A question we often ask our mumbitious movement is: “what is the biggest challenge in your life right now?” Over the years the resounding response is always, a lack of time, something we’re pretty sure as a business owner you can personally relate to.
Christmas may be over, but in episode seven of Mumbition The Podcast by Mums & Co we’re giving you a gift. Something that you’ve probably fantasised about whilst attempting to harmonise your ambition, livelihood and wellbeing.
Our gift to you is that precious resource, more time.
This week’s guest is Kate Christie, a time management specialist who started her own business after years of frustration trying to balance her busy life as a corporate lawyer with three young children. Kate works with individuals helping them to find 30 + lost hours of time a month, so that they can design and curate their perfect lives.
So how can you find another 30 hours in your month? How do you gain the confidence to say no? And can we really have it all as business owning mums?
Listen to the episode now to find out!
Carrie Kwan (00:02): Hi, welcome to Mumbition, the podcast for business owning women by Mums & Co, where we share inspiring stories of Australian mums in business. I'm Carrie Kwan, the co-founder of Mums & Co, and I will be joined each week by our community manager, Lucy Kippist. Together, we'll discuss how our guests harmonize their ambition, livelihood, and wellbeing, let's get into the inspiring stories now. In the spirit of reconciliation, Mums & Co acknowledges the traditional custodians of country throughout Australia, and their connections to land, sea, and community. We pay our respect to elders, past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.
Carrie Kwan (01:11):I have a question, what is the biggest challenge in your life right now? We asked this across our Mums & Co members and the resounding response was time and lack of it. Today, we want to give you a gift, something of your child raising, business building wildest dreams. We want to give you time, we give you Kate Christie, a woman described by one of Australia's major newspapers as a woman before her time. Kate Christie is a time management expert who started her own business after years of frustration trying to balance her busy life as a corporate lawyer with three young children.
Lucy Kippist (01:46):Corporate lawyer, three kids, own business. I have just lost a minute or so as usual being amazed by Kate's journey, and fortunately for all of us here today, Kate's business boomed and she has become a highly celebrated international keynote speaker and bestselling author. Her latest book is called Me First: The Guilt-free Guide to Prioritizing You. And in what might be the most specific and rapid fire series of questions in our podcast series yet, Kate, welcome to Mums & Co, we want to know everything you know.
Kate Christie (02:18):Thank you so much for having me, Lucy, and it's an absolute pleasure to be here with you both.
Carrie Kwan (02:26):Starting with our first question, as we must, please share your 30 second elevator pitch on Time Stylers and how Kate Christie can find business owning mothers more time.
Kate Christie (02:36):Okay, Carrie, thank you. All right. Here's my elevator pitch. Hey, my name's Kate Christie. I'm a time management specialist. I work with high performing teams and individuals to help them find 30 plus lost hours of time a month. My whole premise is around helping you find the time so that you can design, you can curate your perfect life.
Carrie Kwan (03:04):I don't know if I'm interested in finding 30 more hours of time. Yes, please.
Kate Christie (03:10):Well, it's sort of a double edged sword, isn't it? Because so many people say, "Oh, 30 hours, but does that mean another 30 loads of washing and another 300 emails and another 10,000 trips around the house with a vacuum?" And no, it doesn't, it's 30 hours of time to invest in you. That's what it's all about.
Lucy Kippist (03:32):I mean, that's obviously what we are all looking for and I think is the missing piece in our lives as business owning mothers. We Actually had someone mention the other day on the podcast, Kate, that a balanced life is eight hours of work, eight hours of sleep and eight hours of other stuff, which left me horrified at the thought of what the other stuff is. I can understand people's reticence about the 30 hours.We know that you can't really give all your secrets away with us, although feel free. But what's the first thing, if we are mums and we are running a business and we're just like, time is my problem, and I know it, what's the first thing we can do to make a change?
Kate Christie (04:13):Well, there's probably two parts to this. In terms of the first thing, I'll call it part A and part B of the first thing. Part A is to get a really complete understanding of what it is that is challenging you. What's tripping you up? What are those time barriers and blocks that are consistently getting in your way? And it'll be things like too many emails, back to back meetings, home schooling, trying to juggle work and life, trying to pitch and sell a product while my baby or my child is screaming in the background. They're the challenges, right? Get a full understanding of what's actually getting in your way.Then part B is, and more importantly, well, what are your core values? What is most important to you? Because what we need to do is get you from part A to part B so that we're moving very seamlessly from a place where you are constantly challenged in terms of your time, to this perfect values led day, and the whole idea is to get you the GPS instructions to get you there.And when I talk about values led day, I don't mean honesty and integrity and trustworthiness. I call them the vanilla values because we've all got them, or hopefully we've all got them. When I talk about understanding what a values led day is for you, you need to do some work around what is absolutely the most important part of your time each day. What would you actually get out of bed for if you were really sick or what is it that you love to be complimented on? When you answer those questions and you know exactly what that values led day looks like for you, then everything else just becomes white noise and everything else becomes very easy to say no to.
Lucy Kippist (06:10):I love that answer, and I also love the idea of curating a day based on the one thing I'd get out of bed for. I really have to narrow that down.
Kate Christie (06:20):It helps you just focus and narrow down, absolutely, what's most important to you. A question I get so often is, we were told we could have it all and I'm trying to have it all and I was lied to and how do I have it all? And very simply, you don't need it all. Once you narrow it down to your absolute core values, that's not having it all. That's just going after the bits that are most important to you. And I've done a lot of work on this, I know exactly what my three core values are and I spend every single day living and breathing those, which gives me plenty of time, I've got so much time on my hands because I only do those three things every single day.
Carrie Kwan (07:05):We love focus. There are so many things, different agendas that can distract you from what you want to do or what you need to do. What are the three things? I just want to dive into a little bit more detail, you have the values. What are some of the things or the practical application you do each week to find time for your ambition, your wellbeing and your livelihood?
Kate Christie (07:26):Look, I love that question, Carrie, and it aligns perfectly to the way I work, because there are three things that I focus on all the time in terms of making sure that I live that perfect life. The three things that I do consistently is that I plan, I plan to succeed. I have written five year goal, that's my marathon goal. Then I have sprint goals, which are across the year, I break those down so I know exactly what I'm doing each month, each quarter down to each week down to each day. I always plan, I plan to succeed.The second thing I do is that I control the agenda. It's my life, right? It's my life. I only get one. I got to control the agenda. And so many women that I work with, particularly working mums, at some stage in our journey, at some point, and I think I've kind of pinpointed it to when you have a baby, you have your first baby, at some point in your life, you move from the driver's seat to the passenger seat.And I think it's when you have a baby or your first baby, and you don't necessarily control the agenda anymore, because let's face it, when we all first become mums, we've got no idea what we are doing. And every day is different and we are way out of our depth, and we've either worked as a businesswoman or in a professional capacity with a good degree of control, and all of a sudden we have no control because we are thrust into this world of baby land. And I don't know about you, but I had zero idea what I was doing. And then the second baby came along too fast for me to even catch my breath, and then I thought, well, I better have my third quickly as well, because I don't want there to be this huge age gap.I had years of not feeling any level of control and that was when I'd move myself from the driver's seat to the passenger seat and I just started letting it happen to me rather than designing it. Something I do now every day is that I control the agenda. And then the third thing I do consistently every day is that I make sure that I focus on the right things at the right time so I know exactly what I have to focus on and I know what part of the day I'm going to invest my time on that, because I know when I'm at my best, so that's when I focus on my strategy, my thought provoking, my empowering, my engaging content, my best brain stuff. I save my best brain for my best work.And then I know exactly the time of the day when I'm tired, and so that's when I do work that doesn't require my best brain, and I know exactly when my kids are going to need me when they're not going to need me, and so I focus and I can build my life around what I think and I anticipate their needs are going to be. The three things I do consistently, number one, I plan to succeed. Number two, I control the agenda. And number three, I focus on the right things at the right time.
Lucy Kippist (10:31):Well, there's so much in that answer and they're all phenomenal points. Control was a word that just kept jumping out to me, and you're so right, I completely concur, having your first child is that first, for most of us, experience of losing complete control over your day, your life, your week, and it does just increase with the number of children you go on to have.You've obviously created a really clear pathway in order to able to achieve despite that. But I'm wondering, what's something that you've had to stop doing, if anything, to keep building your business?
Kate Christie (11:10):I've had to stop doing a heap of things, a heap of things, but it's okay, because when I align them back to those core of mine ... And my three core values, number one, my kids, number two, my business, number three, my health. That's what my day is made up of, stuff with and for my kids, stuff on and for my business or just talking business, I love doing that, and the third one is my health, you've got to prioritize your health. That's all I do. That means I don't go on dates, I don't often catch up with my friends, I don't go shopping. There's lots that I don't do now.But it's easy because it's the stuff that wasn't really important to me in the first place. And I think once you have that perspective around your values and around what's most important, it really becomes very simple to say no. I was very much a yes girl back in the day. I was so bad at being a yes girl that I actually used to find it uncomfortable talking with someone where I could feel that they were building up to ask me for something.
Lucy Kippist (12:18):Oh, wow, yeah.
Kate Christie (12:19):Or to ask me for my time and it was like a trigger for me, it used to freak me out, so much so that I wouldn't wait for them to ask me what they wanted, I'd jump in, anticipating what they wanted and offer it because I just had to kind of get to the punchline because it was such a painful discussion. I've given all that up. It's so easy for me to say no now, so easy. And I used to sort of flower it up and, "Thank you so much for the opportunity," and now it's just, "No, thank you. Thank you so much, but no." It's easy.
Carrie Kwan (12:54):I love how you described your core values because at Mums & Co, we talk about it as harmonizing the triangle of ambition, which is your business, livelihood, which you refer to as kids and wellbeing, which you refer to as your health.
Kate Christie (13:11):I know, I read that about you guys the other day and I thought there's such lovely synchronicity here. I think we have very, very strong alignment on that, Carrie, because when you break it down, as a working mum, those three things are absolutely core to our sense of happiness and our sense of achievement and our sense of wellbeing, our sense of contentment.
Carrie Kwan (13:39):You can't really give up on being a mother, or you don't want to, and you shouldn't have to. The same for all your aspirations, your ambition. We call it mumbition, which is that unapologetic blending of both motherhood and your ambitions. We shouldn't have to do that, but we do need to find ways to get them to synchronize and those parts to harmonize and work together.
Kate Christie (14:08):I completely agree. And I completely agree that we shouldn't have to, but there's so many external and internal pressures we have to fight against to make sure that we shouldn't have to. There's all the external pressures around that. For better or worse, there's still a societal expectation that mom will carry the load, and regardless of what people say, or regardless of what businesses say or corporate say, it's just a fact, it is a fact that there is an expectation that mum will carry the load. That in itself is one of the main reasons why so many awesome, incredibly talented professional women leave corporate to start up their own business once they become a mum. That's the very foundation of your business, isn't it? That these are the amazing women that you are working with.On top of that though, there's the internal pressure for better or worse. I certainly know from my own experience because I was and am still highly ambitious, but there was an internal expectation on myself that I be the one who would be up at night with them if they were sick and I be the one who would have to take time off work to be with them and do the things, and not because I felt that there was an external pressure, that was the pressure I put on myself. It's really hard.We have a lot of external and internal pressures on us to meet the demands of motherhood at the same time as continuing with our brilliance, with our brilliant careers or our brilliant businesses. No one should ever underestimate how hard it is and no one should ever feel guilty for having those conflicting thoughts around, can I be a mum and an amazing business woman, or can I be a mum and have an incredible career? And the guilt comes with that can be paralyzing and more and more, we need to celebrate that guilt in some respects because it shows that you're human, it shows that you love your kids, but you also love your business or your career. Let's celebrate it rather than agonize over it.
Carrie Kwan (16:26):Couldn't agree more, and we do, I think it's a really exciting time in some ways because I think women are getting better at asking for help. We do want to nurture our ambitions as well, and the way we can do that is asking for our village, our co to actually help us achieve that, and our community. And we're very much on the path to making business suit business moms. I love that, and that celebration should become that norm. We're trying to make that the norm, that we can actually do this, have these amazing role models like you to show other women that it can be done, too.I mentioned the community around us, that co, the partners, the parents, the husbands, friends, family, your neighbors and clients. Can you tell us about your co and do they create or take time from you?
Kate Christie (17:30):Okay. I guess if you take it back to my values around my kids, my business, my health, and I'm very used to now saying no to a lot of things, and one of the things is I have a very ... If I look at that picture of values, I see it as a really tight circle, and it's a circle that's been drawn with a thick, black highlighter. There's not a lot of gray and here's not a lot of ease within which to break into or out of that circle. It's kind of like a barrier. And in terms of my co or my cohort, I see that in the same, it's a very tight circle. It's kind of hard to break in, and once you're in, it's hard to break out.I have my immediate family, my kids obviously, who are incredibly supportive, they're amazing and they celebrate my wins in a way where the wins are tangible for them, where they see I got an article on X or I won a big client, or the ways that they celebrate is where they can sort of see a tangible movement, which is beautiful. My sisters and my dad, 100% my biggest supporters, and then I have my little posse of business women and I've then got a wider circle. I've got my business coach and I've got other people in business who I really respect. But I've got my core posse of chicks and we very much support each other, build each other up, bounce ideas off each other. We have a relationship of total honesty and we're very candidIt's kind of like this safe space where rather than me go to them and say, "Hey, what do you think of this idea?" And they go, "Oh, yeah, yeah, rah, rah, woo-hoo," they'll say, "No, that doesn't work," or, "That doesn't align to your brand," or, "We don't think you should do that. Why don't you do this instead?" It's a very trusted cohort, and at the same time, very supportive. They do support me at a personal level as well. But it's kind of a tight knit group. I've got my three kids, two sisters, one dad and three business mates, and that's kind of it.
Carrie Kwan (19:46):That's a lot, though. That's still a lot in that [crosstalk 00:19:49].
Kate Christie (19:52):They're great. They all play a very important part in my life.
Carrie Kwan (19:56):So good.
Lucy Kippist (19:57):Sometimes people, when we are facing the realities of our time or, or lack of it, we aren't sometimes completely honest with ourselves about how much time we waste procrastinating or worrying about how much time you have, and I'm putting my hand up here, I'm completely guilty of that. Or perhaps we're just really not very conscious at all about how we spend our time and wonder where it is. What's the main way that you think people tend to over waste their time or risk their time as business owners?
Kate Christie (20:26):I think that there's three ways, and it goes back to the question Carrie asked me before, the three ways that you waste your time generically are that, number one, you don't plan to succeed. Number two, you're not controlling the agenda. And number three, you're not focusing on the right things at the right time. At a larger level, they're the three key ways that people waste their time.At a micro level, there are certain things that people do that definitely waste their time and things like, in terms of procrastination, well, that comes because you haven't got a good plan and you haven't prioritized what's in your plan. Then there's things like multi-tasking where we try to get more done at the same time by doing more things at once with the misplaced view that we've got to get more done, but it actually works the other way.There's lots of things at a micro level. At that more macro level, I think the greatest waste of time that we have is filling our time with busyness, this sense of being busy and doing a whole heap of busy things. Being busy in your emails or being busy with your stock or busy with other aspects of your business, and you're actually not being productive, you're not actually investing your time well, you're just busy being busy. And there's a real difference between being busy and being productive, and I think people waste a lot of time just being busy, doing the busy work and not actually focusing on the revenue generating work, which is going to bring them their biggest bang for their back.I think the other big waster is that people waste time thinking about how they can better manage their time. I often hear people say, "I'm terrible at time management," or, "How do I improve my time management?" Or we're putting a lot of work into managing our time and that in itself is a massive waste of time because you can't manage time. None of us can manage time. We've all got exactly the same number of hours. It's the great equalizer, right? You've got exactly the same amount of time as Elon Musk.
Lucy Kippist (22:42):Very true.
Kate Christie (22:44):Don't try and manage your time. You can't do it over. You can't buy more. You can't speed it up. You can't slow it down. It just keeps going. The best way to stop wasting time is to start thinking about your time as something that needs to be invested, not managed. Like your money, your time is a precious, limited resource. You only have a certain amount of it. Like your money, you have to consciously invest it for the greatest return.Start thinking about where do I invest my time today? Is this the best use of my time right now? Was that time that I just invested a good use of my time? Think about it the way you think about your money in terms of go after the bank with the best interest rate, because you've got to maximize your investment.
Lucy Kippist (23:35):Love it.
Carrie Kwan (23:36):There's lots of exciting things going on in your business right now. Kate, can you share something that you are really excited about or promoting right now?
Kate Christie (23:46):Yeah, sure. I still have the afterglow of publishing my fourth book last year at the start of COVID, Me First, and I'm really proud of it. I'm very, very proud of that book and it sold more than 10,000 copies worldwide, which is very exciting. It's done really well in America. Target America picked it up, which was just mind blowing for me. I get all these emails from these women in America and it seriously just tickles me pink. I'm very excited about that still. And obviously the book is available in Australia on Booktopia and through Amazon. I think it was in Australia post for a period of time, so very excited about that.Off the back of that, one of my amazing business posse that I referred to earlier, she told me, "Look, you have to create a group program off this book," because I do a lot of one on one coaching and she said, "You need a group program." And she really pushed me. She pushed and pushed. And so I created a group program called Me First: The Work Lifestyle Program, and it's been amazing. Actually, I created it for individual business women, like your cohort, but it's been really widely picked up by the corporates and they're putting groups of their women through it, and it's all around that concept of curating your perfect life, around finding 30 hours of lost time and then setting audacious, incredible goals to fill that time.And there's also an aspect there around understanding and identifying the 13 mistakes that we make as successful business women with kids, things like imposter syndrome, mother's guilt, being a people pleaser, never asking for help. There's a whole section on that as well. And I'm very, very proud of it actually, Carrie, so thank you for asking the question. It's been very well received. I'm getting incredible results and it's really reignited my passion for working directly with business mums because they're very awesome. They're very, very clever. They invest their time well. They have these stupendous business ideas and they get stuff done like no other client I have. Mums who have businesses get stuff done and there's no one better to work with because they're always going to get the results.
Carrie Kwan (26:37):So true. That's a very good point.
Lucy Kippist (26:40):Go mama, go mama.Carrie Kwan (26:45):And trying to break it out. Yeah. 10,000, congratulations, that's huge and I'm sure-
Kate Christie (26:52):I know. Seriously, when I got the data, I actually had to contact the publisher and say, "is this right?" Because I think people don't realize how hard it is to sell books. It's not easy to sell books. And I definitely won't be retiring on it, Carrie. I think I get two cents a copy sold or something insane like that. But it's more the fact that I know that my beautiful little pink covered book is in the hands of 10,000 incredible women around the world, and that's pretty amazing. I'm proud of that.
Carrie Kwan (27:25):You're helping them make their impact. If that's a catalyst for them to find their focus and time, huge kudos to you as well, too. It's no small feat.Lucy Kippist (27:38):Kate, I was going to ask you if there was something our community could do for you in business or life that we could reach out to, but I'm guessing that might be purchase and read the book.
Kate Christie (27:48):What I would want your community to do more than anything is to continue to back themselves. Don't give up. There will be days that are so phenomenally hard that you just think, what am I doing? I am shoving stuff up a hill 24/7 and surely it wasn't meant to be this hard. And what I would say to you is back yourself. You are a winner. You are onto an amazing idea. Do not give up too soon because you are probably so close to the tipping point. Don't give it up just yet. Keep going.
Lucy Kippist (28:26):Absolutely love it.
Carrie Kwan (28:26):You've got this. In the spirit of women supporting women, and you've been very humble, we'd love to know who are the mom-bitious that you would like to say hello to?
Kate Christie (28:37):Look, I did get a forewarning of this question, so I've had a think about it. Certainly the women in my posse who are incredible and who support me every day. My three women are the amazing Katrina McCarter, who is a very close friend of mine and we plot and plan and she's taking over the world, that woman, she's ace.Sam Elam from Media Maneouvers is the second woman in my posse, and again, love her dearly. Incredibly talented woman in media. And the third is Anoushka Gungadin who is, again, another inspiring, amazing woman, and I bless myself every day that they want to hang out with me. I love them.
Lucy Kippist (29:30):Kate Christie of Time Stylers, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today. I know we will be pouring over this episode for a while. If you're not already following Kate, you can find her on Instagram, it's @timestylers, and Kate, we so appreciate your time today. Thank you so much.
Kate Christie (29:49):Oh, thank you, Lucy and Carrie, for having me, it's been so beautiful and I feel very grounded for the day. Please keep doing what you do so well for your community.
Lucy Kippist (30:05):My son, Harry, who is nearly eight is home today, homeschooling and he has a question for you, Kate.
Harry (30:11):My mum always says she needs more time. How can I help?
Kate Christie (30:17):Oh, Harry, you gorgeous, darling boy. Okay, the way you help your mom find more time is that you offer to do stuff for her around the house. I call it insourcing, Harry. It's where you and your mum identify everything that you can do that you don't necessarily have to be paid for, but if you twist mum's arm, she might give you a buck a week, and you identify your jobs that are going to help her find time. But it's also going to mean that you become a strong, amazing, independent, resilient young man who knows how to run a household.Things like learn how to use the dishwasher, learn how to use the washing machine, clean up your floor-drobe, put all your stuff away, put your dirty stuff in the washing, put your clean stuff in the cupboard. And most importantly, tell your mum every day how amazing she is, how much you love her, that she is the most incredible role model that you could possibly have and that you love the fact that she is out there helping other women be awesome.
Lucy Kippist (31:24):Phenomenal answer.
Carrie Kwan (31:27):We hope you enjoyed this episode of Mumbition by Mums & Co. Head over to the show notes for a full transcript of the interview and any links we have referred to. Mums & Co is Australia's most caring business network for women. Join us today for just $30 at MumsandCo.com.au. This podcast was produced and edited by Morgan Sebastian Brown of Brown Tree Productions and hosted by Carrie Kwan, Co-Founder of Mums & Co, and Community Manager, Lucy Kippist. We love hearing your feedback, so if you haven't already, please share, rate and review this podcast and we can reach more business owning mothers, just like you.