Work-life balance & time tracking: Alex Beadon interview
Last updated on: May 26, 2022
Have you ever dreamed about waving goodbye to the toxic hustle culture and taking a day off whenever you lack motivation? What about introducing a four-day workweek?
It does sound like a dream come true, but there must be a catch. You can’t possibly accomplish the same amount of things and grow your business if you don’t work around the clock.
Or can you?
Well, Alex Beadon, a launch strategist, is living proof that it can be done. She has helped a great number of entrepreneurs achieve their six-figure launches, all while managing her own expanding team and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
But how did she manage to do it and what does time tracking in Clockify have to do with putting a practice of being ‘always-on’ to a stop?
Stay put and read on, because we’ve reached out to our biz bestie — Alex Beadon herself, to find out how she does it all — from time tracking and work-life balance, to launch strategies and so much more.
What does a launch strategist do?
Whether you own a small business, manage a large enterprise, work as a graphic designer or software developer, you have probably, in one way or another, participated in launching a product.
From developing a product from scratch, researching the market, and testing it out for further improvements, a product launch involves all hands on deck even before the actual launching takes place.
But, how does a launch strategist fit in here?
It’s quite simple, actually.
A launch strategist is there to give a business a helping hand in devising, implementing, and starting off a successful and profitable launch — and this is precisely Alex Beadon’s zone of expertise.
What can we learn about work-life balance from a launch strategist?
Being both the creator of Together We Launch, a 6-month program designed to take course creators and membership site owners through their first six-figure launch, and a leader to her team of seven, Alex has gained first-hand experience of how different businesses operate and perfected her own workflow accordingly.
So, instead of prioritizing the ‘hustle harder’ mentality, Alex and her team now reap the rewards of both a four-day workweek and multiple six-figure launches.
Naturally, we wanted to hear everything Alex had to say about focusing on your wellbeing while still remaining productive, so we present you with four main takeaways of our talk on striking that perfect work-life balance.
💡 Clockify Pro Tip
Although work-life quality depends on factors that go beyond our individual traits, there’s something about the generation we belong to that can impact our work-life balance too. Check out all the facts and stats here:
Learn when to disconnect
We have all, at least once, felt the terror of having to wake up early after working late into the night to finish yesterday’s project. Still, despite the dread and exhaustion, we’ve learned to keep our chin up and try to revive our already low motivation at all costs. But, is this the right path to take or a straight way to burnout?
Alex claims it’s only natural to feel unmotivated:
“I think that it’s very common and normal for people to lack motivation, I don’t think that’s necessarily something that you need to push through.”
So, instead of feeling guilty for not having enough energy to be as productive as usual, she proposes paying close attention to what this lack of motivation might be trying to tell us:
“Whenever I have that lack of motivation, normally it’s an indicator of burnout. For someone else, that’s going to be an indicator of something different. What I recommend is trying to be a detective and figure out where the lack of motivation is coming from, and is it something that you should push through or not.”
Sometimes, these little signals are nothing else but alarms to hit a pause button:
“Whenever I’m in that space of feeling overworked, I tend to give myself permission to do things that I wouldn’t normally do. Maybe sleep in a little bit more instead of waking up super early.
I try to give myself a little bit of breathing room to slow down.”
Have a disconnecting plan
Finishing your workday should not be so difficult. You just need to turn off your laptop and change your surroundings. But, if our notorious 24/7 work culture has taught us anything, it’s that unplugging your mind isn’t as easy as signing out of your computer.
So we wanted to hear from Alex and see if she had any tried and tested strategies that we can turn to whenever disconnecting seems beyond reach. Turns out that unplugging comes just as challenging for her too:
“As a business owner, my brain is always working. It’s always coming up with ideas, even when I actively try to disconnect. I find that when I disconnect, that’s when I get my best ideas.”
Still, she found a way around the constant overthinking — the secret lies in storing fresh ideas on her phone and moving on with her day:
“That way, I know my idea is there, so that I can circle back to it later during the workweek, and I don’t have to actually work on it at that moment. But it is safely captured and stored, and this is an efficient way for me to capitalize on those ideas, instead of punishing myself to work during the weekend.”
The world will keep on moving even on our days off. Sometimes we might get an unexpected revolutionary idea, other times just an emergency call. But, figuring out how to respond to surprises makes all the difference between a relaxed day off and an entirely ruined weekend.
Put your heart and soul into building a perfect team
When you’re surrounded by the right people who are there to jump in, taking a step back comes more naturally.
Alex has made a great effort toward gathering the right people who are now there to make sure every aspect of her business runs smoothly, even when she’s not around. This is what she did first:
“I highly recommend reading a book called “Make ‘Em Beg To Work For You” by doctor Angela E. Lauria. What I learned from that book is that it’s really important that you visualize who your ideal employee is, and that you understand that it’s a transaction. They need something in their lives, and you want something in your business — so it’s an exchange.”
After settling on an ideal candidate, evaluating the benefits that come with the job comes right next:
“The fact that we work from home brings so much joy to our employees. The four-day workweek and the fact that we are a small team — so you can immediately see the impact of your work — are also massive benefits that we offer.”
Naturally, the next step would be to market the job posting and attract the right people:
“With our job description page, I wanted people to feel the energy of the business from day one. And, I think we did a great job, we’ve attracted a wonderful team of people who are very good cultural fits — people who are willing to learn and take initiative.”
Encourage your team to track time
Bringing workaholism to an end would be near impossible without proper time management.
But how do you manage your team’s time and still prioritize their wellbeing if the workload remains the same but the time frame to tackle it becomes shorter?
This is where time tracking comes into the picture:
“When you’re used to a five-day workweek you have so much time to work. But, when you take that 20% of the week away, you notice that it’s a big percent to lose. So, we’ve been making an effort to focus on how we are spending our time.”
So, when you are keeping a close eye on both where you’re spending the most of your time and all the potential time eaters, handling the workload becomes more achievable:
“That’s one of the main ways we use Clockify — looking at where our time is going and what we can do to solve any problems or any areas where we’re spending too much time. It’s just so beneficial.”
💡Clockify Pro Tip
More hours do not necessarily mean more efficiency. But how to work shorter hours and still cope with all your tasks? The secret is in proper time management, and we have made it simple:
How does time tracking in Clockify help Team Beadon?
Since Clockify is such a vital addition to Alex and her team’s work week, we were eager to hear more about the changes that time tracking has brought about to their workflow.
We also probed into Team Beadon’s favorite Clockify features to discover their secret of staying on top of their tasks.
How did Clockify change Team Beadon’s workflow?
Alex has gathered a team of experts from all around the world, which means that they work in different time zones and under different schedules. But, ensuring that a dispersed team remains connected and efficient often depends on everyone’s visibility, and this is where Clockify jumps in:
“Before we started tracking our time we had no visibility. But how can you be efficient if you have no visibility? Now we can very clearly see where our time is going, and it makes us feel more connected as a team. It also reminds everyone that where you spend your time every single week contributes to this.”
So now, instead of having to jump in a quick call and waste time in meetings to remain updated on her team’s progress, she can find all the information within seconds:
“I love being able to actually go and see what everyone is working on as we speak. It’s great to be able to go in right now and get a live overview of what everyone is working on.”
With the increased visibility came the improvements to the team’s overall workflow:
“Clockify has changed our workflow immensely. Because you don’t know where you’re spending your time until you actually have it written down somewhere. And then, every single week we look at where the entire team’s time went, and this is what brings us clarity.”
What Clockify features does Team Beadon find the most effective?
On one occasion, Alex has pointed out that time tracking in Clockify has enabled her team to stay on target while also providing them with a rewarding insight into how much time and attention they have devoted to the company.
Knowing that, we wanted to find out what particular features Team Beadon values the most.
Alex and her team got into a habit of regularly reviewing how they spend their time. This is why the option to filter projects turned out to be quite useful to them:
“I love the fact that you have projects and you’re able to narrow them down even further. So, for example, I have a project called ‘Development, Collaboration and Press’. But, underneath that, there’s a special task called ‘Interviews’. So, at the end of the year I could go back and check how much time I spent doing interviews, for example. I think that’s such a cool feature.”
Another useful feature that Alex speaks highly of is Calendar view:
“The ability to click through and see a calendar overview of how you spent your time is great. We only just discovered that and it’s so cool to be able to see week after week what your workflow is like.”
In the screenshot above, you can see how Clockify’s calendar view can give you a quick overview of your work patterns. This is precisely what helps Alex and her team organize their workload:
“For me, a lot of times, I would work early in the morning, work later in the afternoon and have a big break in the middle. But just having visibility around that is helpful to understanding how you work.”
The feature that received the biggest round of applause from Alex and her team is Clockify’s time reporting system:
“I also really love the reports. Oh my god, it’s beautiful! To be able to see all the numbers, and everything is color-coded… You can see them and say: “Okay, this week we spent 21,8% of our time on content creation.” That’s really helpful to us as a team.”
What are the additional benefits of using a time tracker in a remote team?
When you’re a part of a remote team, keeping a close watch on projects’ development (with a little help of a time tracker) does wonders for your business, for sure.
But the way Alex and her remote team perfected their workflow enough to complete the same amount of tasks even after reducing the number of hours worked… Well, it made us wonder about the additional benefits of tracking everything you do.
Time tracker helps you eliminate wasted time
With time tracking come surprising numbers. Sometimes, people are simply shocked with the amount of time they spend completing a single task. Other times, they end up taken by surprise by their yearly work statistics. Alex, on the other hand, faced a different kind of a shock:
“I was shocked with the amount of time that I was wasting. I just wasn’t very efficient with my time. Looking at how much time I was wasting and spending on things that weren’t giving me a return on my investment, I think that was super shocking to me.”
But, eliminating the time you’re wasting on irrelevant and unprofitable tasks does not seem possible when you’re not aware that it’s even happening:
“Until you have that visibility, how can you really be efficient?”
So, instead of trying to memorize everything they have accomplished throughout the day, Alex and her team got into the habit of time tracking to reduce the number of time wasted as much as possible:
“It’s a really big, important part of our team culture that we use Clockify every single day, and that we have that visibility as a team of where our work hours are going.”
Time tracker helps you get your numbers straight
Regardless of your projects’ size and complexity, you are most likely putting a great effort into completing them. But, if you are not aware of your projects’ profitability, you are potentially contributing to a great deal of hours and resources wasted.
As a business owner, Alex is highly aware of this issue too:
“When you’re running a business, profitability is everything. Money is oxygen to your business. So, you need to make sure that you are spending your time in areas that are giving you a return on your investment.”
And this is where time tracking can set the records straight:
“If I hired a content creator who creates an Instagram post that gives us 5 clicks to our website, I cannot know what my return on investment is unless I know how much time she’s spending in content creation. Clockify allows us this ability, to get more detailed, and really look into where we’re wasting time and how we can be better.”
When you set an estimate on all your projects and tasks, you are able to keep track of all your expenses and evaluate whether the time and resources you have invested are equivalent to your profitability rates.
Time tracker leads you to set realistic goals
Whenever she’s about to launch her product, Alex maps out three different types of goals:
- The good goal
- The better goal
- The best goal
Although the details might vary depending on the specific product she’s about to market, the gist usually remains the same.
The good goal ensures a decent amount of profitability, the better goal is the middle ground, while the best goal brings the highest possible achievements with the already available resources.
But, setting goals depends on the available data:
“When you’re trying to achieve any goal, you need to look at the real data and the analytics and say: ‘Okay, what can I learn from these numbers and how can I predict what I will be capable of moving forward?’”
A similar rule applies to everyday tasks — only after we get a close look at the information on how we’re spending our time are we able to set achievable goals. Alex points that out, too:
“I usually try to get a quick overview of how much of my time went into content creation, product development, administration, and managing my team. After looking at all of these different things, I set goals based on where I’m spending my time.”
How can data help you reach your goals?
Regardless of your preferred goal strategy, setting a target usually stems from a certain base of knowledge. If you already know that you need about 3 hours to compose an article outline, you set your daily target to match your estimated time.
But we wouldn’t even be talking about different goal strategies if it was always that simple. Quite often, we aren’t even aware of how much time our daily repetitive tasks usually take, and this is where time tracking comes in handy.
As seen above, tracking your time in Clockify gives you a clear view of how you’re spending your day. Then, after you get into the habit of time tracking, you will be able to notice certain patterns. For example, you might see that replying to emails usually takes you around 30 minutes.
This information is there to help you better organize your schedule and map out your goals according to the time you have available.
Although no goal strategy is fool-proof, having enough information enables you to make better estimates and reach your target with the minimum failed attempts.
💡Clockify Pro Tip
Apart from helping you set realistic goals, Clockify is there to encourage you to beat procrastination and track your goals’ progress. You can find everything you need to start tracking your targets right here:
Should you track your time as a solopreneur?
If you ask Alex — definitely yes.
But you might be wondering, how would she even know that? Isn’t she working in a team?
Well, years back, Alex was a solopreneur, and the time she invested in developing her company was the only time that counted. This is precisely why every minute became even more precious:
“A lot of times people would think: ‘Oh, I don’t need to time track, I don’t have a team.’
Oh, you need to time track the most if you are a solopreneur, because your time matters the most. You don’t have that much time.”
Tracking time while operating as a team brings its merits, for sure. One of them is the increased transparency that ensures that every process runs smoothly.
But when you are the sole person in charge of your company’s progress, it’s easy to slip into time wasting, or overexert yourself, because you lack the data needed for a wake-up call. It’s crucial for the future of your business to be aware of how much time you’re investing and whether the hours you put in bring you the expected results:
“For me, now that I have a team I feel like my time’s been multiplied. There’s so many of us now and we’re moving at such a faster pace. But your time matters even more to your business success when you’re a solopreneur.”
Final thoughts: You too can do it all
As Alex and her team have clearly demonstrated — you do not have to give up on your dreams to enjoy your well-deserved break from work.
You just need the right tools specifically designed to help you obtain the numbers, set realistic goals, and reduce the time you waste.
But, in case you are a developer trying to fix a buggy code on a Friday evening, or a business owner going over their expenses on a Saturday morning, we do understand how unthinkable it would be to shut down your computer and simply move away from your desk.
Still, success and a well-rested mind go well together.
You just need to watch your time.
✉️ Are you trying to strike that perfect work-life balance? Did you try time tracking to make the most out of your productive hours? Perhaps you’d like to share your views on Alex’s strategies for disconnecting. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured in this one or one of our future articles.