It’s Not the Doing, It’s The Planning with Mridu Parikh
We all have 100+ things on our to-do lists and probably at least 100 more things in our heads that we need to do. There’s no way to remember it all or get it all done. It’s pretty common to brain dump a list of to-do’s for the day, setting ourselves up for failure because the list is too long, we have too many distractions, and/or we simply lose momentum.

Relate much?

Well, Easily Distracted Entrepreneur, you may continue to be frustrated because you’re more focused on the list and checking things off the list than you are on the actual planning of the to-do’s. And that’s what we’re talking about this week on the podcast with productivity coach Mridu Parikh.

Listen in as we talk about the value of the brain dumps, but the power behind the planning. Mridu shares why you should only have five things on your big list and how to approach getting each of those things done. And be sure to listen through to the end, where she shares a tip that will make you feel silly but is sure to help you get that nagging task off your list.

About Mridu Parikh:
Ready to get control of all your demands? Then you need Mridu Parikh, The Stress Squasher, on speed dial. Overwhelmed women business owners work with Mridu to prioritize and systemize so they take control of their demands and distractions – at home and at work. She is passionate about getting women the results they want, whether it’s doubling their revenue, losing weight, or creating stronger boundaries. Mridu is a productivity coach, founder of Life Is Organized, host of the Productivity On Purpose podcast, and author of the best-seller, Accomplish It. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Instagram.

Links & Resources:

Time Stamps:

[1:30] – Only two months left in the year
[4:20] – People need to deal with time and stress right now
[5:58] – Most women biz owners feel like they have to do more to be successful
[7:58] – Writing a list of what you need to do takes the discerning out of it
[9:14] – Getting it on paper is really cathartic
[11:30] – Create a gotta do it list; everything else is gravy
[12:50] – Don’t set yourself up for failure
[14:23] – Have 5 things on your list a day
[15:50] – What are the top 5 things today that will make me feel most successful when my head hits the pillow tonight
[19:56] – How to approach the list of five
[23:07] – 90% of people work better in the morning
[28:56] – The Power of When and paying attention to the rhythms of the day
[31:36] – Structure scares people
[34:27] – Anything more than one step is a project
[38:01] – How to get back on track when you find yourself floating
[39:39] – Actually state what you’re going to do out loud


Amber Hawley 0:01
Business owners are increasingly being pulled in so many directions, feeling like they aren’t reaching their full potential in business and life despite their type aways. With my background as a therapist, entrepreneur, and as dropout with ADHD, I interview and coach high achieving business owners like you who want to stop struggling for success by using psychological systems, strategies, and the occasional care for entation. This is the easily distracted entrepreneur, your place to slay, overwhelm perfectionism and shiny object syndrome so that you can get done what matters most to you.

Amber Hawley 0:40
Hello, hello, welcome back to the podcast. I’m really excited to have you here. If you’re listening to this. Around when it comes out, it’s almost Halloween, which is crazy to me, which I always feel like once Halloween happens, it’s basically the end of the year. We’re already in 2023 at this point. I don’t know. Does anyone else feel that way? I feel like I do so much future planning in my business, that sometimes I forget, like, what month it actually is. So you know, I’ll have events or you know, things I’ve been planning or projects. And I’m basically like, oh, it’s been 2023 for like the last six months. So yeah, so it’s only October people. savor those last two months. But if you are in a place of like, oh my gosh, I have two months left to the end of the year. And there were some things I wanted to get done. or feeling like okay, I need to regroup and think about how I want to start next year and what I want to accomplish next year, I have the perfect thing for you. In November. In the inner circle membership, we are having some workshops around taking stock of the last year, really learning how to celebrate our wins and take a look at things take a real hard look and get honest with ourselves and see what didn’t work so well and maybe think of a new approach on how to make that happen. So I hope you will join us in the inner circle where it’s a wonderful community where we talk about building sustainable businesses, getting done the things that you want to so that you can have more fun and joy in your life. You can head on over to for more information.

Amber Hawley 2:34
In today’s episode, I get a chance to talk to Mridu Parikh, who is a amazing businesswoman and productivity experts. She calls herself the stress washer, which I absolutely love, love that love the alliteration. Mridu is a productivity coach, founder of life is organized and host of the productivity on purpose podcast as well as a best selling author, author. So you know, basic underachiever type, the kind that we love around here. So I hope you enjoy our discussion as we’re going to be talking about creating a to do list that’s not overwhelming. And without further ado, welcome Mridu.

Mridu Parikh 3:23
I am so excited to be here. You know, Amber, we’re like kindred spirits. So I can’t wait to jump in today.

Amber Hawley 3:29
I know it’s true. And I was saying to you before I hit record, I literally thought I was on your podcast just like a hot minute ago. And I was like, oh, I need to follow up. Because I said I wanted to have her on because I just thought we had such a great conversation. And then I was like, Oh, wow, that was last year. Or the beginning of this year. It was so long ago. I’m like, Oh my gosh,

Mridu Parikh 3:51
it is amazing. I’m like, I teach time. And still, I’m like, Where does the time go? It’s amazing.

Amber Hawley 3:57
You’re like, I teach it, but I have no control over it. Yes. Awesome. I Yeah. Like I said, we I was on your podcast, and we had such a great conversation. And I thought, you know, I think we, we think a lot of the like and kind of talk about the same stuff. And I just thought it would be so helpful for people to hear from you. As you said, you teach time you help people with their stress. And, you know, frankly, those are two things people need to be dealing with right now.

Mridu Parikh 4:27
For sure, for sure. I think it’s I mean, obviously, yes, the unprecedented like last two years, but then beyond that. It’s like, this is the time in history. We’ve never been more connected. We’ve never had more distractions we’ve ever had higher expectations. And we’re just juggling so many demands. So it’s, it’s it’s a struggle for everyone.

Amber Hawley 4:48
Absolutely. I know. And that’s, you know, I think that’s the hard thing too, as you know, somebody who’s neurodivergent and I think about this stuff all the time, right about about efficiency and product ability and like getting done what’s important to me because, you know, I want I want to be in alignment, but to it’s like I’m trying to figure out how can I be most effective, so that I can actually enjoy my life? Right? Yeah. And so I’m always thinking about this, and I, and I’m like, Oh, it’s so hard because there’s so many things in business, that make us feel like were doing something productive. And all it’s doing really is giving us those dopamine hits. Yeah. And making us feel good. And yet, then we wonder why the end of the day, we’re like, Oh, my God, my to do list didn’t get smaller, or, you know, it’s, you know, building up and I’m, I had to add more things. This is something this is something that comes up for people when they’re, you know, going through things. And it’s like, oh, I remember now I have to do this. And that’s a common stressor. Right. And that’s something you talk about how to create the perfect to do list and not feel overwhelmed.

Mridu Parikh 5:56
Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, I think that most women, business owners feel like in order to be successful, I’ve got to do more doing right, the more I do, the more I cross off that that like determines my success, that sort of validates my time and my energy, where I’m putting my focus. But I would challenge anyone listening to think that it’s not more doing it in order to be most successful, you want to focus on planning. So the more you plan, you still might do as much, you might do a lot less, you might do more, it’s not about the doing. It’s the planning, because that’s when you get those aha hours, and you get that clarity on, here’s what’s the best use of my time, here’s what best serves me, here’s what’s gonna give me the best results, right? And it all comes through in the planning. So it is truly the hardest thing to do, though, right? So maybe a picture, I’m sure anyone listening are like, I had the crazy day, you know, everything’s gone wrong, the clients are pissed off and I got a flat tire and the kids are crying, you know, the dog is like, puked on the floor. There’s a million things, right? And so in that minute, your natural instinct, your your, you know, what you’re gonna do is let me just doo doo doo, I have a clean, I got a text, I got an email, I got it. But if you could step back, right, if you could just step back for 30 seconds, one minute and plan or just think it through? And then you’re like, Okay, actually, yeah, I can Uber it, you know, instead of it’s my own deal with the car right this second. And I can quickly wait this up and put the dog in the cage, like you all of a sudden get this clarity and what’s important what to do. And it’s simply it’s not because you’re smarter or not, because you’re a better business person, you just like took a little minute to plan. So I think that’s where the whole to do list kind of comes in. It’s, it’s not just like adding them to adding them out of them for like, no, just for sake of adding them. But it’s it should be used as a tool we can get into it, like really helps you plan better.

Amber Hawley 7:54
Yeah. And like you said, I think it is actually the hardest thing, because if you just wrote now, I hear from so many people that are like, if I had to write out like everything I need to do they find that overwhelming. But at the same time, I think writing, just writing a list of everything that comes to mind that you need to do, that’s really easy in the sense that you don’t have to do any discerning, there’s no thoughts, there’s no like making choices, whatever. And that I think is kind of what you’re talking about the struggle is you actually have to look at it and make a choice. That’s the plan, right? You have to make a choice, like, what is most important? And what am I going to focus on? And not let all of these distractions come in? Right. And of course, you know, you have to be flexible with things because life does happen. But I think that’s the hardest part is taking that step back, giving yourself that space and then making a choice. And I think that’s, I think that those extensive to do lists, you know, written over and over and over. It makes us feel good. Like, again, like we’re all I look at I got it all captured. But we’re but we don’t actually like make a choice about what’s most important, because most of the time it’s not they’re totally unrealistic, right?

Mridu Parikh 9:10
Yes, yeah. Yeah, I think there’s something very cathartic about getting it all out of your head and getting it on paper. Like it’s the number one thing I’ll tell clients to do is Yeah, take that, sit back and just write, get it out. I agree. It can be completely overwhelming. It’s going to be overwhelming when you see it on paper. But at least when it’s out, you really think about your brain and I’m pointing to my brain right now, you should be listening to this. But there’s a look at the size your head, there’s only that much room in there. There’s only that much space. So if you keep stuffing if you don’t actually literally think you think of it like a space. I’m gonna get stuff out right like a box. I’m taking stuff out. Now I have the space and the energy in the room to make those decisions about what’s the biggest priority. What’s the best thing if you don’t even get out of your head? It’s just like, going think of a box is completely packed the top and you’re now like rummaging through everything and there’s shit on top of the bottom. When all over, you know, they’re squished together, and you are so confused, and so overwhelmed. So, yes, it can be overwhelming to write that out. And maybe it feels like what’s the point of this, but I can guarantee you there is such it is such a cathartic exercise and helps you just see clearly. So yeah, get it all out of your head first.

Amber Hawley 10:18
100%. And, yeah, I last week, I was talking to a client where she had written out this like, gigantic list, because she’s moving moving countries, actually. And I was like, Okay, that’s great. Now, I need you to go to that list. And I want you to let go of all the would be nice to use. Yep, let go of all the I should because like, she’s, you know, that, that the ideals, and I want you to look at what absolutely has to happen before you leave, like the bear like this, you know, this would be, you know, you got to you got to make sure your cat is taken care of right. Like, you have to have these things like there, you have to look at it like that, that I said, Write that list on a separate piece of paper. Yes. Like, because I’m like, I feel like, the encouragement for me is like, I’m gonna keep narrowing the funnel for her. Right? Because she likes to write it out. And I do think there’s something about that, like you said, One, I said that first, let’s keep it because that your brain like they told him it. So you won’t forget, because that’s always our big concern, right is we’re gonna forget. And then like narrow, narrow, narrow to get something that’s, that isn’t overwhelming to look at. Because if you only look at that big list, most of the time people just shut down, right?

Mridu Parikh 11:37
Yes, yeah. And I totally agree. Get those get what you the must do that have to do? It’s gotta call it My God to do list. It’s not like I want to do it. I kind of should do it. No, I got to do it’s my to do list. And I put that on a separate piece. And by the way, and what I’m saying right, it could be digital, digital, you could be use Evernote, I’m not necessarily saying it has to be writing. But the point is to empty your head. So just take that with a grain of salt, get it down wherever you need to and one place. And then I create a separate note in Evernote, or I just write it on like a sticky note. Here’s my top five things I gotta do. I got to do these ones. Everything else is gravy. Because here’s the thing, when you’re working off the giant list, right, and even the giant list could be 10. Like, it doesn’t even have to be at the 100 it’s probably going to be 100 things. But let’s say there’s 10 and you get through five, right there. They’re pretty valuable. They’re pretty significant because there’s your top 10 things right? He did five, that’s pretty good. But what do you focus on at the end of the day? Yeah, everything remaining the five he didn’t get? It didn’t get done. So what if you just started five to me if I do three to five and I can break that down a little bit, but um, you know, three to five, let’s say do five on your list. And you get through for you know what you’ve gotten through like 80% of your list right? At the end of the day, you only may find maybe there’s one thing you didn’t get through you don’t feel that bad. Or if there’s only five and you get through five, you feel amazing. Or if there’s five you get through seven your breaks amazing over the top right? So why do we want to make ourselves feel bad? Why do we want to go to bed feeling like crap, like, I didn’t get through anything? I’m a failure I’ll never get I’m always behind. Start with three to five. Like don’t put the 10 on your West? Like why did we set ourselves up for that? It’s I would so much rather accomplish what I set out to do and do more than feel like a failure because I’m never getting to that list.

Amber Hawley 13:25
Absolutely. I mean, this is you know, from a psychological standpoint, it’s like behavioral momentum to it’s like, we build momentum we like you said we feel good when we finish it. So you know, I’m always advocating that people pick one thing like they have the one thing and and you know, like I say that like the one thing in business right? Because the reality is we know like oh I also have to return that phone call and pay that bill or something like that. But I think it’s like that one major task like if you got that done you would feel fantastic you go forward and then there’s going to be those little extra things that that maybe we have to take care of. But I don’t know like so for you it’s your your numbers like three to five like having a realistic list and then continuing to like keep it separate from that big list because you’re right that’s the problem we only focus on what’s not done not what we did yes

Mridu Parikh 14:23
yeah so my typical roadmap a guideline now everyone should take this a grain of salt you may think this is too much to less like do what works for you but here’s my like kind of guideline is five Five a Day Three are professional and two are personal. Okay and but they’re not three giant things like you said it’s not like finish this project and get that outline get go it could literally your three one could be returned this email that I’ve been putting off or you know, a month that may might take you 10 minutes. You know, another is file this paper another is you know, create this outline It doesn’t it’s not the quantity of time it takes you. So if you no three should, it doesn’t mean it’s six hours long. It’s the quality of what it is right? And same with your personal. So some of my clients might Okay, one of the personal things is I want to have the lights off by 1030 tonight. That’s like one of my things for the day, I just won’t turn off the lights. So it’s a personal commitment, right? That one thing is that, and the other one is, you know, I want to sit with my kids for 10 minutes or whatever, or let’s say 20 minutes, we’re gonna go through dinner without or without our electronics. And that’s their second personal thing. You know, it’s not doesn’t have to be ours. So here’s the question that again, like a roadmap, that guideline for me, every day, every single day, everything gets to my clients. And if I don’t do it, typically my day feels crappy. And if I do follow this, it’s like a guarantee my day is gonna feel great. And here’s the question, what are if you stick with the number five, but let’s say what are the top five things today, that will make me feel most successful when my head hits the pillow tonight, I could say the top three things you can say the top one thing, right, will make me feel most successful. My head hits the pillow tonight. So here’s a couple of caveats about it. So feel is a really important word. So if you tap into your emotions, I think something that women have, that we completely is a great advantage. I think over a lot of over men, or just you know, just in general, as as women, we are intuitive. And we fucking follow our gut and our intuition. And we know what makes you feel best, right? Like, working out, even though I don’t want to do it. It’s usually the thing we’re procrastinating, right? The thing that I don’t want to do, but I’m going to feel amazing. If I respond to that email, or that scary thing that I’ve been putting off for a month. It’s scary. I don’t want to do it. But so make me feel the best if I finally get it done, right. So you tap into the feeling.

Mridu Parikh 16:45
And then the second thing that’s really important is when my head hits the pillow tonight, so not what makes me feel the best right now. Hmm, very different is before it’s when my day ends, because what would make me feel really good right now, I would love to just sit here and organize my desk, because it’s kind of a mess, that would make me feel so good. I’d love it. Right. But I can spend an hour on that. And when I go to bed tonight, and I haven’t sent out, you know, done some business development that I really want to do sales calls, I’m gonna feel like crap, right? And but but at the moment, my desktop really good or like, you know, getting on social media feels really good. So it’s not about what feels good to me right now. I’m just asking you look forward 12 hours, you know, and and if you can answer that question every day, what would make me feel the best for my head hits the pillow tonight and get those that’s your top. That’s your list, right? That’s that little separate sticky list. I guarantee you’re going to start start moving on things you’ve been procrastinating for forever. You’re going to feel so successful, you are going to impact your results, get everything faster, and you’re going to wake up feeling inspired, instead of behind it on the failure.

Amber Hawley 17:54
I love that. I love it. Because like you’re saying it’s two, it’s two lenses, those questions that help you discern and make the choice that yeah, we’re I mean, as humans, we’re very, like immediate gratification. Right. So it’s that a little bit of prolonged but not too far out. So, so it still feels, you know, manageable. But I think it’s great. And I agree that I mean, to me, it’s that whole, being able to wake up in the morning, not feeling stressed and behind is so transformative. Because it just gives you that energy and that momentum. Like I think that’s an energy management thing. But I love that. I love that technique. I love that thought of. Yeah, it’s not about right now, because right now was like, I want nachos. Yeah. Right. But yeah, overall, how am I going? What is going to make me feel best? I love that. I think that’s great.

Mridu Parikh 18:49
Yeah, I think another like big success factor just for business owners, is are those people who can think more long term than short term, and long term doesn’t necessarily have to be your five year vision or a three vision. But I mean, even less like to the end of the day, right? And so you’re willing to give up that short term gratification for that long term results. But for me, I think if I can just think of a day to day because we’re so crazy, and life is so hectic. I can’t think through I can’t be connected to my year vision or through your vision all the time. Yeah, because I can just connect to my daily vision, my Dell, I want to feel at the end of the day. I can I can I can kind of get myself there often. Not always one’s perfect, but they can help me get there. Right. It’s close. It’s not it’s close enough that I can almost feel it. But you know, and myself to do it.

Amber Hawley 19:40
No, I love that and I love and also I guess, do you have a strategy about how you approach that list of five because that’s what I’m thinking like, you know, there’s the eat the frog versus, you know, like, time of day thing. So yeah, let me hear. I would love to hear your strategy.

Mridu Parikh 19:57
Sure. Sure. So there is a huge gap, the biggest gap I’ve ever see in in kind of getting your tasks done in six, succeeding in them between what’s on our list or what’s in our head. And what happens in reality, huge gap, right? We Yes 99% of the time overestimate what we can get done, right. That’s why we have our list of 20 every day or 10, we think we’re gonna do it. It doesn’t matter if you have a PhD or an MA or an episode, you have a million degrees. Doesn’t matter how smart you are, there is a disconnect in our brain. One day, I’ll do some science research and understand what there’s a disconnect between what we think we can get done and what we can actually get done in reality. So

Amber Hawley 20:36
yes, it’s actually called optimism bias. from behavioral economics. Yeah, it’s planning fallacy. We Yes, we underestimate how long we always think things will go in our favor and be smooth, right?

Mridu Parikh 20:48
Yes. Even if we don’t, even if that doesn’t happen, we just underestimate the time. Like, I don’t know why, even if you’ve done it, because how many things have you done 100 times, like, by now you should know it right?

Amber Hawley 21:01
And our brains do well, every time that works against us.

Mridu Parikh 21:06
Every week, I mean, I blogged for a blog for 12 years, every week, I’m not gonna take me an hour to write my blog. Every week, it takes me two hours to write a blog, but every week I put down and out like, What is wrong with me? I don’t know why. Right. It’s like, it’s like convincing yourself that somehow you’re gonna get faster or whatever, better. So we do that. So to answer your question, then you want to marry that you want to close that gap. And really, look at those top three, top one, top five, whatever you have on that list, and look at your calendar, and estimate that time and put it on the calendar or at least write the times on your list. Whichever way you can marry it one way or the other. Some people actually want to block it on your so if it is, you know, send out that outline or return that email and we do it at nine o’clock in the morning. Am I doing it? 11 o’clock? 1130? Is it going to take me one hour? Is it Do I think do I say it’s gonna take me 10 minutes, it only takes me 40 minutes, you know, like actually block that time, or vice versa, write it on your list. And say only because I’m, I’ve been doing this for so long, I can now write it on my list. I don’t need to see it quite as visual. But for years, like I would suggest if you’re not doing this, do it on the calendar. But now I can say okay, now 9:30am doing this and 1030. But thing is when you’re looking at your, your calendar, now you can see oh, wait, I have that Zoom meeting and I have that doctor’s appointment and my hair appointment, I don’t have to drive there and I don’t have to. And then all of a sudden you’re five or three on your list. You might realize there’s no way I can fit this all in. And then you make adjustments, right? And you’re like, I’m going to make those smaller, or change my top fives and it’s gonna change. Or you realize, okay, I can fit it in, but I need to actually plan it out where it’s gonna go. Because otherwise it’s gonna fit on a list, right? Not gonna happen. And it creates an intentionality behind it, you’re actually creating an intention. This is where it lives is where it goes. You know, I suggest leaves buffer time things never go the way you want. Don’t, I wouldn’t have a calendar, I don’t understand these do it the calendar like nine to five or eight, you know, whatever, just blocked out every minute. It’s just things don’t happen that way. You know, so, least some buffer time. And then And then yeah, your question was, you know, eating the frog in the morning. I from my experience, I think there is research out there I think 90% of people are are more work better in the morning, there are some people who truly 10% of people who are like, my best work is 11 o’clock at night. I’m a night person night owl. Like I know, most business owners, especially also just given, like their business, you know, are better in the morning. So, yes, I think the more you can knock stuff out that you don’t want to do earlier in the day, when you have more energy. When you have more motivation, the better because your willpower is just going to where your energy is going to where you’re you know, and and so the more you can schedule that and I look at that do in the morning, the better off you’ll be.

Amber Hawley 23:48
Yeah, and I I mean, I like having things on the schedule, too, because I think it’s that visual accountability. Because like you said, otherwise, we’re not realistic, or we forget. And so, you know, I’ve talked about they’re like Tuesday, Thursdays are my client days. And so I tend to be pretty back to back booked. So on those days, I never expect anything to get done beyond seeing my clients and servicing my clients. Yeah, because it’s just not realistic. Yep. You know, I mean, at least during you know, my my work hours which actually I worked pretty late on those days but yeah, I think it’s I think that’s so helpful and you know, it’s funny because I’m not a morning person and so even though I’ll be up early, I feel like my brain doesn’t come on board early. And so forever I was doing like I’m I’m really productive I would say like between like three and 7pm or I used to be and I swear in this you know pandemic and everything changing. I also used to go to an office right and so now my office is in my home so I can hear my family I can smell everything that’s being cooked like you know I can everything and I have found I was like yeah, I just my no ergy Like totally depths unless I’m seeing clients because there’s, you know, that’s that being with somebody energy, but I started realizing, I think I need to experiment, you know, trying to do those things. First thing, because How amazing would that feel to say knock out your to do list and be done by noon? Like what I am that’s kind of my fantasy now is like, How can I set a realistic to do list and, and like I said I’m not counting meetings or anything because that to me like I can show up for a meeting because that’s super easy. It’s those, those things that we have to do in our business that I think are more challenging. So I guess for anybody listening, even if you don’t, if you’re like, typically, because I do talk a lot about like making your own schedule and understanding your own bio rhythms. But I’m like, I think I think there’s value in experimenting with that.

Mridu Parikh 25:49
I do too. And I’m totally I’m with you. I’m like everyone has their own energy. People know, some some people. I’m the worst after lunch. Some people are their best after lunch. So yeah, you’ve got to know. Yeah, you got to know your energy and work with that and test it for sure. But I still, I will often say if it’s something you’re procrastinating, yeah, just hate doing. The earlier the better it is, it’s a wait, you’re queuing that they have a big backpack, just carrying it around with you all day walking around with it, you’re like, if I could just take it off. Like if you can get it off earlier in the day, you’re like, Okay, I still have stuff to do, but I don’t have to carry the weight on me. That’s how it that’s how it feels to me. So for me, it’s always exercise like, I, I mean, I’ve also come to terms with I will never like to exercise, I’ve embraced it. If it is just it’s not who I am. Like, I will love it. I won’t do it. But if I but I’ll do it because I know it’s important to me. And if I don’t do it in the morning, it is a weight all day, you know, and I just can be 20 minute walk in the morning is something crazy, but it it it bogs me down and it makes me feel bad all day. And so it’s just one of those things, because I don’t like it. Like let me just get it over with let me just do it.

Amber Hawley 26:58
I mean, that’s you know why the that whole book was written eat the frog? Yes. Yes. It is true, though. Like if there is that thing that’s kind of lingering for you. Yeah, that’s the thing to get out of the way. Yeah. And the upside, you know, like you said, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll come up with many excuses. The longer the day goes, like, right life will happen. Like you said, your car breaks down, the dog throws up, you know, kid comes home sick, or I don’t know, whatever, whatever. I think gar. And so then the likelihood of stuff getting done goes on. But I know for me to even like you’re saying, I’ve been going on walks like twice a day. And then last week, I missed like, I only think I went twice because I was just having one of those busy weeks. And I felt it. I just like I have the I have so much more energy because it’s so much more, you know, getting out in the sun, getting out in fresh air, having that walk and then coming back and doing something before I shower because I found that. I mean, I still get things done when I come back shower, do all my stuff. But I found that like coming off of that exercise energy and capitalizing on that first. Yeah. Because then you know, after you showering, like, Oh, I’m hungry. And then you’re like, oh, and then next day, it’s like one in the afternoon.

Mridu Parikh 28:11
Yeah, yeah. Was like something’s it’s on my list. I don’t try it like, oh, so Monday’s mostly my my writing day and I will write my podcasts, I write my blog, I just do a lot of different writing. But I really love writing and like, I don’t dread it. So I don’t have to do that. First I get to stop. The first thing I have to get done. Like, I don’t know, whether I sit down at 10am or 1pm I’m gonna get it done because I really enjoy it. So there’s not as much pressure for me to do it first thing, whereas get really get my exercise in because if I don’t if I shower, it’s not happening. You know, that’s, that’s also part of just under so you just have to know yourself, you know, you have to know like, what, and work with that, like, Don’t always try to work against it.

Amber Hawley 28:48
So yeah, I know, it’s interesting, because I talk a lot about the there’s this book called The Power of the power of when I always confuse it with the power of now. Yeah, totally. But no, it’s the power of when from Michael Brewis. And he, he talks about there being like four different Chrono types, you know, the, the bears, which is basically what most people are, you know, they go to bed, they wake up with the sun go to bed with the sun sort of ish, you know, like standard operating time, I would say, Lions wake up super, super early. They’re those extreme morning people. Right. Then there are wolves who are like the night owls, we would call them night owls, but he uses mammals so and then dolphins, which is the Chronic Insomniacs. And so he talks about paying attention to the rhythms of the day and like certain times a day, you tend to be more creative, certain times of the day, you tend to be able to deal with like, more emotionally difficult stuff. So I think it’s fascinating. And again, I think even with that you have to experiment with it. But I did find like his suggestion for me was, I think like dealing with difficult difficult conversations was like four to 6pm But like you said Like, I definitely don’t want to do it first thing in the morning, but then it will it will haunt me all day if I wait until that time. So even, even though I absolutely love that book, and I talk about that stuff a lot, I still think like you said, you have to pay attention and kind of, I think you have to try things out and kind of learn for yourself like, what is your own bio rhythm?

Mridu Parikh 30:21
Right? Definitely. No, I couldn’t agree more. I think it’s, and the thing is that it can change. I think sometimes people are very worried about being too structured or too teen or, you know, it’s like everything’s laid out in my calendar, like, the data says, it can’t be different every day. As long as you you have a plan. It can be a different plan every day. You know, you could say, well, sometimes I want to write in the morning and some are maybe, you know, I like exercising two days, the morning and two days. Now I’ll do that afternoon, you know, and that’s fine. It doesn’t have to be the same. It’s more about having a plan so that you’re just not sitting there flailing figuring out what to do next. Where should I put my energy? I just got off a console call with someone and she was saying, you know, I have my business is booming. I’m doing great. But I have I’ll have these pockets of time. I have two hours free of this long to do list. She’s like, I’m just cleaning the house like I have no, I’m just like, I don’t even know what to do. It’s in that’s so common, right? You’re like I literally, I don’t even know where to put my energy. There’s so many things I could be doing. I can’t figure out what to prioritize. Yeah. And it’s like, well, if you have if you had a plan, it might be very different from the day before the next day. But if you sort of knew what that was, you use that time a lot. But she’s like, she’s not happy about cleaning the house. She was saying she was procrastinating basically like cleaning.

Amber Hawley 31:32

Mridu Parikh 31:34
And so I do think I’m not even sure why I’m talking about this. But this idea of structure like sometimes really scares people. And I don’t think it needs to No, it doesn’t have to be it’s not five days a week, the exact same thing only mornings I do. It’s only afternoons I do that. So you can also go with how you said, How did I not sleep? Well, last night? Well, that made to be better if I do this in the evening? Or did I stay up too late? Or did I not get you know, we’re gonna have a really, really early morning meeting. And maybe that changes what my day looks like. And as long as there’s some type of planning going on, it’s okay, if everyday looks different.

Amber Hawley 32:05
Yes, no. And I think that’s a great point. Because a lot of people, a lot of people with ADHD, especially we really resist schedules, we really resist structure. And we simultaneously know it’s the thing we absolutely need. Right, we need that structure. But it does feel really confining, because I think like you’re saying we approach it with the idea that somehow that means seven days a week or five days a week, that’s exactly what it has to look like. And it’s like, no it you get to be, you know, figure it out on a day by day basis. Like you said, Yeah, and I think that’s the thing. Flexibility is health. Like we have to be willing to have some flexibility. Now, if you’re always saying, Okay, I’m just going to do the thing. That’s fun. And I’m never going to focus on the important things. That’s a different kind of deal. But like you said, I think we beat ourselves up and it’s like, oh, I slept for crap last night. Okay, let me reassess right, what’s on my plate today. Instead, we beat ourselves up and say, like, you gotta push through, I gotta do this. And then nothing ends up happening, right? Because we’re feeling too tired to like, get the thing done.

Mridu Parikh 33:13
Yeah, absolutely. I you know, and one of those. So let’s say it usually, you know, us you have a crappy night’s sleep. So you wake up late. And now if you answer that question, what would make me feel more successful than had to hit the pillow tonight might be very different than what it wasn’t what you thought it was going to be before you went to bed right now, it might just be like, well, one of my top five things might be let me plan my day, that could be one of your five let me plan and figure out what my top four things are. You know, and that will make you feel really good because I can kind of get a plan in place and kind of get back on track. So don’t make these so big. If you tap into what would make you feel really good. Oh, if I just if I just didn’t waste the rest of my day if I kind of had a plan for it. Flexible plan that would make me feel great. You know?

Amber Hawley 33:55
Yeah, yeah. So I guess Yeah, I usually suggest to people like to make their list for the day and like a cold state. So like, the day before, or like if it’s, you know, Friday or I always say do what you know works for you. Some people plan their days on Sunday, some people they don’t want anything to do with business on the weekend. So they plan it on Friday for what’s happening Monday. Do you do that as well and then still reassess in the morning? Or do you usually wait until the day of the decide what your your five things are?

Mridu Parikh 34:27
Yeah, I like to do like a weekly like on Sundays, I just kind of look through my week soon overview. I’ve put in some, like major, any milestones if I can. So here’s another thing about the To Do lists. And it’s, we often tend to put in a lot of projects, right? So maybe it’s like on the list for the week is oh, I have to I’ll just use me. For example, I have a training I’m doing on Friday. So I might just say like, get ready for training or prepare training is like what’s on my to do list right? But then it’s not really it doesn’t have any steps. It’s just like, it’s very overwhelming, it’s very big. If I see that I may or may not put in time over the week to actually create the training. And then on Thursday, I’m really procrastinating and freaking out, and it’s like, oh my gosh, is due tomorrow, right? Yeah. But on the to do list, if you kind of break out, I think if anything more than one step is a project. Now I kind of look at that as sort of a to do, it’s not a task. It’s our project to get ready, ready for that presentation. So I might have to create an outline, create my slides, get feedback from my team, you know, update the slides, practice, print it out, and then get it you know, do it on Friday. So there’s like 10 steps in between. So the To Do lists, I really write down all those steps, so that I can start planning more accurately. And now on Sunday, Sunday, I might say, Okay, if it’s on Friday, Well, where am I going to? I might just I may not even have an every time period, but I’ll throw something on my calendar. But okay, on Monday, a Monday we do the outline and the first few slides. And on Tuesday, I’ll create the first draft I went down, you know, and I started getting that in on a high level. Because it things change, right day to day like new things come in and prayer. So, so then yes, then every single day, I’m actually looking at that day and planning. Okay, in full transparency. I will tell all my clients, it’s for everyone. Do it as much as you can the night before, just do it. Yeah. But I find and I think people find you’re just so fried at the end of the day, it’s really hard to do it. So I’ll be totally transparent. I’m mostly doing it the day of I would love to be better about doing it the night before, but but I want I do start my day being like, what what are the things I’m working on? where’s it gonna go at that whole process? We just went through?

Amber Hawley 36:39
Yeah, right. But I think that’s realistic. And if it’s working like I’m sorry. So what right, like that’s the that’s the flexibility of like being well, it’s self compassion, really. But, you know, I think though, what you’re talking about, though, is you are at some point, looking at the whole week, so that you are looking ahead, but then you’re, you know, doing it every single day. Yeah. And staying on track, because you already had this overarching thing that’s kind of guiding these choices, right? You’re not just like making it up in the morning, right?

Mridu Parikh 37:10
Yeah, yeah. But I will say do look at your calendar at night. That’s one thing I do do and may not plan out on my whole next day. But how many times? Do you wake up the morning and realize, oh, shit, I have a call at nine o’clock. You didn’t realize you have a call or the meeting? And you’re like, never running around, you’re not prepared or have the address whatever that right. So Oh, that is definitely for sure. I look at my calendar the next day, because if there’s morning stuff, like I’ve got to prepare for that, you know, tonight?

Amber Hawley 37:34
Absolutely, no, I love that. And let’s see. So I know I want to be mindful of our time here. But something else that we had kind of talked about going through is this idea that, like life happens should happen, things come up. And so sometimes we get to this place where we’re just off track with, like our goals and the things that we need to get done in our business. So do you have tips for people about how to get back on track? When they find themselves? Floating? Perhaps?

Mridu Parikh 38:05
Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s a partially definitely what we, I think started this conversation with is just the general the theme, the overarching theme is to step back, like step back. So it’s really and against that it’s the toughest thing to do. But it’s, it’s a simple thing to do is increase your awareness like, oh my gosh, I’m completely off track, I am procrastinating I’m doing some nonsense in the house, I’m on my phone, I’m on social media, right? Like, you catch yourself in the moment, you know, when it’s happening, because it abrading and celebrating and saying, you know, so behind the just get them get awareness, like stop, take a deep breath, step away. And often I think it’s best to like, remove yourself from that state, like, actually physically get out of it. So even if I’m in my office, and I should be working on that we had a presentation and now I’m caught up in social media. Sometimes I’m like, I’m either gonna get up and walk around or just take my computer center and like, bring it down to the kitchen. It just like I think to get yourself sort of like physically out of that state that you were in of that distraction is really helpful. Because it just kind of, you know, just shifts things around helps you recalibrate and just coming, you know, change change your environment. So, when you do that, then you can go back to some of those practices like okay, now I am out of my seat, I’m going to focus again. So what’s my next? What’s my next action? Yeah, get it and get intentional because otherwise you just jump back into email, right? You didn’t you just like mindlessly going you’re going from one mindless thing to another mindless thing. So what is that intention? And that’s what where the awareness really comes out. There’s something called like the law of intention, I think it’s called which where you actually state state what you’re going to do out loud, which sounds so trivial and ridiculous because you’re like, I am going to create this outline this outline right now you know, like, are you actually say it do you do it because that will like triggers your brain and your impulses to do it and So Oprah contributes this to like her, or her success. She’s like when I learned to get truly intentional when I could say to myself when I’m driving down the road, you know how many times you drive in your car and you get somewhere you’re like, I don’t even even remember driving, like, how scary is that? Right? Yeah. When she was like, when I get in my car and say, I am driving to the post office, and I’m saying, you know, focused on that, and that, and like, when she started doing this practice of just being intentional, all the success in the world came to her truly. And so it’s like this, actually stating out loud, no one’s watching you, no one cares, you’re at home probably or whatever they it. And that helps you get back on track.

Amber Hawley 40:38
I love it. And it’s funny. It is those little odd, simple brain hacks that I think makes such a big difference. That really can be so transformative. Because, yeah, it is we think we think we’re in charge of our brains. And we’re not right, you’re often not. So it’s figuring out like, yeah, how can I? How can I have an impact on what I’m focusing on? What I’m going to do? And yeah, sometimes it’s that little stuff. I’m definitely gonna try and start doing that. Yeah, yeah. Sometimes I think, Oh, I’m supposed to do this. And,

Mridu Parikh 41:15
yeah, it’s hard to do it all day, I definitely, they’re a bit like dark blue, and I’m on Facebook, okay. I’m just gonna write this thing. And then of course, I know you talk about this, I talked about this, then you got to do the other things that are in your control, like turn off the notifications and put the phone away. And, you know, because as much as you say, I’m going to, I’m going to this is my intention, if you’re allowing all these other distractions to come into you. It’s your it’s, it’s our fault. It’s up to us, right? Like we are the we are the ones in control of them. So we got to turn them off or put them away or pause them or whatever it takes to like to stay true to that intention.

Amber Hawley 41:49
I love it. I love it. Well, I want to thank you for coming on, even though I thought this was like, you know, five minutes after we had initially met. That’s so funny. It’s just so random. To me. This week has been just a week of me being hell aware that like 2020 to feel is almost over right now. Like how did that happen? But if people want to live find you and hear more from you, where should they go?

Unknown Speaker 42:17
Well, I am on all things Life Is Organized life is is my website, Instagram lives, Life Is Organized Facebook Life Is Organized. And I would love to know if you want to connect and just learn more, I have some great resources like 21 killer hacks to stop feeling overwhelmed, or how to finally stop procrastinating, how to get focused and you can get them at life is forward slash resources. And then finally, if you I’m assuming if you’re listening to this podcast, you love listening to podcasts. I have a podcast called productivity on purpose. And it’s for women business owners to help them get focused, get out of the weeds and take back control of their day.

Amber Hawley 43:00
Perfect. And of course, we’ll have everything in the show notes and all of your information. But I just want to thank you for coming on this was helpful and I think it’s always good to hear other people’s approaches and perspectives on like, how to structure your days how to structure your To Do lists, how to get things done, because as we know, it’s not a one size fits all kind of thing. Yeah, but yeah, I love I love those two, those two questions. I love that approach. I think it’s fantastic. So thank you so much.

Mridu Parikh 43:29
Thanks for sharing me with your audience. And I hope if anyone’s enjoyed this, please connect

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