Stay off your phone for the first couple hours of the day. This practice alone sets the pace for my day at a slower one. By starting my day disconnected from other people’s demands, I prioritize my own throughout the day.
As a part of my series about “How to Slow Down To Do More” I had the pleasure to interview Christine Baird.
Christine Baird is a podcast producer and consultant who teaches micropreneurs and their teams how to make podcasting a core part of their marketing strategy — at the scale of thousands of listeners and millions of downloads. After six years in corporate sales, Christine did a career 180 and has been working in podcast production, content strategy, and audience development since 2014. She worked on Lewis Howes’ brand, The School of Greatness, for four years, where she grew his top-ranked podcast from less than 1 million downloads to over 80 million. Christine also hosts her own podcast, the Worthfull Project, and is the co-host of the Think Like a Producer podcast.
Thank you so much for doing this interview with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?
It’s a classic millennial tale. I was 27, six years into a corporate sales job, and burned out between getting a second degree, interning, and keeping my corporate job to pay the bills. It was early 2013, when podcasts were just coming onto people’s radar, and after I listened to my first podcast, I was hooked. Fast forward 1 year, and I made the dramatic decision to leave corporate life and “figure out how the other people were doing it.” That led me to cold-emailing the host of one of the shows I had been listening to, The School of Greatness, and then hustling my way into getting hired by him. I moved to LA, learned the trade on the job, and had the most extraordinary education while producing that show. Four years later, I was ready to slow down, and I moved to the mountains in Utah, took some deep breaths, and began building my own boutique production and consulting agency.
According to a 2006 Pew Research Report report, 26% of women and 21% of men feel that they are “always rushed”. Has it always been this way? Can you give a few reasons regarding what you think causes this prevalent feeling of being rushed?
I felt rushed since I was in high school, then through college, into my first career, into my second, and until I stepped away from working for other people and decided to work for myself, I think I would have kept rushing indefinitely. I always thought it was normal to rush when you’re young because I was constantly comparing myself to everyone ahead of me and thinking, “If I’m smart, and I rush, I’ll get to where they are faster and be more impressive to others.” It didn’t occur to me that the consequences of that pace over years would require a toll I didn’t want to pay.
Based on your experience or research can you explain why being rushed can harm our productivity, health, and happiness?
One of the big insights I was privileged to get while working with some of the most successful people in the world as the producer for the School of Greatness podcast was that week after week I’d sit just off camera and hear these titans of success tell the story of when they hit a wall or had the floor fall out from under them before they found the path to greatness. None of them had gotten to where they were without a reckoning. The through line of each of their stories always centered on realizing that their happiness, health, and productivity was dependent on their willingness to slow down, play to their strengths, and focus on their wellbeing.
On the flip side, can you give examples of how we can do more, and how our lives would improve if we could slow down?
Ever since I slowed down, I made the goal to work at most 2 hours per day for clients. This seems dramatic, but it’s been revolutionary for me in how I’ve been able to maximize my work time and bring my best energy to whatever I’m doing. By carving out the bulk of my days and weekends for creativity, rejuvenation, rest, and socialization, I’ve found that I can get all my essential work done in a fraction of the time, and I’m much happier.
We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed. Can you share with our readers 6 strategies that you use to “slow down to do more”? Can you please give a story or example for each?
- Stay off your phone for the first couple hours of the day. This practice alone sets the pace for my day at a slower one. By starting my day disconnected from other people’s demands, I prioritize my own throughout the day.
- Set a maximum number of hours per day you are willing to work on other people’s priorities. I keep this at 2 and it makes a huge difference in my productivity and energy management.
- Choose a couple of days per week when you do absolutely no career-related work. I take a traditional weekend, but I know some people who like to take mid-week days off to only refuel and rest.
- Create before you consume. When I create something original before I consume other people’s work (on social media, etc), it makes a big difference in how I take in other content. I find myself spending less time comparing myself and more time thinking about what else I want to create.
- Set your phone on do not disturb permanently. Ever since my wedding (one year ago), I haven’t taken my phone off do not disturb. It’s made a huge difference in how I respond to other people’s messages and how I keep my focus on what’s important to me.
- Anytime you feel yourself being rushed, pause to breath and ask yourself, “Is it really important that I do this right now?” Most of the time the answer is no, and if you let yourself slow down, the important work gets done with a better result.
How do you define “mindfulness”? Can you give an example or story?
Mindfulness is being aware of what you are feeling. In the long, isolated months of the pandemic, I learned to be aware of what I was feeling, no matter how challenging it was. That gave me the confidence that I can take care of myself, because I listen to myself, and I already know what I need.
Can you give examples of how people can integrate mindfulness into their everyday lives?
Mindfulness is a muscle, so practicing being aware of what you are feeling builds strength over time. Whenever you notice you are uneasy, rushed, or tired, pause and think about where those emotions are coming from and take note. This is the start of building the muscle of mindfulness.
Do you have any mindfulness tools that you find most helpful at work?
Anytime I notice I am uncomfortable with a task I need to do, even if it’s as simple as replying to a certain email, I pause and walk through why that task is pushing me out of my comfort zone. This has been one of the most helpful ways for me to grow and also find my personal boundaries within work.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to use mindfulness tools or practices
I love the Meditative Story podcast as a storytelling masterclass with beautiful music to calm my mind down. I also appreciate Ryan Holiday’s work about stoicism, specifically Ego is the Enemy.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I heard this in a yoga class in Dallas, TX, about 10 years ago. “To be yourself, in a world that is constantly trying to make you into something else, is the greatest accomplishment.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
It struck me in the moment and I’ve never forgotten it because that constant pressure to be something else has never gone away. I’ve just become better at being myself despite it.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
My work is based on reminding people that they are always, already full of worth. When we own our worth, we see everyone else’s worth reflected back to us, and once that happens, we cannot treat anyone else as less than.
Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!