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154 – 3 Things To Do When You’re At Maximum Capacity

Wandering Aimfully Through Our Podcast: What is it all for?

154 – 3 Things To Do When You’re At Maximum Capacity

What happens when you put a bit too much on your plate and your goals push you to maximum capacity?
Jason ZookJason Zook Jason ZookJason Zook

Written by

Jason Zook

Listen to our full episode on 3 Things To Do When You’re At Maximum Capacity below (with full transcript) or find our podcast by searching What is it all for? in your favorite podcast player.

Five Key Takeaways for 3 Things To Do When You’re At Maximum Capacity

1. The discipline to say not right now or no

We’ve planned so many projects in 2023, such as the Narticles (new articles) project, the WAIM Dashboard refresh, this website’s refresh, experimenting with mini-launches, and not to mention our other business, Teachery, and improving the marketing for that. We HAVE to say “no” or at the very least “not right now” to some of these projects and that helps us spread out the workload over time.

2. Prioritization is KEY

The first thing we’d tell you to do is to make a list (to make the invisible, visible) and prioritize. We understand that everyone’s prioritization criteria are going to be different. What task is going to bring you cash flow the quickest (or is going to pay off the most in the long run)? What task are you most excited about? What task feels like it must happen first for the rest of your tasks to get done? Your prioritization criteria will be different based on your needs!

3. Developing self-awareness when you’re STILL taking on too much

The idea is to check in with yourself and see how your work pace is going. Ask yourself, “Is my current pace sustainable?” It takes knowing yourself and checking in BEFORE you’re at your breaking point. If your pace feels like it’s on the edge of overwhelming you, it’s time to pull back, say “no” or “not right now,” and prioritize!

4. Working unsustainably and the 3 levers you can use

When you’re working unsustainable hours, you can easily slide into max capacity and consequently burn out. There are three choices or levers that you can move to handle this: 1) work more efficiently, 2) lower your “good enough” standard, or 3) extend your timelines. You can adjust any one of these three levers or all of them and it will change how your work feels.

5. Relieve your time pressure as quickly as you can

When time is feeling crunched, we always come back to a 6-point quick hit list of ways to relieve that time pressure:

  1. Establish how many hours of work per day or week feels sustainable and track it
  2. Prioritize your tasks at the start of each day (yes, daily!)
  3. Set mini-deadlines to make bigger projects more achievable
  4. Schedule time for breaks, even (especially) if it feels like you “don’t have the time!)
  5. Embrace the age-old idea: Done is better than perfect
  6. Check in with yourself regularly to adjust based on how YOU are feeling

Show Notes for Episode 154: 3 Things To Do When You’re At Maximum Capacity

We’ve built up a bit of a “creative dam” and are trying to figure out how to not overwork ourselves and get into burnout territory (no thank you!) In this episode, we share a couple of important ways we ensure we notice when we’re reaching maximum capacity and how to create a more sustainable pace.

Whether you’ve been working for yourself for years (like us) or you’re just getting started, there are times when you’ll put too many items on your to-do list and we want to help you navigate those moments.

Links mentioned:

“Fair Play” Book/Game –

Everything Everywhere All At Once –

Full Transcript of Episode 154: 3 Things To Do When You’re At Maximum Capacity

⬇️ You can also download the .TXT file of the transcript

Caroline: Welcome to What Is It All For? A podcast designed to help you grow your online business and pursue a spacious, satisfying life at the same time. We’re your hosts, Jason and Caroline Zook, and we run Wandering Aimfully, an unboring business coaching program. Every week, we bring you advice and conversations to return you to your most intentional self and to help you examine every aspect of your life and business by asking, What Is It All For? Thanks for listening, and now let’s get into the show.

Jason: And I’m here too.

Jason: Bom dia!

Caroline: Bom dia!

Jason: Hello and welcome to Our Lives in Portugal, hosted by Jason and Caroline Zook with a side of business.

Caroline: No, it’s called What Is It All For? It’s a business podcast with a side of life in Portugal.

Jason: Yeah. We are back in the podcasting saddle, as we told you last week. We’re here, looped up.

Caroline: No chafing whatsoever.

Jason: Ready to go. Our legs have developed a nice, thick callus for the podcasting saddle.

Caroline: You know what I love about you? Your callused inner legs.

Jason: Your inner leg calluses.

Caroline: It’s a metaphor. It’s for podcasting.

Jason: Do people… do equestrians? Do they build leg calluses?

Caroline: Oh, I don’t know. Probably.

Jason: Oh, okay.

Caroline: You do anything.

Jason: I thought you might know.

Caroline: Because I’m an equestrian?

Jason: Yeah. You’re a woman of horses.

Caroline: I am famously a horse girl.

Jason: You’re a woman of horses.

Caroline: Yeah. I tried horseback riding actually one time.

Jason: I know. That’s why I asked.

Caroline: One time. My aunt was really into horses and she was like, oh, maybe you could get into it. And I went out and she was like, okay, first we need to like clean stuff, nude stuff.

Jason: Wipe their butts.

Caroline: And before I even got on the horse, I was like, I don’t know why you guys do this. This is not cool.

Jason: Real talk.

Caroline: I did actually enjoy it.

Jason: Have you thought about booking a horseback riding adventure as a birthday gift at some point in our relationship?

Caroline: No.

Jason: Really?

Caroline: No, because I remember you still talk about when we went to Gettysburg on horses for your grandma’s birthday and how much you did not enjoy that.

Jason: It’s not fun. It’s legitimately not fun. I don’t, I mean, I think people are just fooling themselves. Like I think like in the moment, you’re like, this is not fun. This is not fun. And then afterwards you’re like, oh my gosh, it was so great to ride those horses.

Caroline: I would love to like pet a horse, but I need to get on top of it.

Jason: I would love to feed a horse an apple. I’d love to do all these things.

Caroline: I’d love to just whisper sweetly to it.

Jason: I feel bad when I get on the back of a horse. I feel like the horse is like, come on, man.

Caroline: I know that’s actually what it’s thinking.

Jason: Let’s move on to life in Portugal and let’s give a little update here. Wow. We had a nice little horse tangent there.

Caroline: Not too much to update compared to last week. We’re just still moving and shaking. I mean, I don’t have it written down, but one new thing on the horizon is we’re trying to get a Portuguese tutor.

Jason: Yes. And language tutor.

Caroline: A language tutor.

Jason: You keep leaving the key word there. And so when you just say like a Portuguese tutor.

Caroline: Like a Portuguese person.

Jason: Just like a, it could be for a lot of different things, you know.

Caroline: I just meant like a tutor for Portuguese language. Yes.

Jason: Right. Yeah. But the language is the important word.

Caroline: Fair enough. And so we think we found someone. So we’ll let you know how our first, we’re trying to get schedules aligned. We’ll let you know how our first lesson goes. We still do the apps and all the things, which is good for vocabulary, but I think you need a mixture.

Jason: Oh, for sure. And I think also, you know, when it comes to language learning, as someone who has not tried to learn a language since high school, when I took two and a half years of French, and I don’t remember anything other than just the pronunciation of guillere.

Caroline: God, you’re so good at it.

Jason: Is just that we, I really want to set some specific goals of like, by the end of this year, I am not trying to be fluent in Portuguese. Like my life side hustle this year is not to learn Portuguese fluently. Like I hope that I’m fluent in like three years or five years. And even then, like I’m going to be okay if I’m not. Not because I’m lazy and I don’t want to do it, but just because like, I don’t want homework. Like I’m a 40 year old person who does not want homework.

Caroline: Right. And so it’s about self-awareness because I have more aggressive goals than you do.

Jason: For sure.

Caroline: Because I probably, because I do want to do that work.

Jason: And I would actually,

Caroline: My goal, I think by the end of this year, it would be, this is a really specific goal, but I want to be able to go to my hair salon and for the entire appointment, be able to string sentences together and understand my stylist.

Jason: Yeah. You can talk to them about the girl going to the library and you can ask where the bathroom is and you can order a hamburger. It’s gonna be great.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: What’s the word you learned last night that we’ve been saying?

Caroline: We just learned a phrase that like I was watching a video on phrases, like filler phrases. You’re having a conversation with someone. And so you, you know, like in English, you would be like, oh, how nice or how great. Like you just, someone’s telling you something and you sort of respond with something. And so I learned a few, but my favorite one is que fo fo. Which just means how cute.

Jason: Which is great because we walk by a little dog.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: We don’t know the name of. It’s a she, but I named her Chuck before I knew she was a she.

Caroline: We don’t know her real name, but we named her Chuck. And so she’s so cute. And so now I’m going to get to walk past Chuck and be like, oh, que fo fo.

Jason: Yeah. I said to you on a walk a couple of weeks ago, I want to get to the place where I can ask the owners if their dog is friendly.

Caroline: And if we can pet.

Jason: And what its name is. And if we can say hello, cause we walk by it every single day.

Caroline: I want to say how to, what is their name? You know, what is your name?

Jason: We don’t need to sort that out on the podcast. We can come back to that. Great. So a couple things I wanted to share this week on the life in Portugal, because I thought it would just be fun to share some of the things just about living here. It’s, you know, I think it’s fun to hear about the, oh, you went to a new restaurant. What’s that like? Oh, you found this place. What’s that like? But I think it’s also just like, what’s life like? And so one of the things we’ve talked about this a couple times, but just to reiterate, maybe this is the first time you’re hearing us talk about our life in Portugal. You know, like, where do you guys even live? How did you find your place? Like what’s going on there? When we first set out and decided we were going to live in Portugal or even in Europe, I think one of the resistances that we had was we don’t just want to move into like a brand new gated development that’s just for expats.

Caroline: Yeah, that was important to me because, and really, it was because I want, I didn’t want to feel like I moved to like a mini America inside of Portugal. Like I wanted to have a tangible access to the surrounding culture.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Which spoiler alert, which we’ll talk about in a second. I do think that we have that.

Jason: Yeah, I think we basically came to like a 50/ 50 version of this where like, we’re not in a gated community. There’s no gate, but we are in a brand new development. And I think one of the things, and if you’re listening to this and you’re possibly thinking in the next five to 10 years that you might want to explore living in a different country or in a different, wildly different place than where you live now. I will just say from our perspective, obviously we don’t know the alternate way of doing this, but moving into a place where there is a person that you have a contact to who manages like the area and the units and all those things. There is a handyman who’s onsite should anything break and it’s taken care of, uh, all of the utilities and like all that stuff. It’s already set up.

Caroline: Our wifi and cable was set up the day we moved in.

Jason: We don’t have to figure that out. Also our place is furnished. And so I just, I think about all the barriers that can stop someone from making this decision or it can feel so unbelievably overwhelming. And my advice is now that we’ve done it this way, I would 1000% recommend if you can, if you have the ability to is to maybe try and find a place that has a lot of the things already done for you as just a short term. So you can get over maybe live in this place for six to 12 months or whatever that looks like for you, then you can go and explore and find the neighborhood that you want to live in or the house that you want to buy or whatever it is.

Caroline: Because, yes, I’m so glad that we went with that strategy because the transition was honestly so surprisingly seamless. And we were just able to sort of just like pick up life again. And I think one of the main reasons I haven’t had that sort of like hangover feeling that a lot of people talk about, like people talk about like you come over, it’s the honeymoon phase, you’re so excited, but then you hit this feeling where you’re like, everything’s hard, everything, I’m alone.

Jason: And I would imagine it’s the first time something breaks that you have to figure everything out yourself.

Caroline: Yeah. And I think not, you know, having this touch point of someone who can help and just having that support system built in has been so helpful and the support system built in of we’ve now met neighbors, and they are a great source of hey, you know, and they’re expat neighbors, mostly. So it’s like, oh, hey, do you need to figure out your driver’s license? You need to figure out this and that. And so they’ve given us recommendations and that has gone such a long way. So if you’re curious about just what it’s been like to kind of plug into life here, I think because we intentionally chose a place that did have some type of kind of group development aspect to it, property manager aspect to it, that has been really great. But then I still feel that we get the best of both worlds because like Jason said, you know, we walk right outside of our neighborhood and like we are conversing with neighbors that are not within the development and it’s in our surrounding areas.

Jason: And by conversing, we mean saying hello and smiling.

Caroline: Well, you did help that guy with his car one time.

Jason: Oh, I did. Yeah, there was a guy whose car was stalled out and he just like, I could see he was struggling, his wife is in the driver’s seat and I just like, I was like, I can help and like ran up and like helped him push the car to the driveway so they could go. Couldn’t speak any language to him at all that he could understand.

Caroline: Can’t talk to Chuck’s mom or dad yet, but that’s a goal.

Jason: Can’t talk to Chuck’s mom or dad yet. We’ll get there. The other thing I wanted to talk about because I know so many of you cinnamon rollers really tune in for one thing and one thing only and that is Jason’s Baking Escapades.

Caroline: Of course. It’s basically a baking podcast.

Jason: It really is, if you think about it. I will say that one of the things I have noticed, obviously we’re going to grocery stores that are Portuguese and everything in the grocery store is in Portuguese and they don’t have the wide array of items that you find in a lot of US grocery stores and that can be looked at as a good or a bad thing. But one of the things that I have noticed is that like it’s just not as easy to get all of the things. I have however found some gluten free flours. I have however found like tapioca starch and potato starch which are good gluten free things for baking. There’s been gluten free pancake mix that I’ve found. But it is, it’s just different because you just don’t have the same kind of like… roster of everything you can get. And so I think for one of the things I’m learning is…

Caroline: It’s a thin roster.

Jason: It’s a thin roster but I’m going to have multiple players on my roster. So I’m going to have to go to three different grocery stores to get different items. When we want to do taco night, we go to the other grocery store because it has a bigger international section. Whereas the main grocery store we go to, which is kind of like the best way you can describe it, is like a fresh market if you’re from the US, or like a Sprouts, but much smaller and not as much stuff. That one doesn’t have very many international things. So anyway, the baking has been an adventure. I will say that my go-to cookie recipe I tried making when we first got here, I think the peanut butter is just very different. And they came out almost bitter.

Caroline: The peanut butter is more oily.

Jason: It’s definitely more oily here.

Caroline: It’s less thick.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Because I think it’s more natural, if I’m being honest.

Jason: So I actually abandoned that recipe, and I went to a different recipe, and those cookies are the ones I’ve been making frequently.

Caroline: And they’re very good.

Jason: Which are delicious.

Caroline: Delicious.

Jason: I’ve made three batches of cinnamon rolls now. Some of the best I’ve ever made. Those are not gluten-free, though.

Caroline: Very good. Not gluten-free. And you have a very specific directive. Now not only from me, but our friend.

Jason: A neighbor.

Caroline: A neighbor friend who is also not, is very gluten-avoidant, I would say.

Jason: And this is why I’m bringing up the grocery things, because if I want to make a batch of gluten-free cinnamon rolls, I need like 27 ingredients. I can’t just do it with like five ingredients.

Caroline: Sounds like excuses to me, Jason.

Jason: It’s a little bit of excuses. So that’s my little baking update. It’s challenging in different ways, but you still end up being able to do things. You just have to kind of adapt and figure it out.

Caroline: You gotta adapt.

Jason: You gotta change all your measurements and all your different temperatures, and you gotta, your timings are all off.

Caroline: I’m always googling things like, I’m looking potentially for a rug for my fart studio.

Jason: Yes.

Caroline: But everything’s in centimeters.

Jason: Yes.

Caroline: And I’m like, 200 by 300 centimeters. That sounds so tiny.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Just a tiny. And then I look it up and it’s like nine feet by seven feet or something.

Jason: I know. I told you this the other day. I’m like, my brain feels so dumb when something’s like 40 centimeters. And I’m like, I have no idea.

Caroline: No idea.

Jason: Like literally couldn’t guess.

Caroline: Is it 40 yards?

Jason: Couldn’t guess.

Caroline: Is it? Yeah.

Jason: But if you tell me 40 inches, I’m like, oh, I can show you that with my hands and like get it pretty close. 40 centimeters. I’m like, it could be the length of this house. I really don’t. I honestly don’t know.

Caroline: You have to learn new things, which is fun. And the last thing that I want to share about my life in Portugal update. I just want to always give you like little things that I’m noticing about living here. I love so many things about it. Like, I just cannot even put into words how much I’m happy that we did this. But one tiny, tiny, tiny one is we went on a walk yesterday afternoon and we were rounding the corner and we just heard like the squawking of ducks and like this as a sound. And then right after it, I was like, I just love hearing like ducks and nature, you know, and then all of a sudden you hear a rooster. It’s like, cock-a-doodle-doo and I’m like, maybe those of you listening who live like out in the country or this is more of a normal thing for you. And so you’re like, yeah, you sounds like animals.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: I have never lived in anywhere in my, in the US that would be considered in the country. It’s always, and not like super urban either, but very suburban areas, I suppose. You don’t get a lot of chickens. You don’t get a lot of ducks. You don’t get a lot of just wildlife noises. Like one of my favorite things about living here is yes, we’re in like a little development neighborhood, but the, the land surrounding us is protected land. It’s like very rustic land. And you have all these like country houses of people who do have chickens and ducks and roosters. And it’s this like very, I just love the symphony of wildlife noises that makes me feel at peace with, cause there’s space. Does that make sense?

Jason: Yeah, it does make sense. You’re asking me or are you asking them?

Caroline: I don’t know. I don’t know if I articulated it well, but…

Jason: I think you did a great job.

Caroline: But I really love that.

Jason: Basically Caroline’s update is she heard ducks and she was really happy.

Caroline: I heard ducks.

Jason: It’s an Enneagram 4 moment if we’ve ever had one.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: All right, let’s get into the episode.

Caroline: Okay. This episode, Jason and I wanted to talk about.

Jason: Well, first of all, it’s brought to you by, that’s what it sounded like you were going to.

Caroline: This episode is brought to you by ducks.

Jason: Yeah. Specifically.

Caroline: Vocal ducks.

Jason: Vocal ducks.

Jason: All right. Check them out at

Caroline: Use our code, WAIMLovesVocalDucks, to get 10% off.

Jason: You’re doing so good at improv. You’re doing so good, baby. You’re just a sweet, sweet. You just improv.

Caroline: Okay. I need to catch my breath. Hold on.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Okay.

Jason: That was pretty solid effort.

Caroline: Can’t do improv. That’s okay. We knew that. We knew that. That’s not new information. That’s okay.

Jason: We have other redeeming qualities, like horse qualities. You’re good at horse stuff.

Caroline: We have so many redeeming qualities. Improv is not one of them.

Jason: My favorite part of Caroline doing improv, for those of you who don’t get to live with her on a daily basis, is I really love so much.

Caroline: So much.

Jason: That you’ll give it a try.

Caroline: I will. Always.

Jason: After almost 13 years, I’m still teaming up.

Caroline: I’m still doing it.

Jason: And you’re still trying. But you come to this moment where you get 25% of the way to start, and then your mind just freezes, and you go into full stop mode. In that moment, you were like, use promo code, WAIM, and then your brain just like, blah, and then you like, splutter something out at the end.

Caroline: It’s because improv, you have to have no filter. There is no way for me to take a filter off my brain.

Jason: It’s fantastic. It’s great.

Caroline: I don’t know what to tell you.

Jason: Now let’s go ahead and get into the episode that we’ve talked about, the sponsor.

Caroline: Okay. So getting into the episode. This will not be improv. I have notes here.

Jason: Yes, of course.

Caroline: We decided something that has been on our minds a lot lately, at the top of the year here, is feeling the pressure to accomplish everything all at once, everything everywhere all at once.

Jason: Exactly.

Caroline: Shout out to that movie, which we love. But now that Jason and I are able to work on our business because we’re not traveling full time, we have so many things that we want to do. And we started at the top of the year so excited to do them all, and I’m still so excited to do them all, but arguably too excited to do them all because I want them all to be done right now. And so we thought it would be interesting to do an entire episode about tips for managing that pressure when you feel like you want to do all the things right this moment and how to help pace yourself so that you don’t burn out and how we’re approaching that problem in our business.

Jason: Yeah. And I think you can listen to this episode from two different perspectives maybe. One is maybe you’re in a position like us where you just have so many ideas and you do maybe have a little bit of bandwidth that you don’t have to do them all right now, but you’re trying to fight all the urges to do them all.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: And then I think the other side of that is you have a lot of ideas, but you’re also really in like a financial crunch or you’re trying to get your business off the ground or you’re trying to really move on from whatever your full time work is to your side project that you want to become your full time. And it kind of can’t happen fast enough for you.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: And so I’m trying to think about is there any way that I can get more time or have more energy to do this? So hopefully by sharing some of the things that we’re going through and that we’re thinking it’ll help you in one of those different things.

Caroline: Yeah, I think it’ll be helpful. Exactly. I think it’ll be helpful in both of those categories. And like I think part of us right now, why this is coming up is we’ve talked about this on previous episodes before, but I feel like we are in this aftershock of what my friend Margaret calls the creative dam, because all of last year while we were traveling, like we couldn’t build anything new. It was just maintenance mode. It was just trying to keep the wheels on the thing from falling off. And so now because of that pent up creative energy, we’ve kind of hit the ground running. And so it’s like the ideas are now are coming like a fire hose. We have so many things. We have so many like sort of holes that we see that could use improving in our business and we want to patch them all right now. And so that doesn’t have to just be like you’ve been traveling for a year, because I know that’s a very small percentage of people, but it could be like you’re a new parent and you finally like have, you know, time to… your time has opened up just a little bit where you can like work on more things or maybe you’re starting your creative business full time for the first time. And so you’re going from it being a side hustle to now being able to work full time and you’re just like, gah, I have all this time I want to work on all the things. And so I think if you’re in that category, this is going to be the perfect, perfect episode for you. And where I want to start is kind of the word discipline. And just the idea that it takes a tremendous amount of self discipline to be someone with, you know, 10 ideas out before you and to recognize that trying to serve all of them at the same time is going to lead to an unsustainable pace that could very easily lead to burnout. And so a little bit about being a sort of an entrepreneur that’s in it for the long haul is recognizing that you need discipline to work on only the things that you can work on sustainably.

Jason: Yeah. And if you listen to last week’s episode, maybe you heard all of the things that we are trying to accomplish and our goals that we’re trying to reach this year. And that’s really, I think a big part of this year is going to be a lot of discipline for us and saying no and pushing things down the road a little bit because last year was a year where we just acknowledged it is not a growth year. It is a maintenance year. And so this year is a growth year and we really are trying to get a lot of things done, try and get ahead. Obviously there are things that play outside of our control when it comes to economic things that we don’t know how that’s going to affect our business growth, but kind of the way that we go into this thinking and maybe this will be helpful for you if you’re someone who’s like, how is the recession and the economy? Like all this doom and gloom going to affect my business. It’s to not count yourself out before anything actually happens. And so I think one of the things, you know, as we’re looking at this year for us, it’s, let’s just do all the things that we can control and let’s not let the things that we can’t control stop us from doing those things.

Caroline: And so just to give you an idea of what those things are, just to make it more tangible. And also some behind-the-scenes. Welcome. Some of those early things that we have talked about wanting to accomplish. If I could split myself into 6 different people right now, here’s what I would work on. We want to start a project that we’re calling Narticles, which just means new articles. And we just know that we need more qualified traffic and we haven’t published articles in a while. So it involves a refresh of our article page, higher quality articles to attract higher quality traffic. Right? That’s Narticles. We want to refresh the design of our dashboard, which has been the same design since 2018 when we started WAIM. Our dashboard is a custom built WordPress that people use inside of our program, WAIM Unlimited, to access the myriad of things that they get access to.

Jason: Yeah. Hundreds of resources.

Caroline: We want to make it a lot easier for them to find what they’re looking for now that we have all types of topics. Everything from copywriting to building online courses to time management to writing content to website design. Everything. We want to make it a lot easier for them to sift through that and find what they need in order to move forward. We have a version of that in our WAIM roadmap, which is helpful, but this is like everything under one roof. So we want to redesign that. Thankfully, we have a designer on staff.

Jason: Thankfully. She’s not going to improv.

Caroline: She’s not going to improv, but she’s good at design. We want to also refresh our website in general. Like we haven’t changed our homepage in two years.

Jason: The Wandering Aimfully site.

Caroline: The Wandering Aimfully site. We know that there are some improvements that could be more strategic there. We want to prioritize marketing for Teachery, which we’ve never done anything other than word of mouth marketing for Teachery. And we really want to grow that customer base this year for the long term. We’re going to experiment with some one off products this year, which you’ll hear us talk about, which we haven’t done in years.

Jason: Yeah. For two people who five years ago essentially said, we’re like, we are only going to sell one thing.

Caroline: Which I think was the smartest thing we ever did.

Jason: Absolutely. But I think we also are seeing a lot of people message us and like, Hey, like I don’t really need all this in WAIM, but I really want like this thing. And so I think for us, it’s an interesting, it’ll be an interesting experiment this year to go, well, how does it feel with our launches of WAIM feeling very dialed in? And we have a great process. We have a great sales page. We have sales emails that work. Like it’s, it knock on wood. It’s very consistent. With those things locked in, can we add in these mini launches that will take a little bit more effort and like going back to like all of the previous things we used to do, but like how does that supplement our income to then give those customers a chance to buy the one thing they may want from us?

Caroline: Yep. It also gives people a different price point. Like if people want to, you know, just have one item. And so that’s a lower price point than our program. And then improve our marketing bridge. So our convert, we know that there’s a chance to improve our conversion from traffic to email subscribers. And so there’s tons of ideas that we have about how to do that. And so literally those things are just off the top of my head, things that we want to do this year. That isn’t.

Jason: Technically they’re not, they’re off the top of this bullet list.

Caroline: Right. I just mean like, this is only scratching the surface of the amount of things that the ideas that we have of ways to improve our business.

Jason: Truthfully, this is really what we thought about for Q1.

Caroline: This is Q1.

Jason: Yeah. Like we haven’t even thought like,

Caroline: Which is just wild. That’s I mean, objectively, I would tell anyone that’s too many things. And so that’s the point of this podcast is to tell you it is too many things. And so how do you go about sifting through that list, even though you’re excited about all of them, even though you see the potential of all of them and go, what is it sustainable for me to actually complete so that I don’t feel pulled in all these different directions? So, yes, the first thing, obviously, that we would tell you to do is to go through that list and prioritize and say, what do I think is and everyone’s like prioritization criteria is going to be different. As we talked about in the top of this episode, it’s going to be different whether you need immediate cash. It’s going to be different whether you need to get re-inspired with your business, whichever one is most exciting to you.

Jason: Yeah, I think it’s going to be different to, you know, one of the things like our Wandering Aimfully dashboard redesign. That’s a project that we can only work so far into. So it’s like we can do the designs in Figma, we, our designer can do the designs of Figma, but then our developer has to take on like three quarters of the workload. And all we’re going to do is just be there to like, a, like, that looks good, or b, this needs to be fixed with him. And so, like that for us to me is like, as soon as we can get that project done for what we can control, it’s great to then move on because we’re going to have so much time where we can’t. We can’t be working on that that we need to prioritize it first so that it can get going.

Caroline: So there’s an order. Yeah. So I would say some of the criteria are which one is going to bring you cash flow the quickest. I would say which one is going to pay off the most in the long run. Which one are you most excited about or which one needs to happen first because there are other dependencies that rely on it. So that’s one. And then another one is the Narticles. And so this is another thing where order comes into the priority because I would say if we were looking at the list that we listed before. If we were going on a prioritization criteria that was only based on like which one has the most leverage to bring us closer to our goals. I would actually say our marketing bridge one. I would say, if you already have plenty of traffic even though it’s not the most qualified of traffic, but I would say there are ways to convert more of that traffic onto our email newsletter, and we know that our email newsletter converts people to our program. Right? So if I was being strategic and somebody else came to me and said, which one of these should I pick? And I would say, oh, if you really want to work towards your financial goals, start here with traffic that you already have and just improve the conversion. However, as we just discussed, your prioritization criteria can be different. For us, the order matters. And for us, Narticles is going to take, take precedence over the conversion because the thing about SEO and articles and traffic is that it takes so much time in order for it to, for you to reap the benefits.

Jason: Anybody who has written an article on their website understands that when you hit publish, nothing magical happens.

Caroline: Yes, exactly.

Jason: And you think that it does because you just spent like 50 hours working on something and you want it to. But it doesn’t work that way.

Caroline: Exactly. And so it’s, so, you know, we often use the, the proverb that says like the best time to plan a tree was 20 years ago, but the next best time is today. And so that’s how we think about articles. It’s like, yeah, the best time to have written all these new articles would have been two years ago, but as soon as we can get them out the door, that’s the next best time. So that’s why for us, it makes sense to put the articles at the very top. We, we see our traffic going down over time. Not, not, you know, it’s not nothing.

Jason: It’s not in any concerning way. And if anything, the fact that we still get these same amount of customers every year, and actually the number has gone up over time, having less overall traffic to our website, but still getting the same amount of customers we need, still having our email list grow. It’s not a cause for concern. It’s more a, we have some goals that we want to hit this year for financials and in the next couple of years. And so we have to do something to bring that number maybe back up. But really the most important thing is getting more people on our email list that are higher quality people.

Caroline: And I always view it, anything related to traffic as an investment in your foundation, because traffic, if you can crank that lever, if you can get that faucet turned on, that is going to pay off dividends into the future. And so that’s another criteria is what is, what can we invest in that’s really going to carry us forward for the next five years? Also, quick shout out if you’re interested in this idea of investing in your business and want to go on a journey of how we are prioritizing all these projects and dig deeper into each one, we’re doing that over on our newsletter series right now called Invest.

Jason: Eight-week series.

Caroline: It’s an eight-week series called Invest. So if you go to, you don’t have to, you’ll be able to get all the previous installments. So don’t worry about whenever you join or whatever you’re listening to this episode.

Jason: But unless you’re listening to it in like 2025, then you miss it.

Caroline: Yeah, you missed it in 2025.

Jason: And also, everything okay?

Caroline: Did we make it?

Jason: Is that right? Okay, so let’s talk about self awareness and understanding, I think the point that we realized that you have gotten to, which is we’re taking on too much.

Caroline: Yes. So I the most important skill I think to develop is, you know, self awareness and the idea to check in with yourself and go is the pace that I’m currently working at unsustainable? Because if you’re not doing that it can creep up on you really quickly. And I will say that there aren’t many positives that came from my like complete and utter anxiety meltdown 2019. See all previous episodes on that.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: But one of them was that I became very clear on when I’m getting like, I have a very clear understanding of my capacity and when I’m getting to a max capacity. And I have a an understanding of the consequences of that. So I’m just not going to let myself get anywhere close to that. And so what I told Jason was after this past week of work, it became really clear to me that I was reaching a place not of burnout, but of like, you know.

Jason: It’s like the pre burnout.

Caroline: The pre burnout. And so it’s like, Oh, well, if I continue to do this for the next three weeks at this pace, I would burn out. And so that’s, that’s a bad idea. So that when that happens, you have to take a step back. But the first step is like creating that bridge with yourself between checking in with your bodies being like, okay, how does this feel like, and for me, it’s very clear, when I start having less time for the things that make me feel grounded and more thriving, like, I noticed, Oh, I’m skipping my language lessons in the because like, learning new skills is something that makes me feel good. It fills up my life bucket. And it’s like, Oh, I started noticing that like, I was skipping that in the evenings, or, oh, I’m noticing that I’m feeling like I can’t work out as long because I want to get into work sooner because I need to do that.

Jason: Or the laptop stays open until six.

Caroline: Yeah, or like, I worked all Saturday. And normally, I like working on weekends when it’s coming from a place of overflow, like, Oh, I just really want to like do this thing that’s creative. But this was like a, I have to get this done on Saturday so that it doesn’t flow into Monday and Tuesday. So checking in with myself, it became clear that that’s not sustainable. Also for the first time, I’m clocking my hours.

Jason: This is really so we can do a performance review because we don’t know if we want to keep you on.

Caroline: Improv sales, low. Productivity, high.

Jason: Baking.

Caroline: Low.

Jason: Very low.

Caroline: Eating, high.

Jason: Love and emotion.

Caroline: Love and emotion, highest of all.

Jason: Super high. Yeah.

Caroline: Best employee ever.

Jason: So I don’t know, but we’re going to check the time.

Caroline: We’ll check the time.

Jason: We’ll let you all know.

Caroline: No, so like the joke there is that I actually do have like a little slot on my notion for each day because I track my days, I track my habits, whatever. And I just have a clock in and a clock out. And so it’s like, what time did I open my laptop and start working? And what time did I close my laptop down? And sometimes I’ll account for like, okay, if we go to the grocery store in the middle of the day, like I’ll subtract an hour or whatever. But for the most part, it’s like, okay, that was my work day. And if you work for yourself, I think this is a really important habit maybe in the beginning just to get used to it so that you kind of know. But I looked back over my week and I was like, okay, now I can connect the way that I feel, which is a little bit at capacity. And I can actually assign a tangible number to that. And I can look back and go, okay, I was working seven to eight hour days. I know that’s like supposed to be like a normal work day. I don’t think a human being is supposed to work that long and be that focused for that long. I don’t think it’s sustainable personally, at least not for me. So figure out what that number is for you. For me, seven to eight hours does not feel spacious. It does not feel the way that I want it to feel. And I’m not gonna get myself to a place where I’m feeling anxious. And so I go, okay, let me scale that back to six. And that becomes like a really tangible way that I can go, okay, how then if I scale it back to six, how am I actually gonna get all these projects accomplished? And the answer is you’re not. So then let’s talk about what do you do then?

Jason: Before we talk about the three choices that you have, I wanted to bring up, and I know it’s not on this list, and I’m so sorry, Caroline.

Caroline: Okay, great.

Jason: It’s just to have a quick discussion about we’re working together as a couple on these things, but you’re in a max capacity working environment and I’m not.

Caroline: Interesting. Let’s talk about that.

Jason: And I think that there is something to that that can, it can definitely create resentment in a working relationship and a partnership. It can also just create just difficulty in seeing the other person, like when I see you still working on the laptop at 7 p.m. and I’m currently replaying Breath of the Wild on Switch, and I feel bad. I feel like I shouldn’t be doing this. I should be on my laptop as well because misery loves company. You’re in the design trenches and I should also be doing something as well to like, hey, we’re both in this together. And so I think like maybe just quickly talking about how we handle that is worth just sharing in case anybody who listens to this is in a partnership or just works with a co-founder or it’s just someone else on any projects.

Caroline: Yeah, well I think the first thing that we’ve done recently that I think is actually really helpful that we haven’t even really talked about, but maybe this public arena seems like a good place to do that, but I think it was really helpful is we did a kind of business version of, if you’ve heard of the Fair Play system, and I’m going to forget the author’s name right now, but look up the book Fair Play.

Jason: I’ll add it in the show notes.

Caroline: Okay, okay, okay. But it’s a book that’s sort of about the redistribution of domestic duties in partnerships because a lot of times like it can kind of fall to one person, right? And historically, just in traditional gender roles, that has fallen to usually the female partner. But of course, we know that that’s not-

Jason: Not in our household. We’re breaking those norms.

Caroline: Well, that’s, you know, and you have all kinds of different partnerships, but for us, yeah, it’s the opposite. A lot of times, the domestic household duties fall to Jason, and so we did this whole Fair Play exercise, which is about you have a deck of cards, one for each kind of like task, and each person kind of owns a card or owns that arena from start to finish. So like someone has the trash card, someone has the mail card, someone has the dish card.

Jason: I think we could probably do a whole episode on this if people find it interesting down the road.

Caroline: Yeah, and I think it’s great because it’s not about you have the same number of cards, but it’s about you’re acknowledging the labor that someone else is doing, not just physically, but emotionally and cognitively in thinking of managing that part of your life, right? And so we also decided, let’s do this for business too. And so let’s write down, and literally we haven’t even done, we haven’t even really come back-

Jason: We haven’t done the divvying up yet.

Caroline: We haven’t done the divvying yet, but what we have done is the list. And so what is so important about the list is that it makes, and this is what she says in the other context as well, is that it makes the invisible visible. And so for me, it’s just important of knowing, so I think what’s difficult is that our roles in our business are very different. I do less things very deeply, so it’s all the creative work, it’s the designing work. It’s like the tasks that I work on are sometimes 10, 20, 30 hour long projects. Jason, on the other hand, is doing all of the minutia. He’s doing all of the maintenance things that it takes. You could be doing 30 things in a day, right? Where it’s like managing developers and it’s doing payments and it’s emailing with members and it’s like all of that. And so I think in writing out the list, you start to have a respect for what the other person does. So seeing all of those things that you’re managing at any given time gives me a tremendous amount of respect because Lord knows I don’t want to be multitasking like that. And I’m just like, great, I’m so grateful that he does all of that. And it makes more sense to me of why you can be done and be, you know, adventuring or whatever, because it’s like, I do think if you’re dealing with blocks that are much more small, you can kind of rearrange them much more easily.

Jason: Yeah. And so the important point that I wanted to bring up here is that part of what I think makes our relationship work in a business standpoint, but also in a life standpoint is because it’s very similar across the two, is we acknowledge that like you have to go deeper to accomplish the tasks. I don’t necessarily have to do that, but I’m kind of keeping everything going.

Caroline: Completely.

Jason: And so it’s like if I just stopped doing all the things that I’m doing, all of our customers would be left out to dry, all of our payment stuff would dry. Like it just like all would like kind of fall to the wayside.

Caroline: Completely.

Jason: Whereas the like redesigning the Wandering Aimfully dashboard is a very important task, but it doesn’t like keep the business going. But we also have to agree, but it is a necessary part of the like entire equation of doing things. And so I think that’s what helps too, is just like having these conversations of like, I’m acknowledging that you’re doing this and I’m also acknowledging that you’re doing this.

Caroline: Yeah. And it’s a recognition that it’s a symbiotic relationship.

Jason: Absolutely.

Caroline: You can’t have the business with either one. So just like you were saying with the, if you know, all the things that you do, payments wouldn’t go through, people wouldn’t get their stuff. If nobody made the curriculums and nobody made the designs and nobody, like we wouldn’t have anything to sell.

Jason: No.

Caroline: We wouldn’t have a sales page to sell it on. You know?

Jason: And so I think, yeah, this is just, I just, I wanted to bring this up because anybody who works in a partner capacity or with somebody else, there are times when one of the two of you is going to be at max capacity and the other person might not even be close to the max capacity and you can feel the resentment in the air. And the thing, the thing that works for us is just to constantly check in and just say like, Hey, I just want to make sure like you have no resentment that I’m like sitting here playing games while you’re doing this. And if you’re like, I mean, yeah, I kind of do. Then we like talk it out. You don’t ever say that, but I’m just saying it opens up the door.

Caroline: Yeah. There are certainly times where there are times where it’s never like a resentment. I think there, and I think it’s gotten better over time, but you’re, you’re really right. There, there are times where there’s like a tension in the air that you can feel. And then there are other times. And sometimes if that is the case, then of course you would sit here and you’d be playing and you’d think, well, there’s probably tension there. And so it’s, it’s also on me to go, I’m so happy that you get to be playing this game. Like I also, I’m choosing to work on my laptop at 7 PM. So that’s not a choice that you made. And like, I’m not holding you holding that against you whatsoever. So it just, it all comes back to communication.

Jason: A little side change tangent. We could definitely do a whole episode more on like how we resent each other in our work.

Caroline: That would be great. Just an entire resentment episode.

Jason: Let’s get back to you’re working unsustainable hours. You’re at max capacity. There are three choices of kind of how to handle this that we see. And maybe there are more, but these are the ones that we find out.

Caroline: So let’s say you are in the position right now where you too have, you know, five to seven projects out in front of you that you’re like, Oh, I want to work on all this right now. Maybe you’ve tried it and you’re like, okay, now I’m starting to feel like this is just not sustainable. Obviously, you know, number one is yes, try and thin out those priorities and say, okay, I’m going to save these three projects for Q2 and just use that priority. That’ll take you a long way. But let’s say you you’ve done that, but still the number of projects you’re trying to juggle feels unsustainable. Maybe you’re at a seven or eight hour a day work week and you’re trying to move it to a six. What do you do?

Jason: Or a 10 to 14 and you really need to make some changes.

Caroline: Exactly. So the way that I kind of thought about this is like, I was trying to think to myself, what are the like levers that I would tell somebody that they can shift in order to make a tangible change in how their work feels? And I kind of think there’s three levers that you can move. So the three levers are to work more efficiently, meaning to get more done in like the time block that you set aside of the task that you’re doing to number two, the second lever would be to lower your good enough standard. And number three, the lever would be to then extend your timelines. And so you can you can adjust any one of these three levers or all of them. And it will change how your work feels. So for example, right now, let’s take lever number one. For me, I’m working extremely efficiently right now. Meaning I set a time, I’m using time blocking to basically create these blocks. So let’s say I’m like, okay, I need to get this section of the coaching session done in this one hour. I use Pomodoro timers from the time that I turn on the Pomodoro timer to the time that I’m done. I get that task done. I don’t go on social media. I don’t go on the internet. Like I’m not dilly dallying. You know what I mean? So that’s not really a lever that I can move effectively because I’m already working as efficiently as possible.

Jason: I think that’s one where I would just have a long look in the mirror as someone who might be listening to this episode and thinking like, oh, I’m working like 8, 10, 12 hour days and I don’t feel like I’m getting stuff done. Are you actually working efficiently or are you spending a lot of time looking at social media, scrolling through feeds, you know, any other things that are actually not putting in hours to work. And I’m not trying to say that that you can’t look at those things. I’m just saying maybe if you worked without distraction for two to three hours a day, you might get a lot more done because you’re not actually moving the needle not forward by looking at all this other stuff and not being able to get in the head space that you need to to actually accomplish the thing you’re working on.

Caroline: And if that’s you right now, please do not in any way, shape or form, feel any type of shame for that.

Jason: We both have been there.

Caroline: Do not feel that way. If anything, take that realization and feel empowered by it because this is great news. If you’re not working efficiently, there’s a lot you can do to work more efficiently. That’s an opportunity to feel a lot better, to get done a lot sooner in your day, to carve out more free time, to feel more spacious. And there’s like a million different hacks you can do for that. So time blocking is one of them.

Caroline: Pomodoro timers is one that I use a lot.

Jason: Using site blockers so that you literally can’t go to like Instagram or TikTok or whatever. And even if it’s just for an hour, you just set those things up so that that twitch of going to look at those things when something gets difficult in your brain, we’ve all been there. I’ve broken those habits since 2014. But I remember in 2014 when like I would just instinctively go to like it was the first tab whenever I opened up a new tab, I would always go there. Even if I wasn’t even thinking I want to go to Twitter, I would just open a tab and I would type it in. And so you have to break those little habits. And and like Caroline was saying, this is a good thing because it’s gonna hopefully reduce your overall time spent working because you’re actually gonna get work done. And this is not gonna happen overnight, this type of fix, but it is so impactful if you can actually start to break some of those habits and work more efficiently.

Caroline: Yep. And I think this also speaks to like procrastination. So being honest with yourself if like, oh, I find that I’m actually wasting an hour in my morning because I’m just procrastinating like getting the things started. So whatever those little hacks you can do to get things started. For me, sometimes if I, if I’m doing a big creative project and I just need to get going, I’ll open a blank page and I’ll set a five minute timer to just get something down on the page. And it’s like it can be bad. But if I just break that seal, that can get me started. So it’s like little hacks like that to get going. Right.

Jason: For me, honestly, the number one thing is music.

Caroline: Music. I was gonna say music.

Jason: Just like literally pick like whatever music gets you in the work zone. And that’s synthwave for me. As soon as I turn on synthwave, it’s like Freudian. I’m like, I’m drooling. I want a cookie. It’s time to get working. Those are the things that happen.

Caroline: Yep, definitely. And also, by the way, the thing that that creates that pathway in your brain is repetition. So even if you don’t have a music that motivates you right now, pick one that you feel like is it music scores? Is it synthwave? Is it?


Caroline: Is it vocal ducks? Is it instrumental? Like whatever it is. And start just playing that just when you’re working and in this efficiency mode and eventually it will kind of create a nice groove in your brain and then it’ll be able to help you in the future. So that’s the first lever, right? So just there’s a lot of opportunity in terms of working more efficiently in your tasks. I want to talk about now the second lever being lowering your good enough standard. Now, you will not hear a lot of business coaches out there telling you, you just need to lower your standards. Okay, no one’s going to phrase it like that. We’ll happily be those people. Because the truth is, I’m speaking mostly to the perfectionists out there. You know who you are. You decide that like, listen, redesign the Wandering Aimfully dashboard. It could take an entire year of hours or it could take a month of hours and the only difference because let’s say the variable of working efficiently is the same, the only variable is what I decide done looks like.

Jason: Which direction the gradient should go. 60 degrees? 70 degrees?

Caroline: Yeah, exactly So it’s like do you know what I’m saying? Like the task will expand based on whatever your final standard is and we all need to be honest about what good enough looks like.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Because after you reach that point, the point between good enough and perfect, which by the way we know perfect does not exist. But the the area between those two things is diminishing returns.

Jason: I want to point out two things. I want to come back to good enough with the first WAIM dashboard So I’m gonna come back to that. But the first thing I want to say is I wish everyone listening to this podcast could build their own software product like Teachery. It will teach you, build any software It will teach you good enough because guess what you have to like the limitation is that you give a developer a design and the developer goes we cannot do that and you’re like, yeah, but you can like I know that this is all made up We’re making up everything as we go and they’re like no you don’t understand like that will bring car that will break our forgot password system like why like oh we use a token plug-in for that. Well, what does that do to the thing? Oh, well That’s related to this feature that you wanted to do that needs a different token that would then conflict and you’re like What? Like this is ridiculous. Why this doesn’t even make sense All I want to do is add gif stickers to things and so it really is one of those like for me I think it I think starting tea tree was one of the best things I could have done to break my perfectionism habits.

Caroline: And now me working on it and doing the UI refresh also has done the exact same thing, which is I have to be okay with there’s an idea of what I want Teachery to be in my head and then there’s what Teachery is and I have to be okay with that gap to move forward.

Jason: And it is a very true reality of you can continue to throw money at things but there is just a technical limitation to when you build a thing that you can only do so much. That was my first point that I wish everyone could kind of experience that because, as a recovering perfectionist, I feel like Teachery is the thing that broke me of perfectionism because we talk about this all the time. I’m just like let’s just make it good enough like let’s just move forward and all that is is me going I wanted this feature to exist in Teachery and it can’t or it can’t like I wanted it to and I just have to move on because what’s the other alternative? I’m not gonna do anything else. It’s just what it is. Getting back to the good enough with the WAIM dashboard. I want to just present a good enough example to everyone listening to this. When we finished the first iteration of the WAIM dashboard back in 2018, it cost us more than we wanted to with a developer that we didn’t enjoy the relationship with. It cost us five months of time when we thought was gonna take five weeks. And at the end of it I think we would both agree it barely met our good enough, right? At that point, we were so frustrated with it. We were pretty much unhappy with the result, but it functioned well, and it looked good enough. We couldn’t update it if we wanted to, didn’t matter. But it worked.

Caroline: It worked.

Jason: For five years, the way that that just barely good enough thing has existed has brought us such exponential return and the happiness of our customers. And so I just wanted to bring that up of a lot of times you’re not willing to be okay with good enough because you think that it’s not going to be able to like move your business forward or it’s not gonna get you the results that you want. We have like a perfect example of we did the bare minimum of good enough and it was definitely good enough for five years.

Caroline: Definitely and I think like wherever you are right now It’s like okay my project is I’m gonna build an email sequence so that you know to try to sell my thing or I’m gonna build my first online course, whatever. Just taking 10 to 15 minutes today to think about like, either defining okay if at, either defining the time frame and saying like whatever I get by this point is gonna be good enough or maybe writing down a list of criteria for yourself of going, You know what? I’m not going to… I’m gonna set a time frame for each part of this task and I’m not gonna allow myself to go over double that or whatever that is, right? Create rules for yourself that will help you guide good enough and then check in with yourself along the way and go am I being perfectionistic about this? It might, like for me a great example is when I work on like the coaching session and this is why Pomodoro timers helped me quite a bit is because you work in 25 minute chunks And so I find that sometimes I can get really in the weeds on like alignment of things or like…

Jason: You know…

Caroline: Yeah, like little like I really want it to look nice or whatever. And so I will get lost in like a very like in all one specific slide.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: And I will look back at my Pomodoro timer and I’ll be like, oh my god It just said 19 and now it says 12 and I worked on one slide?

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: And that is such a good gut check for me of being like… What I just did in seven minutes did not move the needle forward in my business.

Jason: Exactly.

Caroline: And I could have gotten seven slides done, which would move the needle forward because then I could move on to the next thing. And so constantly kind of checking in with yourself I think is really helpful. So that’s a second needle, right? It’s like just going, okay, I’m going to not be a perfectionist about this. However, let’s move on to the third needle.

Jason: So you’re working as efficiently as you can.

Caroline: You’re working as efficiently as you can.

Jason: You are a good enough person. Congratulations.

Caroline: You know, you are, maybe you’ve decided like, okay, I am not being perfectionistic and I, and I’ve set my standard and I’m not willing to move it. What’s one last lever that you can kind of tweak? And that’s just moving your timelines and recognizing that you are someone who, if you own your own business, you set your own timelines and asking yourself, is this arbitrary? Even if you’ve told people about it, you know, there’s a fine line there. Like there’s nuance there where it’s like, sometimes you got to just say, you know, deliver when you said you were going to deliver, but sometimes you have to go, this is unsustainable and the cost of trying to deliver on this deadline that is just not going to like, if I’m going to have to work nights and weekends until I make this deadline, that’s not worth it to me. That’s a decision that you, listener, or have to make for yourself. But a lot of times these deadlines we give ourselves are arbitrary. And so just for us, example given right now, we are going to, we’re right now, we’re meeting every Friday to kind of look at our projects. We’re going to, I already can tell you, we’re going to have to extend our timelines because we don’t have any other levers to play with.

Jason: We’re not willing to work 8 and 10 hour days every single day and not have weekends off just because we want to get things done faster because this creative dam has built up and we’re just like exploding with ideas.

Caroline: Yep. Now the caveat I do want to share is I understand that in saying that for my particular situation, we have money coming in. Okay. I understand that that is a different privileged place to be in where the machine is already going. The momentum is already built. These are just projects that we want to grow or to, you know, invest in the future. And so of course it’s easy for me to say, move your timeline back. If you’re someone listening and going, yeah, if I move my timeline back, I can’t pay bills. Of course I’m not suggesting that that is going to be a solution for you. Try to play with those other levers. Try to get super ruthless in the way that you’re prioritizing projects. Go back to that original list and go, okay, now I know I really have to choose the one that’s going to get me cashflow right away. And then I’m going to just drop everything else until I get that cashflow going. That’s what I would recommend.

Jason: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that those three things are very helpful and they’re things that we come back to often. And so I want to also really make clear that like, I’ve been working for myself for 15 years. You’ve been doing this now for 10 years. This happens all the time. Like it’s not something that’s ever going to go away that you’re going to be like, I am never going to work at maximum capacity again. Nope, you will and you will get excited about something or you will have a break or you will get sick or you will have something that comes up that like stops you from working and then you start working again and you have all these ideas and you have all this energy and then, uh oh, you’re getting close to burnout. And so it’s really about trying to get better over time of exactly where I think you were two days ago or something. And we were like, this is not sustainable.

Caroline: Yep. You just got to check in and be like, nope.

Jason: And it’s even a new not sustainable where like in our past it would have literally been 12 hour days and it would have been just like every single day of the week trying to get things done. And now it’s like six to eight hour days and that is not even sustainable. And that’s when you start to realize like, I want my life to be lived more than I want to work so that I can live my life.

Caroline: Yeah. That’s a really good point because I didn’t mention before part of why that six is my magic number for right now.

Jason: For hours worked in a day.

Caroline: For hours worked in a day. Whereas someone else’s might be eight or something like whatever. It doesn’t matter. The number is completely individual to you. It might be two because you have children like, which we don’t have yet, you know? So the point I was trying to make is part of why that number works for me right now is because yeah, just to Jason’s point, I now know what a, what living feels like to me and what those activities on a daily basis are. And like I was saying, that’s time spent learning a new skill. That’s time spent working out. That’s time spent outside. That’s time spent reading my book. That’s you know, those things. And I’m not willing to sacrifice those things to get to a financial place faster.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: And that’s a decision that everyone has to make for themselves.

Jason: Totally. Alright, let’s finish with a six point quick hit list of ways to relieve the time pressure if you’re currently feeling it.

Caroline: So, yeah, this is a little rapid fire at the end here, but if you’re just like leaving with anything else…

Jason: Like, you guys said a lot of things.

Caroline: You said a lot of things.

Jason: What are the six most important things I can think about?

Caroline: But here are some six important things that you can do in order to take away that time pressure of trying to do it all at one time, okay? Number one, establish how many hours of work per day or week feels sustainable and then maybe track it. And just keep track so that you don’t go over and that could be one way to stay on track and not feel that pressure. Number two, highly recommend, we didn’t talk about this, but daily prioritization of tasks.

Jason: Especially when you’re in a busy season of work.

Caroline: Yep.

Jason: It is so important that every day you sit down and write out your to-do list. Even if you’re rewriting things from yesterday that didn’t get done, that’s totally okay. And then you have to prioritize those things so you know what you actually can be done.

Caroline: And I’m a big fan of… I choose my tasks for the following day, the day before. So at the end of my work day, whatever I didn’t get done, I go, okay, that’s going to be on tomorrow. And then I prioritize right then and there. So I have a block system, I have multiple systems.

Jason: Great.

Caroline: Great. Number three, set mini deadlines. So don’t just say like, oh, I want the WAIM dashboard to be redesigned by March 1st. It’s like, okay, no, I want the library page done by this day. I want all the new card designs done by this day. I want to be able to hand it off to our developer by this day. Those mini deadlines are going to help you stay on track because if you have a big time container, things will expand to fit that container.

Jason: You’re going to schedule time for breaks as your number four thing here in this list because it can feel like I don’t have the time when you’re in a max capacity setting to do the walks, to read your book, to any of the things that you do that refill your bucket. But you absolutely have to do those things because you are going to burn out if you don’t take breaks.

Caroline: Whenever I feel like I don’t have the time for those recharge, that’s when I know for…

Jason: You know you have to.

Caroline: I know I have to do that.

Jason: The fifth point here, I’ll take these last two, thank you so much, Caroline, is done is better than perfect. So this is your good enough. This is understanding that most of the things that we’re all creating as people who listen to this podcast are not etched in stone. You’re not carving a statue out of marble that you can’t go back and re-add marble onto it. I don’t know how marble works. It’s a very hard stone, correct?

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: I’ve heard.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: We’re building digital things and all those things can be updated, files can be replaced, dashboards can be redesigned, all this can be redone. So get it done, get it out into the world, get it into the hands of customers, get feedback, move forward. Then you can come back around and make it better. Also, you’ll never get things done perfectly. It doesn’t happen. And the final quick hit tip here is to check in with yourself regularly and adjust when needed.

Caroline: Great.

Jason: And that’s it. That’s this episode.

Caroline: That’s what we’re doing to hopefully fight this urge to do everything all at once. We will keep you updated on how these projects go. We will probably, by the end of Q1, have all different new projects that are creating pressure.

Jason: This is true. And we’ll be okay with it. We’ll be okay. Also, we are trying to do everything everywhere all at once in our business, but we are also trying to just keep talking about the movie Everything Everywhere All At Once because it was fantastic. If you’ve put it off because you’re like, oh, I don’t think I’ll like a movie like that, watch it. It is so wonderful.

Caroline: It’s unlike any other movie I’ve ever seen.

Jason: This is the sponsor of the episode. Vocal Ducks can take a break. Oh, no, we just have two sponsors.

Caroline: We have two sponsors.

Jason: That’s us.

Caroline: Are you kidding me?

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: Okay, this latter portion of the episode is brought to you by the movie Everything Everywhere All At Once for your consideration at the Oscars.

Jason: Absolutely. That would be wonderful.

Caroline: Not sponsored at all.

Jason: Nope, but we just really loved it. So we’re just sharing it. All right, that’s it for our episode. We got it done in under one hour. Congratulations to us. We’re trying to keep these episodes a little bit shorter, but this is what happens.

Caroline: Time constraints.

Jason: There’s a lot of things we got to share. There’s a lot of things we got to talk about.

Caroline: It’s a creative dam also with the podcast because we had a break and now we just want to chit chat.

Jason: It’s true. All right, everybody, we hope you enjoyed listening. As always, if you want to send us a note, Let us know what you’re thinking about this episode or any other episodes. And as Caroline mentioned, if you want to get on our email list about the Invest Email series, especially if this episode really rings true for you, we think that series will help you.

Caroline: Boom.

Jason: Okay, goodbye.

Caroline: Have a good week.

154 – 3 Things To Do When You’re At Maximum Capacity

(Big Fat Takeaway)

When you slide into max capacity, you can: work more efficiently, lower your standards, or extend your timelines.


This article written by

Jason Zook

I'm all about that Cinnamon Roll life (that just seemed like a "cool" way to say I love baking and eating cinnamon rolls). Also, I co-run this WAIM thing as well as Teachery. Currently, 75ish% completion of Tears of the Kingdom 🧝‍♀️⚔️.

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