Office Hours with Dr. Lacy

I help doctoral students learn and apply qualitative research so that they can finish their dissertation, graduate, and become DOCTOR!
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Now displaying: August, 2019
Aug 28, 2019

Hello, it's Marvette! I'm back again. So this week's episode comes from a question I received on Instagram from the impressive educator who said how to keep committee on schedule so I can finish. And this is a pretty common question that I receive from folks who in some form or fashion, they are having trouble with communication from their chair or their whole committee. They can't get everyone in the same room at the same time. They are trying to get feedback, but it has been like weeks and they haven't heard anything. And this can make for a very frustrating parts of the process. So what I'm going to share is some things that you can do at the start of your dissertation journey. When you have all your like committee members in place or even just if you're starting us off with your chair. I also believe that this would work even if you're in the middle of your process and you find yourself like, you know, things were cool in the beginning, but now they're not in, you're having trouble.

I would just say also adapt some of these strategies. To help make life a little bit more bearable when it comes to committees and whatnot. Again, the short answer I would say is people have whole lives. Your chair and your committee, they have whole lives. They have other folks that they are advising or serving on other committees. They have their own research projects in writings that they have to do. They have classes that they're teaching other service things, life, family, friends, right? Like their whole thing isn't about you pause, full stop. And so it is really up to you to do everything in your power to make this a very seamless process as possible, right? Because at the end of the day, it is your dissertation. It is your degree, it is your journey. And so the dissertation process is very much guided by you.

You're controlling it. And up to this point you have been used to people telling you, being very prescriptive with you and telling you exactly what it is that you need to do and where you need to show up, how you need to do those things. And you learn really quickly that the dissertation process is the opposite. It because it depends on you. Like if you don't show up and write and do what you need to do, they can't do what they need to do for you. So that's a little mini rant there. I just wanted to make that note of like, that's my short answer of like, you need to be the one that is driving this process as much as possible. Not that you're telling your chair or anybody when you're gonna like that, you will be defending and they have to, you know, agree to that.

That's a whole other thing. What I am saying is, as much as you can control, the communication part, and I'm using the word control, and maybe that's the wrong word, but as much as you can be organized in, get clear on expectations for the process, the more that like, the easier or simpler it will be for everyone involved is really where I'm going with that. Okay. So I wrote my notes on an old envelope, let's hope that, I can remember what order I want to go in. Yeah, I'm going to be better. I'm going to get a system that's better. But you know, again, if you know me and listened to last week's podcast, I'm over here about the B minus, C plus work. So yeah. Okay. So you get to the point where you are ready to do like the dissertation process. You're like, I'm good.

Let's go. The first thing you need to do is create or think about a plan for the dissertation process. And I would even say take it one section at a time. So section meaning dissertation proposal is one section, collecting data and analyzing data as a second section, and finishing writing, chapter four and five edits and all of that is a third section, right? So depending on what stage you're in, just choosing that one part, we don't need to have the whole answer yet. Just choosing the one partner that you're in. So for the sake of this conversation, let's just say you're working on your dissertation proposal, right? You're at the beginning of it. Hmm. Deciding when is your ideal end date? Like when would you like to defend your proposal? If you have a process in which you're defending it, but when would you like to defend it?

I suggest for people to at the least say four months out. Okay. But if it's even longer, six months to give yourself even more time, that works too. Because life will happen, other things will come up and it's a whole journey. So you want to give yourself as much time because even if you finish early, then that's fine. You can just move the date, but there's no point to stress yourself out trying to meet this very quick deadline and trying to do it in two weeks. And you'd stress yourself out and you don't meet that and then you're beating yourself up. And then it takes you even longer to finish your proposal because now you have to go through months and months of saying like, I'm a failure. I didn't do this. You know, the whole shame spiral that many of us go down. You have to go through that process and you have to pick yourself back up and then you have to start back all over again because you don't remember what you were writing before you went down a whole spiral.

And so you look up a whole year has passed and you still don't have a proposal. I don't want that for you. So I would say my suggestion would be four months from today or whenever you're planning is a good timeline to say, I will have this proposal done and be ready to defend it. Or at least I'll be submitting it to the committee for final review. Okay. So being clear about, okay, that's your overall goal, right? And then breaking that down into chunks and saying roughly how much time is it going to take you to do each portion of your proposal. So I say aim for four to six weeks for each chapter or section. Now some of you may have panicked a little bit but if you work with me or been around me on any length of time, then I believe in you writing very... I'm not going to curse on here, "workable" drafts. And then the editing is a whole different thing in with that system you, you are able to get chapters done in the four to six time period. Plus when you, wherever you start, which most people start with chapter two, I say that that whatever your starting point takes the longest. And once you get into a groove or writing the chapters that follow go much quicker cause you're already, you already have a system, right? So I say give yourself about four to six weeks for each section and I want you to write down those dates. So your first date is I will have my dissertation proposal done by x date. So four months out and then for each chapter, four to six weeks. These are the dates, right? So where we are in, I think this is September, we're in, I record these ahead of time. So I had to like do the math in my head. So like just say this is September 1st right at the time of recording.

So let's see that October, November, December right. So say by January 1st right, you're gonna have the whole proposal done, ready to send to your committee for final review, right? So then September could be by like October 1st I'm going to have chapter two. This will be the system I would use. October 1st I'll have chapter two November 1st I'll have chapter three. December 1st I would have had chapter one, I would spend all of December editing, make, polishing, APA, all those things so that I can then have a final draft to submit to my committee by January 1st. That's a very simple plan to follow. That's what I would do, okay. So first you need to figure that out because you need a plan. Have a very dear mentor who said that you got to show up with something where you're asking folks for help. So this is, you're showing up with something.

So having that plan going in, right? The second thing is having a topic, I would argue to say that you have your topic, you have, this is the problem I'm solving with this topic and having the why we need to solve this problem. For the topic. Those are the three main things I would say you need to know before you talk to anybody, chair, whatever. So you have your schedule of when you want things to get done and then you have your topic, the problem and the "so what". And really take time to work on the topic problem. And so what to get it down to. It should be three sentences at most 50 words at most. Nobody wants to hear you ramble on and on trying to explain. They just want to know what it is. You will notice that a lot of this of what I'm going to cover is you being concise and clear on what it is that you want to do.

Okay? And again, it doesn't have to be perfect. We just need a starting point. So once you have done your pre-work, then you want to send an email to your chair. Most people know who their chairs are before you necessarily know who your committee members cause that. I mean that's a whole process. Sometimes it takes a little bit, but I would encourage you to follow the same process for each committee member, if that makes sense. Okay. So then you have your pre-work later you're going to send them an email and you're going to be like, hey chair, it's me. I would like to schedule some time with you to talk about my dissertation process. I have taken some time to think about and outline like a rough schedule in the rough idea of what I'm going to do. And I will love to meet with you to discuss a few things.

I want to talk to you about my overall dissertation plan. I want to talk about communication styles. I want to talk about feedback, expectations. And, I want to talk about scheduling additional meetings. This meeting will only, take no more than 30 minutes because I want to be respectful of your time. Please see the following questions that I would like to discuss to give you some time to prepare answers. Here is some times that work for me. What works for you. Look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day. Your favorite doc student, that's what your email should say. You want to treat this relationship in this way to set up, especially in the beginning. It's just, it's helpful for everybody to know expectations and being clear about what's going on. Because when you start flying by the seat of your pants, is that the saying?

And even if you have a very close relationship with your chair, things can start to get really muddy. When you get deep into the dissertation zone and you are frustrated and you're over it, things can get muddy. And so it's best to set up clear things or to start this off this way. So you both know and, no matter how much you enjoy being with your chair, they enjoy being with you. No shade, nobody has the time to sit with you for hours and hours and hours. Okay. And if they are doing, if they're doing that, yeah, if they are doing that with you, they're doing it out of the very kindness of their heart. But they got shit to do. I said I wasn't gonna curse. It didn't last. They got, they got things to do. And that's only so long you're going to be able to do that with you.

Now this is like a summer or as a slow point then maybe they've got time to sit there, but more than likely they don't have time to sit there with you for hours and hours. And so that means you've got to come prepared and being very clear about what it is that you want to talk about. Here's a side rant, please stop scheduling meetings with anybody, whether it be your chair committee member or the faculty member telling them you just want to go in there and talk. Now it's different if both of you are on the same page and you know that y'all are scheduling meeting for the purpose of kiki-ing. That's different. However, if you're scheduling a meeting with the intention of you're supposed to do actual work and talk about your actual dissertation, then it is up to you as a doctoral student to come in there with a plan of what you want to talk about and what you want to accomplish, right.

To have a starting place. So everybody is clear on the focus of that meeting. Second of all, it is very important to before the meeting send an email to say, here are the things that I would like to talk about because you give the other person a chance to prepare for that and to prepare their thoughts. Especially my introverted friends, you give them time and they're not caught off guard and you're not using precious meeting minutes, minutes or time to for people to have to look up stuff and have to like figure out things they could've done before so that your meeting can be as productive and short as possible. Because again, nobody likes meetings, especially when you open up your calendar and that's all you see. Nobody likes it. And then you know, that meme that goes around us at this meeting could have been been an email.

If you have, if you would've put down the things that you wanted to discuss and your questions ahead of time, most of them could have been, could be answered before you even step foot in the office with your chair. Or you can eliminate that time and get to work even quicker. But this is not this. No, this is not social time. Your chair doesn't need to be your best friend. It's good at it. You can have that relationship. However it is time for you to graduate, for you to finish a dissertation and not, we don't have time for you to keep scheduling meetings every week to go chitchat. Okay. I'm done with my rant. All right, so that first email, you're going to list some questions and I'm going to talk to you about what those questions and those topics are for the rest of this podcast episode.

Okay. So so the first thing is I highly encourage people to use some sort of scheduling software or a scheduling system. The most frustrating part is going back and forth with a person about what time do you have available, oh, is that day open? Well, this does this work for you. It takes too much time and it's too many emails speaks. Like from someone who hates checking email. I hate that even more that we got to go back and forth and figure it out a time. So I highly suggest that you find something like I use acuity scheduling A, C, U. I, T. Y, that's there's Calendly, C, A. L. E. N. D. L. Y. Um, I've seen folks use, she's like Google and sharing like a spreadsheet and having available times and slots. Now this is going to require you to be organized on your end to say, when am I available and when I'm going to, when am I going to do meetings every week?

Side note to the side note: I would even suggest that you have one or two days per week where you only do meetings with other folks no matter if you are a full time Grad student, you have, you work nine to five or whatever. Organizing your life in this way makes you so much more productive because you don't have a meeting over here, a meeting over there or I go do these things. Have one to two days, two days where you only do meetings right? Go set up a free account on one of these apps because they're free and you block off chunks of time. So say like you're going to do meetings Tuesday and Thursday from nine to 12. Great. You put that in the app and then when it comes down to scheduling meetings with people, you just send them the link.

And say find the best time for you. In admin world. People love to, especially in student affairs. That's why administrators love to use outlook. You know, people quick to put a meeting on your calendar. And so I would also suggest that you block off times that you are not available and only have those times free again, if you're going to do those two days, Tuesday and Thursday from nine to 12 at your nine to five, that you're only going to do meetings with folks outside of your office. Just make sure those, those are the only times available for people to make meetings. Okay? So yes, get your nap, organize your life. Have these set times so that when you write this email to your chair committee member, you have that link in there. Now they have their own process even better cause you can go ahead and just schedule the first meeting but a lot of people don't.

So you be proactive and you have your own link to say here's my link for scheduling or my availability. If it doesn't work for you, please let me know. Right. Cause we also want to be flexible that everybody's on your time. Okay. So the first thing is having the the app, the email scheduling app, right? The second thing then is you want to ask them what their preference for communication is. So you know, I want to make the most of our time. If I have a quick question, what would be the best way to communicate with you? If I have something where I want to talk things out, what would be the best way to communicate with you? And what what frequency of meetings do you feel works best for you when you're working with someone in their dissertation?

Right. So some preferences for communication could be people prefer email to communicate by email, especially if it's a quick question or something like that. People, some people prefer like face to face meeting meetings. Some people prefer you call them or text them, but you want to ask them how they prefer communication. Again, because we're setting up expectations. So it was very clear to say if it's a quick question, if it's something where you know, you need to talk things out or if you need to share progress, asking them their thoughts about that and then asking them how often, would they like to meet with you throughout the semester or throughout the dissertation process.

Okay. as far as the frequency of meetings, I would say to give more structure around that, tell them, you know, like as a starting point, I was thinking that if it's your chair, I would say scheduling at least three to four meetings per semester. If it's a committee member, I would just say two meetings a semester or in this four month period, whenever that is starting for you. And say, you know, I think two to four meetings a semester works well. Each meeting will be no more than 30 minutes. These meetings would be used to share with you my progress, what I've been working on. It will be used to tell you where I'm stuck or that I have questions that are not able to be answered by the quick question method that we have. And I'm going to tell you what I've done to work on the problem that I'm having and how I believe that you can help me. So I'm a side note again. So whenever you are asking someone for help and you are scheduling a meeting with your chair or these update meetings throughout the semester, you again, you always need to be doing your work before the meeting. You want to ask yourself before you step foot in our office, you want to write this down and be able to clearly articulate what have you been working on since the last meeting?

Where are you stuck? What haven't you been able to do? What questions are lingering? The third thing, what have you done to answer those questions? To get unstuck, to solve your own problem, what have you done already and then for how do you think your chair or committee member can help you get unstuck? Again, we're not going to meeting in nobody's office to just ramble. You are taking ownership of your process. You are taking ownership of what you can do and what you have control over and we are not expecting people to do the work for us. So if you don't have answers to those four questions before you walk into somebody's office, you can give me to cancel your appointment because no one is doing the work for you. This is your dissertation, it's your degree. This, I'm saying real harsh.

It is what it is, but I'm willing to bet that the reason why most of you are having trouble with your committee or with your chair or keeping them on track is because you didn't do what you was supposed to do. You're not like, and you're not doing what you need to do to organize yourself and you're not putting in the work to solve your own problems. But instead you think everybody else needs to solve your problems and you're probably saying, oh, it's unfair and that nobody wants to help me, but you're not doing what you're supposed to do. So if you can't answer what you've been doing, what your progress is, if you can't identify for yourself where you're stuck and what you've done to get unstuck or what questions you have, and if you can't clearly articulate to the person and you're asking for help, how they should help you, then you need to cancel that meeting.

Okay? Sure. Sometimes you can't all the way, like figure out what it is and you, you can't know what you don't know. However, you can sit there and try. You can try to write some things. I have some sort of starting point. So putting in some effort because why should someone put more effort into solving your problems than you are? Okay. End rant. Y'all, I'm getting hot. I'm getting hot. Okay, so we have, you did your pre-work, you're going to write an initial email to your committee or chair member. You're going to email them this outline that we're going over right now.

You know, I'm also going, I'm gonna make this like, I'm going to put this on the website, like the transcript of the podcast is already on the website, but I'm going to make this something that you can download so that you can have it for your reference when you are setting up this process. Okay? So you're gonna send the email, you're going to set up your own scheduling app, right? You're going to ask them about their preference of communication. Whether that's a quick question, whether that's something more that you all have to talk out. You're going to ask them about their, their preference for frequency of meeting and how they want to do that, right? For every meeting, it's gonna be no more than 30 minutes unless you all decide that it's going to be something different. But are we're going to try our best to be respectful of folks' time.

So no more than 30 minutes and you're going to come into that meeting saying what you've worked on, where you're stuck, what you've done to get unstuck, and how you think they can help you, and you're going to send that email like you're going to send it and answers to those four questions ahead of every meeting. So every meeting needs to have an email of an agenda or things that you want to talk about to give folks time to prepare for you. And then whether they do or they don't has nothing to do with you. It's not your business if they prepared or not. It is your business to know that you did everything that you could do to make that meeting as efficient as possible.

Okay. For that first meeting, you're also in, periodically you're going to ask them about their schedule. Right? So you knowing your pre-work that you have planned to finish your proposal in the next four months. Right? Asking them, do you have any significant days that I should be aware of for the next four months? Are there going to be times where you're not going to be available or you're going to be off contract, you're going to be on vacation, you want to be on sabbatical. What is that like so that you can prepare that during these times they're not going to probably going to be responsive and so you can plan accordingly. Okay. You want to ask them that because most people know that ahead of time. The final thing that you want to ask about is feedback, you want to ask them about their philosophy as it relates to feedback.

What type of feedback do they provide? Are they like Oh it's good if they read your whole 30 page thing, I'm gonna come back to that too in a minute, but, or are they someone who get very light? It gives very detailed feedback. Like are you going to open up the document and want to close it back because you see all these bubbles and marks and things of whatnot. Asking them how they give feedback. If you don't know that already, ask them about how long they need to to review a document and to give you feedback in like when you should expect it. So if you turn it in on Monday, when should you expect it back? Do they need like 72 hours a week, two weeks? How long do they need? So again, that you can plan accordingly. And then do they prefer that the thing that they are giving you feedback, does it have to be absolutely Polish and perfect or would they like to see more consistent drabs even if they are not as perfect as you go along?

Asking them and asking them what they care most about. So some people really care that they don't care about your content because they know that you can edit, but they really, they're a stickler for APA. Or maybe they're like, APA can come later, but I really care about if you're using citations or I really care about that, this is a readable paper and it's structured properly. Again, asking them these questions and being very detailed about that again, will help set the expectations for you. So you know you can prepare yourself. This may seem like a lot in one meeting, but again, this is why we're going to put it all in one email because you need to know what you're doing and what you, how you should be working for the next four months because these, this is the person or these are the people who decide whether or not you move on or not and you want to make sure you know who they are, their expectations, what you're getting yourself into. Right. And then you may also want to ask them, do they have any other suggestions for you as a student who is completing our dissertation? Any like things that worked really well with other advisors that they have things that they've done in their own process that they think would work well for you at any piff pitfalls to avoid.

Doing all of this and getting all of this out of the way will help tremendously. It will help you avoid feeling as frustrated and annoyed. Right? Because again, we don't have control over what other people do or don't do. But you do have control over what you do. And so if you again, can make sure that you do these things ahead of time as much as possible. And again, go ahead and download the pdf and use that. I don't care if you use my words verbatim, I just care about that you are getting what you need.

Okay, so that is all, I hope that is helpful. I would love if you came over to Instagram at @MarvetteLacy, and tell me anything that you are taking away from today's episode in Aha moments. Let's just continue the conversation there. Also, you can come over to the Facebook group, Qual Scholars. We are there talking to them about today's episode too, and it's just a community of awesome doctoral students supporting, helping one another. So that is it for this week's episode. I hope you have a great week and until next time, do something to show yourself some love. Bye for now.

Aug 21, 2019

Transcript of Episode:

Good Morning! So I am going gonna try something different. I am recording a podcast and I'm also going to video record it just to see how it works out. So we are at the time that this would be released, we will be finishing up or coming to the end of August and many of you are just starting your semester really like reality has hit you. And so you may be wondering how to balance it all. I also get the question a lot about how do I balance a nine to five, having a business and writing and keeping my sanity and in general or like my short answer to that would be I don't believe in balance per se. Like in the sense of everything gets an equal amount of time and energy. I believe in harmony in things you choose in life or you schedule out or design it to the best of your ability in a way that works best together.

And when things are in harmony, sometimes some areas. Sometimes some areas in your life receive different amounts of energy and time. So like at the beginning of the semester, you know schoolwork, and writing might take priority over your business or even like your free time with family and friends, right? And vice versa depending on what season you're in. So we all have a season things at different points in seasons take different time and energy and the goal isn't to be perfect, but continuously striving to do your best and to keep moving forward no matter how slow you had to move. So that's the short answer, but I'm sure you're like, okay, well what are more tangible ways to do that, right? And I also don't have notes so this is going to be really dangerous cause I'm going to just be talking off the top of my head.

So let's hope that it's, you know, it's organized in a way that you can best receive it. Right? So the first thing mostly when people are asking me this question, they are looking for very like tangible. Tell me the steps and sure people can tell you steps and tell you like, this is what I do. Right, but is that going to help you. And before we even get to actual like steps or tangible do these things. You first have to start with your mind and mindset. As cliche as that sounds, everything comes from how you think about life, how you think about yourself, how you'd think about the things that you have to do. And one of the most difficult lessons for me was choosing those key things that I wanted to focus on and being okay with letting the other things and other people go because I am a recovering people pleaser and you know, I just want people to be happy.

I want to try to be there for the people that I love. I want to give as much as possible. If you are familiar with the enneagram assessment, I am a two. And so people pleasing is in my nature. I'm working very hard on my mindset to remove the unhealthy aspects of people pleasing. But that was the most difficult thing in my mind. I'm like, I love people and I love the people who are in my life and I want to help them. And doing so as a detriment or neglecting of myself, my needs, my goals from the outside looking in, people would say, but you're still doing so much or accomplishing things. Yeah. But it was at the expense of my health and just general wellbeing. And so something really had to change. And when I graduated my doctoral program and move into this full time role as the women's resource center director, I realized that I couldn't keep doing what I was doing.

So when I first started the role, I would I had moved away. So school wasn't a thing per se, but I still had writing projects or research teams. I was a part of. And, I was really focusing on my business and trying to get that up and get clients and stop playing around like I was doing for the previous seven or six months before. And I was at a new place where I didn't really know anyone. Family, it was like two hours away. But in Milwaukee, not knowing anyone and so starting over. And so I'm always like, well I can bury myself in work until I meet people. And so I would wake up around like five, six o'clock and then I would do like an hour and a half to two hours of work on my business. I would go to work from like nine to five and then from five 30, cause I would drive straight to Starbucks from five 30 to when it closed at 10. I was doing work on my quote unquote business making no money.

I think I had maybe one client who did not pay me very much and I was putting in hours and I was doing this like not only was I doing this Monday through Friday, putting on all these hours, but then I would also go on Saturday and work the whole day from like eight or nine until it close. Like I didn't leave Starbucks, I was still in dissertation mode. But I didn't leave Starbucks. I would order in foods and then I would go home, sleep, wake up and do it all over again on Sunday. And that was like weeks and weeks and weeks of doing that until a, of course I hit a wall because you can only do that for so much, especially when you're not seeing other people in real life or talking to anyone. I mean, I saw people at work, but again, they were unfamiliar because it was a new job and I wasn't necessarily going home all the time either. And so it was just very lonely experience. I was overworked, I was tired. And I was really frustrated because at that point I thought like, time equals money. And so if I was putting in all of these hours, why wasn't the money coming that match the amount of work that I was putting in?

And I had to find something to be like this, this is ridiculous, right? This is not this, not this. It can't work. So now this side of things like I, I do not work seven days in my business. I work three to four days depending on the week and each day is roughly that I'm working is around the anywhere from three to five hours. My goal is to stay under 15 hours total a week for the business. And so that I can have time to still do my job effectively and still have time for writing and writing, setting aside like six to eight hours a week. To do that. I will admit that I haven't been writing as one should. Cause I've been making excuses. But again, this whole harmony thing of it's there, there's time allotted for it. It's just hasn't been my focus of, of late because I've had other major projects that are loosely related to writing and academic side of things.

That will be revealed shortly. But I've been doing that instead of like actually sitting down and writing for publications. Okay. That was a whole tangent. But I wanted to give you an idea of where I am now. I am making way more, like I'm actually profitable in my business. It's, it's steadily growing month after month after month and I'm doing very well at my job getting what do you call it? Getting praise wasn't the word I was looking for, but getting praise for my performance. And actually, you know, being around people and spending time with loved ones and friends and so I feel like it's a more healthy version of what I was doing two years ago. And I'm very excited and so not to say that it's never difficult and at the side that I don't slip back into old patterns because I do have like doing the most and having to pull myself out of there, I can say that I can do that quicker now, pulling myself out of it and I can easily or more easily catch myself when I'm slipping to those patterns and seeing how and correcting myself and taking the time when I need it.

So you're like, okay, well that's great. You've been talking for a very long time. Please tell us how you're doing it. So I started off by saying first was the mindset of having to really think about like what type of life do I want to have? Like in this season that I'm gonna work a nine oh five I'm going to have a business and I still want to be publishing. What does the ideal day look like for me? Right? Like if I could, if I had a magic wand and I could do whatever, how would I feel throughout my day? Cause cause two years ago I was feeling very rushed and very frustrated and very like desperate for things to work. It was just very like desperate, high anxiety energy. And that was just making me feel even more beat down. And so I, so it's easy for us to say how we don't want to feel, but it can be difficult to say how we do want to feel.

And so that's a question that I encourage you to journal on or to think about or to talk into your phone using your voice notes or whatever app that you have and really ask yourself over a several day period of if I could feel anyway, how would I have my day could look anyway. What would that look like? You know, like how much time in a week would you like to spend with family and friends? How much time ideally would you like to work on your side hustle? How much money would you want to make on your side hustle? How much writing would you ideally like to get done? How would you like to feel while you were doing those writing projects? How many publications a year would you like to have? If you're still in courses, how do you want to feel when you go into class?

How do you want to feel when you're preparing for class? How do you want to feel when you're writing? What's your ideal? Would you like to have assignments done a week ahead of time? Now? I don't know these people, I don't, I mean, but there's some people, some of y'all like to do that. Me and my procrastination tendencies, we like to, there's a deadline. There's deadline. That was a tangent. But just thinking about those things of do you not want to be a procrastinator anymore? What do you want? It's the central question. Like what do you want? It could be one of the most difficult questions if it is the most powerful question because a lot of time a lot of us have been socialized to not think about what it is that we want. I was having a conversation where my brother who was saying that a friend of his was saying that you can't when you, cause they were talking about praying, saying doesn't pray or ask for too much because if you asked for too much then you won't get it.

But if you asked for a little, you will you more likely to get that. And my brother was saying how he was listening to Steve Harvey and Steve Harvey said the opposite of, Yeah. If you keep asking for a little, you didn't get a little bit of, you asked for a lot, you make your intentions known, then you'll, that's where the real magic happens. And there's a whole another podcast that I will make a note to go out to get more into that question. But I want to get to the other things that I've done for this episode. But really it comes down to what do you want and don't speak in generalities. Speak in very clear details because you are going to be working, you're going to put in this effort and time and how would you know if you made it to your destination if you don't know what your destination is.

Like how do you know if you're being successful by your own standards if you haven't defined yourself for yourself, catch the quote Okay. Hashtag side assistant. Yeah, if you haven't defined it for yourself, what do you want? So once you figure that out, then designing your life in a way to achieve what you want. Cause that makes it easier. So that's what I did. I sat down and was like, why do I want this to look like? I don't want to be working every day in my business. I don't want to feel like every time I sit down to do something, it's taken me forever and I don't have anything to show for it. I don't want to go to work. And I know I said it was easier, right? But this is how I started. I was like, I don't want to go to work dreading work and not liking what I was doing and I just don't want to go home every night just feeling like, why am I here? So instead I said, it would be nice if ideally I could just work three to four days a week in my business. It would be nice that when I went to work, it was clear that it was a system. I felt good. I felt like I was actually making a change. Uand it would be nice if I could have at least two publications come out every year.

That was what I said I wanted. Okay. So I did that. The next step then was I hired a coach, several coaches actually, but I hired two coaches to start off with. I, I had one before, but I realized that wasn't the fit that I was looking for. And so I signed up to work with two other coaches. One coach was going to, well yeah, one coach was going to help me in organizing the systems for my business too because I was doing too much and I didn't have a set routine or a system to follow because I was just trying to brainstorm and do all these things where I will see something on Instagram and then I would try it again. So I got a set system, right. Hire someone to help me with that and to stop doing team too much. That's, I mean, I know Tamar says it was also like her tagline, so get off the team too much.

And then I found, and then I hired a coach to help me with my health and my like mindset and all of that. Right. So I had some accountability there and it had some support and I had someone that I could go to and ask for guidance because sure you can do this alone alone and you can try to Google everything, but you're going to keep spinning your wheels and putting in all this time like I was doing all those days and hours. And it is 10 times a hundred times a billion times better to just find someone who can help you get there without us and all that time and money. Because you may think, well I don't have the money to hire a coach. Okay. But I would say how much money will, will it cause you not to hire someone and money or at what? Or what would it cost you in terms of your time, in terms of your wellbeing and in terms of everything, like at what costs with friends and family? Will you have to pay for not hiring someone to help you.

Right? Cause that's also another podcast with money, it's just an exchange of energy. And if you're just trying to keep it, keep it and hoard it then you're telling whoever your God is universe, whatever, that you don't need anymore cause you, you're okay with what you have cause you're holding so tight onto it. So yeah. So hire someone to help me to get a plan. Right. And three, I looked at really how I was spending my time and as I was looking at my time, looking at what was I actually producing. So a lot of times we've been told to write a to do list of things that like we may say like emails, grocery store um. Reading assignments, the class a chapter two, right? We might write our to do list like that. And when you start your day, you just may take the list and just start from the top and go from there.

Right. You may not, prioritize it, you may not really think about how long those things are going to take you or if you were like me three years ago you got really deep into trying to plan out your life and made it a whole hobby and had stickers and three, four planners that you would spend hours every Sunday decorating and trying to figure out the best way only to get to Saturday of the week and not have any of it done. But I digress. But yeah, we've been taught to like write out to do lists like that and instead thinking about, okay, what is going to happen at the end by, by you doing these things on the lists, what will that produce? And that's really the list that you should be having is the one, what am I going to produce? What are my results? I got this concept from the life coach school, which is a podcast that I have been listening to for, Ooh, I don't know, like four or five years, six years. It's been a long time. But I'm Brooke Castillo, who is the host of that podcast talks about having a results list instead of a to do list. So what do you want to achieve?

Right. So instead of me saying I need to write my monthly emails, I would say 15 emails scheduled in my email management system and then I would go to my calendar and actually plug in or where I was going to do that and give myself a set amount of time. And that's the only time that I had to do it. So when I'm writing, I give myself like two hours and at the end of that two hours, that is it. We're done, we're done. It doesn't matter if it's not finished, we're looking for like B minus c plus work and we're putting it out because I also know that like I was trying to make things perfect and make sure I didn't have any typos. That's not real life. And I'm not saying that you shouldn't care about the quality of things that you're putting out.

However, a lot of us use that as an excuse to stop making progress or to stop moving forward. So I always am in my head saying B minus C plus work. Is it good enough for that? Okay, we're done. And I move on to the next thing that I'm supposed to do. At first putting everything in my calendar a little bit. It's a little bit scary to open it and see all of it. So I don't do it for the whole month because I can't, my brain cannot handle that. But I do that for the week. And if I'm really having a hard time, I do it for the day just to say like, I'm getting these things, these things done and this is what I'm going to do it so that my brain does not have to think throughout the day and I can just look at my calendar. Okay, I need to do this, I need to do that. Right. It's like your results list, but to go a step back, right? So you have a results list and you have the things that you, you know, want to produce right. Get done. I also, before I even schedule it on my calendar, I say what are the things that only I can do?

I highlight the things that only I can do. Like I am the only one who can record this podcast right now. I am the only one in my business who can coach. I am the only one ethically, I mean the only one who can write my section of the paper or write my article, right? However, there's a whole other list of things that I'm not the only one who can do it. So if I have something that needs to be mailed out to clients, I don't have to do that. Someone else can do that. Um if I need to go get a couple of items from the store, I don't have to be the one that does that. There's Apps, there's other people that can do that. Right? So looking at your list, what are the things that only you can do? And I want you to be honest, I don't want you to, I want you to try to step out of your controlling tendencies. Cause I know you, yes. You step out of your controlling tendencies. Like do you have to be the one to do that? Or you're just doing it because you don't trust anyone else to do it? Remember, if the goal is to do B plus, I mean to do B minus, c plus work. Do you have to be the one that does it or are you just trying to control the outcome or what's happening?

So those things that you don't have to be the one that does it. You need to identify as someone who who can do it, whether that's friends and or family or, or people in your office, nine to five, like especially if you're the director or something like that. Are you doing things that you have no business doing that maybe other employees could do? Or are you looking and holding tight to something and being controlling about it because you want it to be perfect? Are you doing things that is just taken up a bunch of time, but it's very simple to do that. You could show somebody else to do do it.

So what I did was I hired my first person at like a virtual assistant to work to do things for me for five hours a week. A lot of times I was really scared cause I was like, who am I to hire someone? And I don't know if I want to pay that money, but let me tell you that it was the best decision I've ever, ever, ever made. Sure. In the beginning there's going to be a little bit of like slow down a little bit going backwards because you have to stop and train that person and tell them what it is that you need. And be very clear about what you need them to do and how they should do it. Right. But once you get past that point, I cannot explain to you how much that frees up your time, your mind, your capacity to get things done.

And there are so many people out there, you know, people, you know, other people like who just, they need a little bit of money. And five hours a week? Hell if it's even if it's only like two to three hours a week. Because I want you to think about, cause you know, I just did this, I want you to think about how much money you're spending on eating out or doing things or spending money on things that just doesn't, they don't, they don't matter. [inaudible] And you could take that money and say, hey, so and so, would you mind working doing some things or having me out for two to three hours a week because that, I mean it will just be a big help and I'll pay you.

And what you choose to choose to pay is y'all business. But yeah, what you consider to be fair, what agreement you come up with. Would you mind doing this? Also not being afraid to ask friends and family for help too, for things that are maybe more personal that you don't feel comfortable asking someone who may not, who may be a stranger cause your friends and family wants to help you. Cause again, people like me, I'm like, I don't want to burden them. They already have a going on, but that doesn't stop You have a lot going on and it doesn't stop you from helping them and people want to be able to reciprocate, especially if it's a good relationship. A loving, caring relationship. They want to be able to give back and pour into you just like you're giving to them and pouring into them.

So allow people that chance to help you. And, Being very clear about what it is or how they can help you, does wonders too. That will make people more willing to show up for you. So if you say, hey, can you go drop this off at the post office in the next two days? That's very clear. Then like, I dunno, I just need help running errands. That's not clear. Or have you say, hey, so and so, I know you like to go to get your groceries on Monday. Would you mind picking me up some ice coffee on your way? Because you probably only have to go to the store for one thing where they're doing their whole shop or you know, paying the extra whatever, 10, $20 a month to be a part of like a shoppers app like instacart or shipped or Amazon is Amazon pantry or fresh one of those and getting your groceries delivered. I know I'm talking about groceries. A lot of it is because I really hate going grocery shopping and so if at any point someone could go get the groceries for me, I'm all for that. And I feel like it just takes up a lot of time. I don't know what it is about grocery stores is a time suck.

Okay. Some other things that I used to ask, like I asked people to do is I do a lot of writing. I had to do a lot of writing in terms of for my business, in terms of emails, blog posts when I was, when I was doing blog posts Instagram captions or just, or even writing for publications, I would, you know, I like to do the shitty first draft. I would do that. And then I would just send it to one of my virtual assistants to edit. Right. And it doesn't mean that they like this is what they do, that there's like they're like English majors or anything that's not it. It's just helpful to get somebody else's eyes on it and for them to do that like first round of edits so that when I get it back I can read it and I can go faster.

Most of the time when it's emails or something for like social media, I just go ahead and post it because again, we are about B minus c plus work, but when it's like publications and you know reviewer too, I don't want to hear them. I will then go back and like rework it and rewrite it. But having someone that I can just know that I need to send it to and I only have a certain amount of time to send it to them and it's like my virtual assistant that gives me the accountability. I need to go ahead and write it. And it takes the pressure off because I know that's not the final version. Someone's going to give me eyes on it and not have more time to write. It is also helpful. So I just as you are thinking about what it is that you want and you think about writing your results list and you're thinking about the things that only you can do versus the things you need to delegate, I highly, highly would encourage you to hire someone for like two to five hours a week to help you do those things.

And again, I know there's a lot of mindset things that comes with that, but that's why I said you working on your mindset, it's the number one thing and the most important thing. Okay. So talked about that. You know, figuring out what I wanted, prioritizing my time. Hiring out help, getting coaches. And then the final thing that I would say that really has helped me to quote unquote balance at all is making sure that I'm taking time for me. I'm not in a, so self care this also let me write all these down cause you know, self care is a whole other thing. To me. Self care is not necessarily about bubble baths and going to get massages and the capitalistic sort of way self care for me is doing what you know you need to do so you can do what you want to do.

Right. So part of those things that I just shared with you is it's what I need to do. And being more consistent with that. And then the other part that I started to focus on is doing things that I want to do, having a way to give back and pour back into me. So the first thing I did was go to hot yoga. And at first it was the thing that I needed to do. I did not want to do it, but I said that I needed to do some sort of physical activity and at that time I was not, I did not want to go back to the gym. I just wasn't feeling it. It was freezing outside and I wasn't going outside to walk. And so I was like, you know, like yoga doesn't.. You don't have to do too much. And I'm like, I'm a jazz it up and making it one notch harder, I'm going to go do hot yoga. For those of you who do not know the room at any point is depending on the studio is like around 85 to 90 degrees. With like, I don't know, 80 to a hundred percent humidity. And you are doing yoga. It feels like you are running up hill the whole time. But yeah, to Bikram Yoga for an hour hot Yoga. And I said that I had to go at least once a week.

At first it was really difficult. My body just did not move. Being the bigger or the biggest person in the room most of the time, if not all the time was also a whole like mind thing. But I said that I'm going to go at least once a week for a year and see where I am on the other side of that year. While I'm getting close, it'll be a year in October and I have seen major improvements in my flexibility major improvement in my mind, like mindset and I really look forward to it now. It's something that I want to do and it makes me feel good to know that like if nothing else happened for the week, at least I did that one thing, that physical activity. The second thing that I started doing was going to the movies. I love watching movies.

And so once a week on Tuesday I mentioned this I think last week. Well on Tuesday that $5 movie ticket going to watch something. And then that also gives me freedom because I can go and watch awful movies and not feel bad for it because I only paid $5, but it's still something at least two hours that pours back into me. And then talking to people, making sure I talk to family, and to friends is that can also be a person who goes in that like talk to people. So whether I'm doing that or I'm on Marco Polo, whether I'm doing that like through like voice notes or Instagram, that has helped and saved me. So I hope that was helpful. I'm hope it wasn't too long winded, but those are the things that I have been doing to live my life in a more balanced, harmonious way.

So to recap, first figuring out what it is that you want. Writing it out in very clear detail. Second, finding you a coach, a mentor, a somebody who is living a life or who has been able to achieve a particular thing. So whether it's like writing, whether it's organizing your schedule, whether it's like a business coach, dissertation coach, someone who could, who's who you can see actually getting the results that you want to have in your life. Finding a way to work with them to be around them in a very formalized like capacity where they will show you and they can help you and support you and hold you accountable to achieving the same things. The third thing is figuring out what is it that you need to produce or get done, right? Separating that list into only the things that you can do versus things that you can delegate out that other people can do.

Four, is finding people to delegate, delegate to, whether that is that you're hiring someone for two to five hours and, or you're asking friends and family to help you with those, with those tasks and even employees. If this comes down to work things, yes, for a, I don't know what number we're on. Five. putting the things that only didn't you, you can do into your calendar. Giving yourself a time limit that you will get those things done and only giving yourself that time to do it. And only aiming for B minus c plus work. And then the last thing is doing something to fill yourself back up to, to for you to be for your wellbeing. Right? So that's what I've been doing. I would love to know your thoughts on this episode. Please come on over to Instagram. I'm @marvettelacy and I would love to continue this conversation there. Or you can join my free Facebook group, Qual Scholars. And all these links will be in the show notes below. Thank you so much for your time for listening today. And until next time, do something to show yourself some love. Bye for now.

Aug 14, 2019

Hello, welcome to office hours with Dr Lacy. Glad you can come back for another week. I'm going to make this week's episode as fast as possible because I am about to go outta town and I'm supposed to be packing and preparing for my trip. But I also needed to record this and I live in an apartment with the AC. It doesn't have central AC. And so we have one unit in the living room and my room, it's all the way in the back of the apartment, but I needed to close my doors that you didn't hear it and I'm burning up. So I'm going to try to make his as quick as possible. So this week's topic is titled "It doesn't matter".

And first I want to talk about myself as a fellow procrastinator. I like to say I'm a recovering procrastinator, um, because I used to look at my procrastination as a way of life and I've now have learned to tweak my language. Um, in that I used to feel this immense pressure to be like constantly on top of everything and turning things in early. And then I got to a place where I was just like, that's not who I am like, I get things done right. Don't get me wrong. It's not like don't want to get things done. It's just that I had a different relationship with deadlines. Right and Undergrad I had a, I had a instructor who was like, you just, you just think the world is supposed to like rise or like revolve around you. I was like, no, I don't think the world should revolve around me.

However, if you have a stated policy and you had a stated rule in a due date, then I feel like you should abide by it. So if you, I'm a type of person that if you say like something I have two days. I had until like Friday at 11:59 PM to do something or get something done. Best believe, like nine times out of 10 I'm going to take all the way up until Friday at 11:58 PM to do it is I have the attitude like if you wanted it done earlier or if you wanted me to give it to you earlier, then you should have set the real deadline that you have. And, or you could have been honest with me to say like, you know, it's, it's due at 1159 on Sunday, but is it possible that you'd get it to me by Saturday afternoon? Right. I'm just looking for some communication.

But if you don't tell me those things, then I take what I thought was the allotted time. So I used to be very much like, I don't care about your feelings. It is what it is. Right? And you can't, I've learned that, you know, rubs people the wrong way sometimes. And so now I do my best at the beginning of a project, whoever I'm working with, someone else to say like, what is your, what is the deadline that you need this by? Is it your real deadline? And like what is the best and what do you need from me in terms of communication? Cause I'm also a person who likes to just take it once I understand what's expected of me, I go and I do my own thing. And you may not hear from me unless I have like questions and then I present it to you because I think part of that is that I'm operating off of things are flexible, deadlines are flexible, requirements are flexible in that if you're asking me to do something that you're not expecting, the final, final version that what I'm going to produce for you is open to discussion to a, I dunno, interrogation or criticism like we all need a starting place.

So if you are asking me to do a project, I'm thinking like that first due date you give me is just our starting point and we're gonna change things around and the final version isn't due till much later. I know that means that I'm making an assumption that people have it together and they have a plan and they see the bigger picture. And I know that not everyone operates like that, but that's just how I am. So I went on a whole tangent about who I am, how I show up to say that. Um, um, a lot of people will see that as a very severe procrastinator and that I do procrastinate. I am not going to sit here and say I don't want that. I always meet deadlines. No, because I procrastinate. I'm recovering. I mean, you know, I'm working my steps, I'm doing the program and the whole me communicating ahead of time.

It's about me being in recovery instead of being someone who is not actively procrastinating. Okay. Um, maybe you can relate to that. Um, do you consider yourself to be a procrastinator and maybe it's not like in all areas of your life and maybe when you come to like class assignments or writing or turning drafts into your chair, maybe you procrastinate on those things or maybe you haven't unpacked your bag in a whole week. I see that. Or maybe you, you know, the dishes have been in the sink for a few days now and maybe you hadn't did that or maybe you did your laundry two weeks ago and the clean clothes are blending into the dirty clothes and you're not really sure what's what but you just don't go off the smell because that's life. I don't really know what your brand of procrastination is what I'm wondering for this episode though, is how do you talk to yourself in the middle of procrastinating?

What are the messages you're thinking to yourself and it's the way that you're talking to yourself, sort of reinforcing the cycle of procrastination that you're probably in right now. And one of the biggest things that I have said to myself that I hear other people saying to themselves in some form of or other is it doesn't matter. So like it'd be something simple like, oh I'm know I said that I was going to read that article today, but it don't matter. I could do it tomorrow cause I got a time. I don't feel like it today. Or you may say something like, I know I sat down and wrote this long four page plan out about how I was gonna Map out my whole dissertation proposal and that I was going to have it done in two weeks. But you know, it's beginning two weeks and I could just start tomorrow because it doesn't matter.

Like I got the time and maybe you're not saying that exactly. It doesn't matter. Maybe you're saying something similar as like I don't feel like right now I got all this time, I could do it this way or I can move such and such around and how you know, you're saying it doesn't matter. And one of his form is that particularly if you're only saying like rearranging or rescheduling something in your brain and you don't go to whatever you use to track your time, whether it be a calendar or planner or whatever system you're using. If you don't immediately get up and go and actually schedule like I know I'm supposed to do this thing today at four o'clock but I, for whatever reason I'm not going to do it at four o'clock if you don't physically get up and change it to a new date and time or you don't put it in your planner for a new date, then, you're sending yourself unconsciously and consciously.

You're saying that your goal or whatever you were supposed to do doesn't matter. So your dissertation doesn't matter and subconsciously your brain continues to store that information and and then a future is going to be even easier for you to put things off or to watch that next episode on Netflix or to go out with your friends to Chipotle because you already told your brain that like, in this situation, your dissertation doesn't matter or those clothes, they don't matter or whatever `it is that you were supposed to do, doesn't matter because you keep putting it off and so it's no wonder that when you do decide like, okay, today is the day I'm going to write, I'm going to fold those clothes is it seems like the most difficult thing in the world to do, to take the first step. Cause your brain now is confused. It's like well girl, you told us it didn't matter.

We had all these plans, we were all set to go and when it came down to it, you put it off or you said that we didn't need to do it then. So this is not a priority. And what's more of a priority is watching Netflix because that's what we do all the time. What's more of a priority is going out to Chipotle cause that's what we do all the time was more of a priority is checking those emails cause we always put that ahead of everything else. What's more important is going to scroll on Instagram because we do that all day, every day. Or talking to so and so. Whatever you are putting ahead of what you're supposed to be doing or what you'd need to be doing then tells your brain that that's more important. And so then your brain will fight and program yours like you to react on a subconscious level and an automatic response to do those things that you keep putting before the thing that you need to get done.

So no, it's not going to. Now when you're like, Oh let's sit down and write and no it doesn't. Your brain doesn't want to write. It's kind of, it's confused. It's like that's hard. We're not used to doing that. That takes too much brain power. Let's just go back watching Netflix or scrolling Instagram cause that's easy. We know how to do that. We don't know how to do this writing thing. And so I just want you to think about and how many ways are you constantly telling yourself and very well the small ways or big ways. How often are you telling yourself that it doesn't matter because they started to add up over time.

Yeah. So I'm gonna leave it there. Like I said, I was going to keep this short and this is something I'm probably, will keep coming back to over on Instagram. Um, even though I just talked about you procrastinating on Instagram. Yeah, it's work in progress. Um, but I just feel like you could do those things when you schedule it out, like if you have, so I look at Instagram is like my reward. Cause now I feel like I'm going down a tangent, but go with me. I look at Instagram as my reward. So I, every morning I get up and I, um, write out three things, three small tasks that will take me roughly less than like five to 10 minutes to complete each. I write those out and those are my like must do things that I have to do for the day. And once I get those things done, I can do whatever else I want it.

So I can watch all the Netflix Watch, like be on Instagram as much as possible because I did those three things. And that's what keeps me moving. And I guess that's a good point to bring up in, which contributes to the procrastination is that a lot of times we will put too much on our to do lists and there's this pressure to feel like you have to cross out everything. I get to do lists every day. And w what ends up happening is your brain can only make so many decisions in a day. It only has so much energy throughout a day before it's like "I need a break" and it shuts down. And it makes you engage in activities that are not, um, probably like productive or conducive to crossing out things on your list. And it's probably [inaudible] but it is something that your brain needs to do to take a break.

So if you had like 10 15 things on your to do list for the day and they all required massive amount of time, energy, brain capacity, there's only so much your brain is going to let you do. You might get through a half or maybe one of those things before your brain is like, and we're done. Cause probably like to take even some more steps back. How you wrote out your to do list is probably, it's huge tasks that have multiple steps within them. And it probably takes two, three, four hours to complete one of those things. So if you're trying to do 10 to 15 of those things, one, is out of hours a day and then two, your brain just can't do that. And so that's why I set up my schedule in a way of I choose three things. I'll take five to 10 minutes.

So, let me see, what was on my list today. I'm gonna find my little plan here. But like I like I've seen small things I'm not trying to like, so like today's was I needed to call the dentist to schedule my cleaning and fillings. I needed to update my W2 forms at work and I needed to check my business email like, and check it means, cause I write this out and we used to read each one, delete the junk mail and respond to clients. Now the gmail, like all of these things, the call to the dentist took maybe five minutes if that, the W2's took five minutes. And then the g-mail probably took the longest, which was like 10 to 15 minutes. Cause I've been doing good about staying up on it and not procrastinating. Ha Ha. Um, so I feel accomplished because that helps me keep things moving.

So I'm doing things for myself. I'm doing things that I need to do that I've been putting off like the dentist, but I need to do it updating W2's and then the client stuff is to keep my business going. Well what's not on this list is I didn't say I need to check all my emails cause I have a personal one. I have a business one, I have one for clients to like or like people who are like, yeah one on one clients are respond to me. Um, I have one for like other programs or education materials or organizations I'm a part of. I don't have my work email and so I don't say check all of those at one time cause that's a whole lot. I've done that some days and it just takes a long time and that's probably the only thing I would do for the day.

Um, I don't have, let me go write all these blog posts, let me go do this project for work. Like I don't have all that on the list cause that's too much and my brain can't handle that. I have these three small things that combined takes me less than an hour. You will resist this at first because you'll be like, oh that's not enough. I need to do more than that. You don't understand Marvette. Like, I have so much I need to get done in your day and I can't just identify three small things because that's not going to get me anywhere. And what I'm saying to you is if you think by putting all those things on the list, it's gonna make you want to do them more. You're wrong. And if so I want to, I want you to take a look at your life like are you getting those things done?

If you are, how do you feel like, do you feel like you, you're good. Do you feel alive? Now there are very few people who thrive on that and getting a bunch of things done and that's their jam. And I'm willing to bet like most of you, you're not feeling real good. You're not ready to go do some cartwheels and jumping jacks and like fill in the best. After doing all those things, you probably feel real cranky. You probably resent that, you don't get to do other things like other people. You probably been putting off sleep and eating and just enjoying the summer. Right? Cause it's the summer when I'm recording this. If you are able to feel like you get to get things done and enjoy yourself without feeling stressed out, then yes, I'm gonna applaud you however if you're like anything like me and you try to do, all these things that are on your to do list and when you're trying to do all the things, you personally, your health, your wellbeing suffers. Or if you're focusing on your health and wellbeing and your to do list suffers, then I invite you to try out this strategy because it is helpful and when I do this, I am the most productive ever. I get so much done because usually what happens is I'm not fried and my brain isn't tired and so I'm able to do other stuff throughout the day because I'm riding off the momentum of that. I know if I don't do anything else, I got those three things done and on the days when I'm just not feeling it, it's a bad like mental day, health day. I just know I need to show up and do those three things and I'm good. And sometimes those three things are like brush your teeth, wash your face, drink your water. Sometimes that's all it is because sometimes those things are very difficult to do on a daily basis.

So I tell my clients to do this, they still look at me like probably how you're thinking right now. Like that's not going to work. And then once they get into it in a week or two, go by like they're amazed, amazed at one how they feel and all the things they've been able to accomplish. So I invite you to try this. You're gonna wake up every morning, you're going to write out three things are going to take you five to 10 minutes or less to do for each item. You're going to say, no matter what happens today, I'm doing these three things. And then at the end of the day you want to come back and say, did you do them or not? And that's it. You don't need a complicated thing. You don't need to write out all these massive fancy to do listen priority programs and project management or you don't need to do all of that.

It's just these three things, especially if you're in a deep hole of procrastination like you've been putting things off, especially if you're like I don't know how to go back. I disappointed so many people. I've been putting it off so long I dug a deep hole, especially if it's that and I'm going to invite you just for tomorrow or even today. What are three things that you can do that will take you an hour or less to do all three things. What is something that is so easy but moves you in the direction, a step closer to the end goal. What is, what are three things that you can do and if three is too much, what is one thing you can do just to get started? Okay. For Real, I said this is going to be short, but we're here so I would am curious to know what you thought about this episode. Please come over to Instagram at @marvettelacy and let me know any takeaways, any ah-has. I would love to continue the conversation with you over there and then until next time, do something to show yourself some love. I will talk to you next week. Bye for now.

Aug 7, 2019

Transcript of Episode:

Welcome back to the podcast. Um, today I have, you know, you have something in your spirit to say, but you're not exactly sure what that is. So I am not an external processor, I'm an internal processor. However, every now and then there are times where I just need to talk things out because I have a lot swarming in my mind and today is one of those days, I don't know where this is going. I just got something I want spirit to share. And so I just decided to put in my headphones into my phone and just start talking. Um, which is a sign, you know, for many of you, um, who are always looking to have the right things in order to start. I do this podcast with a set of headphones and my phone that I already own and I just turn on the voice memo app.

I have an iPhone and I put on some headphones and I record and is it perfect? No. Does it get the job done? Yes. It gives me a starting point. And I'm really focused on showing up here consistently. Week after week, helping people, sharing my knowledge, giving whatever, I got to help you finish your dissertation, help you get to that next step. Or if you're just having a moment and you just need a little motivation or help getting to the next minute, I'm showing up and I'm not letting, not having um, $600 mic or mixing equipment or a studio or a producer or the right music or whatever, stop me from showing up, doing my best and helping you as much as possible because, excuse me, that is what I want to do. I'm here to help people. I think about my journey through the phd process and how much frustration I experienced, how much loneliness I experienced, how much unnecessary, I don't know, strife, conflict.

That didn't have to have happen. Yeah. And if I could have just even had someone's podcast to listen to, videos to watch blogs to read, just to like, Oh, if they can do it than I can do it. If I could have just had that, I think I would have just felt a little bit better. It would have helped me to get through it a little bit more easily. And so really that is the why behind like why I had this business and why continue to show up every week and continue to put myself out there. Um, you know, I know a lot of people start their own business because they're all about the money and maybe they're looking for a get rich quick scheme or maybe they are, I don't know, like they just want the fame and notoriety that comes with having a large following and people looking up to them.

If you know me, that is not, that is not my thing whatsoever. Like I am about helping people. And so that's why as much as possible, I'll continue to give out free content because I know that not a lot of people, um, have the access to pay for services. Um, and I want another side to the side of like not having access and truly not having funds is completely different than saying I'm just not going to do it. I don't think it's worth it. But that's a whole nother rant for a whole nother day. But I do, I did want to say that of like question are you, whether it's a coach, whether it's a conference, whether it's some other thing that you know would be good for you, that will be an important part of your, um, development. But you are looking at the dollar sign and you're just like, no, I'm not going to do it.

How can you like, say like, something will be really helpful for me and not show up for yourself? Um, and that's really in line with what I want to talk about today of people. The number one objection, objection I get to working with me or hiring me as a coach is that, oh, I'm just a Grad student. I don't have the money for it. And what I think about is either you're gonna pay, we all are paying for things either with our time or with money. Right? So cool. This system, this world, the society we live in, it's controlled by many systems, particularly capitalism. Right? And that means some people are going to have it, some people are not even going to be in between. Right? We're all in the spectrum and you may need like additional resources or whatever to help you and you may not have the financial resources right to contribute. So if you don't have the finance resources to contribute, then that means you're going to have to pay to get to that same place that other people are getting to with your time.

And that's what I want people to really like. The main takeaway from this episode is like, do you have money or do you have time? If you have neither, then you probably are not going to achieve this goal. I'm, I'm almost willing to go as far as you're not going to achieve this goal. And in this case, the goal is finishing your, um, doctoral journey, your phd or whatever program you're in this terminal degree, you either need money or time, you need both. But like what's going to get you to the end is how much more of money or time you're willing to invest, right? Because by the time you get to the point of enrolling into a phd program, right, everyone has shown that they whatever meet the requirements to get in. Right. So everyone, like for most people they were the smart person in their family and their school, whatever.

For most people they had the test scores, they need it. They had, they were willing to devote the time they were willing to devote the energy right to get into the program itself. Right. And then a difference comes in is, okay, you may have two, three years of coursework depending on your program. Right? We've all been in school. You've heard if you're going to follow me, you've heard me say this like we've all been in school. Many of us have several degrees. So we're, we have proven with our many degrees and pieces of paper. We have proven that we're really good at showing up into a classroom, getting a syllabus, showing up week after week, taking the notes, um, doing the readings, completing the assignments, writing the papers, taking the final exam and moving on to the next class. Like we've done that.

We've been doing it for 20 plus years, we're good. Right? And the real division comes in like everybody can do that. The division comes in when it's time to take your preliminary or comprehensive exams and maybe you can even do that because I mean at the end of the day, right? People look at that, oh is a big test. Right? And that could even be, I'm like, that's like the really big first a marker that separates and starts to weed people out. Because we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do this test to, to do these exams. And, but like for most people that can like wrap their mind, like they can think of it as another class, I can, they can do whatever is necessary to, you know, get all their literature together, pull all the pieces together. It's still pretty much a very supportive process.

Even if you don't feel like you're being supported, like there are people telling you at least like, this is what you need to do. Your chair, your committee, your program has structured in a way that if you just follow the steps right, you're good, right? And usually you're not the only person who's going through the process. Or if you are the exam is tailored to you by your committee or your chair, then they again, are setting it up in a way to make sure that you can pass. Like for the most part, you show up and do what you need to do. You can pass. However, when we get to dissertation, right now, you're at the top of the top. Now you at, you are aware 50, 60% of the people who started with you didn't make it there, right? We're saying at best are you 40% of the people who started with you in the program making it to or making it to that point of the dissertation, and we're not going to even talk about the people who actually make it to the end, but that's what you have to ask yourself.

Are you going to be one of those people who make it to the end? And if you are, what are you willing to pay? How are you willing to pay to get to the end because it's going to take some additional resources to get to the end. You can't continue to do what you done to get to that point to get to the end. Getting to the end of the dissertation process, getting to your defense, passing your defense takes an extra set of skills, maybe not extra, but a different set of skills, strategies, etc. To like support to get you there because it's no more, it's no longer you showing up to a class with a syllabus, with a script that's telling you you do steps a, B, and c and you're good. Most programs don't have dissertation classes and if they do have dissertation classes, and we're going to be honest, they're geared towards quantitative projects, right?

Because people think that like, oh, you're doing qualitative well that's easy. You're just going to do some interviews and you're good. Right? No, because I'm sure if you're in this process in any step of the dissertation process and you now know it's not, it's not that simple. It's not that simple, right? So this dissertation journey no longer has a class where you're showing up every day and someone gives you a script or a syllabus and they say if you just show up every week and you read these articles and you take this like test and you write these papers and you have a dissertation, it's not a like a paint by numbers type thing because now you, your final step in the doctoral journey is to contribute back to your field. To contribute something unique, different, something that's missing some perspective that hasn't quite been explored. It is your job now to find that and contribute it back to the field to help the field grow, to help the field become better you as a contributor of knowledge to your field. So no, there's not a a step by step. You just show up and you do this and you're done.

Especially for those of you who are talking about winning dissertation of the year awards, you don't get to just show up and say, see, I've put in all these years of work. See all my degrees, see how many classes I've done, and now you want to be called doctor. That's not how it works. All of that was just the warmup. That was the warmup to get here. Now we're playing the game. Are you ready to play the game or you ready to give up? And do you feel like you don't have to devote extra time and financial resources to get to the end to win the game? Or do you feel like you should just get it off of GP because you showed up to some a few classes? You think you should just get it, man, I feel like I got all off, but I want you to feel me on this episode.

Who is your team of people who are helping you because truth be told, your chair is not there to be, to be your personal assistant, your personal editor. Your chair is not there to hold your hand every step of the way. Sure they are there to help, help guide you. Right? And maybe they listen to you at your standing meeting, but they got other people, they got other things to do. This is their job and it's no shade towards you as not saying they don't care about you. However, this is your journey and if you're not willing to devote your time and your energy and show up, why should they show up for you? So what are you doing to show up for yourself? Who else is on your team besides your chair? Who else are you spending your time with? Who's going to help you finish your goal?

Like I love, love hearing people's stories. I love watching like athletes, and, you know, I love Beyonce and I love their story. I love going back and watching old videos because they reminds me of what they had to do to get to where they are now. Sure. It looks cute now to headline Coachella. Sure. It looks cute now to have special after special and to show up at Grand Slam. Grand Slam have over 30 plus Grand Slam titles. But there was a journey that got there, right? Both of these women, Serena and Beyonce, their fathers were very important to building the foundation of who they are, helping them to build a foundation of their craft. Those men were there teaching them how to have a work ethic, right? A lot of that's innate and, they had their fathers there as like coaches, as, as leaders to help them practice and practice and practice.

When no one knew who they were, when no one ever believed they would be where they are now, when everybody saw two little girls from the hood, right? Their fathers were there and they kept showing up practicing since they were little kids and the single digits like six, seven, eight and nine practicing singing, playing wherever, tournaments at the tournaments, concerts, pageants, all of these things, right? And then they get their break. So Serena comes to the pros at 14 and Beyonce gets a record deal at 15 but still people just saw two black girls from the hood who like, oh, that's cute that you got a few people following you. But they still just showed up and they practice and they practice and they practice. Right? And start winning titles and start having number one albums, right? It started to grow in popularity. Well truth be told, like even 10 years in the game, it was cute.

Like people now knew them, right? People knew Serena and Venus, right? As the sisters, people knew Destiny's Child right they're on number one movies soundtracks, right? But still people wasn't looking at them as these huge stars. And they also realize that a moment between, you know, 10 to 15 years into the game, their fathers were not going to do it anymore. Their fathers had taken them as far as they could with the knowledge that they knew and in order to get to the next level, right? In order to become who we know them to be now today, they needed to work, they needed to expand their team. They needed a different level of coaching and support. So if you ever go and look, right, Serena has a coach, he, this French guy, I can't remember his name right now, but his whole thing is about his, his whole life is about turning out like number one tennis players.

He has a whole like compounding business and organization and coaches under him helping to produce some of the biggest names, right? And then you have a Beyonce who left her father so that she could manage herself, but she has a whole team that's her. So it's not necessarily one person just like it's not one person in this arena. But you get what I mean? Like they had to leave their first like person who helped them get this far and they had to get a whole new team of people because you don't get to be at the top of your game of your fields of whatever without strong coaching and support and people who help get you there. You cannot do this by yourself. And so many of you took a pair this and to bring it home like Serena, Beyonce had their father's sure you had your family and you had your chair, right?

Many of you, your chair with your advisor throughout your whole process and they got you to this far to get you to the point where you now need to start working on your dissertation. But now it's time to expand your team, right? Because their fathers are still there in the background, right? You still see them show up to the games. You still see them talk about their fathers like Serena, Beyonce, credit them for their foundation. They're still there and disappear and you see all these other people who know how to play at this different level. Who could help, who helps them build up the infrastructure to that strong foundation that was laid by their fathers to get them to being the number one tennis player in the world did number one entertainer of the world, right? They had his whole team of people and they had to put in the time and the money to do so because these things are not cheap and these people in their knowledge and that cheap. And so I'm asking you, you did, you have, you put in a time and you put it in the money cause you are enrolled in these programs, right? You gotta pay for it somehow. But are you comfortable staying where you are? Are you ready to go to the next level?

And, how can you use your financial and your time resources more wisely by supplementing with people who can be on your team to help you use those things more wisely? Or do you want to continue to try to do this by yourself and continuing you to use up all your time, resources, your money resources in your health resources? Because we're not meant to be by ourselves. And if you say, well, I'll just continue and like talk to this person and talk to this person and get everybody in for the advice and I'm a work smarter, not harder, you're spending your time, right? Because the time it takes to continue to reach out to these people, find these people, get on their schedule, listen to everybody say a different version of something else. Right? And I'm sure it's real help or information, right? Cause they did it so you can learn from them.

But if you're not with someone, someone who's dedicated to you, who knows exactly what it is that you're going through, who's in it with you day to day, who gets your style of playing or style of performing, your style of writing, who gets your, the particulars of your dissertation and helping you along the way and move you forward and who can dedicate the time and the love in the toughness and the criticalness when you need it to help you with your game. And they're not just speaking in general and it's not just a five minute, 30 minute, 60 minute conversation here, there, the coffee shop, whatever they are telling you, they're like reliving the glory days of their dissertation. But if that person isn't sitting with you day in and day out, how are you going to get to the next level? That information is useless.

That's not going to help you. It may get you like a little bump up, but you're trying to finish this thing and so you're gonna look up and it's going to be one year, two years, three years and you still haven't finished my dissertation proposal because you keep thinking, oh I'll need to spend money on this. I'm already spending the money on a degree. I'm a just, you know, gonna go talk to these people and keep trying to do this on my own and every year, every month, every week, every day that you keep trying to spin your wheels and figure this out on your own.

Yeah, you're wasting your time. That's valuable time and energy that could be going somewhere else to something you actually enjoy doing and you love doing. Because to be honest, I'm sure you don't love your dissertation anymore cause you're not making any progress. So who can you put on your team? How can you expand your team to get you moving so that you can actually make progress so that you can get to your prospectus defense and collect research and then write up the dissertation, finish it, get to the actual defense and become doctor to get to the awards. To win dissertation of the year, who are you putting on your team to help you get there? Your chair isn't enough. This is not shade to your chair. There's just one person with limited time and energy to like give you, you're not their only advisee. You're not their only thing they have going on.

Right. And we, we're being real honest, a lot of the advisors and chairs, this is just a necessary evil of the job. They don't even like advising students, they probably won't tell you that today to your face, but they don't like it. So they just meet with you. Cause they have to because it's a requirement of the job. But I mean they probably really indifferent to if you pass or if you make any progress on your dissertation and they don't get paid regardless. So who else are you putting on your team to make sure you get there because you're responsible for you. You're responsible for making sure you finish. Nobody cares that you've been in school for 20 plus years. Nobody cares that you shut out to all the classes. Nobody cares that you're getting to probably get all A's in your classes. That doesn't matter in this process.

This is a whole different game. All of that was just practice for this part. And Are you going to finish this part? Cause what got you here won't get you to Phd, like won't get you to being called Doctor. And this isn't saying like you got to come work with me. I'm just saying and you know and the opportunities have one across your email or somebody told you about this dissertation bootcamp or this writing retreat or this editor. Somebody told you something and you turned your nose up at it saying you're not paying for that. Well, I hope you got a whole lot of time and I hope you got a whole lot of patients and energy to keep spinning your wheels because it's going to take so much longer and it's going to be so much more difficult then if you would just take the step and get people on your team.

You don't got to pay for everyone. You'll have to do some things that's gonna make you uncomfortable. You gonna have to do some things and maybe some of your family and never had to do before. You gonna have to pay for some resources or a goal to some conferences and some things that may seem like why I gotta spend the money. You don't have to do it to get what you want, cause you're trying to go to the next level. If you're not trying to go to the next level, then none of this matters. But if you try to go to the next level, you will have to do something.

I'm hot, I'm about to go. But I just wanted to say that for today. What do you have time or money. How even, you know, argue like, the third thing is really it comes down to your health. How important are you and your health and your goals to you? So I would love to know what you thought about this episode. Please come on over to Instagram at @marvettelacy and let me know, I'd love to have a conversation with you there. Until next week, do something to show yourself some love and I'll talk to you then! Bye for now.