Intro/Outro:

Welcome to the Small Biz 101 Podcast, a show for big dreamers who want to start or grow their small businesses. And now your host, long-term small business owner and strategic business coach, Connie Whitesell.

Connie Whitesell:

Okay, folks, learn the power of the snooze button and rubber bands for being more productive in your business. Sounds kind of strange, right? Well give this episode a listen and you’ll see exactly what I mean with these unique tips for improving both health and business. Welcome. I am Connie Whitesell, your host of the Small Biz 1 0 1 Podcast. I just had a ball interviewing the amazing health coach, Julie ak. She provided so many great tips, tools, and advice for taking small steps that lead to big impact in improving health and bringing your best self forward into your business. As always, if you’re interested in overall strategic growth in your business, please visit my website scattered to streamline.com, explore previous podcasts with our guest experts focused on small business growth, and find other helpful resources there. Now on this call, we talked about productivity and related to this, I encourage you to download my productivity playbook for some other great tips and tools for managing your priorities and time.

If you visit my website, you’ll find the playbook right there. So go ahead and subscribe, enjoy that, and absolutely enjoy the show. Alright, welcome, welcome. Julie and I were here talking about the fun sometimes challenges of technology, but hopefully you’re here with us. If you’re not, I’ll be sharing the recording. But thank you to those who are here. We’re streaming live on LinkedIn. If you know that you are here, say hello, happy Tuesday, whatever you’d like. Or if you’re watching the replay, let us know that you’re here on the replay. And of course, if you’re watching the recording on YouTube or Facebook or listening on the Small Biz one-on-one podcast. Hello to you as well. I’m so happy that you’re here. My name is Connie Whitesell and I do these interviews once or twice a month to support small business owners by providing guest experts in areas really needed by entrepreneurs.

So, so far we have done, just a couple of weeks ago, I interviewed Alex Teis talking about obtaining impactful speaking opportunities and making the most of those. We’ve talked about money, mindset, legal support. One of the most popular episodes was about amazing free library resources for small business owners, website considerations. Yeah, sometimes you just never know making the most of your sales efforts. So just a great variety and so many recently, and we’ll be talking today about the impact of your health on the state of your business and ways to transform your life and business through developing healthy habits that lead to big change. So awesome. It actually is working. I’m so happy, Amanda, Michelle, happy to have you here. Others, as you’re joining, please come on, let us know you’re here. And I’d like to introduce my special guest today. Julie AK is a certified health coach and owner of Take Action Coaching.

And as you see here, how perfect her name lends itself to her business. Julie is on a mission to empower busy professionals to transform their lives from barely surviving to thriving in their health, their home, their work life, by focusing on developing small, healthy habits that develop into big change over time. Clients are equipped with all of the tools they need to improve their health and wellness. And it’s interesting, Julie used to struggle with stress overwhelm over all poor health. Can anyone here relate to any of those? And by implementing a simple and structured program with the support of a health coach, she changed the way she lives works and parents. And now Julie is passionate about helping others achieve their own wellness goals, whether it’s being more productive, boosting energy, losing weight, reducing managing stress, or simply being better overall. And who wouldn’t want every one of those things. Yep. So welcome, Julie, it’s such a pleasure to have you here.

Julie Takac:

Oh, thank you, Connie. I’m really honored to be here. I am excited about this conversation.

Connie Whitesell:

Fabulous, fabulous. And who knows where this might go? Just as an aside, Julie and I met relatively recently when I moved out to my new area, the Albany, Saratoga area. And it’s just almost by happenstance in a coffee shop through a mutual acquaintance. And some of you may know, sometimes you just meet somebody and you’re like, you know what? I really, really like this person. We could be friends. And now Julie and I have enjoyed wine and coffee and getting to know each other better. So I just know having Julie here is just such a special treat.

Julie Takac:

I feel the same, Connie, I feel the same. So thank you.

Connie Whitesell:

You’re welcome. You’re welcome. Okay. Now, I mentioned how you got into this when I was giving some background about you. I’m just curious, how long ago was that that you made that transition yourself, and would you share a bit more about maybe some of the specifics about what you were

Julie Takac:

Yeah. Yeah. So I got married in 2002 and we had our children in 2006 and 2009. And without getting into too many details, I worked as a major gift fundraiser for a national organization. Actually, I’m really proud to say it’s the Holocaust Museum in Washington. It’s an amazing institution. And I was able to work for them even though I wasn’t living in DC any longer, I was able to work for them from home and travel. I was the New England and upstate New York Director of Development. So it worked out perfectly and I really felt that I was balancing balancing, which is a misnomer it really well. And it seemed to be going pretty well until my second child came along and I needed to spend more time in the communities that I was fundraising. I lived near Saratoga and I really did most of my fundraising in Boston and Western Mass a little bit in Hartford in western New York as well, but not in this area.

So I was traveling every week. I would leave my home on Tuesday mornings and I wouldn’t get home until Thursday night leaving the kids with a nanny. My husband fending him alone at nighttime. And then when I came back into town when I was there Monday, Friday through Monday, I was stress ball. I was really stressed. It was a high stress job. I did not understand that it was natural to have a family, and it was natural to create boundaries. I thought that, okay, I have a family now. I’m just going to have to work that much harder. And I really burned the candle at both ends and was very, very burned out. So I started to look for other opportunities and I found coaching. And as you mentioned, I was coached myself. I was a mess, and I was coached myself and really understood through that process, understood the importance of boundaries and really understood the importance of living life around what matters most. And I loved my job and I loved the museum, and I loved what it stands for, but it wasn’t aligning with my life values anymore. It was really getting into conflict with my life values of being a parent. So I was able to really take what I learned and became certified as a health coach and a wellness coach, and started coaching. So I started coaching in January of 2012 and built this coaching business and then left the museum in May of thousand 13. I’ve been doing this full-time ever since.

Connie Whitesell:

Well, congratulations on 10 years and beyond doing that, and I’m sure it just has helped so many people. And I imagine if anyone would like to share in the comments as well as Julie speaking, can people relate? Because I have a feeling, particularly given that most of the people watching these are small business owners, and whether you’re a mom or a dad or a man or a woman and you’re running a business and you have all of these other responsibilities, it’s so easy to get to that point of just feeling burnt out and

Julie Takac:

Feeling as if you need to do it all and that you should, the word should is a big one, that you should do it all, and that if you don’t, then you’re somehow a failure. And that pressure we put on ourselves is rough. Very rough.

Connie Whitesell:

Yeah. Now, you talked about boundaries. Are there particular boundaries that come to mind that were particularly impactful for you in your journey or that you’ve seen are particularly helpful in helping your clients?

Julie Takac:

Yeah, so I’m going to share two stories if that’s okay. One is the lack of boundaries that I had, and the other is how I’ve learned, and then how I’ve been able to help one particular client in particular. So when I found out that I became pregnant with my first child, I actually flew down to Washington DC to break the news to my boss that I was pregnant, as if it was bad news. And I promised I’m going to be 150%. I’m still here. I’m totally dedicated to my job. And again, that was just my mindset. And after my first was born, we had a nanny that we were not thrilled with, and we were planning on letting her go. And we had explicitly said, please do not leave the house with my child. And I had called my neighbor and said, Hey, can you just keep an eye out?

He had worked from home, keep an eye out and let me know if she leaves. And sure enough, I get a phone call, I’m in the car with my boss on my first trip with my boss since having my child. And I’m on the phone driving the car and trying to figure out, okay, I’ve got to figure out, I got to get her out of the house. I’ve got to find somebody else to take care of my child, and I still have to go on this trip. And I did it, and I somehow did it without getting into a car accident. But let me tell you, my blood pressure was through the roof. I was so stressed, and I just thought, well, this is what I have to do. Rather than, Hey, I got to pull over here. I got to figure something out. Give me a minute.

I just felt that I had to be on the spot. So that kind of stress really, really got to me. And there’s many stories like that throughout my career there. And I really have to say, by the way, it wasn’t my boss putting that pressure on me. It was me. And so when I started to understand boundaries and how important boundaries are, people are going to treat us the way that we allow them to treat us. So I work with a client now who is a high level executive. She’s a VP in her organization. And when she was hired about a year ago, she was given a list of 20 priorities that she had to manage. And recently her boss came to her and said, listen, we need to, we’re going to add one more thing. We need to take over this project. And she said, fantastic.

Of the list of 20 that you gave me, which one are we taking off the list? And wasn’t, she wasn’t being disrespectful, she wasn’t saying no. She was saying, how can I turn this into a yes, I’m already working at capacity. If you want the work to stay at the quality that you want the work to be, something has to give. And the boss was, I think a little surprised, but said, okay, well, you know what? I think this is not for you. I’m going to give this to somebody else. So she taught the people around her how to treat her. Now she’s had other people try to put things on her desk that are not hers or wanting to pawn ’em off. And it’s happening fewer and further between now because again, she has set those boundaries, not disrespectful, and she’s getting her job done so incredibly well.

Connie Whitesell:

Oh, those are such perfect examples. And I think for people here who may own their own business, that’s something to keep in mind when you’re ready to take something on, because we’re always wanting to do something new or when we’re really passionate about our work, we can try this, we can do this. And to keep that in mind as well, when you’re adding something on when you’re already at full capacity, that means looking at what else is on that list and what needs to either be taken off or postponed maybe a little bit.

Julie Takac:

And Connie, I think this is a very difficult concept for me, for business owners, I’m sure for you as well, even though this is the content that we work in as a business coach, I know that you work with your clients to help them prioritize what the priorities are. One of the tools that I have used in my coaching is really helping people to understand what their values are and aligning their values to their work and to their projects. So our work, our work supports our life, which supports our values, and we have to work backwards. So when we are given that opportunity and we all as business owners, get those hopefully wonderful opportunities, instead of immediately saying yes, which is what I used to like to do all the time, the answer now is I really want to say yes. I’m going to think about it and get back to you.

Because I have to figure out is that aligning with my goals? Are those goals aligning with my values? My value? Right now, I have two teenagers at home. I can tell you my number one value is being a good parent to them, being present for them. Whether I’m good or not, they’ll tell me in years from now, but to be present and to be with them. And that’s my number one value. So when things are getting in the way, and sometimes they do, that’s okay. But I have to really look at that and figure that out and balance it. And I do have to say, and then I’ll stop talking. It really helps to have somebody like you to talk to you about that. That is not an easy conversation to figure out on your own. So I think it’s important to have, whether it’s a friend or a coach or somebody, a business partner, to really bounce those ideas off of, because we have a hard time being objective ourselves.

Connie Whitesell:

Absolutely. I appreciate you sharing that. I’d like to shift now a bit and focus a bit. I mentioned, and when we first talked about this, we were talking about the impact of health on productivity and around discussing that for small business owners who are here. So would you share some thoughts on that health’s impact on productivity? Sure,

Julie Takac:

Absolutely. Again, from my background, it was really work until you’re in the ground, work, work, work, work, work. That was what I thought I was meant to do. And even as I started this coaching business and I knew better, I still had those old habits in me. And so it was just work, work, work, work, work, produce, produce, produce. And what I have found time and time and time again in working with the thousands of clients that I’ve worked with, some are business owners, some are executives, some are stay at home parents. Regardless of what it is that they do, we find that actually less is more and we get more done when less is more. And let me give you an example. I have a client, another client who was an executive, and she would get up in the morning and she worked for a company that was a 24 hour organization, 24 hour seven days a week.

And so she was a food and beverage manager, and she had people reporting to her overnight what had happened during the overnight. So her alarm went off, two kids at home, husband at home, alarm, went off at five, immediately grabbed her phone off the table, opened it up, and immediately went to the reports and then went down to the kitchen, got her coffee and sat and read the reports. And she always felt rushed as I know many of us do. Got to get to work, got to get out the door, and she would rush out the door at 7, 7 30, go right into meetings, work very long hours and late into the evening, wouldn’t get home until seven or eight and just exhausted. And then it was starting all over again. So what we did was we just started to make some tweaks, and we started by having her just wait 15 minutes before she opened her phone, just give herself 15 minutes.

Okay, first thing in the morning. That was hard for her to do, but she did it. So first thing she got up, she went down to the kitchen, she grabbed a cup of coffee, she sat, she prayed, meditated, and then she opened up the reports. We started to build on that, right? If I had said, listen, don’t look at anything until you get to work. I think she would’ve had an aneurysm. That’s too hard. That’s way too hard. So we started to build, after 15 minutes, we built to 30 minutes, then we built to 45, then we built to an hour, and then we built to, until finally, she didn’t leave. She didn’t look at her email until she got to work, until she left the house. And I’ll never forget this, one day she sent me a picture and it was a picture of a rainbow, and it was about seven 30 in the morning.

And she said, I want you to know that I’m out on a walk right now. Very uncomfortable. I really feel like I should be at work, should be reading my reports, but I’m out on a walk and look what’s in front of me. And there was a rainbow, and she felt that that was her sign that she was doing the right thing. So this took time to build up. This took time to build up. But eventually what happened was she wasn’t getting to work until about maybe about eight or eight 30. She was not scheduling meetings first thing in the morning. She gave herself the buffer time to go through her emails and get herself set up for the day, and then she would leave at a more reasonable hour. She’d get home more like six o’clock, maybe six 30. Here’s the thing, she got more done.

And I tell this story, you asked a question, and I tend to answer with stories because I find that they really say more than anything, when we are constantly bombarding our brain with information and stuff to do and thoughts, thoughts, thoughts, it’s absolutely exhausting. And it burns us out. I don’t care if we’re 20 or we’re 80, and we do know as we get older, by the way that the brain does slow down a little bit. There’s ways of slowing that down. But I don’t care how old you are, how fit you are, whatever, at a certain point, we are going to break. And what we want to do is we want to set ourself up for the best success. And we do that by really taking that time for ourself. It’s that self-care, right? Sometimes people think that self-care is a dirty word, that self-care is selfish, selfish. And I truly, truly know that self-care is selfless because we are more effective at our jobs in our businesses as parents, as spouses, as friends, family, whatever it might be. When we take care, we recharge that battery. And then when we are working on something, we have more brain power, we’re able to get more done.

I’ll just say the example that comes to mind is I remember graduate school cramming, cramming for those exams and really not doing well. I’d be up all night, I’d be cramming for the exam, and I just wouldn’t do well versus the time that I took the time to study, maybe didn’t study as long, but I was rested and I studied and I got a good night’s sleep. I did better on those exams. And it really, that lends itself to life, everything in life as well. Did that answer your question? I gave you a long story. No

Connie Whitesell:

Such great stories and such great examples, and I’ve taken that to heart as well. And I think part of that too is following your energy as well, because for some people, they’re better in the morning doing the work. For some people, they’re better in the afternoon. So having those habits that really benefit you regarding your energy as well, and taking those breaks. If you talked about in the morning, starting out, making sure you take care of yourself first. I imagine too during the day, it’s helpful to take some space, walk outside, get some fresh air, put white space in your calendar so that you have time to breathe and recalibrate and bring back that piece that you have in the morning.

Julie Takac:

How many clients do you talk to when you first start working with them and you say, okay, what do you do for lunch? And they say, oh, I sit at my computer and get work done. Honestly, it’s the worst thing that you can do because you will be, excuse me, less effective in your work. And if you just take that time, if you just get out, get some fresh air, right? Let the sun your face, maybe take a short walk if you want to. If you don’t want to, that’s fine. But the fresh air really makes a difference. Getting out of your workspace, it relieves your brain, it gives your brain a break, and so you’re refreshed and able to get so much more done. And that’s not just one break a day. I’m talking, I really do believe in a mid-morning break, a mid-afternoon break, I actually am the kind of person that when I’m working on something really intensely, it’s an hour and then I got to go take a 10 minute walk because I need to give myself that rest, and I’ll come back and work for another hour. And as you said, everybody has energy that works differently, and you have to know your energy and figure that out. But honor it. Really honor it. When your gut is telling you, oh, I’m really exhausted here. Listen to it. It’s telling you something.

Connie Whitesell:

And not just from a excuse, a productivity perspective, it’s also time for creativity as well. And we think about people saying they have their best ideas in the shower. For me, I have my best ideas when I’m out walking in nature or just sitting at peace and breathing. Ideas come to where they just can’t, when you’re run, run, go, go, go.

Julie Takac:

Producing, producing, producing. Exactly.

Connie Whitesell:

Yeah, yeah,

Julie Takac:

Exactly right.

Connie Whitesell:

And Michelle just shared such a relatable story. Yes, thank you, Julie. I completely agree. So as we’re talking about, and I know there are so many different ways this can go and so many different ideas I’m sure that you have, but what are some easy changes that a person can make to improve their health? Every,

Julie Takac:

The first thing I want to say to everybody listening is, please take it really small, really small steps. I have worked with many clients that say, okay, I’m ready to change my eating habits. I’m ready to get better sleep and I’m ready to go to the gym five days a week when they haven’t gone at all. That is a recipe for failure. So small steps win, small steps win. So the first thing I would say is whatever it is that you want to do, and I’ll give you some specifics in a moment, but whatever it is that you want to do, you want to break it down as small as possible. James, clear in Atomic Habits, one of my favorite books talks about the two minute rule. What can you do in two minutes? It’s breaking it down so small that you can’t fail. So the client that I was talking about, the 15 minutes, it was uncomfortable for those 15 minutes, but it was hard for her to fail at that. And so because she won every day that she did the 15 minutes, it’s kind of like an internal high five, I did it. And that’s a vote for, yes, I can do this again, and I can build on that. So whatever it is, small steps. And by the way, here’s something else I’m going to tell you, which is really interesting.

I had a rough end of the year, crazy stuff going on at the end of the year, kind of got out of my own rhythm, my daily rhythm, and I knew I needed just to get back to basics. So what I said off to myself after the new year was, you know what? I am just going to, I’m going to keep it really, really, really simple. I want to do three things every day, and that’s all I have to do. And if I’ve gotten those three things done, I’ve won for the day. And for me, it was a morning by morning meditation and writing in my journal, and then there were two income producing activities that I was doing every day, but they were small. And I said, that’s all I have to do. And let me tell you, there was only one day that I only did those three things because those three things took about 20 minutes in total.

So there was only one day that I was like, okay, I’m done for the day. And I still felt good. I still felt like I won, but because I made it so small, it was very easy for me to keep going. So that is my reason behind starting small. So a couple things that you can do to make some changes in the day. The first thing is guys is eat breakfast. I hear from so many people that I’m not hungry in the morning, just don’t want to eat. I don’t have enough time to eat in the morning. And truly, in order to get your insides working properly, you’ve got to fuel. You got to fuel the fire. You’ve got to fuel that metabolism. You’ve got to give your body the nutrition it needs. You need to break that fast that you had overnight. So you want to eat something and listen, there are a million things you can eat.

I’ll just tell you, ideally you want to have some sort of protein source and some sort of complex carb source. The complex carbs give you those immediate energy calories that you need. The protein lasts a little longer. So think about dairy and fruit, whole wheat toast and an egg, or they have a million smoothies out there. There’s just so many things you can choose from, but even if it’s just something small, get something in within the first hour of waking up because it really will help your metabolism. The other thing I hear a lot is, okay, I’m not hungry. And my response is, well, you’ve turned off your hunger mechanism. Because once you start to eat properly and you’re eating throughout the day, your body tells you, okay, it’s time to eat. And that’s actually a good thing. We don’t ever want you to feel starved, but it’s a good thing for your body to go, okay, yeah, I’m ready. I’m ready for some fuel. And we’re fueling ourselves. So certainly to eat something small, I don’t care what it is, but just eat something small in the morning would be one of the things that I would say

Connie Whitesell:

Before you continue, I would just like to discuss that because that comes to mind because intermittent fasting is such a big thing. Now. I know, Jim, you’re going to be watching this. My husband, because he just started doing that and I thought, oh, I don’t dunno how you’re doing that. He’s a very active person too in his job. So how does that work? Or do you not recommend doing

Julie Takac:

That? Listen, what I’m going to say is that I am not a nutritionist. So I subscribe to eating small meals throughout the day. I understand intermittent fasting, and for some people that works, but from what I understand about intermittent fasting, you got to eat strictly, right? You really have to eat within those certain hours, and then your body does burn fuel properly and all of that. The problem with that is that most people are not eating within those eight hours or they’re not following it exactly. And so then their body isn’t working well. So I believe personally in eating first thing in the morning, if you follow an intermittent fasting diet, great. If it’s working for you, fantastic for those that aren’t eat first thing in the morning.

Connie Whitesell:

And I think too, whenever we think about habits, we want to think about things that we can maintain for life and eating small meals and starting first thing in the morning when we feel that hunger, that is much more easy to continue than such any strict diet or routine.

Julie Takac:

Right? Exactly. Exactly. And again, I’m just going to say, talk to your nutritionist, talk to your health coach, get what works right for you. I just know that for me and for the clients that I work with, that giving yourself that fuel in the morning is really important. Yeah,

Connie Whitesell:

I’m glad that you said that because it definitely makes me feel better. I feel like I’ve gotten the day off to a good start as well. And I do want to continue with your thoughts, but I also just want to acknowledge Ruth, George had mentioned when you said, small steps win. Absolutely. She loved that. And for anyone else who has joined us, if you’d like to come in, share comments, questions, anything that you’d like to bring up, Julie is here and can answer those questions for you, please feel free to just go ahead and put those in the comments. And even if you’re watching the replay after the fact, I’ll keep an eye out for things and make sure that Julie sees them. So Julie, back to what you were responding to. We were talking about easy changes that a person can make to improve their health. What else comes to mind for you? Okay,

Julie Takac:

Well, we already covered one, which is the breaks through the day, but I think it’s important enough to reiterate that I actually put it, you said schedule the white space, right? I put it in my calendar as I’m taking a break and I’ll put an alarm on because it’s very easy for me on the middle of something, and it’s very easy for me to say, oh, I’ll take a break later. I put an alarm on and I hit snooze. I don’t hit off, I hit snooze. So it keeps reminding me that I’ve got to take a break. So make sure, and I know sometimes we’re in the middle of writing something, we don’t want to interrupt that thought, fine, hit snooze, but it’s going to go off again. It’s going to remind you again, don’t hit off until you’ve actually gotten up from your desk and gotten outside or taken a break or gotten a cup of tea or coffee or whatever it is. So the breaks,

Connie Whitesell:

I love that. What a fabulous new use of the snooze button for productivity. Yes, yes,

Julie Takac:

Yes. One of my favorite tips didn’t come from me, it came from a client. So water is really important. My husband, I hope he’s watching, is the worst water drinker in the world. I feel ashamed as a coach to say that my husband doesn’t drink water, but he really doesn’t. And I’m telling you, it makes a huge impact. It really does. So listen, the guidelines are, for most people, a minimum of 64 ounces of water a day. And for most people, unless you’re on medications or have some sort of medical issue, it really is half your body weight in ounces. That’s really how much you want to get in. Now, I’m drinking a glass right now, but to be honest, what I usually do is I usually walk around with a jug and it’s right a 20 ounce jug for me, so I don’t have them in front of me.

I wish I did, but what I do is I know that I want to drink for me, I want to drink a hundred ounces a day. That’s how many ounces for me I want to drink. So I put five rubber bands on my bottle, and every time I finish one, I take one rubber band off. Oh, okay. I only have four more of these to drink. I only have three more of these to drink. So if you’re trying to increase your water, which is really, really helpful, I’m telling you it’s going to increase your brain function. You’re going to feel better, you’re going to helps with inflammation, you’re going to sleep better. Oh my gosh, there’s so many benefits to that. If that’s a tip that you want to kind of incorporate and you want to keep track of how much water you’re drinking, I love the rubber band idea because it’s very, did I have one bottle or two?

I forget what I did. Now that being said, if you’re only drinking 20 ounces of water a day, please don’t try to drink 64 ounces every day. Remember, it’s the baby steps. So maybe your goal is to drink six more ounces, get those six ounces in so that now you’re drinking 26 ounces a day, and do that long enough where it becomes natural, and then go up to 32 ounces and then build slowly, but celebrate every win. The small steps win, and it’s so important that you like, yes, I won. It really is key. So that’s another one is the water and keeping track of that movement. This also comes into your breaks during the day. Now, for many people who are not going to the gym, the idea of a gym is pretty scary. The idea of a general exercise regime is pretty scary.

So if you’re not currently exercising, there’s things that you can do to get movement in throughout the day. And again, this is where the alarm comes in. This is what I do during breaks. So you can, I know some of us have those Apple watches, time to take a walk. It’s time to stand up. Those are great standing, taking a walk, taking the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Even if your office is in a building that you have an elevator, even if you just take the stairs one time a day versus zero, that’s a benefit. So start off with just one time a day, taking the stairs parking further. I am terrible at this, Connie. I like to utilize my time very well. And I hate parking far away because then it wastes my time. But I also know that it’s not wasting time because it’s giving me the opportunity to get some extra steps in to walk to the store.

So there’s lots of opportunities standing up, just moving around, stretching, taking the stairs when you can, parking further away, just start getting more movement in. And start with one of those. I just gave you five or four or five too many to start with. Just start with one. Just start with, alright, you know what? Maybe this week my focus is to incorporate one break throughout the day. I’m not taking any breaks at all. So I’m going to take one break and set that alarm, and then when that alarm goes off, maybe you take a walk around the office or you go get a cup of tea or go get some water, whatever. But just start with one and build from there. So those are a few. I have lots more, but those are a few. I hope those are helpful.

Connie Whitesell:

Oh, they are so helpful. And I selfishly am going to ask you about an issue that I have, and I appreciate you being willing to take these questions. Just off the cuff, you’re doing beautifully sleep. What I found as I’ve gotten older sleep, it’s so hard for me to stay asleep and that boy that really impacts the day, right? So what do you recommend for people who have sleep issues?

Julie Takac:

Connie, I never had sleep issues until the past year or two, and so I never really understood what people were talking about. I knew that there were people had sleep issues, but I didn’t understand it myself, and now I do. So one thing is, and there’s not going to be one thing that’s just going to fix it automatically, but I’m going to give you a couple of tips, and one of those tips is getting yourself ready for bed. You need to tell your brain. You need to indicate to your brain it’s time to calm down. Remember, think about when you were a child or if you had young children come on the bedtime routine, and that routine was really important. You couldn’t miss a step. You took the bath, you got the jammies on, you brushed the teeth, you got the glass of water, you sat in bed, you read a book, you kissed him on the head, you put the nightlight on all of those steps.

That was a trigger in their mind to say, ah, okay, we’re getting closer and closer to bed, and our brains need the same thing. We don’t need 10 different steps, but we do need the same thing. So I would encourage you, if right now you are on your phone up until you turn the light off, start with 10 minutes, right? Start with 10 minutes, just put the phone down and give yourself 10 minutes. Now, that 10 minutes could be, honestly, it could be just sitting with your eyes closed and breathing. It could be writing in your journal. I know for me, that really helped, especially if I have things on my mind for the next day. It’s almost like a brain dump for me, because if I don’t write it down, I’m afraid I’m going to forget it. So I’m able to write it down and put it away.

Some people that doesn’t work. So you have to figure that out for yourself first. Others, you can take a book or magazine and read something that’s relaxing, but just start with 10 minutes. A couple of tips I’ll share with you. You’ve all heard before, I know you have the light on this phone. It really interrupts your sleep. So I have my ringer off. I have all my notifications off, but if my phone screen is up, then every time I get a notification, the light comes up. And even if I’m sleeping, my brain is recognizing that. So I haven’t done what I advise people to do, which is to take your phone and put it out of the room. But what I do is I keep it down so I’m not seeing anything. And I do use my phone as an alarm clock, but I do encourage you to get an alarm clock if you’re addicted to your phone, Connie staying asleep.

I have to tell you, you gave me my best tip because we had this conversation. We were out for dinner and we were talking about waking up in the middle of the night, and you said to me that one of the things that you do is you just start saying words. Connie, it works. Isn’t it crazy? Oh my goodness. I’m like, so all of a sudden I’ll start to wake and I could feel my brain waking up and you’re like, oh, don’t wake up. Don’t wake up. Don’t wake up. You’re in between. When I’m there, I go, squirrel, grass, bunny, cloud, car, truck, just random words. And it puts me back to sleep because they’re just random. And that has really, really helped me. What you don’t want to do, you don’t want to get up and look at your phone. That’s going to wake you right up.

If you are really awake, maybe that’s time to read a book, something that will soothe your mind. You don’t want anything that’s going to activate it. You don’t want to start. If you start working on work, you’re not going to go back to bed. So plan to stay up if that’s what you do. If turn the TV on, most likely you’re going to stay up. You’ve activated the brain, so you want to do things that are going to quiet the brain down. I have a little reading lamp that I attached to my book, so I’m not waking my husband up if I wake up in the middle of the night and I can read without worrying about him.

Connie Whitesell:

No, that’s terrific. And I’m so glad you brought that up because I had actually forgotten about that. And you’re right, it was working. It was working. But that just shows you the importance of reinforcing and keeping coming back to these habits, because I got a little out of that random word habit that was working and then forgot about. So I’m so glad that you reminded me, and for anyone here who also has issues, Michelle saying, yes, my massage therapist told me that it does work. Don’t think it’s crazy that it works. Yeah, it’s like you’re stopping your mind from following from starting and following a train of thought. Yeah,

Julie Takac:

Exactly.

Connie Whitesell:

It’s crazy, but good. Well, thank you. I’m glad we talked about this again.

Julie Takac:

Me too. It really helped me.

Connie Whitesell:

So many good tips. And the water as well, the rubber band, because I’ve been trying to drink more. This is 32 ounces. I’ve trying to drink two of these a day and boy. But like you said, if I just use the rubber bands and just do it incrementally a little bit at a time, just taking off one more rubber band a day, that can really help. So just coming back to those small steps,

Julie Takac:

Small steps, really small steps, that’s the key. That’s how, and that’s what makes it sustainable, because once you have built that small step, it creates roots, really strong roots, so it’s hard to unroot it. So then you can build from that. You’re creating a strong foundation, and that’s why you want the small, really get that settled and then build from there.

Connie Whitesell:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, I want to share about your business. So for people who are watching, whether you’re here live or watching the replay, as you can tell, Julie is just filled with so much wisdom and so much great advice and tips and tools. So for anyone who would like to reach out to you for help or for additional information, what’s the best way to reach you?

Julie Takac:

Absolutely. So if you want to put my information in the comments, you can certainly email me. I’m happy to put my phone number in there. I do have a health evaluation. That’s a really great way to start the conversation. I have a health evaluation. It takes about 10 minutes to fill out, and when you fill that out, it comes directly to me. So we’ll make sure that we have that link there for you as well. My company name is Take Action, and thank God for my husband, because when we first got married, I did not like that name, but now I’m thrilled with, thrilled with that name. So it’s just Julie take action.com as my email address. But just to start the conversation, reach out, email, phone. I’m on Facebook, Julie Hock, teak is how I’m listed. And as I said, the health evaluation, you can fill that out. It comes directly to me, and then I can reach out and we can chat. Even if you just want to get a piece of advice of one or two little small things, reach out. I’m happy to do that at anytime. So there’s no commitments or anything like that, but I am looking always like to help people and start the conversation. That’s the best way to do that.

Connie Whitesell:

Absolutely. And when she says she wants to help, Julie really means that. I certainly have learned that myself. So Julie, thank you. Thank you so much for being here today. Thank you for sharing so much wisdom and advice to the people who are here watching or listening. It’s really been invaluable.

Julie Takac:

Well, I really enjoyed it, and I appreciate you having me on your podcast.

Connie Whitesell:

Yeah, my pleasure. And thank you to those who are here. So good having you here in the audience, whether you’re here on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, or the podcast, I know you’ve taken away some nuggets of gold for yourself and for your business, and we’ll look forward to learning more. Also, Julie, I hope that they end up on your email list as well when people subscribe to that, because Julie’s got terrific email information as well, and is always providing additional advice that way as well.

Julie Takac:

Yes, absolutely. If you’d like to sign up for the e-newsletters and emails, let me know. I’d love to have you.

Connie Whitesell:

Really good stuff. Alright, thank you very much. And everyone, have a great rest of your day.

Intro/Outro:

Thank you for listening to the Small Biz 101 podcast with your host, Connie Whitesell. For more information, visit smallbiz101podcast.com.