What successful people know: Erin Bury on making time for what matters

For someone who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in history, Erin Bury has achieved the kind of business success that might make MBA students jealous.

Bury is the managing director of Eighty-Eight, a Toronto-based communications agency that works with clients ranging from Yellow Pages to Intrepid Travel. For anyone who works in the marketing sector, however, Bury is best known for seemingly being everywhere at once. If you attend a major conference, she is most likely moderating one of the panels. If you have a favourite podcast, chances are she’s been a guest. Her social media presence is consistent and compelling — so much so that she’s been retweeted by Oprah Winfrey.

These qualities made Bury the perfect person to help us launch a new series on the Course Compare Blog, where we’re asking successful people to weigh on one of the challenges we believe most people using our platform face. Namely:

“What’s a time management tip you’d offer to someone trying to carve out enough time to pursue a learning opportunity amid an already busy life?”

Bury agreed that time management is a struggle for anyone, including someone who might be looking into a second career or merely upgrading their skills.

“They say if you want something done, give it to a busy person. I’m one of those busy people,” Bury says. “I run an agency, have a wine tour business I call my ‘side hustle,’ I speak at a lot of events, advise three startups, and I’m getting married this fall.”

Luckily, Bury says, she’s always been an extremely organized person, and offered a few tips for making it all work.

“First, figure out the suite of tools that will help with scheduling and time management. I use a combination of Google Calendar, my Productivity Planner (a book that helps me outline daily to-dos and track progress), and my iPhone notes for ongoing to-do lists,” she suggests.

Second, Bury suggests, create a daily or weekly schedule that carves out time for different things.

“For example, I focus on my full-time job during the week, and leave Sunday for any personal admin tasks, work on my side hustle, or catch-up on other items,” she says. “I take every Friday night and Saturday off work completely, since I’m a big believer that you need to have downtime.”

By compartmentalizing, Bury says, she’s not always trying to juggle 100 things — like working a full-time job and trying to find enough hours for a part-time course, workshop or bootcamp. This requires a certain degree of ruthlessness, she admits. 

“Don’t say yes to every friend invite, coffee invitation, or work obligation,” she says. “Being busy and making time for learning opportunities, side hustles, or other priorities means getting really good at saying no, and prioritizing the things that really matter.”

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