level of productivity again. So that I would say is a top one. And like the way to fix that is really just the goal is to reduce task switching. And so I now write out like a clear to-do list for the start of my day. And then whenever I have an idea or something like that, that I, like, I don’t know, a blog post idea or an email I forgot to send or something like that. I have a piece of paper near me where I just brain dump it.

Hannah:
So I just brain dumping. And then I go back to what I was meant to do. And then at the end of the day, my goal is to be able to throw that brain dump list in the bin. So whether it was doing that task quickly there or whatever, but as I did that, it really taught me a better habit of instead of switching and doing those things in real time to just play like actually have a time for it. Like, Hey, I’m not going to do this right now, but it will get done. Or whenever, like it’s not always urgent. And like, you’re talking

Mim:
To me, like literally told me because I, I, my day is really routine, like everything is scheduled, but those emails, particularly that come through the, dealing with emails in real time, that is absolutely my downfall. And I think that is a form of perfectionism, just like having to go in and address it straight away, just in case that, you know, when actually people are happy to wait and some of the emails that just not important anyway. And so I switched all the time. I love what you said as well about brain dumping throughout the day, and then looking at it at the end, because as well, you’ll probably agree, like so much reserve ideas, people aren’t, we like new ideas, new things, new. And it’s an amazing part of being an entrepreneur to think, to have the ideas and to be able to act on them. But I do find that sometimes if I allow myself to take a step back, then the idea will just work itself out and I’ll realize I don’t need to act on everything. Whereas in the moment, like you say, if you switch into a new idea and that rabbit hole or the shiny object that you’ve seen, you might end up moving forward with something that isn’t worthwhile and taking your attention away from the task or the project that was so I’m learning a lot already.

Hannah:
Exactly. And as well, like with the emails, I think we think, oh, if I don’t reply within the next 10 minutes, what are they going to think of me? But like world will end.

Mim:
Yeah, exactly.

Hannah:
But it’s like, you can reply, like my clients loved it when I started doing that because they knew what to expect. They knew that it was, they were going to hear from me within 12 hours. Usually like usually it was within the day, but it was just at a time that was better suited to me because then I let’s say I was working on a client project. My mind was so torn or I was like, oh, I have that email. I’m not going to reply to it, but I know what it says. So I’m still thinking about it. So it’s, yeah, it’s a really, it’s a big one and it’s, but it’s one of the ones that is actually easily addressed because it’s just a change of habit.

Mim:
And then just setting up an out of office, which I have, I have, you know, when people email where my lovely students are customers, email my customer service inbox, they get the reply back to sale, you know, I’ll be responding within 48 hours. I think it says. And so they know they’re like, oh, okay, well I’ll expect a response within then they’re not expecting me or the team to reply immediately. It, obviously we have free time. There’s nothing wrong with doing that. You know, being in the moment is okay. Sometimes. Totally. It doesn’t have to be constantly.

Hannah:
Yeah. If it’s like a constant pattern that’s happening. And yeah, like I think, like you were just saying, I think that clients or our audience or whoever it is, they actually are better at boundaries than we give them credit for. But a lot of the time, those boundaries just aren’t communicated. And so when we switch, we’re teaching them, it’s okay for you to reply to me or talk to me at any time, like when you start then kind of cyst, like not, you know, systemizing it to the point where it’s so rigid and not fun anymore. Like you said, if you do want to respond in real time, one day, like it’s fine. But if it’s the constant pattern of like replying every 10 seconds, like it’s going to be draining, it’s going to be overwhelming. It’s going to be okay.

Mim:
Take businesses to fit our lives. It’s the reason that we’re an entrepreneur in the first place. So let’s not go back to putting ourselves in corporate jail or put yourself in a self-inflicted jail of having to be everywhere all the time. Any of the common mistakes that you see when it comes to planning or productivity?

Hannah:
Yeah. Oh yes. I think another big one is like people thinking that there is such thing as perfect work-life balance. Like I genuinely don’t believe it exists. And the reason I say that is because it’s, it’s literally impossible and I’ve tried it to go from like, you know, nine to 10. I do this from 10 to 11. I do this. And from this time, and this time I have family time and it’s going to be like that every week. And not trying to say there’s anything wrong with that. I just think our expectations of work-life balance are so high that we keep falling under it. And the analogy I like to use for this is a motorbike rider. Now I’m not a motorbike rider, but the analogy books. So, basically a motorbike rider, like as they’re going around the corner, they’re leaning into the corner and to an outside eye, it almost looks like they’re gonna fall over, but actually doing that in order to keep the balance.

Hannah:
And I think it’s the same for our businesses or for, you know, our lives and the seasons that we’re in. There will be seasons where you’ll have to lean more into sales and business and launches, and there’s other going to be other seasons where you’re going to have to lean into family. And, you know, at Christmas time, like you might need to lean into family more. And I think it’s okay if our schedules look different depending on the season. And instead of like aiming for this perfect work-life balance, it’s more about aiming for a meaningful schedule based on the priorities of your season. And I found like even personally for me, it was a huge relief and I guess, guilt remover that it’s okay if I take a Tuesday off or it’s I work on a Saturday, like there was no such thing as bad role when it comes to your schedule. It’s just what works for you in this season. And I think that’s really important for people to know,

Mim:
Oh, I love that so much. I love that so much. And we set our own boundaries don’t and we have it. So it’s okay. And I think as well, I love the analogy with the motorbike and it reminded me as well, when you talked about not having to come up with a perfect work-life balance. So one of my mentors to important, he, the phrase that he uses a lot is 70% perfection is failure. One, no 100%. Perfection is failure. 70% perfection is success. And I really, really lean into that because I think if I can be, I can’t be everywhere. We can’t be everywhere. All the, we can’t have, you know, what’s the phrase. We can have everything, but not at the same time, we have 70% of everything possibly at the same time, if we want, we can have 100% of something and not nothing. If something else I’ll lesson. And it’s about, like you say, leaning into what’s most meaningful and doing it intentionally and leading that ourselves rather than being led by life, because there’s no balance when, when you feel that you don’t have control in anything.

Hannah:
Exactly. It’s so true. And I think like, you know, when something feels off, it’s like this, like, you know, when I was at earlier, before when I was saying my story of that Saturday where my family, I knew something was off and I knew something in my schedule had to change, but in other seasons I’ve been like, okay, I need to work in a little bit more here. Like I’ve got too much into like, I need to change my priorities. Yeah. It works both ways. So yeah. I always ask myself, like, what do I need to prioritize in this season? And if I have an a, like any doubt or whatever, I’m like, why am I doubting? It’s like, what, what is unsettling here that doesn’t feel right. And actually kind of going to that layer of like, what, why doesn’t it feel aligned right now? What doesn’t feel good about my schedule or the way I’m working? Because yeah, you can really unpack a lot yourself by just asking questions to yourself.

Mim:
Oh, so true. And how about for, the business owner who either was a new business owner or a seasoned business owner, but someone who’s just wouldn’t call themselves a natural planet or a natural naturally productive or organized person. Like, I get a lot of questions about how to set up a planning routine or a schedule. So what would your advice be to someone who either hasn’t even tried to plan ahead before whose current routine isn’t really working for them?

Hannah:
Yeah. I get this a lot, which I love. And it’s such an important question because like I was, I think my problem with my schedule was I, I wasn’t identifying the profit generating tasks, but a lot of people I work with, it’s just not their natural work style. And so something I always encourage people with is that like, in order to be flexible, you actually need structure. And the reason for that is flexibility. Isn’t like, you know, or just creativity kind of going with the flow. Like that’s not waking up each morning and going out, I’m just going to do what I want. Like, I don’t really know what I’m doing. And you kind of just, it’s almost like a tumbleweed. You just kind of go where the wind takes.

Hannah:
But flexibility is waking up going, I’m sick. I can’t work today. I know what I need to reschedule. And it’s like, it’s a minor difference, but it’s also a big difference in that the structure allows you to be flexible and have that extra spray space and breathing room without the anxiety, because you know what you’re missing, you know, what you need to catch up on, you know what, isn’t good. So the first, there’s three kinds of steps. I’d suggest someone to take when that first, like at the point you explain, so the first thing is brain dump. Every single task you do, especially in your business, right? Because that you can’t create a schedule. If you don’t actually know what needs to go in it. So brain dump all of that. And actually then step two is assess the list and go, is there anything in this list right now that I actually need to eliminate?

Hannah:
So for example, like I was spending weeks on Facebook marketing and like, like organic, right? Nothing wrong with Facebook. I think Facebook is amazing. But when I looked at my data, I saw all of my leads were coming from Instagram and referrals for my blog and Pinterest business. And so I had to look at that and go, okay, I’m going to let Facebook go in this season, right. Just for three months. That’s going to give me back two hours a week. Now I can see what I can work with that. And, you know, I can pick Facebook up at any time I want, you don’t have to eliminate something forever, but it’s just like, what actually isn’t generating income for me right now, or what do I not really enjoy? Like that kind of thing. And then, also I look at that list and go, is it anything that I can do more effectively or efficiently so that it’s not like taking me forever?

Hannah:
Like for example, whenever someone booked a sales call with me, I would go create a zoom link and then I would go send them an individual zoom link. And it only took five minutes, but doing that every time was time-consuming. So instead I just joined a scheduling tool and zoom and it did it for me. So just like those little things to actually improve the way you do it. It’s really powerful. And then the last thing is I personally loved that teaching my week based on type of task. So I personally found that doing it, like time-blocking never fully worked with me because I felt so like restricted, but other people, it works really well. And that’s why I say you do need to create the schedule based on your personality. But what works for me is I, in the season I work kind of two to three days a week.

Hannah:
And in my view, there’s four areas of your business. The first area is sales. So this is content marketing. This is like, you know, advertising, whatever that looks like for your business, how basically how people find and do, and, uh, like inquire with you. I’m going to book you. The second area is your offerings. So like, I know a lot of your audience are, you know, stickers and Etsy sellers. And so that those offerings would be there and fulfilling those offers. Uh, but it also might be, if you do like coaching it’s might be one-on-one calls, like whatever your business offerings are, is fulfilling that, and then the area of your business is operations. So this is just things like bookkeeping. If you have a team team meetings, those kind of, like legal things, all of that within your business. And then the last area is projects.

Hannah:
So these are like one off that you’ve been wanting to do for a while. So they’re not like an ongoing task, but they’re just something that you need to focus on in order for it to be done. So like an example of that would be creating a website and getting that launch. You don’t do that every single month, but it’s just like that one a done thing. So, those are the four areas. And then I put my schedule, like I use that to create my schedule. So for example, like Tuesdays might be my sales day. Wednesdays might be my client work day and it just having that structure, like it helps me from going, oh, I really need to get that globe done too. I’m going to get that block done next Tuesday. Like, it just gives you that day when you’re going to do it so that you can, you know, have less brain have more brain space by taking it out. So that was a long answer to your question.

Mim:
That’s cool. And you know what, I’m going to recap. So we’re going to be looking at our schedule. We’re going to be brain jumping. First of all, brain dumping, everything we know needs to happen. We’re going to be assessing the listing where we can be more effective, where we can streamline tasks as well. So we focused solely on one thing at a time to be more efficient. And you know what that reminded me of, and I don’t know whether this is how you came up with this, but going back to teaching, being at school. When I was sat in my French class, I wasn’t thinking about my history, homework. You dedicate you, you, when you think back, you’re dedicated to the thing that you’re doing at the time. And it’s all very intentional. Obviously at school we’re being led to do those things. We’re not setting our own schedule at that point, but it’s working for most of us.

Hannah:
I love that!

Mim:
You can use that ha ha!

Mim:
Use that for your business life or your personal life. And I think what you were saying before about the structure creates the freedom to, I find a new, you’ll get this too, that people think that planning and using a planner using a set routine or a structure makes their whole life very scheduled and it takes away the freedom and the creativity and the free spiritedness actually does the opposite of that. And in my experience as well. And when people say, you know, I can’t use a planner, I’m not organized enough. I’ll like you actually use the planner to be organized and you can become an organized person, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to lose all of your freedoms at the same time. You get more of them.

Hannah:
Exactly. It’s so true. It, it really does, like since I had a schedule, I all of a sudden have way more time. Like I can watch Netflix at lunch without feeling the stress. Like it’s so powerful because it, it really does, like, it’s changing a habit, it’s changing a way you approach something and yeah,

Mim:
So true. And we were all very good at batching Netflix our way. Yes. That’s a habit really strongly over time. I could talk to you about this stuff. Like this is so valuable. And I think whether or not you are new to creating a schedule for your business life, work life, or even personal life, or whether you just looking at what you’re doing now and realize that it isn’t working. I think these have been such awesome tips. And I know that you have a free class that you’d like to offer spaces too, for anyone listening here or watching. So can you tell us a little bit more about that? And I know that it touches on what you were talking about when it comes to scheduling for your personality. So tell us more.

Hannah:
Yeah. So the training has had a transition to a profit focused schedule without that never ending to do lists. The training goes for about 16 minutes and in that training, I go through like the three top mistakes, just so that we can see like how to fix it. So I talk a lot about that task switching and how to improve it and also bring in some other things. And then I go through my four step method, my profitable schedule method, which walks you through in more detail than what we kind of covered here, but just walk through like the steps that you need to take to actually create a schedule. So yes, I love the training. It’s so much fun and yeah, no, you’d get a lot out of it.

Mim:
Oh, I’m going to do it myself. So I’d love for anyone to do that along with me. And I’ll pop a link in the notes, but you can go to love from mem.com/hannah, H a N N a H. And let’s take that training together. I just think when it comes to productivity, especially as a business owner, creating a profit focused schedule as well, we can never stop learning about these things like our business, our life, our intentions. Everything’s always changing too. So let’s get a really strong foundation and then let’s keep on learning the skills that you share to be able to reflect on what’s working and what isn’t, so we can make changes as well. And where else can everyone find out more about you?

Hannah:
Yes. Well, I love hanging out on Instagram. I’m at With Hannah and Co so yeah, we’d love to hear from you. I also share quite a few tips on there as well, Mim and I actually did an Instagram live together. It’s in the IGTV section. So you can definitely check that out. I interviewed MIPS. That was fun. I’d love to connect with everyone over there

Mim:
With Hannah. So it’s at With Hannah and Co on Instagram and are linked to that as well. And I’ll also link to the interview we did cause that was such a great chat. Hello. This has been amazing. I could talk to you about productivity, planning, scheduling all of this all day, because like I say, I just think all of the tips are so valuable and can be absolutely changing life changing and business changing. So thank you so much for coming to share with us today.

Hannah:
Thanks for having me. It was so fun.

Mim:
Any time I’ll pop all the links in the show notes for everyone as well. And the link again to Hannah’s class is www.lovefrommim.com/hannah. And I hope to see you at the class. Oh, I just loved that conversation with Hannah and I really hoped that you did as well. I hope that you’ve got lots of different ideas about how you can be more productive in your business. And there’s a knock on effect as you heard from Hannah, how that has a big impact on the freedom that you feel in your life as well. So make sure you let me know what you learned from this episode. I’d love you to share it as well. You can find me at Paper Planner Club on Instagram, so make sure you tag me there. If you enjoyed the episode and what you learned, see you in the next one.

See you in the next episode.

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I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land I work and live on, the Awabakal peoples, and pay my respects to Elders past and present.
I thank them wholeheartedly and express my love and gratitude for the privilege to live and work in such a beautiful part of the world and for the opportunity for my family to be part of this vibrant and supportive community.