In this week’s episode, we were joined by Valerie Recore of Stride Productivity. She is a Productivity Specialist, entrepreneur and a mom. She will teach us about how to be productive without sacrificing our mental state and time with family.
It was an amazing conversation where we talked about all the things that’s about productivity:
1. How Valerie got into the world of productivity.
2. Giving yourself a break, is being productive
3. Are you really being the most productive at work?
4. How do you choose the different skills that are best for you to be spending your time on?
5. The mental space of being able to shut down.
6. What was one of the reasons Valerie decided to start her own business here in Denver?
7. How can people learn more about working with Valerie?
Productivity is one of the most challenging parts of being an entrepreneur so don’t miss this chance and learn everything you need to know in this week’s episode.
Visit Valerie’s website: https://strideproductivity.com/
Katie Brinkley 0:02
Hi friends. I’m Katie Brinkley, and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado-based small business owners, entrepreneurs, realtors, and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Welcome back to another episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. My guest today is Valerie Recor. Now, Valerie believes that moms mompreneurs entrepreneurs, and we do too much and can I say I believe it. And what she does is she helps us take some of the tasks that we assign ourselves and make us not feel guilty about doing all the things and she is a productivity specialist. And she’s on a mission to help us get it all done. And she’s based right here in Denver, Colorado. So I love having another Denver right on the show. Valerie, welcome.
Valerie Recore 1:03
I am thrilled to be here. Thank you for having me.
Katie Brinkley 1:06
So we met through a she leads group, which is a networking group here in Denver, you did a presentation. And it was great, because I know, as an entrepreneur, it can be a little overwhelming trying to do all the things and there’s a reason that we’ve started our own businesses is because we’re extremely passionate about what we do. I don’t think anyone has signed up saying I would like to work seven days a week for 12 hours a day, when I’m just starting out. But here we are, and and your presentation really helped me become more productive and figure out what are some things that I can do to be more productive when I’m at work so that I can shut down and be a good partner. Be a good mom, when I am at home. So thank you again so much for joining me on the show today. Yeah, so Valerie, one of the things that that we’ve talked about, is being more productive. But just before we dive into that, I would love it if you told everyone just a little bit about yourself and how you even got into this world of productivity. Yeah,
Valerie Recore 2:17
so I used to be a professional organizer. And before that, I worked in corporate training. And I over the years, both in my personal life and professional life, which just listen to people, especially women complain about, or talk, I’m not sure they were complaining about how busy they were like it was a badge of honor. And I just remember thinking, This doesn’t seem right, like you don’t seem happy, we’re overwhelmed, like what is going on, there’s gotta be a better way. And so over time, that just morphed into, hey, I can help people instead of organizing their stuff, I’m gonna help them organize their time, because we’re just a society that tells you to go go go and hustle. And especially as an entrepreneur, there’s just that desire to be successful right now and do it all right now. And in a society, whether you work in the corporate world, or as an entrepreneur, like you should just constantly be working. And I just don’t think that’s how we want to be spending our lives really, right. And as an entrepreneur, we want that flexibility. Like, that’s what I wanted. And what I want is that flexibility. And if we’re just doing it all all the time, it’s not going to happen, for sure.
Katie Brinkley 3:27
And I think that too, it messes with your mindset. When you’re over committed and overworked. That’s when the doubt and the over overwhelming doubt creeps in. So one of the things I would like to talk about is when of being an entrepreneur with the mental toll, and the emotional toll that can happen when you are overwhelmed.
Valerie Recore 3:49
Yeah, it’s draining. So we live in a society that tells us that taking breaks is bad, you should not want to take a break, you should not partake in an afternoon off, you should not be going to bed early, you should not be taking a beach vacation, you need to be working and you need to be productive. But I don’t think we ever really look at what productivity means to ourselves and in our own life. And I have been I have done this to where I’m just knocking stuff off my To Do Lists without even thinking about what is on my to do list. I’m just Well it’s there. It must be important I must be doing it right. And, and feeling guilty. If we want to just take an afternoon off to go take a walk because it’s beautiful outside or ticket you know, half a Saturday to go play with our kids or whatever that might look like we feel like we just need to constantly be working. And what I find is when you take those breaks, you actually come back more productive. So when you give yourself that time and I have learned when I’m not feeling motivated when I am not feeling excited about my to do list or it just feels really hard to just give myself a little bit of time away from it. And then I will come back way more productive I will actually be able to get Get things done in a quicker and easier manner. And so we just have to learn how to step away for even just an hour and just get out of get away from the computer, get outside do something different. And that will help.
Katie Brinkley 5:13
Well, and that’s one of the things is I think that as, as entrepreneurs, we tend to sign ourselves above, I’m the only one that can do this task. So I have to make sure it gets done. And taking those mental breaks is extremely important. And so when I say taking a mental break, I’m not saying taking a mental break and going and sitting outside and checking your email or checking your Instagram feed, like taking a break. I know that for a lot of people journaling is a great way to kind of clear the mind and take those breaks for me, man, I just need a whole day, I need a day away out in nature, I am a true Colorado gal. I need to be hiking or snowboarding or skiing or doing something outdoors and that type of take a whole day off. But I come back and I feel so recharged. And the very first time I did it, I felt really guilty about like, Man, I should have been doing some some stuff at the office now I’m going to have to work twice as hard. But really, I can’t work twice as hard because I’m feeling refreshed and recharged.
Valerie Recore 6:12
Yeah, absolutely. And there’s a very good chance that you came up with some new ideas, or solved some client problem that was really bugging you, because you were like the back of your brain was thinking about it while you were out in nature. And not that you should go spend time skiing or being out in nature thinking about work. But that is when you’re when you’re just thinking you let your mind just wander. That’s when like the next idea comes from. And that’s where you start solving some of those problems as well.
Katie Brinkley 6:38
So we’ve decided we’re going to take some breaks, even if it’s just for an hour, shut down, go outside, recharge those creative juices. What do you have to say to people that are maybe sitting here saying Yeah, well, that’s an hour that I need to be getting stuff done? How can you help us with some of our time management on? Okay, are you being the most productive while you’re at work?
Valerie Recore 7:03
I think it starts with understanding the tasks that really need to happen on a daily basis. So I too suffer from shiny object syndrome, right? So I see something and then I’m just like that is going to solve all my business problems. And I like veer off into this other way and taking me away from what I should be doing. And so it’s really taking a good look at everything on your to do list and understanding what is it that’s bringing your business money, what is it that’s bringing your business clients and moving your business forward. And those are the tasks that you want to focus on each day. And maybe you front load your day with that maybe you block time off in the morning, that is your marketing time, or that is there’s like a half an hour every day you block off that is when you reach out to clients, or potential clients. And so having an understanding of what it is that’s moving your business forward, focus on those tasks, know how long they take you that’s part of it is really having a good understanding of how long something will take you. So we might think that writing a blog post or preparing for a podcast is going to take us 20 minutes. But really, we need an hour and a half, we need to know that. And so timing yourself while you’re working on those items. gives you that sense. And so now I know okay, it’s going to take me 45 minutes to write this one blog post, I need to block that time on my calendar each week. And this is going to be Tuesday from 830 to 915 is when I’m going to sit down and work on my blog posts. And so I know that’s taken care of. And so then you can start to really and maybe it’s days, you have certain days of the week that you see clients because you want other days for marketing or networking or whatever that might look like. And so really starting by knowing what’s most important, and then making time for those things, and then everything else can fill in in the cracks there.
Katie Brinkley 8:52
Well, and you bring up a good point too, because that’s one of the biggest mistakes that I was making with my business. I didn’t realize how long some of the tasks were taking me this podcast, for example. And I was like, oh, yeah, I can do a podcast and hey, I can edit it. I used to work at the radio station I did editing back then, you know, it’s no big deal. I can edit it, I can schedule it. I’m very capable of doing these things. But when I started time tracking, it was taken. So the podcast, you know, I block out an hour for the recordings of these. But really, you know, we had the pre call that was 10 meant, you know, just a 10 minute catch up. And then you know, in case this goes along, or in case do I think we there’s so many things that could happen. I was like, okay, don’t take me an hour a week. But in reality, after editing, scheduling, creating the social media graphics, and interviewing the guests and uploading it to the website, it was taking me close to four hours. And that’s four hours that I could be spending on sales calls or working on a new client. There’s so many other ways that this podcast while it is my baby and I love it. It was taking me more time And then it should, it wasn’t the best use of my time. And one of the things that helped me, I think that you talked about different time tracking tools, the one that I used was toggle, it’s free to DGL. And I went in, and I just tracked all my tasks for an entire month. And I was thinking I was working maybe 20 hours a week. That’s what I was thinking, I was like, holy cow, nope, nope, I’m working well over 40. And it, you know, when I was seeing how long I was working, what things I was doing, what things were taking me an exorbitant amount of time. And then from there, I was able to delegate. And so I’d love to, if you if you kind of went down this path of how do you choose the different skills that are best for you to be spending your time on? Are you focusing in on the right tasks?
Valerie Recore 10:49
Yeah, I love that you you bring up that toggle. And that’s because that’s one of the first things that I do with my clients is we track your time, all of it, I want to know where all of it is going. So that we can we can take that look at it and go okay, you think that you’re spending 20 hours, but really, you’re spending way more? And so let’s take a look at what those tasks are? And what is it that you love to do? What are you good at were like what’s in your wheelhouse? What just gets you excited about showing up for work every day? And can you outsource the rest? And maybe you don’t feel like you can right now maybe you don’t feel like you’re bringing in enough money to make that happen. But starting to think about what that looks like, like you said, the four hours you were spending on all the podcast stuff, you could be having sales calls. So are those sales calls, bringing in the money that are in a cover of VA who can come in and do this podcast work? And do the editing and all the behind the scenes stuff? So you love to show up and have the conversations, but maybe you can let somebody else do the rest of of those pieces. And so you’re really looking at what can you get off of your plate one? Are there just things that can just not be done all together? Can you just let go of something. And obviously, you need to edit your podcasts and get that out in the world. So that needs to stay on your to do list. But it’s obvious, it’s clearly something that you can pass off to somebody else. And so taking a look at what is it that you don’t enjoy doing, or is not something that you need to be doing. So maybe even if you enjoy it, if it’s something that is taking you away from the sales calls and the client work, which is really the heart of your business, then yeah, find somebody else who can take care of it.
Katie Brinkley 12:28
And this is the thing, too, is I think that as entrepreneurs, we think we can do it all. And we probably can do it all. But that’s not how you scale. And that’s not how you you grow as a business, if you are doing it all. So delegation, tracking my time to see how long, it’s taking me to do my tasks. And then delegating those tasks that, you know, we’re taking up way too much of my time. That’s what moved me to the next level with my business. And like you said, maybe it is just something small, where you bring in an assistant to work for five hours a week, and they’re doing some tasks. But that’s five hours a week that you get back that you can focus on growing your business or on other tasks for your business. Now, Mallory, we also talked about routines. For me, I start every day, and I have I’ve talked about this on past podcast. So for those of you that are watching on YouTube, I have this little box in my in my hand here, and it’s a timer. And as I turn the timer around, it says like, Okay, well 15 minutes tasks, 60 minute tasks. So I take this timer, and I sit down at my desk, and I say okay, I’m gonna check my emails for 30 minutes, the timer goes off. If I get through all my emails in 30 minutes, then before the timer is over, then great, I can move on to the next task, but it’s the routine. And knowing how long I have for each task, that really helps me stay productive. Talk to us a little bit about establishing those routines and why it is so important for your business.
Valerie Recore 13:58
Yeah, I love that idea of that little cube, because we can get totally sucked into processing or emails or not even processing, maybe we’re just reading them, we’re not even doing anything with them. We’re just wasting time on our emails, or, Oh, I’m just gonna go check this Instagram post and see how it did. And like 30 minutes later, you’re like, deep down into the rabbit hole of Instagram and you have done nothing productive. I do that one way too often, I admit. And so that when we have routine set up, they keep us in line to focus on all of those tasks. So things like I have blocked time on Monday morning for my marketing, I’m just going to front load my week. It’s not something I enjoy, but it’s something I am still doing. And I sit down on Monday morning and I just get it done for the week. I have a checklist that I follow and I just work my way through this checklist and I get all of my marketing scheduled and done and written for the week or two weeks or however productive I’m feeling that day. I have time blocked off on my calendar for exercise and throw in that personal one in there just because I know if I don’t do it By lunchtime, it doesn’t happen. So I’ve just blocked time on my calendar to go take that break for myself. Having those routines, maybe again, it’s only seeing clients on three days of the week. And so you have other time I have Fridays are fully blocked on my calendar, nobody can make appointments with me, that is my day to catch up on every anything that just didn’t happen during the week, it’s my day to plan for the next week, build that in another one I recommend is blocking the last, say 30 minutes of your day to just clean up from the day. So instead of working until five o’clock, or 330, or whatever it is, you need to head out of the office for your evening, taking the last half an hour to just maybe process just a few emails, look at your To Do lists for the day, cross off what you did get done, celebrate that. Take a few minutes to see what’s on your plate tomorrow. If you have a bunch of meetings, you’re not going to do any big, big tasks, you’re just gonna get some small stuff done. So knowing what you have coming up the next day, having that time to plan just collecting yourself cleaning up your physical desk space and your maybe your computer desktop, just getting yourself collected, essentially, so that when you sit down at your desk the next day, you know what’s going on, instead of working up until the last minute, and then the next day you sit down you’re like, Wow, I can’t find anything on my desk. I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know where to start. Oh, I’m late for a meeting that started a few minutes ago that I forgot at an early meeting today, whatever, taking that time really helps the next day function better. So just making sure that that’s a part of your routine. Those are the big ones. And I think Yeah,
Katie Brinkley 16:39
well I was gonna say, Valerie, that that was one of the things that I took away from from your, your your session, that the productivity session that I saw when it first very much you was that 30 minute, like kind of wind down. So for me, I implemented that into my my daily routine. I don’t go down the email rabbit hole. So I will open up my calendar because I still use a paper planner. You know, I go to I Yeah, so I have a paper planner. But I also have my iCal for everything. And I make sure that everything is in alignment with my paper calendar and my iCal calendar. I see what tasks I have to do for today. So you know, I have two things I need to get to do today. But some how within my my plans. So I know, okay, I don’t get these done. Well, do I have time tomorrow, and then I time block that in tomorrow because that is priority number one if I didn’t get done today, so I get my calendar in place, I get everything in line depth so that I know that exactly how much time I have to get tasks done. I get my to do list on but I clean up my desk. And I mean, yes, I am in a office that is surrounded by windows. So I do like to kind of keep it tidy, just so that other strangers who walked by are like, look at that pigsty. But I found that when I come in the next morning, I’m like, Alright, here I am at my desk, there’s no clutter, all I gotta do is just log in and get to work, check my emails and start that routine. So that 30 minute wine down, it was hard for me because I was like, gosh, you know, I need I have got the time I could fit one more client call in or I could just open it up for XYZ. But I need that time I need that time to shut down. And then when I shut down, I’m like, that’s it done working for the day. And it’s helped me when I go home, I’m shut down, not shut down from my family. But I’m shut down from work. Yeah,
Valerie Recore 18:35
that’s great. And I love that you mentioned that you don’t deal with email at that time. So I think we can block other times during the day to also check emails. So maybe it’s 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes in the afternoon, and your email is closed otherwise, so that you aren’t distracted by the incoming reminder that there’s an email or you’re like, Oh, I see you like you’re just you can focus on other things. And then you’re forced to just process email during that time, we could probably spend a whole other conversation on dealing with emails, we’ll leave that there.
Katie Brinkley 19:09
Yeah, well, and it’s true. I mean, like, that’s one of the things is, it’s great that we can work from anywhere. But it’s also a curse that we can work from anywhere. We’re available 24/7 Now, but that’s where you have to establish those boundaries, because otherwise it’s gonna mess with your mindset, it’s gonna mess with the whole reason why you decided to become an entrepreneur and having the ability that that freedom. So establish those boundaries and make sure that you’re not too available. I think that that is that is really important. I mean, we all want our businesses to grow. So we, you know, that was one of the mistakes that I made as I was available for my clients. 24/7 But then it also made me available for my clients. 24/7 I couldn’t go camping. I couldn’t go on a cruise, you know, because I was always there for them. So establishing those boundaries is extremely important and shutting down from the email. It can be hard, but I think it is a necessity. And I think it helps you with your mental state to I know this is kind of coming full circle back to what we were talking about at the beginning of the episode. But it gives you that that mental space of being able to shut down when you aren’t always available when you aren’t always connected to your work.
Valerie Recore 20:23
And it helps you focus on whatever it is whatever task you are focusing on. So if you’re preparing for a client call, or you’re preparing for a sales call, or following up on one of those, like you’re focused on that, you’re not thinking about the three other emails that just popped in that you now need to deal with, or 25 emails or whatever that is going, I really have to deal with these, like you were just focused on the task that you were working on, and nothing else. And that takes practice to like that’s a muscle to build up. And especially as women, we we want to do multiple things at the same time. And so it’s hard to focus, but I think we get more done, when we can just focus on those one on that one thing. And same for email, when you just sit down and you just work your way, meticulously, like through your emails, you’re gonna get through them quicker than when you’re just constantly scanning them and not really dealing with them. Yeah, exactly.
Katie Brinkley 21:17
And I always was one of those people is like, oh, my gosh, you have 100 emails in your inbox, you know, just clean them up. But now, you know, I’m one of those people, because I’m like, I want to come back to this later and actually want to read the email. But, you know, for since I time block stuff, it, I’ve got stuff in there from like an app in February, and it’s still haven’t read it, man, I’m sure it’s a good newsletter. It’s good enough that I wanted to save it and come back to later. But I just don’t have time. And so that’s where being cognizant of other people sounds like if you are sending an email newsletter, make sure it’s you know, to the point and it is a value so that people open it, and they get lost in the shuffle. So Valerie, you know, you’re another Denver, Denver based entrepreneur. You know, I know that one of the biggest things about living here in Colorado is building a business around your your that Denver lifestyle. And, you know, what was one of the reasons why you decided to start your own business here in Denver?
Valerie Recore 22:16
Yeah, I wanted the flexibility that comes with being able to run, manage my own time, I have two kids, I wanted to be able to pick them up from school or show up for a recital, and not have to worry about the paid time off and just sort of that all that comes with working in the corporate world. And being a mother. And just having that flexibility, I have long term dreams of spending our summers traveling with our camper, and working from the road. I’m not sure if that will ever happen. But we talked about it. And it may happen at some point or who knows. And so having that flexibility to be able to do that. And just being able to follow a path that I feel passionate about and strongly about and feel like there’s a big need in the world for the work that I do.
Katie Brinkley 23:03
Now, you can help just about anyone get more organized with their their business time management skills. So do you typically work with people through zoom? Or do you mostly do speaking events where you guys teach to a group? How can people learn more about working with you?
Valerie Recore 23:21
Yeah, so I, everything I do is virtual, it’s all usually through zoom, or a phone call. Sometimes people get thrown when they schedule a meeting with me, and it’s just a phone call. And like, we’re meeting on Zoom, like we’re going old school. We’re just having a phone call today, we all get tired of staring at our computers. And I have a virtual community. And that is just for moms just for women. And it’s just a space to where we talk about our productivity related to being moms being entrepreneurs, how that all works together, and sort of bigger than productivity, but we do keep some of the focus on that. And guess uh, you can find me on my website, which is stride productivity.com Or for all the women out there, stride productivity.com forward slash quiz. And it’s a quiz related to the bad mom’s movie and connects you with one of the main characters from there because I resonate with that movie. And I’m sure most moms out there do as well. And there you just you get a custom mantra that just helps helps you feel at peace. Right then and there. And yeah, so that’s, that’s the short of it. All right.
Katie Brinkley 24:29
Well, one final tip, if someone says, Okay, you brought up a lot of great ideas for me to be more productive, be more organized and to give myself those mental breaks. What is one final tip that you would want to give our listeners as we send them off into being more productive at work?
Valerie Recore 24:48
The first thing that comes to mind is just giving ourselves grace because we have way too much on our plates as entrepreneurs, and we’re not going to get it all done today. And so just giving ourselves Grace, for showing up. We’re showing up every day and doing work that we love, or at least work that is moving our business forward. And really just understanding that focusing on the big stuff, the things that are moving you forward and everything else will fall into the cracks and fill in where it needs to
Katie Brinkley 25:19
awesome about Valerie, thank you so much for joining me on today’s show.
Valerie Recore 25:23
Thank you for having me.
Katie Brinkley 25:25
Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at www.nextstepsocialcommunications.com. Connect with me on LinkedIn or check me out on Instagram. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.