This episode is proudly sponsored by The CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute, offering comprehensive training for singing teachers and voice specialists. Dive deeper into the science and art of voice pedagogy with their unique programs. Visit to learn more.

In a world where productivity is often equated with completing tasks on a to-do list, it’s crucial to redefine what true productivity means. Productivity isn’t just about ticking off items; it’s about efficiently achieving desired outcomes. It’s measured not only by the quantity of work completed but also by its quality and the effectiveness of achieving goals within a given timeframe.

Some may feel overwhelmed by the pressure to be productive, while others excel effortlessly in all aspects of life. Time management plays a pivotal role in productivity and success across personal and professional spheres. Effective time management brings order, control, and reduces stress, ultimately enhancing our overall sense of well-being.

Considering time as a finite resource, it’s essential to distinguish between spending and investing it. Unlike spending, which yields no future value, investing time in meaningful pursuits creates long-term benefits. Shockingly, the average person spends significant portions of their life pursuing meaningless activities, leaving only a fraction of time for personal growth and fulfilment.

To maximize the limited time available, it’s important to invest it wisely. This involves adopting effective time management strategies to prioritize essential tasks and activities aligned with personal goals. By doing so, we can create the life we desire and make the most of our time. Throughout this episode, five key time management skills, tips, tricks, and hacks will be shared to empower you to invest your time wisely so you too can achieve your dreams and aspirations.

In this Episode

  • 00:00 – Introduction to Empowerment and Voice Discovery
  • 02:54 – The True Essence of Productivity
  • 09:12 – Investing Time Wisely
  • 10:27 – Energy vs. Time Management
  • 21:56 – Handling Time Bullies and Self-Care
  • 27:37 – Maximizing Gap Time
  • 32:37 – Removing Distractions for Better Focus


Putting yourself first is important because it allows you to prioritize your own needs and well-being, which in turn can help you be more productive, creative, and fulfilled in all areas of your life. By taking care of yourself first, you are better equipped to care for others and contribute positively to the world around you.



Visit the A Voice and Beyond Youtube channel to watch back the video replay of this guest interview or to see my welcome video.

Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:00

If you’re a singing teacher or voice specialist with a keen desire to enrich your knowledge in an inclusive, supportive and caring learning environment, the CCM vocal pedagogy Institute offers a unique nine day in person training programme that combines science informed training techniques with a holistic approach to artists development. You will be guided through a carefully crafted step by step process of training techniques delivered by a group of dedicated educators, which includes singers, voice teachers, speech language pathologists and other integrated specialists all united by a core set of values and pedagogical beliefs. housed at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, the CCM vocal pedagogy Institute programme is delivered in person with access to online continuing education courses that focus on a wide variety of topics. All courses include graduate credit from Shenandoah University. So if you’re ready to join a warm and welcoming community that unites singers and teachers, irrespective of skill set and experience, enrol now and join the 2024 cohort at the CCM vocal pedagogy Institute. To learn more, simply visit CCM

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  01:47

It’s Marisa Lee here, and I’m so excited to be sharing today solo round episode with you. Whether you’re a member of the voice, community, or beyond your voice is your unique gift. And my mission, which has been inspired by my own personal and professional journey is to empower you to share your gift with others. Now is the time for you to discover your voice in life, develop a positive mindset and become the best and most authentic version of yourself to create greater impact. Ultimately, you can take charge, and you can become the director of your own life. It’s time for you to live your best life. It’s time now for a voice and beyond. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  02:54

Most people believe that success comes from being productive. And productivity is all about scrolling through your to do list and ticking all those items off your list. But people this is not what productivity is all about. The word productive usually refers to the ability to generate results, or to achieve goals or to produce a desired outcome efficiently and effectively. So productivity is the amount of work someone accomplishes, within a certain amount of time. greater productivity means you complete more with less time, or less effort. And how you measure this is by the quality of your work, or the number of tasks you’ve actually completed, or the amount of products you’ve created. Wow, this is way more than simply ticking off those to do items. So how does being productive in that context? Make you feel? How productive Are you in your life? And be honest here are you at, say a level one which means you don’t achieve anything in any amount of time and essentially, you’re flatlining in life. There’s not even a pulse. For some I bet the very thought of having to be productive, or even just improving your productivity is enough to cause you to spiral into a state of overwhelm. On the other hand, Are you a 10, which means you are an absolute ninja in whatever task you take on in life, you execute to completion seamlessly in all areas of your life. But what if we talked about being productive? Simply from a time management perspective? How do you feel you would go? You see the true definition of time management is linked to productivity. And it’s also linked to success across various aspects of life, from personal endeavours to professional pursuits. By effectively managing your time, you can create a sense of order and a sense of controlling your life, you can reduce that stress and improve your overall sense of well being. And the good news is that by implementing some really basic time management strategies, that are not rocket science, you can stay focused on those important tasks that are crucial for your success. And I know you do want success in your life, I know I do. The thing is that we all need to remember is that time is a finite resource. And today’s theme is around success, and about the shocking ways we spend our time. And I want to share with you five ways to invest in it way better. These are two words, we all know very, very well, spending, and investing. And all of us spend money, but we don’t necessarily invest it. And a lot of us, we spend time, but we don’t necessarily invest our time. The one thing we know about spending, and I know this, for sure, is when you spend something, you don’t ever get it back. You don’t create anything, it doesn’t create anything. On the other hand, when you invest something, it creates future value. Am I making sense so far? Now, this was crazy to me, and I want you to listen really carefully. The average person lives for 75 years. And in that 75 year lifespan, this is how we spend our time. And this is according to the research. We spend 26 years of our lives sleeping, we spend 11 years watching television, or for some of you that may even be Netflix, we spend eight years shopping for groceries and clothes and all those essential items we need. And currently, we spend six years on social media or online. Honestly, we all know the truth here that most people spend a lot more time than that scrolling. But let’s keep moving forward here. We spend seven years lying awake in bed at night, tossing and turning, rolling around trying to get to sleep. That’s a huge amount of time. And I know heaps of people who struggle with sleep.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  09:12

So that leaves around eight or nine years that you actually get to spend on yourself with yourself or doing those things that are important to you. So rather than spending time, wouldn’t you rather invest that time? Time is so valuable, especially when you consider how little time we actually have after we remove all these activities that I’ve just shared with you. So in today’s episode, I’m going to share with you five of my favourite all time and time management skills, tips, tricks, or hacks, whatever you want to call them, but essentially ways that you can invest your time, more wisely to actually create the life that you want.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  10:27

Okay, so here we go. Number one is the energy versus time management principle. Now, we all know what it feels like when we spent time with someone, or say that we’re going to meet someone for an hour. But then we end up spending three or more hours with them. And then at the end of it, we’re wondering, why did I just waste all that time, maybe you have a meeting at work, and set the time for 45 minutes, but you realise that meeting only really needed to take about 15 minutes. We spend so much of our time actually draining our energy in these meetings. I realised in my life that my issue wasn’t actually time, it was energy. When someone says they want to spend time with you, what they really mean is they want your energy. No one wants to spend time with you, when you’re on your phone, or you’re distracted, or you’re tired. They want you at your best. And this has really helped me set meetings with other people based on my energy, not my time, I started to ask myself, how much energy can I truly give this person? How much presence? How much attention do I currently have to give them. So if I know that I can truly be energetic, present, or attentive for only 15 minutes, then I’m going to set that meeting or that task for 15 minutes. That means that I’m now managing my energy, not just my time, you may think that you need your meeting to take two hours. But what if you’re tired? What if you’re distracted? What if you’re not present? If you’re not going to be attentive for those two hours, or whatever time it may be? That’s time wasting, because that’s not going to be productive or effective. And this is not great for your focus, or your productivity. So I’ve started asking myself this, when I set times for meetings, will my energy be at a high level at this time, and for how long? I’ve started to set boundaries around my time, based on what I know my energy, and my attention threshold is going to be so an example of this is I can be honest here, I am not a morning person. And I need a couple of hours before I get going in the mornings. So I won’t attend meetings, or see a client or conduct an interview for my podcast. Before 8am. I simply open my mouth to swap feet. And even if it means missing out on an exclusive interview, so be it. I know when my energy is at its peak. This not only helps to protect my energy levels, but it means that I know I can be fully present. I’m not going to be any good for anyone, especially myself if I’m tired. I also set time boundaries around the length of a meeting. For example, when I meet a client for the first time in a pre interview meeting for my podcast. I set the timer for 30 minutes. You see not only do I not want to waste my own time. But you know, I don’t want to waste my clients time either. Their time is valuable to their energy is valuable. It’s like the old saying about quality versus quantity. This has also helped me become better at rescheduling. When I know that I’m not going to be present in a meeting, for whatever reason, perhaps I’m not feeling well. Or maybe I didn’t sleep properly. I don’t like to mess people around. But I also don’t feel guilty about rescheduling, I’d rather reschedule when I’m not at my peak. That way, I can take time to rest or to recover, to recharge to go to sleep earlier, whatever it may be, that’s truly going to help me. So remember this when you’re managing your time, based on energy. Ask yourself, how much energy do you have to give, and I promise you that you will select the right amount of time based around whatever that is for you.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  16:35

Number two is all about the meetings. Did you know that we spend around two years of our lives in meetings, and these are usually work meetings. And it’s crazy. We talk about spending time with other people. We talk about catching up with other people. But we never talk about the time that we spend with ourselves. We never set meetings with ourselves. And one of the things I’ve always done with my coaching clients is say to them, I want you to set time in your calendar for yourself. I want to see a meeting in your calendar with you. Because I want you to spend some time with yourself every single day. People don’t realise this is the best investment of time you can make for yourself. I believe it’s so important we take 10 minutes to meditate every day. And I don’t think this is too much to ask right? Let me explain this to you here. I know that yeah, we are all busy. But people if we can’t take 10 minutes out of our day, to spend with ourselves, to listen to ourselves, to focus on ourselves, to find silence and stillness for ourselves, all of which is what I believe meditation to be. Then we really, honestly, we have to take a good hard look at which meetings were prioritising. Are you prioritising everyone else, but yourself. We need time to check in with ourselves. We make the time to check in with everyone else. But ourselves. This time with ourselves is so important, because it gives us an opportunity to ask ourselves, how do we truly feel this time gives you the opportunity in that silence, to listen to your body and your mind. You see your body and your mind are consistently sending you emotional signals that are trying to teach you something. They’re trying to tell you something. But you can’t hear these messages in the noise of other meetings, other people’s opinions, the other things you need to get done and other focuses. We stop listening to our mind and our body. And when we stop listening to them, our mind and our body’s reaction gets stronger. And this is why we end up with migraines. It’s why we end up with gut issues. It’s why We ended up with more pain to deal with, we end up dis eased. Because we haven’t been listening. I know what this feels like. Because for many years, I didn’t stop and listen. And I ended up spending most of my life, always being sick with something, there was always something. If we don’t make time for our wellness, we end up having to make time for illness. It’s so important that we remember this. If we don’t make time for our wellness, we will have to make time for our illness. Our body, and our mind will only give us signals when we’re truly silent. And still, and when we’re silent. And still, we can have that meeting with ourselves. And we can check in with ourselves. So my second tip for investing your time more wisely, is making sure that you set a personal meeting. And that is a time when you can talk to yourself. Listen to yourself, understand yourself, and ask yourself those hard questions. This is such a huge priority in my life. And I truly believe it can be transformative. Try practising it today.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  21:56

Number three is ignore time bullies. You know who these people are. They’re the people that bully you to do something with your time that you don’t want to do. I had a friend like this, it was always on her terms, trying to get me to go out on days and times that didn’t work with my schedule. She didn’t care. It was all about her. She had no respect for my time. And she didn’t respect the fact that I worked and I had a family life. And you know, the thing that really got to me was that she was really good at cancelling last minute, especially when it was an event that I had organised. I remember organising my birthday celebration, and I had organised it all around what she wanted to do. And guess what? She cancelled last minute. And then she did it again my next birthday. So I’ve cut her out of my life. I don’t deal with time bullies anymore. So this person is no longer a part of my life. So in your life, this could be someone who literally reaches out last minute, or invites you out every single night, or maybe on a Friday or a Saturday night and is relentless or uses emotional blackmail to get you to go out with them. They have you feeling sorry for them. And you ended up going even though you may have decided to have a nightie and to recharge, or you need an early night after having a massive work week. Whatever it may be, and they’re the one who’s bullying you to spend time with them. They can’t take no for an answer. Maybe it’s someone at work, someone who’s always pressuring you to take on another task or introduces something else on your to do list and wants it done right away. When you’re meant to be working on something else. They make their stuff a priority. That is a time bully. Right? We all need to remove time bullies from our lives. Lots of people will bully our time at work and at home. And it’s important that we learn to say no, and the only way we can confidently say no. is when we choose truly no, what were saying yes to. And by that, I mean, at what cost to you? When you know, what you’re agreeing to, and you know, the time and the energy cost for you, only then will you become comfortable and confident to say that word no. For example, when someone asks you, if you want to do something, and you look at your diary, and there’s nothing scheduled at that time, guess what, your mind will usually say, Go on, go for it, you’ve got nothing else better to do. But when you schedule time, for what is important to you, even those sacred meetings with self and you put it in your diary, and you see, there was something that you wanted to focus on. At that time. Naturally, that internal dialogue will take over. We’re more inclined to say to ourselves, okay, well, I’ve made this commitment with myself. And I’m going to let them know that I already have plans. See, if you don’t make your own plans, you will be bullied to be part of someone else’s. We do know the people that it’s hard to say no to. And it’s so important to start using our calendars and our diaries much more effectively. Make your time a priority in that diary. If you have your calendar or your diary truly mapped out with those things you need to do to move the needle forward. And what you want to do. No one can bully your time. We have to remove time bullies from our lives. Otherwise, we will be bullied into spending our time instead of investing our time. And come on. We all know who those people are in our lives.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  27:37

Number four is the gap time. And this is one of my favourite ones. And this is what I call a gap time. It’s a time when you’re doing an activity that probably doesn’t take much effort. Here’s an example. And this is a crazy statistic. Women’s spend over 136 days in their lifetime getting ready. Surely that’s not me. I think I’d take a lot more than that. Okay. While men spend 46 days in their lifetime getting ready. Now, one of the most amazing things about this is what I call a gap time. You know how to get ready. It’s a no brainer. You know, what you do every single morning. We all get up out of bed. We all brush our teeth. We all have a shower, we put our clothes on, and we have breakfast. This is one of the best times to add a little layer of something that will make us feel happier or healthier, or will improve our overall state of mind. So while you’re getting ready during those 136 days for women, and 46 days for men, why not listen to a podcast? Why not listen to music that makes you feel happy, active and alive? Why not think of three things you’re grateful for? Oh, and by the way, we also spend 27 Days of Our Lives waiting for transport. My gosh, that’s more gap time. Now that may be a great time to listen to that audio book on personal development. time that you’ve never had time to read. If you’re in that kind of situation, why not use that gap time to pick up a book, or to listen to a podcast? Think about creating those gap time habits. This is such a powerful way to make time for those things we truly want to do. Especially if you’re invested in your own personal development. Okay, I can hear some of you yelling at me all bad. I’m sad, a busy person. And I have a crazy busy schedule. Don’t you know this? Okay, my response to that is even more reason to create time gap habits. I’m a crazy busy person to you know, but I know that in that busyness, I can still find time to listen to a podcast while I’m driving. Or I’m walking to the train, or working out in the gym. I know that I can write in my gratitude journal while I’m travelling on the train. Or I can take a moment to think of things that I’m truly grateful for while I ate breakfast, or I’m in the shower. I know that I can even think of things that I’m grateful for, while I’m on the go, sitting in the back of a new bar, because that’s a gap habit. So start thinking of those times where you’re doing a brainless activity, and build gap habits around it. Building gap habits that play into a habit that you already do. That is brainless and unconscious, like you don’t need to think is a great way to invest that time and turn it into something that’s really effective for you. Just use mindless time to do something that you really want to do. And that’s something you simply can’t find the time for gap habits as such a powerful way of investing time. And that’s what we all want to do. We all want to invest our time.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  32:37

Number five, is remove physical triggers of distraction. Okay, so many of my students. This is an example, by the way, so many of my students love gaming, and I literally know other people who game for hours and hours every night, right into the early hours of the morning, they had glued to this thing all day and all night whenever and wherever possible, and end up exhausted throughout the day. Having a PlayStation, or Nintendo or I don’t know whatever device people use to play games such as fortnight, these devices are physical distractions. And for my students, these devices are keeping them from doing their assignments or practising seeing whatever they need to do to move forward in their careers. As long as that physical distraction is there, they are spending time and not investing time, because they aren’t going to do the work that they really need to be doing. And now another one of my favourite ones, which sounds so simple, but it’s a huge one is that many people have TVs in their bedrooms. And you may think, Well, you know what, that’s totally fine. And it’s completely normal. But believe it or not, for many years, and I mean many, many years, that wasn’t a thing. And again, that TV is a physical trigger that makes you want to watch television, instead of getting that most important sleep that we all need. I guarantee you that. If you remove that television from your bedroom, you won’t think about it when it’s bedtime. You may be tempted to watch TV in the living room instead. But then you’d be more inclined to think. No, it’s bedtime. And I’m actually tired and yes, I am Going to go to bed. The mistake we make is that the TV in the bedroom becomes a physical distraction, because it ruins our sleep, which in turn then ruins our time to refuel and renew. And guess what? It keeps us up later than we need to be, and we feel fatigued. So it reduces our energy levels to by removing your physical triggers. This can be one of the smartest ways to get yourself to use your time more wisely. You can’t deny that we do use time badly. When we have physical triggers those temptations that distract us away from the things that we truly, truly, truly want to focus on. Think about what physical distractions you can remove from specific areas in your house, which can actually help you then use your time so much more wisely.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  36:26

In today’s fast paced world, distractions are all around us, making it challenging to stay focused on important tasks. If you’re struggling with time management, look at the time you’re wasting and give my five time management tools ago. They will help you become more effective in minimising interruptions, maintaining concentration levels, and avoid procrastination. By investing time wisely, you can make steady progress towards success without being sidetracked by the noise and the distractions. Remember, time is in short supply by prioritising tasks based on their significance and deadlines, we can focus our efforts on activities that contribute most to our success, while minimising time spent on those less meaningful tasks. Make sure that you are not spending time because when you do this, you are never going to get it back once it’s spent. It’s about investing time for greater future value. So sharpen your time management skills. Stop wasting time and your future will thank you for it. Because you are worthy of all those things you desire in your life. You are worth the effort. Always have been and always will be. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of a voice and beyond. I hope you enjoyed it as now is an important time for you to invest in your own self care, personal growth and education. Use every day as an opportunity to learn and to grow so you can show up feeling empowered and ready to live your best live. If you know someone who will also be inspired by this episode, please be sure to copy and paste the link and share it with them. Or share it on social media and use the hashtag a voice and beyond. I promise you I am committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one every week. And if you would like to help me please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple podcast right now. I would also love to know what it is that you most enjoyed about this episode and what was your biggest takeaway? Please take care and I look forward to your company next time on the next episode have a voice and beyond