There are a lot of ways to waste time today, and so many distractions that prevent us from being productive. Why is it so important to manage your scarce resource — your time — in a way that helps you be focused?

Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Brittany: Hi, Emma.

Emma: Hi, Brittany.

Brittany: So you and I talk, we probably more than me you know, me and Connor talk about it, but we love like routines, we love, you know, setting goals. So Connor and I have talked about that a fair amount recently too. So today I wanna talk about something that kind of expands on, the themes we’ve talked about before. And that is on prioritizing your time. So what does that mean? Let’s think about the root word. I always love doing that with these bigger words. Prioritize, right? That’s putting something ahead of other things. So how you can make sure you’re putting the right things first when you’re managing your time? Cuz I know that that’s something I have not always been good at. And when I don’t have my time prioritized, I am just like a hot mess. I am all over the place. I can’t get my work done. I don’t have time for hobbies because you know, I’ve had to like catch up on other areas of my life, so that can get really stressful. So I want to impart this wisdom to you cause I wish I would’ve done this earlier on. So the first thing and Emma and I have talked about this a lot, but I think it’s good to rehash it is, you know, routines are really good to have in your life. But I also think you need to realize that your routines are gonna be constantly changing. So what worked for me a year and a half ago doesn’t really work for me now because my life has changed and I have different things that I’m doing. And so it’s okay. I think it’s okay to stick, definitely stick to your routines when you have them. But I think it’s really good to reevaluate them every now and then and say, okay, you know, this isn’t, maybe I don’t wanna read before bed. I wanna read a little bit, you know, like when I get home from school or when I get home from playing whatever it is. So I think it’s important to do that. So like mine has changed. I used to spend a lot more time at home, which actually meant I had a lot more time for other hobbies. But because I’m doing standup comedy so much, I do that three or four times a week. So I really had to rearrange things. So I used to work out like during the day cause I think exercise is so important and now I get up earlier, so I get up at six now instead of eight so that I can fit all these things in. So now I exercise and I listen to podcasts or read an audiobook before I go to work. And then, you know, I focus on work and then come home and you know, plan for comedy, or sometimes I write some things and help out for Tuttle twins and then trying to get all this stuff in. But it’s crazy to me and I kind of like to look back and think like, oh wow, my routines have changed so much. I don’t know if you’ve had to change anything this past year, cuz I know you and I had a whole episode on what our routines are a little bit ago.

Emma: Yeah, totally. I think, like you said, different seasons of life. You kind of have different needs and priorities and it’s good to kind of reexamine what your routine is to make sure that you’re making enough time for those things that are really important. I’ve had a couple of different jobs over the last couple of years and some of them have been in person or remote or, you know, with different schedules and different kinds of daily workflows. I’ve definitely had to be flexible in my routines there. I think maybe one way that mine has changed is I used to try always to force myself to work out in the morning. And I am not at all a morning person. I’m actually really low energy in the morning when it’s early.

Brittany: I’ve noticed that even with myself now that I am getting up and working out, it’s really hard in the morning.

Emma: See that’s my thing is I think I was trying to force it to work and force, force that routine to work for me because it was most convenient because I wanted to have more of my afternoons and evenings free. But I learned that I actually really enjoy exercise more and I’m better about actually getting it done if I do it in the afternoon. So that’s a big one that’s changed for me. And yeah, I think it’s good to be flexible and, you know, always be kind of reexamining because one thing that I fall into a lot is kind of like watching TV or like yes, just kind of zoning out and being on my phone in the evenings. And even though it’s technically in my routine to not really do that unless it’s kind of a special occasion or maybe the weekend, I find myself doing it a lot. So I have to be like, wait a second, this isn’t my routine. I’m gonna go pick up that book that I’ve been trying to work my way through. And kind of just checking in with what the routine is and making sure that it’s realistic.

Brittany: I think that’s a really good point. And it’s so funny to me, you mentioned the exercise thing because I’m struggling with that right now. I get up early to fit everything in my day and it’s hard for me to work out in the afternoons cuz I have to do it during work and then I’m all like sweaty for the rest of the day. And if I have to go do a comedy show after work, it’s hard to like have to get ready in the afternoon. So for right now, I’m actually trying to sit down and say, okay, what makes sense for my routines? What do I need to change? So I can relate to not being a morning person or at least struggling to exercise in the morning. It’s hard when you don’t have energy. It’s, so another thing I want to make sure to point out is that it’s okay to have fun and relax. Because I get hard on myself on this because I think once you have such a strict like schedule and routines, it’s really easy to say like, all right, I gotta keep going. I gotta do this, this, this, this, and this. And I love being productive. I feel so much better about myself when I can look at my day and say, oh my goodness, you accomplished so much. So yeah. One thing that I am really big on now is making sure that I do have fun on like the weekends and I still work a lot on the weekends. I do a lot of writing other than my, my job, my like everyday job. And I do that a lot on the weekends, but I block off like, okay, you’re gonna have three hours to work on this and then, you know, go do something fun, go out with your friends. So I think it’s also important to remember that it is okay to have fun. It is okay to relax, but one thing that’s also cool is if some of your obligations and some of your parts of your routine, and your schedule are already fun. Like, if there are things you need to do, but things you love to do. And you know, there’s that silly like, what is this like quote where it’s like if you.

Emma: Oh, love your job, work a job you love and you’ll never work a life.

Brittany: Yeah. Which, I don’t know how true that is. We

Emma: Could do a whole episode on that one.

Brittany: We could do a whole episode. That might have to be a whole episode. That’s a good idea. Yeah. so, you know, I think that, yeah, again, we could unpack that. so I don’t think that’s necessarily true. But one other thing I want to really hit on, and this is something that’s taken me a long time to learn, is that it’s okay to say no to things. So there’s, I have a like problem where I over commit. So like I want to go to this friend’s thing or I wanna go in DC there’s a lot of what we call like networking, which I hate Is so silly. where just to like keep your like status and position in like your political circles or whatever it is your work circles. You like have to go to events after work and mingle even though you don’t wanna and you’re bored. You have to do it. Here’s the funny thing, it’s the same thing with comedy. I have to go out to events sometimes, even if I’m not performing just to hang out with the other comics. Cuz that’s what you do. That’s how you know, make your name, get your name out there and show people that you’re part of the community. And it’s exhausting. It is really exhausting and you have to sometimes just say no. Sometimes you just have to say, you know what, I’m really stressed out right now. Not stressed out, but I have a lot going on and I think it’s okay for me to sit this one out. I think I’m gonna stay home this night. Because even though being productive is great, if you wear yourself out, you’re not gonna be of any use to anybody, especially yourself because you’re gonna be so tired and so stressed out that you’re not gonna have any time to be productive. So I don’t know if you have any experience with that or anything you wanna add to that. Cause I think that’s a really big lesson for people to learn.

Emma: Totally. It’s, funny that you bring up the DC thing because the time when in my life when I was the most, you know, saying yes to way too many things and overloading myself is when I lived there. And I think maybe it’s part of the culture there to just always be, you know, quote-unquote networking. Like you said, those events are my least favorite thing in the world. I do not miss them. But, yeah, kind of like this pressure to always be busy even if you’re not actually like really accomplishing anything. And that’s, I know that’s not unique to DC even that’s something that people deal with in, you know, anywhere. I think it’s just sort of a thing that exists no matter where you live. But I definitely think prioritizing things that you know are important to you, things that you need to do to be healthy and to be, you know, taking care of the things that you have to get done in your life. Like following through on your commitments and make sure that those things are prioritized above the little things that make you feel really busy. Cuz it can be easy to just go from thing to thing and then you feel super busy and at the end of the day you’re like, what did any of that actually do? You know, I’ve been running from place to place, and like what was that all for? So I definitely have dealt with that before. And I also think like when you’re young, especially cuz I first came to DC as an intern and I was 19 and I just kind of was like, if I just go to all of these events and if I say yes to everything, I’m gonna meet a lot of people and like make a lot of good friends and like colleagues and stuff like that. And I definitely did meet some people through those things that are still friends of mine and that, you know, I’ve helped out and they’ve helped me through over the years. But I definitely think like knowing what’s important to you and using that sort of as a gauge of whether you say yes to something and knowing that it’s okay to say no and okay to be like, oh sorry, I don’t have the bandwidth, I don’t have the time or you know, I just have something else going on. Sorry. And we’ve even done an episode about not lying about why you’re busy.

Brittany: Yes. Don’t lie about it. I think it’s good to just say, no I will not be ma I will not make it tonight. You don’t have to give a whole song and dance for why not?

Emma: Exactly. And that’s something that, you know, it’s like a quote-unquote white lie where it’s like, you know, you kind of do it to not hurt someone’s feelings, but at the end of the day you don’t owe anyone your presence at anything and it’s okay to just say, Hey, I can’t make it. Sorry about that. But yeah, it’s definitely a constant like balancing act that you have to do to make sure that you’re prioritizing the right things.

Brittany: Absolutely. And I think you brought up a point just it can get exhausting. Like you talk about DC just cause there’s so many things and you don’t and what’s the FOMO fear of missing out? That’s part of my problem too. Cause I’m such a social person that it becomes, you know, like a, I don’t, I what if I miss this? What if I miss that? But sometimes it’s just so much better for your mental health and everything to sit, you know, sit at night out and relax and have fun. So that’s all I kind of had to add on this one. I just think it’s so important to tell you all how to prioritize and I’d love to hear, you know, find us on Facebook or Instagram and tell us, you know, what do you do to prioritize your time? What are your routines? We’d love to hear about that.

Emma: Yes, we always love to hear from you guys, so don’t be shy. Let us know and let us know if you have any other thoughts on, routines or life hack type stuff. Cuz you know, Brittany and I are all about these topics, and Connor too. But Brittany and I are just a little extra obsessed. We will wrap it up here today guys. Thank you so much for listening and we’ll talk to you all again soon.

Brittany: Talk to you soon.