Marissa Allen is the food blogger behind First and Full and the proud owner of The Cookie Society, an online gourmet cookie shop that ships nationwide. She’s also the married to NFL player Jeff Allen (who spent part of last season playing in Kansas City) and is mom to two adorable kids. With all that going on, she is incredibly busy. So she’s joining us today to talk about how she prioritizes her day and decides what gets her attention.
Gauge the impact
Last year, while Marissa was juggling her two businesses and family, her husband went to play for the Kansas City Chiefs halfway through the NFL season. She thought she could get everything done when he left, but then things started falling through the cracks. But that’s when she had a major realization.
“The world didn’t end,” she said. “So I was like ‘OK, maybe that didn’t matter as much as I thought it did. I just got better at gauging what has the greatest impact.”
- For her kids, the biggest impact was ‘Phone down, undivided attention.’ She leaves her phone in another room so she’s not even tempted to look.
- With her business, she realized social media turned the most sales for The Cookie Society. So it had to become a priority to engage with her audience there. (That said, she’s realized it’s not essential to post daily on her personal account – so she’s not killing herself over posting there too regularly.)
- For her marriage, she knew their relationship was best when they got in face-to-face time, so figuring out logistics to get her family to Kansas City was essential.
Her decision making process when it comes to prioritizing her day
Marissa has four rules for what she needs to incorporate in her day. She needs to incorporate:
- Something for me
- Something for my kids
- Something for my husband
- Something for the business
Making sure something hits these buckets daily helps Marissa know her priorities are getting met. Are there times not everything gets hit? Sure – but she’s made time with her kids and time with her business the absolute non-negotiables should she need to focus more tightly.
Getting over the guilt
Whether you’re starting a business or growing a family or doing it all at once, it’s easy to feel like all your time should be devoted to that thing.
“I do always feel like I should be working,” Marissa admits. “But I fight that every single day.”
Her days vary in schedule but she tries to really get as much as she can done in the morning – then force herself to slow down in the afternoons. This may mean taking a long lunch, calls with family, then picking one business task to complete and calling it a day.
“I have to keep a good pace or I’ll burn out,” she said. “I think that’s why my days look like that.”
How to get started prioritizing your day
Not sure how to get started organizing your days more efficiently? Here’s what Marissa suggests:
- Sit down and make a list of everything that needs to be done to keep your business afloat.
- Highlight was doesn’t have to get done. What can not be done and things will be OK? Are there things you can delegate? Are you in a position to hire a freelancer to help with anything? Can you find an app to do any of the tasks for you?
Also don’t be afraid to use the Screen Time app on your phone to help shed the time you’re spending on your phone. Marissa ghosts several apps so she can’t access them until a certain time in her day. She’s also turned off email notifications so she doesn’t get sucked into business emails unless she consciously chooses to.
Final advice for new entrepreneurs
- “It’s going to take longer than you think to get where you want to be so go ahead and slow down now so you don’t burn out later.” Doing this can also help you be really methodical about the decisions you’re making along the way.
- Biting off more than you can chew can really come back to haunt you, Marissa warns.
- And don’t work for free – you offer value so honor that. Don’t be afraid to push back and offer alternatives to clients that really work for you.
- Do what you can, and don’t stress about what you can’t.
Check out The Cookie Society here.
Find out more about the Planoly app here.
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