49: Time Management and Setting Goals with Brittnie Renee

Brittnie Renee is back for another episode of How You Pictured It!

Her business has taken a little pivot and she’s launched a brand new planner designed for Photographers to help you manage your time and reach your goals. 

In this episode we talked:

  • Brittnie’s history with time management
  • How time management and using a planner is beneficial to creative entrepreneurs
  • The concept of time blocking and what that means for Brittnie
  • How to set goals
  • The value of goals based on your priorities and vision for your life
  • Breaking goals down into tasks and how to get them done

Brittnie is offering a free workshop November 7th-9th you can join here: https://brittnierenee.myflodesk.com/3dayproductivity

Save on your planner with code Kate15:  https://brittnierenee.com/planner-collection

Find Brittnie:

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Learn more at Howyoupicturedit.com

Full Transcript

[00:00:00] Kate: I am back with Brittnie Renee. She’s been on the podcast before talking about authenticity and showing up online as yourself. Um, today we’re talking about time planning, time management, um, and kind of goal setting for ourselves. Brittnie, do you wanna give our, uh, audience a little brief overview of you again?

[00:00:19] Brittnie: Hi, I am Brittnie. Um, I go by Brittnie. Renee. Renee is not my last name, but , that’s what my work name is. I have three kids, uh, nine. Six four. Wow. I don’t know why. I forgot what their age is, the word they said. Um, , I’m a photographer by day and I’m also a business and productivity coach for photographers.

Specifically, I am creating a planner. I have a podcast and I’ve also started making t-shirts on the side just ’cause I like to stay busy apparently. Um, so that is me in a nutshell.

[00:00:54] Kate: Let’s talk about how did you get into kind of this like productivity planner [00:01:00] situation?

[00:01:01] Brittnie: For starters, it’s hilarious that I’m in this position. Okay, so when I’m not a natural routines and time management kind of person, I was a straight C student my entire life. I was grounded most of my middle school years because I was always making bad grades, and that’s what my parents thought would help.

Spoiler. It didn’t help me . I just didn’t like school. I didn’t like being productive. I’m a creative, I like to free flow with things. Um, so. I remember specifically remember my aunt trying to teach me to use a planner, and, um, she like made it really cute and stuff like that, and I didn’t use it. And then I had to have my parents, I had to bring my planner home every week for my parents to sign.

Like I just was not, it was not, this is not my thing. So I’m making this planner right, because, I started learning about routines, , and like actually diving into them and realizing that they weren’t there to hinder me. They were there to help me and my parents think this is the funniest thing in [00:02:00] the entire world.

They’re like, how did you get here? I’m like, I mean, I guess what you were teaching me eventually sunk in. I don’t know. So it’s just so funny that. That I’m here . Um, it’s not a natural, not a natural thing for me, but I’ve been learning and I’ve been implementing. It’s been on slow growth and I realized that I am not alone.

I’m not alone in these, these struggles that I’m having, and I just had this passion for wanting to help people get out of that hole that I felt like I was in. And a planner seemed like the best way to help people.

[00:02:28] Kate: Yeah. So last time you were on, we talked about our A D H D and our neurodivergent ness. Um, can you tell me, have you kind of taken that in consideration with what you’ve created?

[00:02:41] Brittnie: Uh, yeah, I’m a hundred percent. I, I don’t, I’m not advertising this as an A D H D planner, but me being someone who is. Has a d d I have certain ways that I have to plan, right? I have have certain ways that I have to do things. One, everything has to be written down. It has to be documented [00:03:00] somewhere, or I will forget it.

Two, I get easily overwhelmed when I’m, you know, like, you’ll know, you can pretty much know by the state of my house, like where my mental state is. Like if it’s a mess, I’m overwhelmed. And it’s kind of goes hand in hand. Is it a mess because I’m overwhelmed or am I overwhelmed because it’s a mess. So when I was creating this, I, I added lots of areas for, um, To-do list and I didn’t want it to be feel really overwhelming and I also am teaching you that.

I think that’s the cool thing about this planner is that I’m teaching people to manage their time. It’s not just like, here’s a pretty planner. I mean it’s really pretty. It is gorgeous, but it’s more than just, it is a tool to teach you to learn how to like capture time management and figure it out yourself.

[00:03:42] Kate: Yeah. So what are your biggest tips for time management then? How do you kind of approach it?

[00:03:50] Brittnie: That’s a really big question. . There’s so many. There’s so many. Uh, I mean, there’s so much goes into it. One, you have to have all of your ducks in a row. You have to, [00:04:00] uh, like, you know, have automations in place, have a website that’s working for you so that you’re not having to do literally everything. Like we could go on and on and on about how to kind of like group your tasks together to just make your life a little bit easier.

But I think you need to know, you need to know. What it is that you’re doing, . And I think a lot of times we don’t realize what we’re doing. ’cause a lot of times it’s on autopilot. And so I’m a big fan of time audits. I know people are like that. Time audits, that sounds terrible. Writing down everything that I did.

And if you don’t know what a time audit is, it’s basically you’re documenting everything that you do day to day, week to week. So, um, you would theoretically sit down and like Every hour of the day, you just write down what you did for the those that last hour. And I know that sounds really overwhelming, so I’m kind of like trying to meet people in the middle and say, okay, what if you just sat down, you brain dumped everything you did.

And then as the week goes on and you realize that there’s something else you didn’t add on there, you just start adding it on. So first things first, I think you need to know what [00:05:00] you’re doing for on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, on a monthly basis. So that’s first then you can like group those tasks together. So you have your daily tasks, you have your weekly tasks, you have your monthly task. Um, and I think creating a routine, so it’s not that you have to think about those things all the time.

It’s, you know, you, you, you wake up and you make coffee and you make your kids lunch and you make their breakfast and you get ’em out the door. Those things are routine, right? Um, and I think the same can be said about your business. You can start doing things on a more routine basis so that way when you

Let’s see. You only have two hours to sit down and work for a day. You sit down, you immediately get to work and you know exactly what you’re doing. You’re not having to fiddle around and like run over here and run over there and like your brain’s all over the place. ’cause like I said, we’re, you know, we’re a d d.

So like I start writing an email, I’m like, oh man, but I have to do this thing too. Oh, then I forgot to do this. And then, oh, I’ve gotta make a graphic for that. Oh, I gotta post this reel that goes along with that. And it’s like, you go down this rabbit hole and two hours later you did nothing. Right,

[00:05:52] Kate: Right. The email is still sitting there, half written

[00:05:54] Brittnie: Yeah.

You’re like, what have I been doing these last two hours? So I think, you know, [00:06:00] one, again, knowing what you’re, what you need to do creating into a routine and then knowing exactly what you have to do when you sit down to do it is so helpful. 

[00:06:08] Kate: When you’re looking at your schedule, when you sit down to make your schedule, how are you doing that? Are you using time blocking? Or what kind of tools are you using for that?

[00:06:18] Brittnie: I am a big fan of time blocking, um, and I like to keep it really simple, so, To begin, I have certain times each day that I can work, so I know that most of my work has to be done when the kids aren’t interrupting me. Right. So my daughter, she’s four, she’s in preschool only three days a week. So I have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday from nine 30 ish to one to get work done, and then I can also do Monday through Friday.

When the kids get home from school, they like to go play or watch TV or just something that’s like, you know, they’re on their own. They’re, they’re not need. Needing much from me. ’cause I taught them to open their own snacks and do their own things, which is [00:07:00] a whole nother thing. teaching your kids to be a little bit independent is great.

Um, so I know from three to four I can sit down and I can do a little bit of work with minimal interruptions. Um, yeah, they’re gonna come talk to me, but that’s fine. So that’s I time block when I know I can get work done. Right. And then I also time block, when we have family time every night, Monday through Friday, it is from like four.

I say four to eight is family time. It’s it’s dinner time, it’s get ready for the next day, cleaning up the house. Uh, sports, so many sports, um, all the, all the things that have to do with family. And then from eight to bedtime, that’s my nighttime routine. Uh, and the weekends, it’s pretty much just family stuff and a couple sessions here and there in the mornings.

Same thing. I have a morning routine so I don’t get too persnickety with what my time blocks look like. It’s just like, okay, this is my weekly time block. This is what each week looks like. Monday and Fridays, um, are like, Household [00:08:00] stuff, errands hanging out with her, like just kind of whatever to-dos happen or you know, sometimes it’s just playing dolls with her

So whatever, whatever happens is what happens there. So what questions do you have about my time blocking?

[00:08:13] Kate: Let’s get into what time blocking actually is. How would you define it?

[00:08:17] Brittnie: Time blocking is basically creating like, A schedule. So you know, your kids or when you were in school or your kids, they have like certain subjects. During the day, right. Or you know, let’s say you’re an elementary school teacher and like during this time you have math curriculum that you have to do and during this time you have, you know, the library PE stuff right there.

And then they have the reading curriculum. So it’s not necessarily saying what you’re doing during those times. It’s like this is set aside for. Specific event in your life or at school. So you know, this time is set aside for work. This time is set aside for family. This time is set aside for myself, and this time [00:09:00] is set aside for sleep.

It’s basically like budgeting your time in a way.

[00:09:05] Kate: So how do you use that to then get those tasks done on your list?

[00:09:11] Brittnie: So then that’s where my daily, weekly, and monthly tasks come in. So let’s just kind of move into work blocks. And I think, ’cause I think that’s like the most like regimented thing sort of that I do. So I have daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. My daily task happen every single day. It’s like checking emails, responding to dms, sending emails, just like those random to-dos that popped up.

So I always carve out a certain amount of time every day that I do that. Um, It’s not usually during my work blocks, if I’m being honest. It’s usually in during coffee time because I can sit there on my phone, drink coffee, and respond to dms and emails. So that’s my dailies. And then I have my weeklies, which that’s something that I’m working on because I’ve never been very good at always like every Tuesday, creating content every Wednesday, writing a blog post.

But what I’m learning. By having these routines in [00:10:00] place, they’re not supposed to be hindering me, right? They’re supposed to help me stay on top of stuff. And so changing that mindset has kind of helped me so that, that would be Tuesdays I would sit down and I make sure all my content is planned for the next week.

Um, I need to make sure my podcasts. Are scheduled by Thursdays for the next week because what’s what was happening a lot. . It’d be Tuesday and I’m like, oh my gosh, I never even uploaded that podcast episodes, . Um, I was, I had to implement, okay, Thursdays is the day that I schedule it for the following week.

Um, and then obviously I have client work. So, you know, um, As a photographer, my client work is editing mostly, and so I have to have, obviously have to have time scheduled in for that. And that’s usually gonna be my three to four work block, the three to 4:00 PM work block, or, um, sometimes I’ll do it in the evenings after the kids go to bed while I’m watching tv, so that that way I have my Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays opened up for all the other [00:11:00] things I need to do with work, writing, blog posts, updating my website.

[00:11:04] Kate: kind of mentioned that, um, you build in some like automations and different ways to kind of minimize the long to-do list. 

What made you go seeking like automations, workflows, outsourcing, things like that?

[00:11:20] Brittnie: back in the day, , I remember when I first like really got into photography and I started getting busy. I had a p a pad of paper, literally a pad of paper with the sessions that I had coming up, and then I had like a little. Checkbox next to like, did I send the email, did I do this? Did I that? And as I got busier and busier, I realized that that was not going to work because my hands were all up in that.

Like I had to physically sit down and copy and paste the email. You know, at least I had like template emails, which is great. But, and I started realizing, I was like, this is not gonna work. And it was kind of at the beginning stages of like . The photography, CRMs being a thing, like [00:12:00] I know they’ve been around for a while, like CRMs are not new, but it wasn’t, there wasn’t like 50,000 of them to choose from.

So I sat down and was like, this has gotta be a thing. And I, I found one. Um, I think even Facebook groups really weren’t super big, so I couldn’t go in and ask anyone for it. So I had to figure this out myself. Um, so, you know, I think I started with Dubsado. I wanna say that was my first one and I did like it.

Um, I eventually moved over to Iris Works, but I’m moving back to Dubsado. Just a side note, um, for various reasons, So once I got that, I was able to get automations in place and they, and they grew and they grew and they grew. So essentially now I, I make my booking calendar and I. Put it up there, it’s published, it’s on my website, and it works, it works for me, and I get these bookings rolling in while I’m sleeping or while I’m at the gym, or, you know, while I’m hanging out with my kids.

And I don’t have to do that. So it’s like one less thing off of my plate. And I know you’re, you’re super passionate about your website working for you. 

[00:12:56] Kate: I mean, I am also a Dubsado user. I’m a Dubsado [00:13:00] certified specialist. Um, having those automations and workflows totally opened me up to being able to book more clients like I felt really hindered. When I didn’t have the systems in place, like how was I going to get the contract out and get the questionnaire out and, you know, um, remember to send them an email and edit the photos and do all of those things for all of these clients I wanted to serve.

And when I had those kind of systems, um, and workflows in place, that really allowed me to take on more clients and then make more money. So paying for those services like was super easy then too.

[00:13:41] Brittnie: Yeah. And, and when you have all that in your head, it, you’re just like so overwhelmed. And so that’s kind of, you know, you mentioned systems. I, if you don’t know what a system is, it’s, it’s not necessarily an automation, it’s more of like a, a flow that you, like a routine. It’s basically a routine. Like, okay, this is always what I do for delivering my [00:14:00] client galleries.

Um, and when you have all that in your head, It’s so overwhelming, and then that’s when things just kind of start to crumble and fall apart. Right? And the same with the rest of your life too. Like if you have all these things in your head, always, like you’re just trying to remember everything that you have to do for your kids, for yourself, for, you know, all of the things, then there’s no way you can balance all of that.

It, we’re not, we’re not made to balance. I mean, we’re already doing too much like that. Don’t even get me started there, but it just . You have to have systems in place in order to free your mind.

[00:14:35] Kate: Right. And I think at the beginning when you first start your business, you don’t realize that and you kind of start reinventing the wheel every time you have a client. Like you don’t realize that it’s repeatable. And having that repeatable system gives the client a better experience too. Um, like knowing, you know, this is the email they get, this is what happens next.

They’re getting something that’s like predictable, and [00:15:00] when they come back to you, it’s predictable again, and it makes it easier and easier each time.

[00:15:04] Brittnie: Yeah, I’ve never gotten anyone to complain about having an automated, automated emails. In fact, I get more compliments than anything. They’re like, wow, I, you’re so prepared, and I just feel so ready for my session because of these emails. I’m like, And I’ve gotten even my coaching clients and they’re like, I, I got a compliment for having these systems and automations in place.

And I’m like, yeah, you did. Because people really appreciate being taken care of, and there’s no way you can physically take care of everybody in that capacity.

[00:15:32] Kate: And it looks so much more professional too, I think when you have all of that taken care of. Um, especially like, I don’t know, I started out with like paper contracts that people had to sign at the session

[00:15:44] Brittnie: Mm-hmm.

[00:15:44] Kate: because like how was I gonna get it to them and back because it was 2011, you know,

[00:15:51] Brittnie: And then, oh my gosh, delivering the email or delivering the galleries on a CD like that, I had to mail to people. You’re just giving me horrible [00:16:00] flashbacks.

[00:16:00] Kate: It was awful. I’m so glad that technology has advanced and we have all of these tools and systems in place. But, so getting back to our productivity talk, um, let’s talk about how goals kind of play into productivity and time management.

[00:16:17] Brittnie: I think it’s really important that you need to know what you want your life to actually look like. So you have, I mean, you have to know what you want your life to look like. Do you want to spend 40 hours a week trying to run your business and catch up to it, or do you want to be able to go to the park in the middle of the day or, you know, all my kids, all my kids are in school, so I like to be able to go up to the school and hang out with them and like do lunch duty and be the classroom mom, and I’m making.

I’m making pumpkins right now for, um, a fundraiser, and I get to do that because I don’t, I know that I don’t want my business to run my life, right? And so I love goals. All right. My pops was, um, he was a [00:17:00] team workshop leader. I don’t know what his job was, but anyways, he’s always been like a big goal. He is like, you guys gotta set your goals.

And he taught us how to set attainable goals. And so literally my entire life it’s been like, I’ve known how to set goals. Achieve them as well. And so knowing what you want your life to look like and creating goals that feed into your life is really important. So, Let’s say one of my goals for my goals this year, they started off one way and I completely diverged to another.

I was gonna make films for families and I was like, heck no. Like that. Three months in I was like, I’m not doing that anymore. Right? . So it’s okay if your goals do change. ’cause I realized it wasn’t serving my overall purpose in life, um, because it was taking up too much time. . So my goal, Is to minimize how much I’m working, right?

Okay. So that’s one of my goals. And then taking that goal and breaking into actionable steps, um, or, you know, a smart goal. It needs [00:18:00] to be time sensitive, uh, measurable and all that. So, and then breaking it down into steps. So what does that look like for me, it looks like creating boundaries around my work.

It looks like automating whatever I can automate. It looks like getting better at routines in my job. So that way I don’t spend so much time working outside of my work blocks. Right.

[00:18:24] Kate: So really like for goals, we’re talking first of like, overall, what’s your vision of success and what your lifestyle looks like, and then breaking that down into like actual, like maybe financial goals or maybe, you know, like more specific goals for business or your life or where you wanna go.

[00:18:47] Brittnie: Yeah, I’m pulling out the planner right now ’cause you, you just made me realize something. Remember something. Um, okay, so I have this section in the planner, right? It starts off, there’s a whole goal setting section and. [00:19:00] It goes to teaches you how to set goals. If you’ve never set a goal before, it talks about smart goals as a section about dreaming your life up.

Like you said, I asked you questions. You know, consider what’s most important in your life. At the end of the day, how do you want people to view you and your actions? If you can only accomplish one thing in your life, what would it be? So just things for you to dream up about your life. And then just start brain, you know, brainstorming, like what do I want my life to look like?

And then it goes into goals for the year. There are, I have eight sections for you. Set goals. For life. You got physical, mental, spiritual, social, family, financial, career, and hobbies, right? So one of my personal goals this year was to do more d I Y projects.

And because I don’t want my life to only be about work, I want there to be some enjoyment in it. And so I love D I Y projects and so I set a goal to do one D I Y project a month this year. And. I’ve done a few. Um, I forgot [00:20:00] about it for a little bit. Like I said, my goal, my goals got super derailed and things got a little crazy, but, um, that’s okay.

This is only for you, it’s not for anybody else, but these goals that you set for yourself should add, know, a, like a well balanced life for yourself. I think, I think last year I set a goal of, um, making a hundred thousand dollars in my photography business and I did it and it was awesome. And then I was like, okay. That actually, that didn’t satisfy me like I thought it was going to. Um, and so I completely shifted everything this year and I was like, it’s not necessarily about the money that I’m making, it’s about how I feel, you know, and like, just like doing less, honestly, doing less was a big goal for me this year.

[00:20:43] Kate: I, I was recently at something where we were, were talking about like . The other ladies were talking about being exposed to wealth and like these big fancy houses and like all of these things and then feeling like aspirational towards that. [00:21:00] And I was sitting there thinking, yeah, I mean it would be nice to have a big house maybe, but then somebody has to clean it and you know, like, are you ever even really there because you’re working so much to afford the big house.

So like, I think . If you start with that, that dream portion and really get clear on like that vision for your life and how you pictured it, um, would be like the, like biggest overall suggestion for goal setting and then kind of figuring out how you, how you get to that picture is the biggest part of it.

[00:21:35] Brittnie: Yeah. Absolutely. And I totally agree with you on that like big money making thing. Yeah. Like it does sound like that’s what you think that you want. Right. Until you know, you start doing the things that get you there, and then you’re like, Ooh, is this really what I want? And I don’t want a big house.

I want a little farmhouse out in the country with chickens and stuff like that. You know? I like, that’s what I want. . That’s what I want, so.

[00:21:58] Kate: Yeah. Yeah. A house that [00:22:00] you can live in and, and. Like feel, family and home and comfy and cozy.

[00:22:05] Brittnie: Yeah.

[00:22:06] Kate: All right, Brittnie, I have enjoyed our conversation. Tell me more about where we can find you, where we can find the planner. What’s coming up for you? I.

[00:22:14] Brittnie: If you want to dive in a little bit more into this whole idea of productivity, like we barely scratched the surface. Honestly, there’s so much into it. I have a, uh, free workshop coming up on November 7th, eighth and ninth. It’s at 10:00 AM Central. Um, I really highly suggest people attend it live, but if you can’t, that’s okay.

’cause there will be a replay. Um, but this is the only opportunity that people are gonna have to get into this free workshop that I’m ha hosting. We’re gonna talk about, you know, creating your time blocks, uh, doing a Sunday reset, creating morning routines and evening routines, and just like blocking your time together to be more productive in your days and free up time, essentially.

And then also, of course, I have the planner and I have a special code for your listeners. It’s Kate 15, [00:23:00] and I’m guessing you’ll link the.

[00:23:02] Kate: I will put the link in the

[00:23:03] Brittnie: Okay.

[00:23:03] Kate: for you.

[00:23:05] Brittnie: , I really enjoy talking with you again. It’s always a pleasure to be here with you.

[00:23:09] Kate: I hope you enjoyed this interview with Brittnie Rene. You can find all of the links to her products and offerings in the show notes. Let me know though, what was the biggest takeaway you had from this episode? I think my favorite thing that we talked about was the idea of setting goals based on your vision of your life.

and how you want your life to be, um, and finding ways to break that down into something more manageable and attainable and approachable, things that you can actually do, to get to that, um, life that you dreamed of. 

So let me know over on Instagram and the DMS at Dear Kate Brand Strategy, what actions you are going to take from this episode and what your biggest takeaway was. I would love to hear from you and I’m sure Brittnie would too. So be sure to follow her as well. Have a great day. And I’ll talk to you next week. 

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