Write That Down: One CEO’s Major Hacks for Managing the Hustle

photo credit:  May Designs  

photo credit: May Designs 

When Mica May, CEO and founder of May Designs, couldn’t find a pretty and practical notebook to take to client meetings she started making her own— literally stapling pages together. A woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do. The designer did it so well that her clients starting asking where they came from, giving May the confidence boost that she was on to something good.

Now, May Designs offers customized notebooks (and more!) that easily fit into your purse. It’s a lifestyle brand that believes in the power of writing it down to get it done.

Here’s why:


You may not be surprised to learn that CEO and founder of May Designs, Mica May, abides by the write it down policy— a habit many of us have abandoned. The abundance of apps, notes in our phones, and the landscape of the multi-screen economy may have you thinking, paper? Who needs it? 

But don’t give up on pen and paper just yet. When you write something down, it not only helps you commit that task or goal to short-term memory, but it keeps you accountable to yourself and others. It also helps you manage the day-to-day minutiae. After all, the devil isn't in the details, the devil is the details. Luckily he doesn't like notebooks.  

"The devil isn't in the details, the devil is the details."  

Tweet this. 

Part of that management strategy includes determining what you need to handle over the course of your day and the tasks that you can let others handle. For a long time, May Designs was a one-woman show, but now the CEO makes the point to ask herself, “‘What is on my list today that is something that only I can work on?’ Then I do those things first,” she shares.

That requires writing said “things” down. If you don’t have something to check-off or cross off, you’re using up valuable brain space attempting to keep track of it all. It may be impressive that you can remember everything, but it’s not using your talents wisely. Free up your thinker to come up with brilliant ideas, instead of keep track of tasks. May says, “Writing things down clears your mind and allows you to set clear priorities.”


Speaking of priorities…

There are *obviously* parts of every job that don’t tug on your heartstrings and there are tasks throughout the day that no one will feel an emotional connection to (does anyone LOVE going to the bank?), but finding the joy in your job is an important part of success. There have to be points in your day where you get excited or you will burnout.

“Writing things down clears your mind and allows you to set clear priorities.”

Tweet this.

Mica May, founder and CEO  May Designs . 

Mica May, founder and CEO May Designs

“When I only had a couple of employees and three babies and my husband was still working full time, we asked ourselves, ‘How are we going to get through a single day?’” May recalls. “So, I wrote down literally every single thing that had to happen on each day of the week—get the kids dressed, take them to school—and put a name by it. I asked myself, ‘Am I emotionally connected to this task? Someone needs to drop Madelyn off at art class at 3 on Wednesday. Do I care if that’s me? Nope, but I want to pick her up because she’s excited to show me what she did, and I can stay and chat with her art teacher at the end of class.”

Consider it finding the joie de vivre in your work day. YES! It exists. The happier you are, the better your work.


Overcomplicating the process is not going to get your anywhere. The point isn’t that “writing it down” is new advice, it just so happens to be a crucial step we skip. Getting back into the habit is the hardest part.

May advises blocking your time in 15-minute increments or using a paper calendar paired with a digital "Google Calendar" to help you provide a visual representation of your days and week ahead.

She also says sustainable habits are the key to success. “Truly look at your current habits and be honest with yourself,” shares the CEO. “Do you love the way you are spending your time? What small changes can you make that will maximize your work time vs. your personal life?”

We call that working the write way.

To see everything that May Designs has to offer, click here. And then tell us what your goals in the comments below! Consider it your first step to holding yourself accountable.