“Health powers productivity”- Marcey Rader
Are you productive WITH healthy boundaries around your time? We recently had productivity expert, Marcey Rader, on the Accountant’s Flight Plan Podcast to chat with us about managing remote staff, healthy work from home boundaries and how to best work in that pesky email inbox!
Marcey is a multi-certified health and productivity expert, one of 800 Certified Speaking Professionals® worldwide, Certified Virtual Presenter, digital wellness practitioner, three-time author, and creator of the Powered Path™ Playbook. As the founder of RaderCo, Marcey helps executives, teams, and individuals banish burnout, keep good people, and move forward through practical, tailored tools, healthy, sustainable habits, and coaching accountability.
On this episode we tackled how accountant’s specifically experience burnout, distraction and how we all should focus on results not on time spent on a task. You are going to learn a lot in this episode. Did you know there was such a thing as screen apnea!?
Beyond learning about the science behind why zoom makes you tired, we chatted about what is changing in the accounting profession and how we think we can attract new talent into the field.
Please enjoy this episode by watching it here, or listening on the player below.
0:37 Marcey Rader introduction
4:35 Staffing issues
5:16 How Marcey became a productivity expert
11:23 Trends in the accounting industry ( Remote work and practice management systems)
19:00 What is body doubling?
23:00 Opportunity of remote work ( Attract more people to the industry)
31:00 Tech life balance and guardrails around technology
38:00 How to filter your email
44:00 Creating guardrails around movement
45:00 What is screen apnea?
50:00 Ways to engage remote teams * Check out virtual cooking classes!
55:00 How to find Marcey…Helloraderco.com and find Marcey Rader on Linkedin
Brannon Poe, CPA (00:00):
Hi, I’m Brannon Poe, founder of Poe Group Advisors and creator of the Accounting Practice Academy. You are listening to the Accountant’s Flight Plan podcast, where we talk about stuff in the accounting world. If you’re looking to buy or sell a practice, we are the premier accounting practice intermediary firm in the industry. Check us out poegroupadvisors.com. If you’re a firm owner looking to build a more profitable practice while actually reducing owner hours, sign up for our practice Management workshop, which only runs a few times per year. Learn more at accountingpracticeacademy.com.
All right, welcome to the Accountants Flight Plan podcast. I’m excited about our guest and our topic today. This is a topic we haven’t, uh, fully gone into, and so I can’t wait to have a discussion today with Marcy Rader, uh, who believes that Health Powers Productivity. She’s a multi certified health and productivity expert, one of 800 certified speaking professionals worldwide, a certified virtual presenter, digital wellness practitioner, three time author and creator of the Powered Path Playbook, and she’s the founder of Raider. Co Marcy helps executives, teams and individuals banish burnout keep good people, move forward through practical tailored tools, healthy and sustainable habits, and coaching accountability sought after by startups to Fortune 100 companies. She’s spoken for tens of thousands of people on five continents as an award-winning global speaker. She trains her audiences to improve their focus, maximize their energy, and conquer the calendar master task. And this is the one I really like. Marcy extinguishes their email. I wanna really get into that a little bit today if we can. Um, so to change your career team or organization, one habit of time, learn more, or connect with firstname.lastname@example.org. Welcome.
Marcey Rader (01:59):
Thank you. Um, I’m not surprised that, um, you went to dive into the email piece <laugh> with, with accountants and CPA firms. That’s my number one request is the email extinguisher presentation and the one I’ve given the most CPEs on as well.
Brannon Poe, CPA (02:18):
Nice, nice. Yeah, we actually met you at the North Carolina Symposium in November of last year, and I’m really excited to have you on the podcast. Bailey told me a little bit about the conversation you guys had and you really help a lot of people with remote teams as well, which is, um, we’re seeing more and more of that in the accounting industry, obviously, so,
Marcey Rader (02:44):
Oh, ab yeah, absolutely. I’ve actually worked remotely myself since 2001 or two. Um, so long time, um, pre-pandemic, and I’ve been training individuals and teams for about 14 years on how to work well remotely or manage well remotely. And I’ll tell you, it was not a, it was not the most popular topic for accounting firms before covid. And so many times I would hear we’re accountants, we can’t be virtual, we can’t work remote. And I’d say, yes you can. Yes you can. And you know, you sure found that out during the pandemic and, you know, it was, um, it was a little bit of a panic for some firms for sure. And, you know, the fact that it happened when it happened, you know, in March, which is, you know, not all accountants are tax accountants, but many of you are. And that’s a very, you know, um, high pressure time of year to make that transition at the, you know, drop of a hat.
Um, you know, that piece in my bio about banishing burnout and overwhelm, I work with many more types of businesses than accounting firms. But Boyd, have you guys just really had, you know, you had two years of just high intensity, um, high stress things coming at you with not only with just the quick to remote, but p p P loans and everything, and, you know, businesses, you know, shutting down or needing help and, uh, you know, I, I really feel for you. And it became like my mission to, to help CPAs, you know, make that transition better.
Brannon Poe, CPA (04:28):
Yeah. And, and now too, I think coming outta the pandemic, you’re seeing staffing issues, um, becoming more and more acute. I know just recently there have been two articles in the Wall Street Journal pertaining to the accounting industry’s staffing shortages. So I think it’s becoming really acute. And one thing that we’ve been coaching CPAs on is em, you know, embrace the remote team. If you can’t find someone locally, get someone remotely and learn how to manage remotely. So I’m excited to get into that with you. Um, what I’d like to start with, let me just zoom out just a little bit. Okay. How did you get into what you’re doing today? How did you, uh, gravitate toward this type of consulting or coaching?
Marcey Rader (05:16):
Yeah, it’s not something that you grow up thinking that you’re gonna do, and they’re certainly not a major for it. In college, I actually, um, spent 14 years in the clinical research, pharmaceutical and biotech industry as a research monitor, and then a manager, worked my way up, became a trainer, and then became a training manager. And I used to travel up to 48 weeks a year. Um, yeah. And when I’d climbed up that ladder as high as I wanted to go, I decided to start my own business, helping people do the things that I was already helping people do on the side. So when I was doing those 48 weeks a year of travel, I was also, um, competing in Ironman triathlon. I’d have a date with my husband every week, and I would shut down at night with inbox zero and people would say, how do you do this?
And I realized one day, you know, I might be able to make a business out of this. The thing that, um, you know, ignorance is bliss, and I didn’t know anything about running a business, but I am, if you’ve ever, if you’re familiar with strengths finder, I’m number one learner. And so I just dove into it. I love to read too. I read about 50 books a year, and so I, you know, started reading business books and marketing books and taking courses and hiring coaches. And what I realized was that I love the business aspect of it. I love it. And so, the business has changed throughout the years. We’re celebrating our 10th anniversary this year, and it started out just me, then me and a va. And now we are, um, a team of 10 specialists of different areas of subject matter expertise. I have a full-time client, concierge director of marketing. We have a website specialist, we have a researcher and content creator. And our business model is speaking at places like N C A C P A consulting and training at companies. We have a, you know, just a year contract with a local company in, in North Carolina, cpa firm, and then also coaching as well. And then I have product and, and books, but it’s just really grown and I absolutely love what I do.
Brannon Poe, CPA (07:40):
Awesome. Well, I know, you know, we coach CPAs as well, and it’s, you get so much from seeing them get results. That’s the, that’s the driver. I think it’s seeing those results and, um, and I think so many different coaches can help in so many different ways. I, um, you know, so it’s, it’s interesting to talk with someone else who’s doing things, and I’m sure you’re doing things differently than we are. And, um, but yeah, that’s, that’s interesting. How much of your business is C P A focused? Is it? Do you have a variety of different clients, I would imagine?
Marcey Rader (08:19):
Um, yes. Um, from a marketing perspective, when people say, what’s your client avatar? What’s your ideal client? And it, I wish that I had one. Um, but really there, it’s like if people have problems with email and time and technology and, you know, then there are clients. So that’s many, you know, most of everyone. But my two main verticals are the biotech pharma industry, because that’s where I came from and the accounting industry. And I really just fell into that. I can’t even remember why, um, or how I had a few c p a clients and then somehow I was introduced to N C A C P A, um, spoke for them and ended up winning the, winning their annual award for best new speaker, and then started speaking for A I C P A and, um, different state associations. Started doing CPEs through CPA Academy and my cpe. And it’s just morphed. I mean, of, of my list, my community list, most of them are CPAs.
Brannon Poe, CPA (09:25):
Wow. Yeah. And what is the most popular cpe topic? Is it the email that
Marcey Rader (09:32):
Oh, yes. Email extinguisher for sure. And, you know, I wanna step back for a second and say, because I have such an amazing cpa, I just love him in pieces. He’s been managing my business for eight years, I think, too. That’s what really drew me to the profession to want to help CPAs and work with them. Um, he was one of my firm’s first clients. He’s been doing this a really long time. Joel Levy, shout out to him in Chapel Hill. And I just have so much respect and admiration for him. And he’s, you know, he took me on when I was like, just making nothing, making nothing. I remember the first time I, um, got, you know, I got a refund and I really needed it. Because it was my second year in business and I started crying and thanking him, and he said, I was just doing my job, Marcy. And I’m like, but it’s the way you do your job. And that I really felt cared for. And so, you know, I hadn’t thought about it until just now, but I really think that because I had such a rel, because I have such a relationship with him, it really made me seek out more CPAs and accountants.
Brannon Poe, CPA (10:51):
Yeah. And I think, I think CPAs and accountants, um, they need, they need help with this sort of thing. I think there’s a lot of pressure like you mentioned in your opening, and there’s a lot of value that they can create for clients like you. And the, the better they are at this stuff, the better they can help their clients, right?
Marcey Rader (11:12):
Brannon Poe, CPA (11:13):
Yes. So, um, well, what are, you know, we talked a little bit about email. Are you seeing other trends in the accounting industry that you wanna touch on today?
Marcey Rader (11:25):
Definitely. The remote work, um, is, is a trend with the, that it isn’t going anywhere, although we have people going back hybrid now. But, um, that would be one of them. And, and I’d love to, to dive into that with me, I also see firms thankfully, um, moving out of managing from their inbox and using a practice management system mm-hmm. <affirmative> to, to organize their, um, you know, their team and, and their clients. And, one thing Covid did too was it forced people to stop using so much paper and being reliant on that aspect of their world. You know, if they’ve been doing it for a long time, they were maybe hesitant to transfer, uh, you know, transfer to a new system or things. But then when everybody’s remote, you realize, you know, that doesn’t fly. And also as a client, I want to use the technology, it’s so much faster. I don’t have to drive, you know, to see you in things if, you know, if it takes three hours outta my day because of the commute. And so I think more and more are looking at practice management systems or C R m or the technology that is specific to accounting.
Brannon Poe, CPA (12:48):
Yeah. Yeah. Um, in terms of remote work, what, um, what are you seeing as sort of the biggest challenges with implementing or managing remotely?
Marcey Rader (13:04):
With managing remotely? And this is not just for accounting, it’s for everyone. We tend to over communicate when our teams are remote. So managers will often over communicate for a couple of reasons. One, um, if they’re not trusting, which to me, if you do not trust your remote employee, then they just shouldn’t be your employee. Mm-hmm. It shouldn’t matter if they’re in your face or not. Um, you know, if you can’t trust them to do their job, then they really just shouldn’t be working for you. Um, so that’s one thing that, uh, you know, I, when I’m doing the manage well remotely course is that you have to have trust. The other thing with the, with the over communicating is sometimes we feel like, you know, we wanna make sure that they feel like they’re part of a team or that they feel included, especially in a hybrid environment where some people are in the office and some people are remote, but what many don’t realize is that when you’re in an office, you expect to be interrupted.
It’s, you just expect, you expect when somebody walks by that they may say, you know, like, how was the game last night? Or, you know, what are you doing for lunch? But when you are remote, when you are interrupted by every, you know, ring, ping, buzz, um, or notification, that actually feels more disruptive. Mm-hmm. And so we need to dial back the communication. And, you know, that was one thing that companies that were already remote, they didn’t have that learning curve during the pandemic, and people got into so many bad habits where they were texting, emailing, you know, slacking, um, you know, teams messaging all the time. And now we need to dial it back. And because there was no communication, you know, decision matrix in place or any kind of tech guardrails.
Brannon Poe, CPA (15:12):
Ah, so what we’ve implemented, and tell me if this is, uh, and we’ve had a hybrid team since 2007, I think. So we’ve been hybrid for a very, very long time.
Marcey Rader (15:24):
That’s great. Yeah. What
Brannon Poe, CPA (15:25):
We’ve created a meeting rhythm. So we meet for 30 minutes on Mondays at 11, kind of talk about crucial results for that week that everybody wants to accomplish. And then we have a scheduled, um, individual. It’s a smaller team meeting on Wednesdays that lasts about an hour to go, really go deep into all of our client work that’s going on. And then we have a Friday kind of fun huddle sort of thing mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and then we have tools, like we use a project management application that has a daily summary of all the communication with clients. And so I feel like maybe we’ve got a pretty good rhythm, but tell me if that,
Marcey Rader (16:12):
So yes, it sounds like it. And I’m glad that you used a project management system because that will eliminate or decrease so much back and forth. You know, at Rate Co we don’t email each other ever, ever. Everything is in our project management system. I never have to say, is this done? I can just go and look, actually, I’m notified when it’s done. Uh, you know, there’s a history there. I’m not having to search for stuff all the time. Um, everything has a due date, and, and so it will eliminate so much of that noise mm-hmm. <affirmative> that is unnecessary.
Brannon Poe, CPA (16:51):
Yeah. So what you’re talking about, like, overcommunication looks like the constant pings and random emails, random text messages that like, it’s like the manager wants to feel like they’re sitting beside the person or something that’s
Marcey Rader (17:07):
Kinda, yeah. Or they want them to feel like, you know, I see you, I, I, you know, I care about you. I want you to feel included and not everybody needs or wants. Right. That constant communication.
Brannon Poe, CPA (17:22):
So how do you, all right, so let me ask you this. How, let’s say you’re a manager or an owner and you’re feeling like maybe the person isn’t doing what they should do mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, how do you determine that, first of all? What, what do you look at and then how do you correct it? Um, or maybe it doesn’t need to be corrected, maybe it needs to be eliminated
Marcey Rader (17:49):
<laugh>. Right. Um, so, well, to me it’s, you would do the same thing you would do if they were in person. You know, I mean, somebody could be watching YouTube at work just as easily as they could be watching it at home. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And if somebody is struggling there, I mean, there are definitely people that are not good as remote workers because they don’t have the discipline to, um, you know, to, to stay on task or focused. There are also people that aren’t good at working remotely because they don’t have the discipline to shred it off. And they’ll work well into the evening. They’ll start checking their emails from their bed. And actually the average, the remote remote workers on average will work up to two more hours a day when you, because what they, what they did was they looked at like people with the drive by, you know, people in the office, they take longer lunches because it’s a lot of times they’re with people or they go out for lunch.
Whereas a remote worker, a lot of times we’ll just eat lunch at their desk or they won’t go out for lunch. And it’s not like they’re going to a cafeteria. You know, when they go to the bathroom, there aren’t three people that stop them along the way, you know, they’re doing Zoom meetings, so there isn’t like a lot of time in between, which that’s a different, a different, um, issue. But, you know, the volume of work overall is actually more that’s being done with remote workers. So when you, you know, you can’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch, right? Just because one person doesn’t work well remotely doesn’t mean that you can’t have a, you know, a good team, but finding out, is it because you don’t understand, because you don’t know, um, do you need help setting, you know, tech guardrails? Do you need to have some kind of mentoring that, you know, once a week you do come into the office and, you know, we kind of, you know, do stuff side by side.
There’s also something called body doubling. And body doubling is when somebody in the vicinity of you is also working on a task. And it feels better just knowing that somebody there is working as well or working with you. And even more so if you say, you know, Brandon, I’m going to work on playbook fulfillment for the next 45 minutes. Okay, Marcy, I’m gonna work on, uh, my opt-in forms or the rate code, tax return for the next 45 minutes. And then you start working. And that’s called body doubling. And that’s why co-working spaces are very popular. Um, don’t, you know, you don’t even have to talk to people just being in the vicinity of other people working. It’s why when you clean your house or you do yard work, it feels better and more fun and faster when your partner or spouse is doing it with.
Um, but we, we actually have a program called Focus 90, and it’s 90 minutes long once a week, and we just get on Zoom. Anybody can join. It’s a community program, more than half our accountants and bookkeepers that join. But, um, we get on, I give a productivity tip, and then we write in the chat what we’re gonna do for the next, um, 80 minutes. And then we just start working. Our cameras are on, but we are muted. Nobody talks and we’re just very focused. And then at the end, I give the productivity tip again, we write in the chat what we completed, and then we just go on with our day. And people have, I mean, I’ve had this program for years, but they have a sense of community. We have gotten to know each other. Like I said, so many people are accountants that, you know, it’s fun to see what they put in the chat to each other and things.
And it, it’s just, it kind of flies in the face of that overcommunication where I’ve heard some companies say, I want you on Zoom all day long so I can Yeah, I see your face right there. Yes, believe it or not, there are companies that say, we want you on Zoom all day long so that we know that you’re working. There are programs that companies can install on computers to see how often mouse, mice, the mouse is being moved. And I was just asked about that last week and I said, it’s a terrible idea because for one thing, some people are paper people and they may be writing and strategizing, planning stuff out on paper and it looks like I haven’t, you know, I haven’t moved my mouse, so I’m not working. It could also be that I’m watching a webinar. I know I don’t need to move my mouse. I could be rereading a research article and I’m barely moving my mouse as I, you know, scroll down. So it’s not a good indicator of whether or not someone’s working. I am very much an outcomes based person. It is not about the hours you put in, it is about the outcome that you achieve. And that’s really how it should be.
Brannon Poe, CPA (22:54):
Yeah, I agree. It should be measured that way. And, and, and I think, you know, if you can even link compensation to those results, then, then you’ve really got a winning formula. That’s what we’ve been able to do. It’s, it’s results based and it’s, you people are paid that way. So Yeah. Um, yeah, I agree. And those, those Mico, I heard a hack cuz uh, people can get these rotating fans, <laugh> just attach the mouse to the rotating fan and it’ll keep moving.
Marcey Rader (23:30):
Yeah. But I just, you know, if you are a company out there that uses that software, Raco is not the company for you to work with because we are very much against that. Very much. Yeah.
Brannon Poe, CPA (23:42):
Yeah. Yeah. Oh, wow. Well, what do you see, uh, you know, from an opportunity perspective, what do you see as this doing for business people in general?
Marcey Rader (23:58):
I think for, well one of the things that’s come up several times in the last few weeks when I’ve talked to different accountants and county firms, and I was actually asked this question as somebody who works with the industry, but not in the industry is, you know, how can we attract more people to the industry? You know, how, you know, we have a shortage, like you said, you know, shortage of accountants. And I think that the more open you are to remote work, the better off your company will be. When I was speaking at A I C P A, their big national conference last year, I did it remotely. And there was a guy in the back of the room and he raised his hand. He’s like, I want people to be hybrid. They need to come in three days a week.
They need to spend their first 90 days, you know, in the office before they do that. And I just can’t find anybody willing to do that. And the guy in the front said, send them to me, we’ll take them. And I said, right, right there. That’s your differentiator is the flexibility now. And so, you know, having that flexibility, because unless you can get it, it’s kind of like when you were little and your parents said, because I said so, it’s like, no, I, I need some kind of reason. You know? Um, unless you can give some kind of reason, it’s just hard when there are other accounts, other firms that are gonna say, come on in, we’re we’re, you know, we’re open to that. The other thing that is important to think about, which I think is a great opportunity for firms is that, you know, if you’re a firm in an expensive city, if you’re in Atlanta or Chicago or New York or Boston or dc you can hire somebody from Indiana, you know, where I grew up that lives in, you know, lives in firm country or in Nebraska or Ohio.
And, and you know, where they’re not demanding as high of a salary. They, um, you know, it’s, it’s a win-win for both of them because, you know, where I grew up was very rural, so you couldn’t stay there, you know, if you wanted to be an accountant, unless you wanted just to work with the farmers around there, you know, you really couldn’t stay there if you had bigger aspirations. So it’s great for both of those parties for that. Um, another opportunity I think is that I see missing, and this has nothing to do with productivity, but when you are in high school, a lot of times the only accounting that you ever hear about is when your parents go to get their taxes done. And, you know, a lot of times it’s, it’s either like, yay, we got a refund or, you know, bad news. You know, we owe a lot of money. So it’s, it’s not always even a positive experience. And so I think marketing, marketing in a different way can, can also be beneficial. But it needs to actually start with high school cuz there aren’t enough people going into the accounting industry. Yeah. And for people to understand that accounting can be done at any time of the day.
Brannon Poe, CPA (27:13):
Marcey Rader (27:13):
It’s not a nine to five job if you’re a night person then, you know.
Brannon Poe, CPA (27:19):
Yeah. I just thought of something when you were talking about high school and, and this is a little bit of a sidebar, but I think it’s an interesting one. So I became, you know, I’m a C P A and I decided to become a C P A while I was in high school. And the reason was I wanted to learn about business. And so I, um, met with this, it was just a chance meeting. I was at breakfast with my mom and she was talking to this gentleman who had several companies and was sort of asking for some career advice. And he said, well go be a cpa. He said, if you wanna learn about business, go and become a cpa. You’ll get to see how all these different businesses operate. And it made me think, you know, what, if CPAs could master some of the things that we’re talking about today mm-hmm. <affirmative> and do a better job at getting in front of their, their business owner clients and, and really becoming more, more advisors, guess what that’s gonna spread out into the world And mm-hmm. <affirmative> Anyway, just a thought, just a side,
Marcey Rader (28:27):
No, that, that was a really, that was a really good piece of advice because, because as an accountant, you’re right, you’re, you’re seeing the backend of so many different types of businesses and if you have natural curiosity to learn about that business, like my, like Joel, my c p did by hiring me to come into his office and then he really understood, you know, what I was trying to do and, and things That is, that is a, I like that. Yeah, that’s a good piece.
Brannon Poe, CPA (29:01):
And another thing I thought about when you were talking is not only does it give the the employees an opportunity to work if from a small town, but when we, what we see on the sale side, if you wanna sell your firm, if you’ve got a remote team and if you’ve got a fully remote office where your clients, that’s a much more marketable practice right now mm-hmm. <affirmative> than a traditional practice.
Marcey Rader (29:27):
Yeah. So it really is, um, I have, so one of my clients who’s a C P A, um, when she started with me, we worked together for a year. I coached her, she was secretly actually looking for, looking for a job. Um, she had 1.5, you know, full-time employees and was just, wasn’t loving her life. And within a year she had bought two more firms. She had bought two firms, one that was completely virtual, the other one is in Wyoming. And, um, needed to stay somewhat face-to-face because a lot of people in the town in Wyoming, they’re ranchers, they don’t have internet where they can, you know, meet virtually and things like that. Um, she, I think, believes she has 18 employees now all remote except for the one person that mans that office for them. And she now lives in Belize.
Brannon Poe, CPA (30:26):
Marcey Rader (30:27):
Yeah. And so, um, you know, that would not have been possible before. Would not have been possible.
Brannon Poe, CPA (30:37):
Yeah. Yeah. Well, you talked about tech guardrails. Can we, can we talk a little bit more about that?
Marcey Rader (30:43):
Like Oh yes. <laugh>. So a lot of people will use the term work-life balance, and I don’t really use that. Um, I do for like search terms and because that’s a very common phrase, but, um, when people hear work-life balance, they feel like it should be 50 50 and it’s not ever gonna be some period, some weeks, some months, some days some minutes are gonna be more than the other. Just like with accountants, you have a, you know, tax accountants, you’re very heavy. Um, January through April. April. But I like the term tech life balance because a lot of times that’s what people are talking about, you know, is just all the, all the things that are going on. But the guardrails, especially with technology, are so important because a guardrail isn’t a barrier. People don’t wanna put up barriers to their clients or to their team.
But when you think about guardrails, guardrails keep us safe. When I’m driving around the Blue Ridge Parkway, I want guardrails there, you know, and if, if we think about it, you know, the guardrails keep us safe, keeps our focus safe, our attention, our health, but it also keeps our clients safe where we’re not emailing them at 10 o’clock on a Friday night or asking them at the last minute to give us something when we should have done it two weeks ago. So having, um, so, uh, I have something called a communication charter or a tech guardrails charter, and it’s something that you can use with your team and you know, where you have everybody’s name at the top and you know, what are their guardrails? You know, do they, do they have their phone on so they do not disturb them all day? I do. You know, so everybody that works with me knows that, you know, they can call and leave a message, but they’re not gonna get through to me.
I have a different channel for that. And I do that to my attention for when I’m doing things like this podcast interview or when I’m with a coaching client. You know, my accountant, I don’t want his phone buzzing when he’s doing my, when he’s doing my taxes. Because every time we are distracted by notification, we lose 70 seconds to three minutes of time. And when we’re dealing with numbers and formulas, it can actually take us 15 to 25 minutes to get truly focused on a task. Well, that’s, that’s y’all, right? And so coming up with these guardrails are important also, you know, do your team members, do they prefer to be texted? Do they prefer to be emailed slacked, you know, teams, you know, and deciding this is as a group, it’s not like if you have 20 people that everybody can choose their own, you know, way that they like to be communicated with.
But, you know, for, for these types of messages, we use teams for these things. We use email for this other type, we use our project management system. If it is urgent, you send a text to the personal phone, you know, and having those guardrails. But then also, you know, we don’t send client emails, you know, after 6:00 PM or we don’t, um, you know, send emails to each other on the weekends. My husband and I have phone free Friday nights at 6:00 PM our phones get shut off. And people know that, like they know that if they call or text us, then we’re not gonna answer, um, until Saturday. So that’s one thing. But it’s important for leaders to know that no matter how many times you say, if I contact you off hours, just ignore it. You know, I don’t expect you to respond. If you are in a position of hierarchy, most people will feel compelled to respond.
And most people, if they know that you work off hours, will check their email. So instead just schedule it to be delivered on Monday. You know, if you have a thought, just schedule it to be sent at a different time. You can schedule teams messages, you can schedule slack messages, you can even schedule your text messages if you have an app downloaded, called scheduled. I mean, these are the types of things that are super important. And I just did a workshop at a local firm a couple weeks ago, and in the beginning it was the email communication power-ups. In the beginning the CEO said he expected all of his staff to respond to client emails when they are sent. If somebody, if a client emails at 10 o’clock on a Friday night, you know, our clients are special, they’re unique, we should get back to them.
And you know, I sprinkled some magic fairy dust. And at the end he actually said, I’m only gonna process my email twice a day. And so I told him, I said, what you said was very impactful, very impactful. And it doesn’t just send a message to your team that they are not robots. It also sends a message to your clients because for one thing, you know, I don’t want my CPA emailing me at night because to me that makes me worry about him. You know, like, why are you working at 10 o’clock at night? Then I wonder about his efficiency, you know, are, are you not efficient? Are you so overloaded that you have to work at 10 o’clock at night that you’re emailing me? And then also this, this is often a big aha, you know, for people, it makes people wonder and think about this, if I send an email to somebody and they respond immediately, sometimes I wonder like, geez, do they not have enough work to do?
Are they okay? Or, you know, are they just sitting in their inbox? You’re just waiting for emails? And so, you know, while some people may think like, oh, I should get back to everybody right away, right away, to me it’s very reactive and not responsive. And if you are the type of company, like I worked with the pest control company once and they said if we don’t get back within seven minutes, they’ve just called the next one in their Google search. You know, like if somebody’s looking for a new, you know, like a pest control place, they’re just a lot of times going through the Google search. And he said, research shows we have seven minutes cuz they’re just dialing numbers. But if, if they’re already your client, then you know, you don’t need to do that. And also, even if they are your prospect, I don’t know if I were looking for a new C P A and they responded immediately, I would actually worry about their business.
Brannon Poe, CPA (37:44):
Yeah, I agree with you. And I mean that’s what scheduling applications are for, you know, <laugh> like, like if somebody’s finding you online, then there should be a way that they could, you know, schedule an appointment. But, but then you’ve got filters set up so that your expectations are clearly, and I I I, I told my team this year, it’s the year of the filter, like we’re gonna filter everything
Marcey Rader (38:10):
<laugh>. Yes. And you can filter your email. We’ll come full circle. Um, so one thing I really recommend is using Outlook or Gmail’s filter and rule functions. And what you can do is, you know, put in specific, um, parameters that certain emails just bypass your inbox. You never see them. So like when people accept your meetings or when you get automatic notifications, I have a filter for my QuickBooks notifications. There’s something that they send me every, I, I don’t even know what. And I, and I can’t unsubscribe just from that. And so I just filter those messages out. But I get, when somebody’s paid me, I get that message cause I want that message. Um, certain people, some certain people will come in a different color. So, you know, if you, if your top client, if you make them green, then when all your other messages are blue, they’ll come in green and they’ll stand out to you. Yeah.
Brannon Poe, CPA (39:13):
You know, there’s color is
Marcey Rader (39:14):
Great. Yeah. There’s so many different ways. I’m actually, when we’re done, um, gonna go into our concierge’s inbox and create some filters for her because she said, I have so many, you know, emails coming in, I need, I need good filters for that. So that’s my number one. Oh, industry news is a big one for accountants. So one thing I recommend is, you know, you get so many updates all the time throughout the week. There’s so much going on to create a filter that all of those types of emails go to a folder or label, maybe you call it professional development, industry news, whatever you call it. And then scheduling time once a day or once a week, whatever works for your role to go in there. And then you see them all at once. You can be more discerning and you can just skim and see which ones you actually wanna read and all the rest you can just delete. And by creating that rule, then you are not getting those types of emails mixed in with your client emails and they’re kind of weeds within the flowers at that point. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so you can be very focused on your clients when you look at your inbox, but then, you know, and then very focused on industry news at a certain time during the week. That’s like one of my biggest tips for Yeah.
Brannon Poe, CPA (40:36):
H how many folders do you think generally people are gonna end up with? If you were gonna do different folders for different categories, any sense of like, what’s a good range of, cuz if you get too many folders then it’s too much too.
Marcey Rader (40:53):
Oh yes. That would be called hyper organizing. Yeah. And um, CPAs tend to be just because of the way, you know, their brains work that makes them so smart. Um, they tend to be hyper organizers. Um, they’re type A type, awesome. I am one of them, but I agree with client folders like that makes sense mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But when people are hyper-organized, they’re having to scroll, scroll, scroll up and down. They have parent folders and then, you know, child folders and grandchild folders and they click, click clicking. And so you wanna be able to see all your folders at once and not have to scroll, um, get more comfortable using the search function because most people are just gonna search archiving folders that you no longer use. And when I, we have a program called the Email Action Plan. It’s a, it’s an 80 minute personalized email session and then a month later we have a follow up.
And when I am looking at people’s folders and kind of redoing folder structure, it’s, do you know what’s in that folder without clicking it open? And if people don’t know the types of things that’s in that folder, then that folder’s not useful anymore. You’re not gonna file anything in there. Or I’ll also see, especially with hyper organizers, they’ll have two folders that something could fit into and then they’re like, I don’t know which one. So the bigger the bucket, the easier it’s for your brain because you have less decisions to make and just get comfortable using the search front search function.
Brannon Poe, CPA (42:34):
Okay. Yeah. And Google, I don’t know how many people use Google email, but God, the search you can find,
Marcey Rader (42:39):
Brannon Poe, CPA (42:41):
Marcey Rader (42:42):
<laugh>. Yeah. I use the Google platform. It is better than Outlook search by far. But Outlook has gotten much better. Yeah, much better. Yeah.
Brannon Poe, CPA (42:52):
Well I, I, um, you know, I’m a big believer in guardrails around your free time as well. Yes. Like I think, um, we, we wrote a book called The Unplugged Vacation and we, we live by it and we want our team to, to live by it. And you know, that to me that’s one of the biggest ways that you can prevent burnout. Not only prevent burnout, but I think re-energize your brain when you come back. You’re, you come back with so much fresh, you know, fresh energy. Um, so I kind of like to steer a little bit toward health cuz that’s a big part of your messaging is, um, managing productivity and health. Um, you wanna touch on that a little bit in, in terms of, you know, goes really hand in hand with the tech guardrails, like mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what sort of other, um, yeah, what other guardrails?
Marcey Rader (43:54):
Sure. Um, I love, first of all, I love that you have the unplugged vacation and, and you create those guardrails. I would also create guardrails around inactivity and movement accounting. Accounting is a very sedentary position or field. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And when you work remotely especially, you do not move as much. Most people do not move as much. Because my bathroom’s right here, when I go to my coworking space, I have to walk across the building and those steps add up, especially during tax season. The accountants that I’ve had that track, like to track their steps, they are appalled at how little movement they get throughout the day. And so I would create guardrails for breaks and recommend having, having breaks throughout the day. Even if it is to step back and do 20 squats at your desk or to just walk around your block. It really does make a difference.
Um, especially because you know, when you have, when you do physical activity, it does something to your brain, it changes things up a little bit and you just need that. We’re not robots. The other thing that a break can do is when we are staring at screens all day, we actually develop something called screen apnea. So many of us have heard of sleep apnea where we, you know, stop breathing in our sleep, but we also get screen apnea when we are staring at close screens. It’s not so much like tv, it’s more like our phones and our monitors. We hold our breath and we breathe very shallow up in our chest, which can create head and neck tension and shoulder tension. And if you start paying attention, you’ll notice that you start to like to breathe, you know, breathe differently. And I was giving this to actually the Michigan c p a association, I was talking about this and this woman raised her hand and she said, oh my God, I have it.
She said, I have screen apnea because all of my team will say they think that I’m mad all the time because she’ll go and she’ll like, just sigh really hard. And she’s like, what? And I said, no, I’m not mad. I’m not mad. She said, I don’t even know that I’m doing it. But what I am, what I realize I’m doing now is I’m holding my breath basically for as long as I can and then all of a sudden it comes out and she said, I have screen apnea. And that also affects our digestion, believe it or not, because when we don’t take deep breaths, our diaphragm doesn’t move properly. So it actually affects how we digest our food.
Brannon Poe, CPA (46:50):
Interesting, interesting. Well I guess that’s why you’re so wiped out. Like yes, I’ve experienced it. If, if you’re on zoom literally all day long, which is, you know, which a lot of people are on Zoom more. Yeah. You’re more tired. I’ve, I feel it. Yes.
Marcey Rader (47:06):
There’s a lot of reasons why we’re more tired, um, with Zoom. Uh, just to, just to give you a few reasons. So we tend to become like toy soldiers and not feel like we can move around as much. I know for me, I’m being very conscious not to hit my table cuz I’m normally a very animated person. It’s, um, so we feel like we can’t move around. Whereas if we were in a conference room talking, I might like to lean back in my chair or something. The other thing is, you know, a lot of times, like if I’m looking at the camera, I can’t see your face, but I wanna be able to see your face. So I’m never looking at the, you know, I’m not looking at the camera most of the time and that’s disconcerting because you’re seeing me not look at the camera. If I look out here, you’re wondering what she’s looking at? Did the Amazon truck just come? Yeah. <laugh>, did her husband walk in? Did her cat just jump up on the desk? If we were in a conference room together, you would know that I’m looking outside, you know, so, so then there’s just this like, what’s going on? What’s going on? There’s so many little things that make video meetings more tiring for our brains. Also, all the virtual backgrounds. If we have like 12 people on a screen and we all have different backgrounds, those actually can be tiring for us. That can be tiring. Interesting.
Brannon Poe, CPA (48:30):
Marcey Rader (48:31):
Wow. But I’m not saying don’t do video meetings. I’m not saying that <laugh>. Um, but, but I will say it’s okay to just use the phone. Yeah. It is okay to just use the phone and, um, you use Calendly, correct? Because I remember signing up on your site. I use Acuity Yep. As for my scheduling system and not all calls like coaching calls, they have to be video and discovery calls. I want those to be video. But a lot of other calls I will give them the option Zoom or phone. And I cannot tell you how many people have said thank you for not making this a Zoom meeting. You know, they were, you know, I, I just had somebody the other day say, this would’ve been my only Zoom meeting today and I would’ve had to have gotten ready just for this 20 minute meeting. So thank you. You know, for not, or people are just tired or they wanna move around their house or pace the floor or something.
Brannon Poe, CPA (49:29):
Yeah. Or be able to take a call from their car or from a walk or
Marcey Rader (49:34):
Yes. I’m a big fan of walking meetings. Yeah. And just going out. Yes, for sure. Or to go out on your deck and like just, you know, if it’s a nice day, it’s, it’s, you know, if it’s 60 degrees in February in North Carolina, you wanna sit on your deck and you’re like, I can’t believe I’m staring at this video camera for something that doesn’t require my face.
Brannon Poe, CPA (49:55):
Yeah, yeah. Um, well we’re gonna wrap up here quickly in just a moment. I’ve got a few questions I wanna sort of rapidly go through. Okay. Um, team bonding, tips for team bonding for remote workforce. What are your
Marcey Rader (50:15):
Guys? Oh, remote workforce. There are a lot of creative companies out there now that have things like, um, remote bingo, um, virtual scavenger hunts, you know, things like that. Um, those can be some special things, but one thing that I, I, I think can make your remote staff feel very included is that say you are a hybrid company when you are having a meeting and you provide lunch or breakfast, send them a $20 GrubHub gift card for them to also have lunch on you, you know, or something. Um, those types of things help people to feel included. I actually went to a conference once, um, and there, it was like a 300 person conference and everybody got a $25 GrubHub gift card to have lunch delivered because it was a virtual conference and we would’ve all had lunch there. And so doing little things like that I think can, can make a big difference to help people feel included.
Brannon Poe, CPA (51:31):
Yeah. Yeah. That reminds me of f with food. We had a annual team meeting and a lot of our team is in Canada and we hired a virtual chef to do a, a cook cooking class and they set it up where they sent the ingredients out to everyone and then we got on in our kitchens and did a, a Zoom cooking and it’s, it was a lot of fun.
Marcey Rader (51:58):
That is an excellent idea. Please put that in the, um, put that in your show notes cause I’m sure people will be curious about that. I had one client that was not about work, theirs was their work team, but it was like having a fun work team and they, um, watched a virtual, they watched a drag show together. <laugh>, a virtual drag show together. They said it was so much fun and it was just something really different and out of the ordinary. I love that idea. I have also seen where com there’s a company that sends out, um, s’mores kits and everybody gets like four or five marshmallows like shipped to their house in a, in a Hershey bar and, um, a little candle and a skewer and everybody can roast, you know, the marshmallows and have smores together. And there are a lot of creative ideas. A lot of creative ideas. Yeah.
Brannon Poe, CPA (52:55):
Yeah. That’s cool. Um, book, if you had to recommend one book to our audience, what would it be?
Marcey Rader (53:03):
Well, I would like to say my own, but I’ll, I’ll, um, there are prob, one of my favorite business books is Extreme Ownership by Jocko Wilin. Um, that changed the dynamic between me and one of my teammates team members for sure. And, um, to where we, you know, practice blameless problem solving. And I just, I love, it’s the book is, um, it’s military, it’s Jocko Wilin and somebody else, and I can’t remember his name, which is unfortunate, but they, they talk about how like this situation would be in the military and then this situation would be the same situation would be in business. But really it comes down to everybody owning what they do Yeah. At your company. And I absolutely love that book.
Brannon Poe, CPA (54:00):
Love it. All right. Now what is your book? Cuz I have to ask.
Marcey Rader (54:02):
It’s, um, called Work Well Play, more Productive, clutter-Free, healthy Living, one Step at a Time. And what’s different about it is that it is written, um, over 12 months and each month has a section on productivity, section on clutter and a section on health. And within each of those, there’s a novice pro and master level habit. So it really can kind of meet you wherever you are.
Brannon Poe, CPA (54:33):
Love it. There’s little habits.
Marcey Rader (54:35):
Brannon Poe, CPA (54:36):
That? Little habits added? I said those little habits add up.
Marcey Rader (54:38):
They do. They do.
Brannon Poe, CPA (54:40):
So, all right, last question. There’s one bit of advice you wanna give to our audience. What would it be?
Marcey Rader (54:49):
Turn off your notifications. Um, they are not on to make you more productive. They are there to give you a dopamine response to make you use the tool more you’ve been conditioned to have them on, but that conditioning came from the psychology of the dopamine response. You know, the, the, the chemical reaction of the dopamine response and the psychology that, you know, we need those, want those, um, that they’re there to help us. And really they’re just there to distract us.
Brannon Poe, CPA (55:23):
They’re there to keep you on the screen. Increase your screen time for that app. That’s right. Right. Love that advice. That’s awesome. Well, Marcy, this has been a very fun conversation and I’ve come away with a lot. I know our audience has. And so thank you so much for joining us. How can people best find you online and connect with you?
Marcey Rader (55:47):
Sure. Our company website is hello raco.com and I am also on LinkedIn. And so you can find and, and follow me on LinkedIn, but hello raco.com is where we hang out the most.
Brannon Poe, CPA (56:02):
Awesome. Well thank you so much.
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