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Marketing Agency Exposed Podcast

Nov 4, 2020


Ken shares the pressure he’s recently felt with several big projects that all require a lot of his time and attention AND they all demand to be the top priority. Brad shares similar experiences, and tells us about time blocking and time management to be intentional about his time. Bob challenges everyone to dig deeper into where the pressure really comes from- is it from others? From internal expectations? From past conditioning that no longer serves you? How can you as a business owner take steps to combat overwhelm, and allow your employees the same freedom and opportunities? Because after all, the last thing anyone wants is a burnt-out team. Listen in for tips on prioritizing your time and energy, keeping things in perspective, and suggestions about creating a more balanced life with work that feels purposeful and energizing instead of draining. 


Top 3  Curtain Pulls in this episode: 

  1. Control your focus - Block out your time using a weekly template according to how YOU should be spending your time! When you schedule blocks of time for hobbies, fitness and family as well as work tasks, those personal and self-care tasks begin to become of equal importance, as they should be.
  2. Give from a full tank - Make time for your hobbies! Things that bring you joy and get your mind off of business. It can feel selfish, but is ultimately simply a smart business decision- the more rested and relaxed you are, the more effectively you will perform in your business. Like professional musicians and artists, you can’t just focus on one area and expect the best results. 
  3. Recruit help - be afraid to ASK FOR HELP. If you express your overwhelm with your team, they will likely be more than happy to help. Get outside input so that you gain perspective on the things that seem like they need your focus. 


For more tips, discussion, and behind the scenes:


About The Guys: 

Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran from from 2000 -2017. He is also the author of 3 books. More on Bob: 

Brad Ayres: Founder of Anthem Republic, an award-winning ad agency. Brad’s knowledge has led some of the biggest brands in the world. Originally from Detroit, Brad is an OG in the ad agency world and has the wisdom and scars to prove it. Currently that knowledge is being applied to his boutique agency. More on Brad:

Ken Ott: Co-Founder and Chief Growth Rebel of Metacake, an Ecommerce Growth Team for some of the world’s most influential brands with a mission to Grow Brands That Matter. Ken is also an author, speaker, and was nominated for an Emmy for his acting on the Metacake Youtube Channel (not really). More on Ken: 


Show Notes:

[2:15] Bob shares the text messages sent between The Guys about topics for Agency Exposed- Ken shares that he’s been combatting the feeling of overwhelm and whether it’s worth it. 

[2:21] Ken shares the Q4 pressure that’s built up and how difficult it’s been to balance work and home life. There is a MOUNTAIN of work that he feels that only he can do, but there is a real struggle to delegate. 

[5:30] Bob says that Ken talks about setting boundaries a lot- when those things are pushed because of special projects or deadlines, how does that work? 

[5:59] Ken: “The feeling of overwhelm for me happens when I feel like there’s way more things that.. If they don’t get done they’re gonna blow up.” 

  • He shares that having an endless ToDo list isn’t what overwhelms him, but rather a large list of things that are top priority with deadlines. “Overwhelm comes from a lack of clarity in what you need to focus on.”

[9:21] Ken continues, divulging that oftentimes he feels that because he has a higher calling, being overwhelmed where he’s at doesn’t feel like an option. But those feelings come from a place of comparison, and it’s difficult to shake that. 

[10:00] Brad shares that he often feels that he’s losing control of his time, that the giant task list becomes unending and he finds it difficult to accomplish things. So he’s turned to blocking off time on his calendar every week, the main tasks and the priorities taken into account, and this helps him to have time for putting out fires and use the blocked time to get things done. 

[11:38] Ken shares about time blocking and adjusting it according to lifestyle changes. It helps him to be intentional, and shares that his current overwhelm is likely a product of that time blocking being misaligned with where his priorities are. 

[12:45] Bob asks about sharing personal calendars with co-workers- all The Guys do it, but only to a certain extent, depending on who it is. He asks if this brings anxiety- having others knowing they can add meetings to your calendar and having the fear of time booking up before you control how it’s being spent. Bob says that his big issue recently has been making time in between Zoom meetings to actually get work done. 

[13:40] Bob: “Many times Zoom calls are created where in-person meetings would not have been created… that could have been taken care of in an email string… instead of two or three Zoom calls to get to the point.” 

[15:50] Brad talks about the smaller increments of time that are truly wasted in excessive Zoom calls/ bad time etiquette with Zoom meetings. “The reality is, is that we could have been getting something done in that 15 minutes…” 

[16:14] Ken agrees, saying that having a hard stop time at the end of the day isn’t rude, it’s healthy! “I think it actually communicates… as long as you’re doing it out of legitimate reasons and you’re not being a jerk… it communicates boundaries implicitly.” 

[16:35] Brad circles back to his calendar and how it does create anxiety for him to give others access to his calendar. “That’s why I block 2 weeks out because if I don’t block, then all of a sudden I’ve got calendar invites at times that I wanted to save…”

[17:05] Bob gives a practical takeaway “Go through every single day and just block out and put busy or whatever way you want to block out time, whether you know what you’re going to do that day or not, just make sure you block it so that you have free access to it first.” 

[17:45] Ken suggests taking it a step further by creating an ideal week. Metacake’s team does this exercise together every year, and it helps to understand everyone’s time better. 

  • If you know that you want to spend 20% of your time on sales, block off 20% of your time for sales. Better yet, when is the best time of day for you to be doing those sales activities? When are you most effective, and how can you use your energy in the places that will pack the most intentional punch? 

[19:15] Brad suggests a calendar tool like Calendly, where you can offer your time slots for meetings and people can schedule them as they like. 

[19:28] Bob adds that scheduling hobbies and self-care activities as well. Create a list of priorities that pop up on your calendar that are as important as every other activity. 

[20:18] Ken “I think a lot of people try to separate work and life a lot of ways, and the truth is not that separate.” He talks about how his hobbies and keeping them high on the priority list are actually what allows him to perform on the work side. He says that sometimes he’s a little embarrassed to put it on his calendar, because if there is a ton of work to do it feels selfish. But working out fuels everything else, so it is important! 

[21:24] Bob shares a recent interview he was listening to with Lenny Kravitz on NPR. Lifelong musicians that plan to share music for as long as possible- like Lenny Kravitz- view their body as something that has to be maintained and in peak condition. 

[23:30] Brad shares that not giving yourself the time to relax and unwind results in burnout, exhaustion, and ultimately it’s a myth that you have to work hard 12 hours a day to be effective. 

[24:28] Ken says that often it’s just trying to keep up the appearance of working hard that is exhausting, not the actual work that you do. 

  • “Why- if you want to be a great business leader- why don’t you have to condition as hard as anyone else in any other field?”

[25:45] Bob talks about how often we look at athletes or dancers and assume that they’re dependent on they’re bodies… we assume that our bodies are divorced from our minds, when in reality they all feed into one another. 

[27:30] Brad talks about how this conversation has challenged him a bit- creating a business that allows employees to take an hour and a half and exercise in the afternoon if it’s needed. How can you be a business owner that allows time for that and intentionally implements that. 

[28:15] Ken “I expect people to work really hard for me...if they’re on our team, if they’re committed to something… I expect that they’re going to take care of themselves.”

  • He reflects on being aware that you need a break- sometimes people don’t realize that what they need is a break from everything, and there is an innate shame to that in a lot of cultures. 

[30:29] Bob rewinds to the beginning of the conversation. As business owners, there can be a lot of shame in admitting that, in admitting that you’re stressed out. You’ve gotta be kind to yourself, and take care of how you compare yourself to others. 

[32:30] Bob stresses that you are NOT your work, that your identity is not just inside of what your work is. And if you feel that way, then it’s time to reassess and do some self-reflection. “I am not my success today- that is not my identity.” 

[33:27] Ken talks about reminding yourself that discomfort means you’re growing, that if there’s something that's painful that you’re going through, it means you’re persevering and learning more. 

[35:16] Brad talks about the physical sensations that come along with overwhelm and anxiety. The attitude that carries you through that overwhelm makes all the difference, and it’s worthwhile to identify patterns in your energy levels and feelings of overwhelm. 

[36:45] Bob says that personality has a lot to do with this as well- if you tend to be more aware of how you’re feeling, you’re going to be piqued for attentiveness to that feeling. 

  • Tracing his feelings and digging under those feelings makes all the difference. Just being aware!

[38:46] Brad “We’re not machines, we’re emotional beings. And I think sometimes I forget about that.” 

[41:39] Bob asks if Ken feels a bit more relaxed now that he’s talked about things. Definitely yes!

[43:08] Bob stresses that when you’re feeling this way, like you’re getting overwhelmed and burnt out- talk to someone. Reach out and ask for help. That is one of the powerful missions of Agency Exposed, to let people know that there is no shame in asking for help- this isn’t a sign of weakness. 

[43:26] Brad says that when you mention this to your team, they are more willing to step forward and do what they can to lighten your load. 

  • Often we internalize how we’re feeling and can trace it back to when we dropped the ball on taking care of ourselves. And because we can so clearly see how it seemingly fell apart, we don’t feel entitled to share the difficulty. “... the reality is no, I made myself feel that way because I didn’t create boundaries.” 

[45:34] Bob “Life and experience is simply a reflection of what’s going on inside of you… I think that’s always something good to remember too.”