In this episode the goal is to help you avoid burnout and hopefully get more done at work!
In the past we have covered some similar topics that may help.
We talked about a number of tools to help you with time and task management.
Matt Siltala: [00:00:00] Hey guys, good to be with you. How’s it going, Dave?
Dave Rohrer: [00:00:15] It is going, sir. It is another day, another podcast, another
Matt Siltala: [00:00:18] episode. See what we do for you guys. Um, you know what? This one’s going to be an interesting one to talk about. Like. You know, you were just sharing with me a lot of information about just kind of just how things go and as far as like the day to day busy-ness and you know, the feast or famine.
And it’s really just a topic that I kind of wanted to get into and, and help people understand. But I guess the official thing that we’re going to call this as personal time management and, uh, the ability to say no. And this is something that I’ve had or lack there of. Yeah. Very, very, very true. Um, it was just interesting talking with you and hearing about like all of the stuff that had going on.
And [00:01:00] there’s so many factors, you know, like a lot of times we want to just put all the blame on ourselves and like, I didn’t get that done, or this is my problem, or that’s my fault, or whatever. And the reality is in a lot of these situations, like with what you were sharing with me. Um, the reason that you didn’t get half of what you wanted done, what you were talking about earlier was because of someone else, um, because you were waiting on something else.
And so I think we have to learn to take all that in. But I guess the, the, the real thing that I wanted to, to jump into, and I’ll just kinda give you a little bit of a, of a background about myself and how I started to get into the trap of, of, you know, not being able to say no was, well. You know, when I first started getting into this industry, I mean, I think my very first client was, um, $300 a month.
And, uh, you know, I was, I was very grateful for it and, you know, I was doing other things. Obviously. We’re in corporate America, but I just started taking on little projects here and there [00:02:00] cause I was doing my own thing. And you know, people started asking me, Hey, how, you know, how’s this going and how are you learning this?
And again, this was, you know, early, early two thousands. Um, and so. You know, I would just take on a project here or there and then I’d get, you know, I’d do some really good work for this guy. And he’s like, Hey, my buddy just started this site, or so-and-so just started this site and I told them about you, and they want to work for you as well, or, or they want you to, or they want to hire you as well.
And so, okay. You know, take that on. And depending on the project, you know, I didn’t, you know, my, my projects at that time were anywhere between, you know, 300 and. 300 to 750 a month. I mean, if I got a $2,500 a month plan, I thought I was big time. Um, but most of them were, you know, in the hundreds. And, but I got into this pattern of, you know, like I would, someone would come and say, Hey, you know, this is the project that I need, or this is a, this is what I’m needing from you.
[00:03:00] And in many cases there would be, um, you know, it’d be a project that I wasn’t really. Sure of, or it would be a specific task that I didn’t know exactly how to do. And I would always say yes, because, you know, I didn’t want to leave that money on the table and then I would figure it out. I would spend time figuring out, okay, this is the things that they needed from me.
Um. You know, I’m gonna, I’m going to go and learn how to do this. And then this is where, you know, the networking comes in and this is where, you know, meeting with, uh, with people online. And luckily this is what time that social networking was starting to come out. And I was connecting with a lot of people and could ask questions and things like that.
But, um, what this did to me though, over the years is, you know, fast forward, you know, five, seven years. And, uh, whereas I was able to take these little projects on and it was fine. Um, I got to the point [00:04:00] where, um, it was just too much and I, and I found myself, like always working. I was constantly working, whether, you know, I was, we were going out for dinner or we’re eating and I’m like, always checking something or I can’t do this, or I had to miss that.
Or, you know, I’m on the soccer field watching the kids, you know, quote unquote watching them. But. I have the phone and looking at it and working on something, answering emails and taking a phone call cause someone’s crazy about something. And you know, we, we get into the, we get into these bad habits and, uh, you know, I would have friends that would call him and be like, Hey, they just really want to work with you.
And I knew that I had no bandwidth and I knew that I, I couldn’t do it, but I just didn’t want to let that friend down. And so, you know, I would never say no. And then, you know, just, it, it just was reaching that point of no return. And I finally recognized it and my health, you know, I started, uh, [00:05:00] you know, the anxiety started kicking in and, um, just the effects from not sleeping well.
And so I just, uh, I just finally had to take a hard look at it all and realize like, Hey, this isn’t good. For me. This isn’t good for my health. This is not something that I need. I just, you know, I’m going to have to, I’m going to have to learn. I’m going to have to teach myself how to say no. Okay. And there’s lots of different ways that you can go about that without just being like rude and just like, no, I’m not going to help you out.
You know, I, I’ve, I learned, I started talking with some buddies and. Hey, are these the types of projects that you’d take on? So like, I have people that are always coming to me that are looking for this, this, and this. And normally I’d say yes to everything, but I just can’t take it or I just can’t do it.
And so, you know, do you want to, uh, to take this on? And a lot of times it’d be like, yeah, refer it over and I’ll even kick you back something. And so [00:06:00] again, you know, just learning that, that skill right there, Dave, um, learning how to be able to say. No, I’m learning how to be able to delegate. Learning how to know when to say when, um, I think is huge.
And so I guess that’s where, that’s where like the majority of this is coming from. Um, and again, so like it gets back to just personal time management and just figuring out what it is that. What it is that I can, you know, feel comfortable with. And so, and again, all this was before, you know, this was when I was doing all this solo.
And this was before, um, I started bringing on the partners and before we formed, and I don’t know if anybody remembers this, but, uh, before we were avalanche media, we were dream systems media. And, uh, and then I guess got to the point [00:07:00] where, um. You know, we just, we, we grew from there. Like I would refer what I could, and then I had partners come on and then, you know, this is, and that takes on a whole nother, um, side of this.
But, uh, again, just learning to say no and just, um, you know, figuring out the craft of being able to say no. And I don’t know if there’s anything that you do, Dave, um, that. Is specific to being able to say no, or to help better with time management. Um, but, uh, I mean, I’ll leave it open for you to share a few thoughts.
Dave Rohrer: [00:07:40] Well, there’s, you’re talking about from an agency side, but I think a lot of what you just said would also be usable for anyone that even runs a business themselves. Um, you know, whether it’s a new client of any sort coming in, but then I think it also could be used. The same way for someone that works in [00:08:00] house.
So whether you’re on the social side, the paid side, the SEO side, a developer, um, you know, or even in an agency and you don’t run things and you have, and you do, and you have, you know, five different bosses and someone wants you to give an internal presentation. Someone wants you to. Go and, you know, go create this pitch for this new client.
Someone else wants you to jump on this call on three o’clock on another client. That’s not yours, but so-and-so is sick. And then you have your own deliverables to do. Or if you’re in house, um, you know, the CFO walks over and asks you a question. Your boss walks over, someone from another department walks over, the developers tell you about, you know, some thing that they’re pushing live to the site tomorrow.
You know, less than 24 hour notice. And you know, can you take a look at that? Because they only have a couple of hours left of Q and a, and they think they found something that might impact your world, but they’re not sure. Um, but you still have these other eight things to do today. Um, [00:09:00] sometimes I don’t think you haven’t had a chance to say no.
Whether you know, you, you have nine to five, I already know, or eight to four or whatever it is. And you’ve got eight different people asking you for 12 different things.
Matt Siltala: [00:09:13] Well then I think it’s important for people to understand them, that this is where like, um, you know, the term burnout can come into play and, and, and, uh, making it where people are not very fond of the industry that they’re in anymore.
And, and the, and I’m glad that you kind of brought some of that stuff up, Dave, because it got me thinking about, there was, there’s three individuals that reached out to me this week. Three of them. And it’s no coincidence. It’s just, I don’t know what’s, it’s just the way that the nature of the beast right now.
It could be very cool. Well, it could be, but, um, they all
Dave Rohrer: [00:09:46] behind holidays.
Matt Siltala: [00:09:48] True. The, the same thing though. They, they’ve talked about just how, how absolutely miserable they are right now. And it all comes back to them not being able to say, no. [00:10:00] And the people that they’re doing stuff for are demanding too much and not knowing, you know, where they’re at, not, and again, again, it’s an a, I’m not saying anything bad about the person that’s given the assignments, but you know, I think we have to do a better job of letting them know, Hey, you gave this task to me, but here’s the reason that it’s going to be difficult.
I’ll do this for you this time, but I don’t think I can do it again. And these are the reasons why, because this is going to take me. This long, but you normally give me this many hours for this type of a project, but this is going to take me this long and it’s going to push this project, this project, and that project back a little bit more.
And so again, I think if you do a little bit better of a job of being open, because a lot of times, you know what? Why? Why are we afraid to say no? Because we don’t want them to think that we can’t do something. We don’t want them to stop giving us projects. You know, we have that fear. Of, you know, it’s just anyone in this industry, whether you’re, you know, [00:11:00] again, going back to your feast or famine, comment Dave about a client work and stuff, we’re always, you know, we always fear that, uh, we’re not gonna have enough.
Or, um, and, and, and a lot of times it’s that way sometimes, you know, we’re like, I really wish some of these contracts would close. Um, but then other times we have more than we can deal with. And so it’s just trying to find that, find that balance. But. Again, coming back to like these individual that reached out to me, they’re all like beyond Burnett and telling me something has to change and it’s affecting their family life.
It’s affecting their health. In fact, one of them I knew, um, went to a hospital because of, um, exhaustion, anxiety. And so it’s just one of those things. Um, again, we have to be thinking of ourselves a little bit more self. You know, we have to be self conscious of that kind of stuff.
Dave Rohrer: [00:11:51] I’m trying to find the pod, the episode number where we talked about, um, just, we’ve talked about like managing [00:12:00] and trying to get projects done, but I know we talked about just managing expectations a little bit.
Um, episode 73 we talked about mental health stuff. Um, last year, I think it was last year. But I’m trying to find the one where we did the other stuff. Um, cause we kind of, I don’t want to repeat it all, but, um,
Matt Siltala: [00:12:19] if we find that, we’ll drop it.
Dave Rohrer: [00:12:20] I’ll drop it in. I’ll, I’ll dig around as we’re just talking about it.
Um, but we also talked about like what makes a good leadership, um, episode 61. I think part of it is, and I’ve talked about this and I know, like I said, we’ve talked about it at some point and I’ve talked about it in talks when I talk about in house marketing. But. Set, use, get harvest, use FreshBooks, use whatever system you have to track your time.
Um, if, if you are, even if you’re, you know, and if you oversee a number of head count or if people internally or agency or whatever it is, have them, if you’re not, [00:13:00] um, have them track their time for each project, for each deliverable, for each request. And keep track of it. So that going forward, when person X from team Y comes over and asks for something, you can then go, okay, they’re ready.
Have these priorities, what’s going to get pushed? Go talk to so-and-so and tell them that you need their time. Can their thing be pushed back three days? And if they say, no. Too bad, it goes to the end of the line. You know, not everything can be an emergency.
Matt Siltala: [00:13:39] Well, and that’s what usually is. Well, and I’m, and I’m glad that you said that because that’s the part where we need to do a better job as, as humans, as individuals.
Letting people know that, Hey, you can’t push me around to do this. Like
Dave Rohrer: [00:13:52] management. That’ll back you up on it though too.
Matt Siltala: [00:13:54] Yeah. And it’s true. But, uh, the thing is, it’s just, there’s going to be [00:14:00] this cycle of rinse and repeat with people coming in and out and that type of position in that type of environment.
And maybe some places don’t care. That’s, you know. What they’re wanting and they’re just trying to squeeze all that they can out of it. But I don’t think that builds lasting relationships with good employees that are actually gonna do really good work and turn the needle for you, so to speak.
Dave Rohrer: [00:14:20] Well, and I, when I was in house at the last gig, the, I was being asked to do like 50 different things, like most, like a lot of the times when I talk it in
Matt Siltala: [00:14:31] house.
Dave Rohrer: [00:14:32] What’s that? Yeah. And I asked the question, I’m like, who here does. Analytics, SEO, social media, and you know, like keep your hand raised when you do more than three or four or five or six or all of those things. And the number of people that will put their hands up is quite high. So I mean, they’re stretched across basically, you know, in some cases for different total jobs where they only do, they’re the only person there is no backup.
Um, if they’re sick a day, then really [00:15:00] nothing gets done. So there they can’t say no because everything is on them. Yeah. But I told them, um, you know, I use this example before, but I want was being asked by my boss why I wasn’t spending time on SEO. And I went into the details of all of the other things that I, you know, here’s my meetings this week.
Here’s what I’m doing. I literally used a FreshBooks, get harvest, you know, pay Mo app, whatever you want to use to track my time for a week. It was like a week or two. And then I went back to him and I said, here. Here’s what I worked on the last two weeks, and it was like, wow, you haven’t worked more than two hours in whatever it was and all that time on what your real job is supposed to be.
I’m like, no, I’m too busy doing all this other stuff. And that’s how I got budget. And we figured out resources for extra developers, extra writers, like to figure out how to, you know, based on where we thought we needed to be spending time, but I couldn’t get to. What was [00:16:00] the best way? What could I offload to other people or agencies in that case?
Matt Siltala: [00:16:04] I love that you shared it that way though, because, um, that’s exactly the advice that I gave these three individuals this week. I’m like, have you documented
Dave Rohrer: [00:16:12] to have to document it,
Matt Siltala: [00:16:14] take your week, document it, and at the very least, when they come to you next weekend and you’re burned out and you’re about ready to die, you know you have something to, to go to them with.
You have something to show them and. It’s solid and, and hopefully, you know, they’ll understand that and have the, the good scenario, like with the, you know, with your case, so to speak.
Dave Rohrer: [00:16:36] Well, it’s also prior prioritization. So if you’re working with a client that, you know, every week or every meeting, if you have a weekly meeting or a monthly meeting or whatever it is, every time there’s a meeting, they change the prioritization of something.
Um, the one thing I miss in my day to day right now is I miss. Gina, Rachel and Amy. Uh, my [00:17:00] former project managers I had when I worked at a larger agency. Um, I loved them because if there was ever scope creep, if there ever was a change in prioritization, it had to go through them. And it was like, okay, well here’s this deliverable we are working on.
We will stop on it. But then now we can’t deliver it until next Thursday instead of today. Wednesday. Is that okay? No. Okay, well then what’s going to happen? You know, what are we going to do?
Matt Siltala: [00:17:31] So I guess just my final thoughts on this and trying to help people understand like, it’s okay to say no. Like I learned that it’s okay to say no, but also have that data to back up.
Why you’re saying no and you know, also have other solutions. You know, like a lot of times when I would. I would defer projects or I wouldn’t accept something from a friend, not wanting to make them mad, but I would have solutions for them and say, okay, well I can’t do it, but here’s solution a, B, or C,
[00:18:00] Dave Rohrer: [00:17:59] or start on it for weeks.
Matt Siltala: [00:18:02] Oh, that’s a perfect idea. Like, look, I’ll be happy to work on this project and my first availability is going to be three months from now. And so then it’s them saying, well, I don’t want to wait that long. And it’s them saying, no, and it’s not so much pressure on you. And, uh, again, just for your health, for your mental health, for your physical health, you have to learn to say no because you will reach a burnout point.
You will, you will reach that point of no return and it hit. And when it hits, it hits you hard. So anyway, those are just some of my final thoughts, Dave.
Dave Rohrer: [00:18:34] Well, that’s my, and Casey Markee who we’ve had on before, that’s what he does. He’s got like a, literally a waiting list of people that wants audits because he has looked at his time and he’s factored in.
Travel, family and everything else probably, and you know, just life. And it’s like, I can’t get, I am booked for time until this month or these men number of weeks and here’s the list and your number, [00:19:00] whatever. Um, and of course it’s just like, you know, if you’re waiting in line for at a restaurant, if the law, if the wait is really long, people will probably leave and your, your time will be moved up.
But. You know, to, to save his sanity. That’s what he does. And I think you just have to, I mean, if your boss or bosses have your back, um, if you’re not management, that’s helpful. If you are management. Look at ways to help protect your team from other teams, you know, abusing their, their access or their time.
Uh, one of the best things I think an in house marketing team can do if they do have product and they have their own agendas and they’ve got different groups within the company that keep asking for their time and their resources is to regroup, sit down, regroup, and come out operating like an agency where.
Your time is billable, your time is finite, and you only can work on so many [00:20:00] projects, so many deliverables, and figure out a way to prioritize it. And if things come to, you know, three people want something, you escalate it to your boss and hopefully, or your boss’s boss, and they sit down with those three groups and go, okay, you all want them to do something.
We don’t have any more, you know, head count. They don’t have any more resources. What are your timeframes? What, what can we move in, what we can’t, and let them fight about it and not everyone killed themselves.
Matt Siltala: [00:20:29] Perfect. Perfect advice. No.
Dave Rohrer: [00:20:33] Well, we’ve making lemonade out of lemon is
Matt Siltala: [00:20:37] really well, and we have a, we have a lot of years combined experience here and so kind of know what’s worked in the past and what hasn’t.
And so, all right guys, your bosses don’t
Dave Rohrer: [00:20:48] have your back then. None of that works.
Matt Siltala: [00:20:51] All right. Well thank you Dave. Uh, I do appreciate it and thank you guys for listening. As a reminder, we are, you can subscribe to us everywhere, [00:21:00] iTunes, Spotify, Google play. Uh, we love reviews. Why don’t you go ahead and head over to Google play if you love this, uh, uh, podcast and give us a rating and a write us a little review.
And so, as always, thank you guys for that. For a Dave Roth Merseyside metrics. I met with avalanche media and uh, we’ll see you on the next one guys. Bike.
Dave Rohrer: [00:21:19] Thanks.