Structure & Empowerment for Lasting Impact, with Jill Valdez – TPW 251
Published July 17, 2019
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44 min
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    Empty-nester Jill Valdez is creating impact and helping others do the same.



    Creating impact through structure and empowerment

    Jill Valdez and I had a great conversation about creating structure through tools like time-blocking, task management, and the good old reminder alarm to tackle the various areas of our lives, and also about encouraging leaders to empower the people on their teams to create lasting impact.

    Jill is a new empty-nester mom of three adult children. She spent 17 years as a full-time executive of a non-profit corporation while building a life with her family, pursuing her degree, and volunteering time on a woman’s leadership team. After spending a few years in the for-profit sector. Jill’s passion for helping companies has led her to the launch of her own business, called LINK. Today Jill balances growing her business, a job as an Executive Director of an organization that provides groceries for 325 families every week, volunteering at a newly started church, and exploring new adventures with her husband.

    A typical day

    A typical day for Jill depends on which hat she is wearing.

    She works as the executive director at the food pantry organization on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. On Mondays, she works with the team to set things up for food distribution to families in need. On Tuesdays, they actually distribute the food. On Wednesdays, she takes care of administrative tasks.

    On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, she works on her business.

    She finds that it is helpful to look at the days and know what type of work defines that day. She allocates specific time periods to various components of her business.

    When she works with clients, she asks them to do the same thing, penciling out what their ideal week is using the "block scheduling" approach to know which pieces of their businesses they'll work on specific days.

    That division of her weeks between the food pantry and her own business defines what her "typical" days look like.

    On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, she leaves home at 6:30 am and gets back around 7 pm. Her work on those days is very focused on food distribution.

    During the rest of the week, she works for herself, so it can be easy for her to say, "Maybe I'll work today, maybe I won't." Still, she gets up early, jumps on the treadmill to get some exercise and listens to a podcast while exercising, and catches up on housework that got neglected. Then she'll go into her office and sit down to attack her task list for the day.

    Most of the time, she doesn't allow her work to bleed into the evening. There's always something she and her husband can be doing in their respective career paths, but they've made a commitment to one another not to allow work to consume them. They treat their business endeavors as a job (surprise!) and set a time to stop so they can spend the evening as a couple.

    Jill is a "late-to-bed and early-to-rise" type of person. She decompresses from the day by catching up on the news and social media or occasionally having friends over. On days she's not at the food pantry, she tries to make dinner and spend the evenings quietly.

    Saturdays are reserved for the fun stuff. There are a lot of things for them to discover because they are new to Arizona. They work intentionally at keeping that time open. In fact, on Jill's calendar, it says "protected and dedicated time for us," and they don't schedule anything else on that day unless it is an emergency.

    Sundays are for church. Jill and her husband are both ordained ministers and they've started a church in the area they moved to. After church, they'll go out to have lunch with church friends and hang out. Sunday evening is reserved for downtime and preparing for the rest of the week,
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