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Structure That Doesn’t Suck, Part 2

priority practice

This is part two of the Structure That Doesn’t Suck podcast series! Visit part one — Structure That Doesn’t Suck — and listen in before the following will make sense.

I promised we would talk about priorities. How do you decide what’s vital on any given day, and how do you make room for what’s most important?

Let’s make it really simple, starting with Step Zero.

Your priority is to engage with your opposite for one hour per work day.

Part of our measurement of growth as humans is moving beyond the settings we’re born with here on earth. If you’re an introvert like me, that means you’ve had to learn how to engage with people. You’ve had to learn protocols like, when someone says, “How are you,” you have to say, “I’m fine thanks, how are you?” For the first seventeen years of my life, I just said, “I’m fine” and walked away. I had to LEARN how to engage with people. Likewise, introverts, you’ve walked away from interactions with people completely wiped out, and you’ve walked away from gatherings of humans completely filled up and absolutely wonderful. (Looking at you, best concert I’ve ever attended.)

Your asshole brain said you were gonna hate every minute of that party, workshop, or concert, but actually it was lovely and you learned a lot. That’s because you grew.

This Priority Practice is similar: you’re gonna push your own edges in the name of growing as a human.

Eventually, you’ll be able to switch between your Hermione and Luna bits seamlessly.

I can say this only because I used to Luna so hard that I didn’t know how much money my business was making per month. I was a photographer at the time, and I trusted my business partner to handle things. Likewise, at some point in the past ten years, I didn’t know how to operate WordPress, email lists, SEO, Google Analytics, or social media platforms. I didn’t know how to follow up on a sale, nor did I know how to hold a profitable workshop. (I was so excited to hold a workshop that WHO CARED about making any money at it!!????)

My learning to Hermione has been a process. Now, I can tell you how much my business has made this month down to the dollar. I operate all the online things all by myself with no trouble. I follow up on sales like a champ, hold profitable workshops, and coach others to do the same.

Which is to say: you can do this.

You can absolutely learn to be a bit of your opposite by engaging with it every single work day.

This is deceptively simple: if you’re a Luna, block off one hour per work day to handle all the Hermione-like tasks you normally avoid.

Use Hermione time to tend to the physical world tasks that bring your work into reality.

These are the tasks that keep you from living out the ‘starving artist’ stereotype, and that, counterintuitively, give you more time to be your fully Luna self.

If you own a business, that means using your Hermione hour to do things like: sharing your work with others, packaging orders, communicating with clients and potential clients, following up with those who have expressed interest in your work but haven’t yet purchased anything, processing emails (meaning send and archive, not keeping emails in your inbox to remind you of to-do’s), sending invoices, bookkeeping, applying for grants or gallery showings, and otherwise doing all the boring, tedious, and/or difficult tasks that you normally avoid like a flaming spider.

If you’re like, ‘That’s overwhelming, I don’t know where to start:’ which undone projects or tasks make you feel guilty or shameful at this moment? Start there. Those are the tasks to add to your calendar right now. (Also: your shame is not interesting.)

The point is not to judge the tasks that make you feel guilty or shameful. The point is to add them to the list and then work through them during your Hermione Hour.

You’re naturally not going to want to do this, and it’s going to sound impossible. BUT. The Hermione Hour is only an hour. If you try and batch your life — i.e. buy 3 pounds of mung beans when you decide to convert to an all ayurvedic diet after reading a single book about it — you know how it goes. Those mung beans are still staring at you from the back of the cupboard seven years later.

We’re actively undoing the tendency to batch life and SOLVE IT ONCE AND FOR ALL. We’re slotting your most dreaded business tasks into simple, straightforward blocks of time that help you rise up from your own self doubt and self loathing to get shit done.

Ways to get the most out of your Hermione Hour:

Hire a pro. It’s okay to use Hermione time to hire a professional! I have a bookkeeper and accountant because if left to my own devices, I would keep zero records and then owe 20% of my total income at the end of the year to the tax man. (Been there, done that, cried hysterically. 2010 sucked HARD.)

You might need the help of a graphic designer, a coach, an event planner, an editor, or another pro to get your work into the world. It’s okay to give up on DiY-ing every last portion of your work and actually hire help. Hire a Hermione! It’s so much easier than trying to become a Hermione!

You don’t have to do it all at once. Part of the reason you’ve avoided doing these tasks for so long is because they seem overwhelming. Please refuse to be overwhelmed. You put one task, and then another, on the calendar until you’re caught up.

It might take days or weeks or months or years, but you’re starting now — which is better than starting later. (Starting last year is not an option, so please don’t beat yourself up about any missed opportunities.)

Ask for help. You’re most likely to need accountability not for individual tasks, but for making the time to function as your opposite. It’s a great idea to ask a friend, colleague, or coach for help with forming this new habit. (Preferably a fellow Luna, so you both do it and share your experiences.)

Have a plan. If you just put Hermione Hour into your calendar with no plan, it’s not going to happen. Make a list of alllllll the tasks that you avoid doing. (It’s okay if the task list is infinitely long! Keep writing and get it all out. Your job is not to beat yourself up, it’s to make a list. That’s your Hermione work for the foreseeable future.)

Add up to 3 tasks per day to the calendar, keeping in mind that most tasks take far longer than we’d like to imagine when we schedule them.

If you’re a Hermione, block off one Luna Hour per work day to do all the things you ‘never let yourself’ do.

That might include: meditating, reading, writing, journaling, dreaming, imagining, playing, wondering, visioning, and generally not being ‘productive’ in the strictest, most capitalist sense of the word. The Luna Hour is also perfect for breathwork, yoga, or any other spiritual practice that normally gets shoved to the early morning or to a single half-hour on the weekend because you ‘don’t have time for it.’

You’re gonna use Luna time to tend to your interiors.

There is nothing more productive than doing this work for future you, but for the long term it may seem like ‘nothing is happening’ and you’re ‘wasting time.’ To that I say: keep going. Asshole brain and capitalist society desperately need you to measure your human worth in terms of output, but you also require input.

Use this time to feed yourself spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and/or physically in any way you see fit.

Luna Hour hacks that make doing this work a bit easier:

Schedule it. Leaving the Luna space completely blank will backfire. Yes, we’re attempting to add silence, stillness, and space into your routine, but if you go from being busy for every minute of every day to an hour of nothingness, you’ll abandon this entire process immediately.

If you’ve scheduled an acupuncture appointment for yourself, downloaded a playlist, set up a friend date, or otherwise prepared for this time in some way, you’re far more likely to both enjoy it and to reap the benefits. Take a few minutes to order library books, gather workout videos, cultivate a playlist, gather art-making supplies, or otherwise ‘trick’ yourself into some down time.

Make this time non-negotiable. I know you could be using this time to answer emails even faster, or make more money or more connections or more projects. I know.

The discipline here is to teach yourself to hold a space sacred.

To reinforce the idea that you’re not the planet to do laundry and respond to emails. You’re a whole-hearted, full-bodied being, and Luna Hour honors that truth. You’re also teaching yourself to separate your work from your worth while giving your nervous system a reset.

This is important work; it’s just not your usual work. (It will feel quite different for that reason.)

Find an accountability buddy. Hold each other accountable for keeping this space free of work. Your natural pattern will be to completely ignore the life-giving hour I’m asking you to create. Find a friend to help you make space for silence and stillness in some small capacity. As you go through it, you’ll both be feeling lighter and freer within a few weeks.



At first, no. It won’t.

You will fight this like you have never fought anything else in your life.

You will kick. You will scream. You will barrel through the allotted time with 43,000 excuses.

Keep coming back to the Priority Practice. Keep scheduling time to give this a try.

When you start to sink into the rhythm of it, I guarantee your life will get easier.

If you’re a Luna, you will have actually looked at your business numbers. You’ll know your enough number, know what you have to do to maintain a profitable practice, and you’ll be able to bring your steady and experimental income into play.

If you’re a Hermione, you’ll have created breathing room for your soul. You’ll be less stressed, less dependent on time travel to be in two places at once, and less likely to ignore the whispers your intuition has been giving you all along.

No matter what, the Priority Practice gives you a sense of accomplishment and growth, which equals fulfillment.

Your only step right now is to schedule one Luna or Hermione hour per work day for the coming month.

You can absolutely change your habits, make new patterns, and thrive, no matter how hopelessly devoted you’ve been to those Hermione or Luna tendencies.

But first, you’ve got to make space in your calendar for that change to happen.

Go on, take the time now to schedule your Priority Practice as specifically as possible.

P.S. 10 ways to beat overwhelm as a biz owner — fast.

Structure That Doesn’t Suck, Part 1

If you’re one of my people, you tend to operate in one of two categories. You’re either a big-huge-enormous fan of structure and use it to plan every last detail of your life, or you absolutely hate structure and run from it like you run from that person with a hacking cough who’s got the plague over there.

Let’s make peace with both of those extremes by going a little bit Harry Potter on you.

This is an episode of That’s What She Said!  Listen in below, or find all the episodes here.

Hermione Granger is a really smart, really Type-A individual who uses tools like TIME TRAVEL to take more classes. Her structure level is over the top. You cannot beat Hermione at planning, at doing homework, at reading lists, or at time-turning.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find Luna Lovegood. She’s a laidback, dreamy individual who notices patterns and creatures others miss, subscribes to beliefs others find bizarre, and whose report cards are never crucial to the plot of any J.K. Rowling story.

Both of these humans save Harry Potter’s life at some point in the series. Which is to say…

Structure and serendipity go hand in hand.

They’re both amazing characters. They both get shit done and save the lives of their friends. You’ve got both of them within you, but you’re probably so busy shit-talking the other that you haven’t yet harnessed both of their strengths.

Let’s make peace with your Luna and Hermione parts, starting right now.

If you’re more of a Luna at heart, you’ve said something like, “I’m great at starting a routine and then letting it go the first day I don’t feel like it.”

Because you’re usually not starting *a* routine. You are RENOVATING YOUR LIFE all at once.

You don’t simply stop consuming GMOs and eat a little more kale! You go on a rampage and throw out everything in your pantry that doesn’t fit your strict guidelines, replace your plastics with glass, buy a juicer, start meal planning, and commit to eating 100% organic foods for the rest of time. (I’ve done this many times, including the time I threw out the microwave to kick off a particularly healthy kick. And then purchased a new microwave a few weeks later.)

This Total Life Overhaul works for a few days. You’re doing it! Everything is changing all at once! …and then you find yourself in a cafe with amazing muffins. Sweet, sweet, not-part-of-your-new-life-plan muffins.

FUCK IT, you decide, and throw all that structure out the window in one fell swoop.

Attempts to implement structure in your life are inevitably abandoned when the 18 changes you’ve taken on simultaneously begin to unravel.

Lest you feel superior because you’re on the Hermione end of the spectrum, let’s dive into big changes in Hermione land.

You’ve got your schedule packed with activities. Meal planning happens from mid-afternoon until 5:47 p.m. on Sundays, as well as on Wednesdays at precisely 1:37 p.m., between lunch yoga and afternoon meetings.

You schedule yourself to within an inch of your life and feel stressed by most any change to your plans.

Being one minute late is a catastrophe. Client cancellations are major issues. You don’t understand why people haven’t responded to your Thanksgiving Brunch RSVP 17 weeks in advance. Christmas shopping is done by November first.

Rigidity keeps you uptight on your best days and downright mean on your worst.

…but are you more of a Luna or a Hermione?

Lunas tend to:

+ make amazing work but rarely spend energy selling it
+ have trouble communicating with their peeps consistently
+ freak out about the number of projects they find interesting (“It’s too many!”)
+ panic if they feel ‘locked in’ to a title, project, or way of being
+ spend a great deal of time daydreaming and imagining
+ find money and finances frustrating but uninteresting
+ consistently undervalue their gifts and time

Hermiones tend to:

+ find it difficult to deviate from structure
+ freak out if an assignment doesn’t have any rules
+ enjoy projects less if there’s no chance of getting a gold star
+ overschedule their days and lives
+ fear letting people down, and therefore accept lots of unwanted responsibility
+ push their own needs, particularly creative ones, to the back burner
+ crave freedom, expansion, and stillness, but have trouble finding time for it

The good news is, you’ve got both impulses built right into you!

If you identify with Luna, we’ll work toward creating structure that doesn’t suck in the coming weeks. Those who identify with Hermione will work on adding silence, stillness, and space to let your not-productive bits out to play.

Regardless of how much Luna and how much Hermione you’ve got going on right now, these questions will frame the Structure That Doesn’t Suck series:

What if we play with your schedule so that you aren’t trying to make too many changes to your life at once? And what if we can play with scheduling some — but not all — of your most important work? Further, what if we mark off free time, play time, and not-caregiving time, so that you actually have a break from all that intensity?

Which is to say: what if you commit to doing one thing at a time?

I know you can multitask with the best of them, Hermiones, and that you can daydream while doing any activity at all, Lunas. But what if you only did one thing at a time, all day long?

Both Lunas and Hermiones struggle with overwhelm because both are living in the modern world.

We have more toothpaste options than our ancestors did career choices.

My email list — MY email list — contains more people than Jesus reached in the whole of his time on earth.

To be overwhelmed is the tip of the iceberg and is understating the truth by a long shot.

We’re drowning in choices, in voices, in distractions.

That’s why doing one thing at a time is important, at both the day-to-day level and the career level. You can’t make a movie and an album and a Broadway show simultaneously unless you’re 40 years into your career like Bruce Springsteen, so please don’t try.

Can you commit to doing one task at a time for the coming week?

That won’t change your whole calendar, but it will begin to beat back the overwhelm that threatens to take you under.

P.S.  Your whole year, planned with one question.

How to clear energy and plan for the year ahead.

Psst! This is episode 179 of That’s What She Said. You can listen in or keep reading to enjoy it!

I was at Trader Joe’s last week and my cashier looked STRESSED OUT. I said, “It’s busy, huh? Are people crazy today?” She glanced from side to side and then looked me up and down, as if making sure I wasn’t a Secret Shopper, before saying: “One lady yelled at me because she wanted a 15-pound turkey and hers was 14.9. I only have so much control over turkeys, lady.”

Over the past few weeks, I’ve also found myself asking questions to my KK on Tap peeps like, ‘When is your cut-off deadline?’ ‘When are you done working?’ ‘Are you slowing down in December?’

…and then realized that I couldn’t keep asking these questions without coming up with better answers myself. In an effort to slow down and avoid becoming the screaming turkey lady at Trader Joe’s, the podcast is on hiatus from now through January.

Here’s how I’m clearing the energy of the past year and planning for the one ahead.

I know, I know, the shiny AF super-planners that promise you’ll be organized, fit, meditating, and rich in 30 days or less have been for sale since October, and you’re still in the thick of things and don’t have time to reflect on anything except what to buy before you see your friend’s sister-in-law’s daughter, Stephanie, who you bought a gift for that one time and now you have to do it every year.  (I suggest a Bob Ross Chia Pet.  Every year.  Done and done.)

We don’t do shame around here. There’s no rush on listening to or implementing any of this material. It applies any time of year, and it’s here for when you need it. Okay? Okay.

1. First: acknowledge everything.

This is stolen from Katherine North at Declare Dominion, and it’s just two brilliant questions that help you process a bunch of months all at once!

What are you proud of having accomplished this year? List 5 things.

Further, what did you come through? List your top 5.

We so often list our achievements as if they exist independently of what we’ve encountered, engaged with, conquered, finished, fixed, said goodbye to, or tried in any given year. But they don’t.

Asshole brain will always say you haven’t done enough and will make you think you haven’t survived much either, but those assumptions don’t hold up to even a tiny bit of inquiry.

When we acknowledge our Tiny, Annoying Progress as well as what we’ve straight-up survived, we honor the places where we’ve spent our energies wisely, and those places and circumstances that took our energies, too.

This year, I’ve survived losing beloved doggo Hermione D. Granger, adopting tiny pupper Aaron Neville Longbottom, having said 10-week-old puppy in the ICU for multiple days, sleeping 16 hours at a time for months on end because my thyroid took a hiatus from functioning, and improvising my way through paying SO MANY thousands of dollars in unexpected veterinary and medical bills.

…not to mention all the dollars I give to HBO, Amazon, and the people who make the most important things: pizza socks, unicorn bodysuits, and remote-activated bubble machines. Well, Bear bought me the last one for our kitchen, but you get the idea.

When we acknowledge the quite specific and often brutal working conditions we’ve survived, everything we’ve done this year seems AMAZING.

Plus, we’re all surviving the global rise of populism! 30% of the world’s population lives in a backsliding democracy! The 24-hour news cycle brings gloom, doom, and disasters on a daily basis!

We all get an extra 20 Achievement Points just for surviving 2018.

2. Get out your calendar.

Paper or digital, it’s fine. I can’t do a paper calendar because the feeling of being unable to cross an item off my to-do list is devastating, while dragging an incomplete task from one day to another on my Google calendar feels just fine. Thus, I use a digital calendar. You may be the opposite, or use both kinds, and I have no judgement about what’s better or worse except that having a calendar and a plan generally beats not having any sort of calendar or plan. (Related: here’s everything I know about time management.)

3. Add space and pleasure to your calendar first.

As you look at the next six months, play with letting space and pleasure take up blocks of time before anything else gets layered into your schedule. This is the total and complete opposite of what most people on earth do, which is why this single action is both powerful and rebellious. Instead of filling your calendar with to-do’s, work tasks, projects, and ideas, then squeezing fun into those 2 cold-ass days in February that remain, you can choose to prioritize time for pleasure in the coming year.

Pencil in vacations, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and/or days off before you add anything else to your calendar.

Reserve time in the form of crossed-off work days even if you don’t know where you’re going on that vacation next September. Making room is enough. Also: you don’t have to go on vacation to have time off! You can choose to stay home for a few days in March, or two weeks in April, or for a long weekend in May. Since you own the business, YOU make the calendar, and YOU can take as much time as you need to remain a fully functional human.

You don’t have to ‘earn’ time off. You deserve a weekend and a slower season whether you’ve crushed, nailed, cruised through, or just barely survived this year.

The world will not cease to rotate on its axis if you’re having a good time and you don’t work on Tuesdays. Promise.

I go one step further on the pleasure route and make a Depression Calendar, which is my personal antidote to those cold winter days when I’d rather do anything but leave the house. Scouring your town for events, films, festivals, gatherings, parades, and parties costs you only a few minutes and some nominal ticket fees.  Maybe plan to do something truly unique after visiting Atlas Obscura and (searching your hometown)?

In return for this small investment of time, you’ll actually leave the house when it gets dark at 4:21 p.m. instead of sinking into the abyss of Netflix and delivery pizza for the duration of your Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Good planning can be the difference between looking out over a bleak emotional landscape and seeing a ton of things to look forward to on your winter calendar.

For me, it’s the difference between having a so-so winter and an absolutely devastating one. (If I manage to get a spectacular winter under my belt, you’ll be the first to know, and I’ll share every damn thing I’ve done in order to make that happen.)

4. Embrace the ways you actually use time.

Are you an achiever’s achiever? If yes:

You naturally fill every single moment with work if they don’t schedule offline time, down time, free time, and unstructured time.  If you’re naturally attuned to being productive at all times of the day and night, schedule your days off before you plan your work days. Place some days, like Tuesday evenings or Saturdays, entirely off limits from work-related tasks. Finally, create clear start and end times for your work on any given day.

The boundaries around your time are to keep work from spilling into every aspect of your life and taking over your every relationship, including the one you have with yourself. Don’t let ‘busy’ crowd out your interior life.

Do you hate structure and discipline more than nearly anything else on earth? If yes:

You naturally fight structure. You feel imprisoned by the discipline of knowing what we’re going to do on any given day, so we keep vague to-do lists which never come to fruition. It’s taken years for me to realize that I actually have to schedule writing time, email time, work time, marketing time, administration time, banking time, and coaching time, or they won’t happen. (Also, setting internal goals is helpful!)

Schedule your work days with clear start and end times — holding a morning call or meeting can help assure you’ll show up on any given day! — so that you actually work through your to-do list instead of getting distracted by what’s urgent or shiny or both.

As you take a look at your to-do list, break every huge task on your calendar — i.e. ‘make a new website’ or ‘get 12 new clients’ — into much much muuuuch smaller tasks. The bigger the project, the more likely you are to have tons of tasks within it.

That initial breakdown of a huge project into small tasks can be a bit stressful, but choosing to get every item onto the calendar means you’re much more likely to finish the project, publish the website, launch the project, and/or sell the event. I’ll guarantee your asshole brain calls you a ‘flake’ when all you really need is a clear calendar and specific to-do lists for any given month.

The boundaries around your time are to make sure each work item or task is a.) on the calendar and b.) actually gets done. This keeps your truest work from getting pushed to an elusive ‘someday’ that never comes. It also keeps you from wallowing in the swamp of ‘OH GOD I DUNNO WHAT TO DO NEXT’ that can cost you weeks or months or years.

When you translate Enormous-with-a-capital-E tasks into smaller ones and add ’em to your calendar, you have a realistic grasp on how long any given project will take. This causes less stress about timelines, due dates, and deadlines. Translated: you can’t write a book in two weeks while selling your screenplay and raising your babies and cooking all the meals and working out for three hours a day and fighting a chronic illness, okay? Breaking your tasks down and scheduling them allows for realistic time expectations all around.

5. De-prioritize shit that doesn’t matter, isn’t working, or sucks your energy.

Identifying energy sucks can be just as vital to your calendar as getting all the planning, organizing, and ‘to-do’ing exactly right.

If you spent eight months working on a project and it didn’t appear on your achievements list from earlier, can you find a way to ditch it, stop promoting it, or vote it off your business island for a while? Is any one product or client consuming a disproportionate amount of your attention or energy, with little reward?

Cutting the chaff often makes way for more amazingness, more wonder, and more progress on your most important tasks. (Related: that time I lost 6,644 subscribers in a single day.)

I cover this in waaaay more detail in Konmari (that doesn’t suck) for business.

6. Plan to communicate with your peeps. Regularly.

You have peeps. Don’t fight me on this, you do! Even if we’re talking about your mom and that one friend who tells you to write more often, or 3 former clients, or 41 people who signed up for your email list years ago.

You. Have. Peeps.

Talking with your peeps inevitably leads to a healthier, more stable business. You don’t have to have a content calendar or editorial calendar or Pinterest-optimized images or all three in order to talk with your peeps in a casual way about what you’re working on and what’s for sale.

You do have to communicate with them regularly via a channel you control if you want to avoid finance-related stress, though!

Whether you choose to use email, snail mail, or live meetups to talk with your peeps, How to F&*&ing Communicate will help you introduce you to quick, clear, and doable methods for connecting with your fans, followers, and clients. No stringent, stressful guidelines across 83 platforms. Just simple, not-freakishly-difficult ways to talk to people regularly.

Learn more about How to F*%&ing Communicate here, or download the gift guide to see the other classes for sale!

7. Ask what wants to be born.

Often, as you make space for reflection and planning, you’ll uncover an inkling that you’d like to make a new thing — or you’ll feel like you finally have time to take action on the inklings that have been circling your brain like patient-but-annoying hummingbirds since August.

I’ve got a workshop that wants to be born, and there’s also a bigger, deeper project that wants to take shape this winter. (It’s par for the course for this to be terrifying! Of course it is. And we do it anyway.)

Establishing a series of deadlines and check-ins for yourself can help ensure that whatever your truest work is, you’re going to get it done.

Even if it’s slow going.

Even if you don’t know how it will make money.

Even if you’re sure it will fail and you’re hesitant to start.

Acknowledge and then make what’s dying to be born, okay? Do the work only you can do.

If you’re a business owner, you’ll absolutely love M-School! This podcast series helps bring your magic to the world, and you can listen to every single episode starting here. It’s free, it’s smart, and it helps you acknowledge your true nature while also selling the shit out of your work.

Finally! If you need my help bringing a project to life, revamping your business, or holding you accountable for making changes big or small, check out KK on Tap! I’d love to work with you for a whole year!

You can put down a $100 deposit and we’ll start out work together in January.

Until 2019 —




P.S. If you’d like to explore any part of planning your marketing year further, check out episode 88 of That’s What She Said: how to plan your next six months.

If you’ve got an idea for the coming months’ podcasts or blog posts, talk to me!  Just shoot me a message below.