Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a certified Lifestyle Manager, Celebrity Concierge, Time Management Coach, Media Personality, Public Speaker and founder of Take It Easy Personal Concierge Inc., a luxury boutique concierge firm located in Toronto, Canada and helping clients across North America.
After over a decade on the road helping celebrities such as Mick Jagger, Bono and Lady Gaga, I am now using the time management techniques I learned on tour to teach my clients. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a client utilize the time management techniques I have taught them to fulfill their goals and become successful.
How did you first get into the lifestyle management field?
I wish I had a better answer, but I kinda fell into the lifestyle management field. Growing up I always knew I wanted to be involved with behind the scenes work for events, film, television, radio, or really anything creative. Though I initially thought I wanted to work on more of the technical side of things, after an internship on tour with Kenny Rogers, as one of his many assistants, I quickly realized that I was really good at helping people and I really loved it!
You are a graduate of the Film and Television Production Program at Humber College and you hold a Bachelor of Communications in Media Arts from the University of Western Sydney in Australia. How have those programs helped you in your career?
Humber was a great school for me. I loved the hands-on approach to teaching and in fact, the greatest aspect of the program was having to do an internship to graduate. Leading up to that internship with the Kenny Rogers’ tour, I was starting to question my choice in study and career path. The technical world of film and television didn’t interest me as much I though it would, and I was more drawn to live events, concerts and theatre productions. I asked my professor if I could do an internship with a company that specialized in those fields instead of film and television. He agreed and I will forever be thankful to him for the opportunity.
I loved live events. I loved being away from the technical side of the industry. And most of all, I loved helping people, making their lives easier.
As for my time in Australia, I decided to get a Bachelor degree and – well – go to Australia. The Communications degree has certainly helped me navigate through the world of being able to communicate with my clients and bosses.
You spent 10 years on the road supporting some of the world’s most famous touring musicians and entertainers including The Rolling Stones, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kenny Rogers, Nickelback, and KISS. What was it like to be in such high-pressure situations with such high-profile clients?
I get asked this question a lot and what I find funny is that I never thought of the situations as high-pressure. Yes – I had a lot of high profile people counting on me, and I still do. But I loved what I was doing and I still do.
I did quickly learn never to take anything personally. The pressure of performing every night can take a toll on artists and they get a bit cranky. They tend to take their frustrations out on the closest person to them, which was usually me. I learned that I was just an outlet for them and let it slide of my back. I never try to become friends with the people I help. I keep it a very professional relationship. I also learned not to ask why after a request came in. I just put my head down and get to work.
Do you have any interesting stories from the road?
I have so many interesting stories from the road. A lot of what I did was confidential and many of the cool moments passed me by because I wasn’t living in the moment. I was living to complete and anticipate the next task. Getting to the next city, the next hotel, those were on my mind when the spectacular shows were happening. I am way better now at appreciating every situation, but I really wish I had stopped and smelt the roses when I was actually touring. One of my favourite all-time stories about being on the road was meeting my husband. We were both working the Rolling Stones tour and Mick Jagger was a huge part in playing matchmaker. Who else could say that as part of their love story!
You created Take It Easy Personal Concierge Inc. in 2007. What was the thought process that went into starting your own firm?
Being on the road takes a toll and I was missing my home in Toronto. I still absolutely loved being an assistant so I knew I didn’t want a complete change of careers, I just wanted to stay more local. I also knew that there was more to life than helping one rock star at a time.
The thought that I could take the skills I learned out on the road and put them to use by helping more than one client thrilled me. Very early on in my career, I noticed that the celebrities I supported all had specifically detailed delegation and time management systems. I learned that these skills were exactly what helped the stars stand out from the crowd and become a huge success.
I honestly felt a little stuck helping only one artist at a time and really felt I had a little secret that shouldn’t be kept between me and the stars anymore. So now I teach individuals and organizations how to better use the 24 hours they have been given daily, to be more successful and less stressed, through keynote speeches, coaching sessions and general administrative tasks at Take It Easy. I created my company to help as many people as possible fulfill their goals through proper time management techniques.
What sets the Take it Easy team apart from other personal concierge firms?
The experience I offer for sure. I am hands on with every client. I love to help clients save time in their busy lives and also teach them different strategies to make their lives less hectic. I have found that other concierge services rely on their clients telling them what to do, I have evolved past putting my head down and doing what the client wants.
I get angry when I see other personal concierge claiming through marketing that they can help clients relax and spend time with family. You see pictures on their websites of families smiling together in an exotic beach location. I don’t think that is the case. Yes – if I run an errand for you I can focus on other things, but I think looking at the bigger picture of why I don’t have time to run the errand myself or why my life seems to be chaotic will get me closer to the beach location. To-Do lists never go away. If we don’t teach our clients time management strategies they are going to always have another task taking the place of that errand they gave us. We need to teach them about ROI, the right things to delegate and outsource – not just do an errand blindly and create false hope.
What are some of the similarities and differences in how you approach the lifestyle management of a celebrity versus someone like a CEO?
Every single one of my clients is unique and I cater directly to each and every one of them by offering individual strategies. Whether you are a celebrity or a CEO or a single parent looking for ways to better plan out your day, I understand that we can all be time-starved with dreams of somehow becoming a bigger and better success story. We are all given 86,400 seconds in the day and it is up to us to try and figure out the best ways to spend them. I help all my clients navigate through the overwhelming selection of time management techniques that can be found in the world today. If you really look at them, a lot contradict each other and it is hard to know where to start and who to listen to. I have a skill at dissecting other’s schedules and teaching them the technique that will make them turn those 86,400 seconds into pure success – no matter what they do as a career.
What advice would you have for regular, everyday people on how to better utilize their time on a daily basis?
Time blocking and focus and please do not multitask. Multitasking is the death of efficiency. It takes the human brain a few seconds to switch between one task to the other which is a waste of valuable time. Everybody needs to write absolutely every task into their schedule and focus on that one task before moving on to something else.
With all the planning that you do for other people, how do you find time to optimize your own day?
I love trying to find new ways to optimize my time. I’m always playing around with different techniques. My go has always been time blocking. I use my schedule for everything; errands, tasks, meetings, events, personal time, follow up notes, etc. I then look ahead at my day on a weekly and daily basis and I prepare for everything in my schedule. I make sure I take a close look at exactly what I need to get through the days and weeks. I also make sure to never multitask. Focusing is the key to perfect time management and if you focus during each task in the scheduled block of time you will be extremely efficient and succeed at a perfectly run day!
Let the readers know where to find you online.
You can find me at www.takeiteasyconcierge.com and on social, @tarra_concierge