Why ‘doing it all’ should never be a goal

Anna Dearmon Kornick

Time management coach Anna Dearmon Kornick has launched her newest venture, a weekly podcast It’s About Time.

The LSU graduate has transitioned from the hectic world of Louisiana politics, to PR at a major New Orleans firm, to leading others through her newfound secrets of time management and finding harmony.

Kornick describes herself as someone who helps busy people master time management so they can stop feeling overwhelmed and start spending time on what matters.

The Network talked with Kornick this month about her work and how “doing it all” should never be a goal. Here are some excerpts from that conversation. 

How did you get into the time management arena? 

It’s been a little bit of good, bad and ugly. I started my career in the political world with several state agencies and spent 11 years in Baton Rouge. You name it: Crisis, oil spill, droughts—if there was a crisis to be managed, I had my hands in it. I eventually left for a PR agency in New Orleans. As exciting as the crisis world can be, it can definitely take a toll on you. 

I thought I’d try my hand at a museum, but that ended up being even worse. Even though I was changing environments, changing my role, I brought all of my bad habits with me. So I decided I was done being miserable, done crying in the stairwell, and said there’s got to be a better way. 

I left communications altogether. I set out to find how my communication skills and interest in leadership could help others dig out of similar situations, or avoid them altogether. 

Time is the most precious resource that we have. It was all about learning and reading as much as possible. If there was a book about time management, leadership, etc. I’ve read it, I tried it, I experimented with it. The most important part is really just knowing yourself, your preferences and what makes you tick. 

What is your central message of the new podcast?

It’s About Time is a podcast about work, life and balance; it’s not about work-life balance. So far my guests and I agree that we’re not really sure that that’s a real thing.

We know when we feel off, we know when we feel out of wack, but balance or harmony looks different for all of us. I wanted to create a space that connected women with other real women so that they can hear different strategies that work. Time management can’t be copied and pasted from one to the next.

My first interview was with Lauren Barbalich of Truly Haute in Baton Rouge. She works full time for the attorney general, owns a business, has three kids, and her husband travels for work. Hearing how she’s able to do what she does and share that with other women is amazing.

Moving past the traditional work/life balance idea,
how can women in particular find time for what’s important?

I like to say that time management is really heart management. You have to start first by knowing what is truly important to you before you start really rearranging your calendar. Find your crystal clear priorities, why you do what do, and nothing else really matters. 

Second is to stop multitasking, and start task-batching. Multitasking is trying to do a million things at once in hopes we’ll get it done faster. Batching is finding similar things, in life or work, and doing them all in chunks. Instead of checking your bank balance 37 times a week, check it on Friday, pay your bills, tackle it all at once. You’ll be more focused on the task at hand instead of opening yourself up to distractions throughout the week. 

Why do you think it’s important to ban “busy” as a badge of honor? 

I lived that life, where all of my value and worth as a person was wrapped up in what I was able to accomplish, what I checked off my to-do list. Our society praises people who put work over themselves and their well-being. If we’re going to change the narrative about busy being a badge of honor, it’s going to be one person at a time. We’ve got to make the decision our selves to be intentional, purposeful. 

Why do you think women are more prone to bear that badge?

I hope that (women) can start finding new ways to feel that worth within ourselves as opposed to the length of our to-do lists. Women in business struggle with delegating. Even at home, we get hung up on the idea that if we’re not doing everything, every piece, we’re doing it at all. It comes back to our priorities, refocusing on what’s really more important in this moment. What are those things that only I can do? That I am passionate about and good at? 

Is there a certain power in learning to say no? 

Absolutely. I know I probably sound like a broken record, but it goes back to what’s most important. Anything—including saying no—is so much easier when know what’s in your heart. 

What’s the most common question you get about time management? 

“How do I do it all?” The response is always “you don’t have to do it all, and you shouldn’t do it all.” Really, stop. Pause, reflect, know yourself. It’s so hard to take time and do that thought work. I’m in Dallas now, and tonight I’ll be walking a group of women through identifying their core values. Who takes time to do that in our lives? 

What’s your go-to method of self-care when
you’re feeling overwhelmed or rundown? 

Whenever you’re feeling those feelings, of being overwhelmed, create a reset ritual. This is your opportunity to find that thing that can help you stop, take a break, hit reset, and keep moving forward. 

A physical therapist once told me her ability to stay on task was affected by the other people in her practice. So she would close herself in a supply closet, take 10 breaths, walk out, and tell herself “I cannot control what everyone else does.”  

For me, I love to stop and do a “brain dump” or a brainstorm list where I sit and write and get everything out of my head. Being overwhelmed is often the result of so many ideas, concerns, thoughts bouncing around. So I let them flow through my head, into my hand, onto the paper. It’s so cathartic. What I need to do next will usually emerge from that.

Take a listen to the It’s About Time podcast.  

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