We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelly Nolan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelly, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I’m the last person anyone would have thought would leave law to start my own business. I not only love law, but I’m a pretty type-A, linear thinker who’s wanted to be a lawyer since sixth grade.
That said, after 5+ years practicing as a patent litigator, the combative and aggressive nature of litigation grated against the Minnesota in me. I started looking for a more collaborative alternative.
As I searched for an alternative career path, I became interested in organizing, but not the physical, Marie Kondo kind. Instead, I wondered if I could make a business out of helping others organize their time and information.
Let me back up for context. While I’d been decently organized through law school with paper planners, becoming an adult practicing law overwhelmed me. As a young attorney in a big Boston law firm, I felt buried under to-do lists, post-it notes, and the stress of worrying that something was falling through the cracks and I’d miss a deadline.
Given deadlines are HUGE in law, I was forced over time to figure out systems to organize my time and information.
In short, I’m a big believer that you don’t have to be “naturally organized” to live a more calm life – but you do need a great system.
And, while I’d felt very alone during that overwhelmed time in my life, as if everyone else had gotten a “how to adult” memo I’d missed, I slowly realized others also felt overwhelmed by life’s logistics. Working women, in particular, feel the pain of time management challenges because we shoulder so many roles in our families, careers, and in our personal lives. Juggling clients, meal planning, work email, getting dinner on the table, figuring out childcare, scheduling doctor and vet visits, driving kids around, and so much more takes an incredible amount of coordination and mental energy – and often we’re not taught how to do it.
So, I started a business to share my time management method with others, particularly working women. After honing my method by working one-on-one with women, I now run group programs for working women who want to manage their professional, personal and family lives with less stress and more calm clarity. They’re effective, weirdly fun, and create amazing communities of smart women seeking smart, realistic solutions.
I still kind of can’t believe I made the entrepreneurial leap, but I’m so glad I did. I created the collaborative work environment I was looking for – and I find my work both incredibly rewarding and fun.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My approach to time management is different because (1) I’m all about step-by-step actionable strategies, and (2) my method is designed for women. First, I find a lot of people will preach high-level time management concepts that sound simple enough, but when you go to implement, you get really tripped up. It’s frustrating and makes you think there’s something wrong with you. I love walking people step-by-step through how to set up systems to get you where you want to go so that when you walk away from working with me, you have a system that’s up and running and you’re feeling the results already.
Second, a lot of time management advice out there is written by men. Don’t get me wrong – there’s value there and I read their work. That said, a lot of it doesn’t work for a busy working woman, especially a mom. My method is designed to help women manage allll their roles, unload the mental burden as much as possible, and be flexible to adapt to the curveball-life of motherhood. Many clients come to me after trying a lot of other strategies out there. When mine is the first that clicks, I take a lot of pride in that. Plus, we have a lot of fun in the process. Given that my goal is to help women find time and breathing space to enjoy their lives more, I love that the process to get there is fun, too!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ooof tricky to answer this during covid! My list of favorite San Diego spots in no particular order: Izakaya Masa in Mission Hills for sushi, Mariscos Nine Seas Seafood taco truck in the South Park Target parking lot, Kettle & Stone in Mission Hills for coffee, Kate Sessions Park in PB, Coronado dog beach really early in the morning (if you have a dog, obviously), and for early mornings with kids: Mission Bay beach and Liberty Station playground (if it’s open – I hope it is when this publishes!)
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This is a shoutout to Katelyn Parsons, an incredible entrepreneur friend who’s also in San Diego. Every entrepreneur should be so lucky to find a friend like Katelyn. In a world where you often find yourself thinking, “what am I doing?!” with no one around to ask, having a friend like Katelyn is huge. She’s an incredible mix of someone who’s basically sunshine in human form who will generously share all of her entrepreneurial wisdom with you, while also pushing you to push yourself in your business and put yourself out there, while always remaining true to who you are. Katelyn – I couldn’t do this without you!
Main photo by Kara Reynolds Photo
Other photos by DayNa Gliebe and Indigo Creativ