If there’s anyone I know that lives up to Pat Flynn’s advice to “be everywhere,” it’s Sarah Zink. I decided to catch up with her and find out how she balances it all. Today, we’ll uncover how she juggles so many projects without ever seeming to drop a ball.
Sarah, thanks so much for joining us today. I’m really excited to give my readers a behind-the-scenes look at your life. First, the most important question: How do you define success?
Success is living the purpose of your life.
Was there a time when you had a different definition?
I used to think success was power, or fame, or money. I re-defined it when I developed close relationships with people who had those things, and I realized their lives were not fuller or richer because of those things. The people whose lives are fuller and richer are those that live their purpose. Sometimes, fame, money and power come with that purpose, sometimes not. But success to me is living that full and rich life.
Can you describe a typical day in your life?
HA! Now, that’s funny. How about an ‘average’ day? I get up at 4:45 am and go to the gym for 30 minutes. I’m working to fully run a 5K in 2012, so I’m using the ‘couch to 5K’ app on my phone. Then I come home, grab some coffee, and get ready for my show. My show is on every weekday (except Wednesday) at 7:30 am CST daily. I am the producer for the show, so I line up the guests, write the scripts, and do the research. Then I start my work day around 8:30 or so. In addition to the radio show, I’m a partner and Executive VP for the Women’s Broadcast Network, as well as a corporate speaker/trainer, author and mentor to several business groups. And, I have a a part-time job as Director of Business Development at TECH Fort Worth.
My day is full of juggling those multiple priorities to be sure that I complete the work products for which I am responsible. On top of that, I cook dinner every night for my husband and I. I’m a novice cook, but am learning to like it. Additionally, I budget 30 – 45 minutes every day for uninterrupted time with my husband of 14 years; a little time to play with my dogs (Max and Lucy), and a little time for me, whether it be reading a fictional story, quilting or watching a nature special. Life is short, and I want to wring a good life out of every minute of every day.
Wow. That is quite the juggling act. What habits are most important to helping you keep it up?
Time management and prioritizing tasks are singularly most important to me. After that comes the habit of managing my emotions and being a good communicator.
Can you elaborate on the systems or methods you use?
The habits that are critical for me to manage my time are time-blocking and saying “no.”
1. I set aside specific times to check email, answer the phone, and check voicemail. I don’t make myself 100% available. I let my technology work FOR me, not against me.
2. I’ve learned to say “no” to interruptions when I’m working and, most importantly, to additional tasks. If there’s something I don’t like to do or doesn’t make money, it’s low value, and I pay someone else to do it. (Examples are filing, scheduling travel, data entry, cleaning house, etc.) Doing that provides me with the opportunity to use my skills to do what I do best.
I also have habits that help me prioritize.
1. Deadlines. Every task has a deadline assigned to it. Without these, I’d have no way to know where to put something in the “work queue.”
2. Difficulty: If I don’t like a task and have to do it myself, I do it first.
3. And the most important habit – Discipline. It doesn’t matter what software, system, or technique you use. If you don’t develop a hunger for success and organization and make yourself do what needs to be done, it just doesn’t matter. You have to decide that you want to manage your time, and not have your time manage you.
Sarah Zink is a multi-preneur whose background in education and business development gives her a unique perspective on communication, behavior and time management. For more of Sarah’s wisdom, you can listen to her radio show Think Zink: Change Your Choices, Change Your Life, pick up her latest book 20 Tips for Power Chicks, or connect at Plaid for Women.