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024: Taking Ownership Of Your Time

In this episode of BOSS™ Talk I am joined on the mic by April Nowlin, Certified Breakthrough Life Coach, and we talk about how time ownership has impacted our lives as business women and mothers.

Time is one of the most valuable resources that we as entrepreneurs have. So why then, are we so quick to misuse it?

For the women who wear so many hats, the thought of taking time for yourself may be steeped in guilt. As mothers, wives, girlfriends, business owners, 9-to-5 professionals, friends, and all the other roles we fill in our lives, we may feel like we always need to dedicate our time to something “productive” or reserve it for others over focusing on ourselves.

As a business owner of a thriving divorce recovery coaching practice, director of marketing and operations for a local nonprofit here in Arizona, and a single mother to a busy school-age athlete, my bestie, April Nowlin, knows firsthand just how challenging it can be to build “me” time into a busy schedule. She joined me for BOSS™ Talk to share some of her self-care practices as well as provide tips for how to overcome the guilt to start prioritizing yourself like you would the other important things in your life.

Below is the full transcript of the show.

Prioritizing Me Time with April Nowlin

00:30 – La’Vista

Welcome to another episode of BOSS™ Talk. I am your host, La'Vista Jones, and today I am joined by my guest, April Nowlin, my bestie in the whole wide world. Welcome to the show, finally.


Thank you so much. I'm excited to be here, finally. Although I remember I was one of the early guests for BOSS™ Talk when it was in person. And so, it's exciting to be talking to you again.


Yes, yes, this new iteration, right. And so, like, what April was talking about is when I started BOSS™ Talk back in 2018, it actually was an in-person event that I would do on a monthly basis here in Arizona. We would have an entrepreneur come sit down interview-style, very similar to the podcast, talking about business. And we would have a crowd that was there with us, right, a live audience. And, you know, it's interesting, because for a long time, people would tell me like, ‘Oh, you know, it's like a podcast, just in front of an audience.’ And I'm like, ‘Oh, no, no, no. It is a networking event.’

01:43 – La’Vista

Oh, okay. And then it’s like somebody else is like, ‘Yeah, it's like a podcast in front of a live audience.’ And I'm like, ‘No, no, no, no. See, you're mistaken, because it's a networking event.’ And then when COVID hit, then it was like, well, I have an opportunity to pivot. And it was like, well, maybe this is a podcast. And there you go.

02:06 – April

So here we are. I can't believe it was 2018. It literally feels like it was a year or two ago, so that's crazy. Congrats, though, for holding it down for this long with BOSS™ Talk.


Thank you. Thank you. It's been an interesting journey, for sure. And just kind of seeing how things have evolved and how it's grown and how it was, you know, just how things have changed but still kind of stayed the same. And yeah, it's been a good journey.

02:34 – La’Vista

So, for those of you that don't know my bestie – and shame on you – let me introduce you to her a bit more. So, April is passionate about helping women love their life after divorce. April knows from personal experience how tough and disorienting ending a marriage can be. As a three-time divorcee, she has weathered the storms of transition and learned the techniques and strategies to thrive after a divorce.

April is a Certified Life Breakthrough Coach who specializes in divorce recovery. She's an aspiring author, a podcast host herself, a speaker, and a workshop leader who combines relatable storytelling, humor, and authenticity for women who want to crush the barriers to their success in life. April resides here in Arizona with her amazing daughter. That authenticity part, it made me sound like I can't read.


That's okay. That's alright. It's a big word. You better be happy I spelled it right.

03:42 – La’Vista

Authenticity, oh my gosh. Like I think Aiden would read that word better than I just did just now.

April Nowlin on Being a BOSS

03:48 – La’Vista

So, you know, I don't know that we were doing this when we sat together and did your BOSS™ Talk live interview so many years ago, right. So now on the podcast, one of the things that I ask each of the guests to do is to actually share how they define being a boss. And I totally want to hear your answer to this question. How do you define being a boss, April?


So, I would define being a boss as making choices that benefit my life, right? So, I think that the word “boss” many times has this negative connotation, right? In corporate, you're like, ‘Oh, that's just my boss. That's just my boss.’ And then we get into entrepreneurship, and we're like, ‘I'm gonna be my own boss.’ And sometimes that turns out to be terrible if you don't have the right tools and techniques.

And so, I think about being a boss as, like, a positive. It means that I have the freedom to choose my path. I have the freedom to choose what makes me happy. And so, when I think about being a boss, it's giving yourself permission to live, to set boundaries,

05:00 – April

to do what makes you happy and to have that freedom to do those things. So that's what I feel like being a boss really is.

Balancing The Many Roles In Life


I love it. I love it. And you seem so happy sharing that boss definition. You might just be listening instead of watching along, but she's got, like, this big, bright smile on her face. And I love it.

So, you know because you are very closely associated with BOSS™ Talk, that “boss,” for me, is an acronym that stands for Battling Overwhelm with Systems and Self-care. And with that, during each of the shows that we have, I get the pleasure of having candid conversations with other bosses like you that have faced and battled moments of overwhelm in their businesses and their lives, specifically by leveraging systems and self-care. So, with that, April, are you ready to share how you are walking out your BOSS™ Talk?


I am willing and ready. Yeah.


Let's do it. So, today, you know, I think there's a ton of things that we could get on the mic and talk about amongst ourselves. But today, we're going to talk about one of the most valuable and yet often misused assets that we have – and that's our time. So, you know, we touched on it briefly in your bio that you’re a mama, right, to an amazingly talented and busy athlete. So, just kind of note that. You are besties with one of the most demanding bosses in the game, yours truly.

06:33 – La’Vista

You are currently interviewing for a future bae.


Yes, I am.


And on top of that, you are growing a business and holding down a full-time gig. So, you are busy, right? So, talk to us just briefly about what does a typical day even look like for you, incorporating all of those things and all those roles that you play, all those hats you wear? What does a day look like for you?


Yeah, so before I can answer that, I have to share a little bit about my personality. So, I was that kid that always put things in their place, right. So, you know, my toys had bins and, you know, my bed –which I never make, so that's funny enough. Never make my bed. I'm a true believer that if you're going to get back in it, what's the point. But I was that kid that put things in their place. And that's the way I run my life.

So, I grew up in a military family. I grew up with a lot of structure. Although I was the out-of-the-box kid. So, I didn't like the structure; don't tell me what to do. But as I got older, I realized that that structure had its place. And so, a typical day for me is, I wake up before my child, because as we all know, once kids are up, it is like life starts and your me time is gone. And so, one of the things that I learned from my best friend, is the importance of having me time. And so, I wake up an hour to an hour and a half before she does, and sometimes I just lay there. I had a supervisor years ago who told me about the first 15 minutes of your day. She's like, instead of just hopping out of bed, like, lay there for 15 minutes. And that has proven to be very helpful for me because it gives me an opportunity to actually wake up and take in the day.

So, I'm usually up before she is. Then we are getting dressed. So, I have to wake her up two to four times for her to actually be out of the bed. So, some of you guys understand exactly what I'm going through.


Hey, don't shame my niece.


I'm just saying, right. I wake her up, she rolls over. So, we go through this thing. We're getting ready. One of the things that I intentionally do is we have breakfast together almost every morning. And so, that is before she's heading off to school, I'm heading off to work or into my office, depending upon what the day is. But we have breakfast together. I go through my day.

So, one of the things that I do at the beginning of my workday is I do not check my emails first. And I know you all are like, ‘Whaaaat?! I open up my email as soon as I get there.’ I don't. I check to see what my day looks like. And so that is what meetings do I have, what's on my to-do list, things like that. Throughout my day, I schedule breaks. And I know y'all like, ‘You've scheduled what?’ I schedule breaks. If I'm at home, I schedule naps.

And then, when we come home at the end of the day, one of the things that we do is we separate. We have our own time. So, I've been a single parent and a married parent off and on for my daughter’s 14 years. But one of the things that I taught her when she was young, because I knew she was going to be an only child, was the importance of spending time by yourself.

09:39 – April

And so, when we come home, we have our alone time. She goes her way; I go my way. We may have dinner together, spend a little time together, and then we do our nighttime activities. So, that's what my day looks like, just collectively. We may dig into some finer points. But at the end of the day, I make sure my day is somewhat

10:00 – April

scheduled. So that may look like: this is when we get up. This is when I take a nap. This is when we come home, you know. So, I do try to schedule out my day.


That's so interesting, right? Just kind of like listening to some of the things that, like, you go through like, there are some things I'm like, ‘Oh, I do something similar to that.’ Like you were talking about in the morning, you might just lay there for, like, the first 15 minutes and just kind of, you know, get your bearings about you. Something that I've noticed that I've been doing the past like several months – and I don't even know exactly why I started doing it, but I get such, like, childlike kind of amusement by doing it – is I wake up in the morning, and I lay there in the bed for like a few minutes, and I just wiggle my toes in the sheets. And I'm like, I don't know. I don't know when or really why it started. But it's just like, ‘Oh, like I'm awake now. And I'm wiggling my toes. I'm wiggling my toes.’ And it's just like this fun little thing that I do. And then I get up and usually get dressed and head to the to the gym.

One of the other things that you said that was like, ‘oh!’ it was the checking the calendar. Like, I don't check my email first thing in the morning, either. Because I have a very set start time for work, right. And I think that we'll kind of get into that later on in the conversation. So, it's like, anything that's going on can wait ‘til then, and I'm not really inviting any of that into my day until that particular part of my day starts. But you mentioned one of your first things to do is look at your calendar and kind of see how the day is gonna lay out. That's like the last thing I do before I go to bed. So, like my phone, I check it. I pull up my calendar for the next day, and I'm like, ‘Okay, I've got this meeting. I've got this interview. I've got this.’ I'm just like, okay. So, it's like, I go to sleep knowing what the next day is.


Got it. Yeah, I do something similar, but I do it at the end of my workday. I try not to do it before I go to sleep. Because what I found with me is, if I do it right before I go to sleep, then I'm thinking about those meetings. And so yeah, I try to do it at the end of my day, though, so I'm prepared for the next day. So yeah.


You know, for me, it's a motivator, I think, to know that, like, I've got to get up when my alarm goes off, so that I can get dressed, out of the house at a certain time, get to the gym, do what I'm gonna do, get back and shower, because I know I've got these things that are going to be part of my day. And so, it's just like, ‘Okay, I'm looking at this. This is just verifying that in the morning, I gotta get my shit together.’


And like you, I'm sure you don't keep the exact same schedule every day, depending upon what day it is. So, three days a week, I go to the gym in the morning. My half hour in the morning is mine. So that may be like you said, wiggling my toes. I may listen to a sermon. I may, you know, pray. I may do just other things to get my day started. But like you, every day may not look exactly the same, but there's some structure to it.

Owning Your Time


Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So, I want to talk to you about this concept of owning your time, right? Like, listening to you kind of just lay out, like, this is what a typical day looks like for me, it, you know, like you said, there are going to be things are going to be different, different nuances, different things that happen throughout the day, but overall, it seems like your day has a pretty steady, structured flow, right? So, I want to know, when we talk about this concept of owning your time, what does that mean to you?

13:37 – April

Yeah, so I really didn't take responsibility or ownership for my time until probably 2019. And that is when I went through my third divorce and literally almost lost my mind because of everything happening with that, everyone that needed something from me at that time and was literally sucking up the time in my life, right. And so, in that moment, I thought to myself, ‘Wait a minute. What am I giving away to someone but not getting back?’ And it's time. And so, I had worked with someone years ago, who told me about something called a time budget. And so, you know, we are so quick to budget our money – at least, I hope y'all are budgeting your money.

14:29 – April

But, you know, we can always get more money, we can't get more time.

And so, I realized that all of that pull on me, of meetings and schedules and being here and being there and saying yes to everything, was affecting my mental health. And time…my time was the one thing that I could control in that situation. I couldn't control the divorce. I couldn't control my emotions at that time. I could not control, necessarily, my financial state at that time. There were so many things that were out of that

15:00 – April

control. But I knew the one thing I could control was my time. And when I took ownership of my time, it allowed me to free up space for some of the other priorities in my life, and then things started to shift. And so, that's what I think about when I think about owning your time, that it is your responsibility. And it is your responsibility how much of it you give away – because you're not going to get it back – what you use it for. And so, when I think about owning my time, I think about that season and that shift that I had to make to take responsibility of my time.


Yeah. So, for another woman that might be listening, right, and just kind of relating, like, ‘Yeah, I'm busy like April. I've got this going on. I've got that going on. I've got children. I've got a business. I've got this. I've got that.’

The Importance of Boundaries

15:49 – La’Vista

Why do you think it's important, especially we as women that wear all of the various hats we all typically do, why do you think it's important for us to own our time, to take a grasp at that concept of owning our time?