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Ep 64 - 2021 Kickoff Week: Top 5 for the New Year

Goal, Plan, Action on a board surrounded by an array of office supplies

We close out our three-pod series with a Top 5 list of things to do for a great start to 2021. From looking at everything you do with fresh eyes, to the Pomodoro Technique, to our favorite podcasts, listen as we come up with ideas to support professional and personal self-improvement in the new year.

Top 5 Tips

  1. Review and re-do
  2. The Pomodoro Technique
  3. Learn something new
  4. Networking
  5. Colin’s favorite podcasts


Find Pomodoro examples at and or on the Apple Watch.

Colin’s favorite podcasts:

Author Images
Darren Buford, Massage & Bodywork Editor-in-Chief
Kristin Coverly, LMT, ABMP Director of Education
Colin Kelliher, ABMP audio producer
Author Bio

Darren Buford is editor-in-chief of Massage & Bodywork magazine and senior director of communications for ABMP.

Kristin Coverly is director of professional education for ABMP and a licensed massage therapist.

Colin Kelliher is audio producer for ABMP.


This episode sponsored by:

Full Transcript

0:00:00.0 S?: Anatomy Trains is excited to announce a new on-demand video course with Tom Myers coming soon, Deeper Ground: Restoration and Vitality for the Female Pelvis. Reach your deeper ground of embodied awareness and strategic confidence with this four-hour tour of the female pelvis, including its key points and unique challenges. Course highlights include hands-on palpation certainty and technique review for the major muscle groups; assessments and techniques for posterior and anterior pelvic floor, psoas complex and diaphragm; common perinatal biomechanical issues explained; and much more. Sign up for the Anatomy Trains newsletter at to be notified when the course is available. Ruth Werner's best-selling book, A Massage Therapist's Guide to Pathology, is a highly regarded comprehensive resource that sets the standard for pathology education. Written for massage therapy students and practitioners, this groundbreaking resource serves up a comprehensive review of the pathophysiology, signs, symptoms and treatment of more than 500 diseases and disorders. Learn more at


0:01:32.5 Darren Buford: Welcome to the ABMP podcast. My name is Darren Buford, I'm the Editor-in-Chief of Massage and Bodywork magazine and Senior Director of Communications for ABMP.

0:01:41.5 Kristin Coverly: And I'm Kristin Coverly, ABMP's Director of Professional Education and a licensed massage therapist.

0:01:46.4 DB: Welcome to our third day of our podcast series, 2021 Kickoff Week. We hope you've been listening for the past two days, as we began the ABMP Podcast season with a series of podcasts to help you set up your 2021 for success. On Tuesday, we talked about sharpening your skills, and yesterday, Kristin spoke about the two C's. Our final podcast today will be our top five tips for 2021. I'll take two, Kristin will take two, and our guest will take one. Now, I would like to introduce our special guest today, the man behind the scenes, our podcast producer, Colin Kelliher. Hello, Colin.

0:02:24.2 Colin Kelliher: Hey Darren, hey Kristin, how's it going?

0:02:26.0 KC: Hey, welcome to this side of the pod.

0:02:28.4 CK: Yeah, it's super, super weird. It's a little intimidating. I'm not gonna lie, but I am excited to be on here with both of you.

0:02:37.4 DB: Well, welcome.

0:02:37.4 KC: Yeah, and we're excited to have you on this side. Everyone, behind the scenes, Colin makes the ABMP Podcast, so big kudos to Colin for making us sound great every week.

0:02:49.7 CK: And big kudos to our listeners who listen every week, so we definitely wanna say a big thank you to you as well.

0:02:56.1 KC: Okay, so let's jump right in. Tip number one: Review and redo, and I mean everything. So let's think about every page of your website, every description of your services on your online scheduling program, every aspect of your social media accounts, any way that your practice and business touches the outside world and current and potential clients. Any time that you're interacting with anyone or visible to anyone, take a look at it with fresh eyes. Be systematic about it, make a list of every single page for each product and work your way through. I love a spreadsheet, I encourage you to make a spreadsheet, it'll make you feel great when you can check that box, that you've done it. Look at it with fresh eyes, get input from others, there's no need to be an island here and do it all yourself. Maybe it's not your strong point, reach out, get help, get support. Edit existing items if possible, or you may have to totally redo them if they absolutely need a refresh and re-haul.

0:03:56.9 KC: Another tip would be to look to other websites, look to other businesses for inspiration, within the massage profession, but also outside of it. Not sure how to redo or refresh your website? Look at 20, 25 different websites. Get inspired by what other people are doing, and find a way to make that work for you and your practice. We are a digital age, and your digital image is so important, make sure it is pristine, make sure it says what you want and communicates who you are as a business to everyone in the outside world.

0:04:28.2 DB: Kristin, somewhere in there, you said "edit," and I got really excited. So if you listened to the Tuesday podcast, I talked about editing and editing again, and editing again, and also, people, Kristin is a spreadsheet master, absolutely incredible at it. Tip number two: You are going to take what Kristin said, as you are going to redo and re-look at all of your things, and the way you're gonna do it is a strategy called the Pomodoro Technique. The Pomodoro Technique is named after the tomato timer that you might see in kitchens, you may have purchased, you may have seen in your grandma's kitchen, it's a 25-minute timer. So the strategy here is to do high-level things for a two-hour window. This is really important, I'm gonna repeat this: High-level things. This is strategy, it's not tactical things.

0:05:16.9 DB: So the way a Pomodoro works is, you work for two hours, you work in a 25-minute increment, then you take a five-minute break, a 25-minute increment, a five-minute break, and so on. The 25 minutes are super focused on what you're working on, on one thing. The five-minute break is not to go check your phone, it's not to open up email again, the five-minute break is to stretch, get some water, do some jumping jacks, and then you're right back in. This is for a two-hour window.

0:05:46.6 DB: It's very important when you do this to turn off anything that could be an interruption. One of the keys to the Pomodoro's success is putting up an actual tomato. We do this in our office, I do it at home. I have a giant tomato that we have printed and made it, and we have also laminated, and then, on the Pomodoro, on the tomato, we will write "8-10" and put it on the door, hang it on the door, tape it to the door, and that way, everyone around you, if you're in an office, if you're in a home environment, they know not to bother you for that time segment. And again, remember, it's really important to not check your phone or not do anything that's gonna cause a disruption during those two hours. You don't need to do this every single day, some people do. I would suggest trying one and see how you do. I think you're gonna be blown away about how successful you are by really setting that time aside for yourself.

0:06:43.7 DB: You can find Pomodoros in many areas, digitally is what I'm referring to here. There are many online. Just typing in "Pomodoro" into a Google search, there were so many that listed on the main page, but a couple that popped off were and If you own an Apple Watch, it's also called Focus on the app on your Apple Watch. There are many out there available, they all do the same thing with a 25-minute timer that the second that's done, immediately launches into a five-minute timer, which immediately launches into a 25-minute timer after that. We just wanna recommend you give this a try, because I think you'll find it very successful.

0:07:24.4 KC: That's amazing too. What great advice, because I can tell you, we are getting emails, phone calls, someone walking in the room every five minutes, it's so hard to really focus, so I love the idea of actually having a strategy to be more productive and to make that happen. I love it, and I love that there's a tomato involved. How can you go wrong? [laughter] Something else, let's talk about something else that you can do during that time, leads to tip number three: Learn something new, and I'm looking at all aspects of that scale, large to small. So when we think about our massage therapy and bodywork world, of course, on a large scale, we can talk about learning a brand new modality, something totally different, it will open you up and your practice up to work with a whole new client base and demographic, it will really change the direction of your practice. Then, on a smaller scale, if you're not quite ready to do a big, new modality move, or maybe there's not a modality that you're super excited about right now, and you're waiting until you can see something that really feels like it's the next move for you, let's look at the small scale.

0:08:28.5 KC: Let's try to introduce one new technique each month into every session. I used to do this when I had a full-time practice, I would call it the move of the month, and it just kept it interesting and exciting for both me and my clients. So I would learn a new technique and I would do that new technique with every single client, during every single session that month, and then the next month, I'd learn a new one, and some I kept and some I let go of, but it was just a great way to try something new and keep it fresh. Not only will it help your practice evolve and grow, but learning new modalities, learning new techniques will keep things interesting and beneficial for your clients and for you, so give it a try. Learn something new, put the tomato on the door and learn a new technique.

0:09:14.8 DB: Kristin, would you tell your clients that you were doing the move of the month, or you would just introduce it?

0:09:21.6 KC: No, I would just introduce it, like ninja-style, and then I would wait and see who commented on, like, "Oh, I really loved that new thing that you did." So sometimes they would and sometimes they wouldn't, and then I knew whether they were winners or I can let that go.

0:09:37.1 DB: Nice. Tip number four: Networking. This is a can of worms, Kristin and I could do 20 podcasts on this, but we're not gonna do that, I'm gonna read some tips. I'm gonna divide networking into three categories, the first is professionally. So in my family, my sister and my wife, they are professional salespeople, and one of the things I've watched them do over the years are join local Chamber of Commerces, join partnerships that are local to their downtown or their city, join local groups, national groups, and for me personally, it was joining boards and committees. Getting out professionally and meeting people is a great way to talk about who you are and letting people know about the services you provide.

0:10:22.9 DB: Next is referrals. So one of the reasons my wife and sister are so successful is, they loved connecting with name, whatever it was for their thing, the widget they were selling. For a massage therapist, that could be connecting with chiropractors, PTs, acupuncturists, your primary care physician. One of the strategies that worked really well for them was bringing lunch, setting up lunches, setting up coffees, meeting with people. Again, this was a way to set up a referral network. And finally, customer referrals. One of the things that we wanna recommend is something like Nextdoor, if you don't use that app, that's may be something you wanna do. It's designed for your zip code, that could be a way to put out to your local area that you're a massage therapist open for business. And the next one I would say is, connect with your local library. Libraries are always looking for presenters on certain material, this is a great way to present in front of people, and also to get the word out about the benefits and all the research that goes along with massage therapy and bodywork.

0:11:20.8 KC: And I like, Darren, that you said Nextdoor. I don't think it's a vehicle that most massage therapists think of when we think of our digital opportunity for social marketing, and to me, it's sort of the new age equivalent of putting our business cards up on the coffee shop bulletin board. So I encourage people to give that a look, it might be something new, something new and interesting.

0:11:38.4 DB: And our final tip today is from our producer, Colin Kelliher. Colin, what's the good word for the people out there? What's tip number five?

0:11:49.5 CK: It would come as no surprise that my tip for 2021 is, listen to podcasts. I've been very fortunate to work with both of you, as well as Ruth, Ruth Werner, on her podcast weekly, and the two podcasts that we're producing right now are pretty different than some of the other ones that are out there. We have a really good interview format with the ABMP Podcast, but we don't stick just to massage, we kind of open it up to everything, from working with best-selling authors, aromatherapy, self-help, a lot of different things, and that's been really exciting.

0:12:33.3 CK: And then with Ruth, it's like she's the massage sleuth. She finds something, she investigate it, lets us know a little bit about it, what you can do when you run into these different kinds of situations. That one's one of my favorite podcasts, and I am not a massage therapist, and it's one of my wife's favorite podcasts and she's a nurse, and she feels that she learned something every week from Ruth. And so I would say definitely listen to those two, and I'm definitely being biased on that, but podcasts have a way of opening you up to something you may have never experienced before, and definitely, from a business standpoint, there are so many out there that I think anyone should listen to. Currently, there's 1.75 million podcasts going right now, with 43 million episodes. So you may have a question out there, I guarantee you that you can find it by listening to a podcast, and I'm going to give you at least two here that I think are a big help, and the first one is the $100 MBA.

0:13:44.1 CK: Now, that is hosted by Omar Zenhom. He is amazing, he releases a podcast every single day, he has over 1700 episodes for you to choose from, each one is anywhere from 10-15, maybe 20 minutes long if he gets excited, but they are amazing, very short, very valuable. Don't get scared that there's 1700 episodes. If you have a question about your business, he has an answer, and it takes 15 minutes of time, and they're amazing, and I'm gonna give you one episode I'd like you to check out, which is the one that aired on December 30th, and it's about setting goals in 2021. Omar doesn't want you to set goals, he wants you to do something else, so I want you to take a listen to that. It is, I think, 14 minutes' long, it's amazing.

0:14:36.8 CK: And the other one is one that I don't think that Darren or Kristin would think that I listen to, but it is Oprah Winfrey's Super Soul Conversations. It is... It's amazing. I mean, it is just one of my favorites, it helps you connect to the deeper meaning of the world, which is so important, especially in the world we're living in now. She speaks with best-selling authors, spiritual luminaries, health and wellness experts, it's a must-listen. Episodes range from new conversations she's having, to ones that she had back in the '90s that are relevant today, and I'm going to suggest the episode that she just aired on December 15th about intention. It is so fascinating, I've listened to it twice now, and it's really helped me out to start 2021 with a different view on intention, and it's also gotten me to think about how I can eliminate the excuses and create solutions for this year, and it's helped me get into the mindset that I need to eliminate the excuses, find creative solutions, and as so many people over the world have done, thank you, Oprah Winfrey.

0:16:01.0 KC: Colin, I'm so excited to hear you're a fellow Super Souler.

0:16:05.0 CK: It's amazing.

0:16:05.9 KC: I know!

0:16:07.8 CK: So it's definitely not something I would have found on my own, it was definitely something my wife listen to and I happened to overhear it one day, and maybe started listening to it without telling her, and then now, it's something that we can both listen to together. It's amazing, I love it so much. So those would be two. I also suggest... There's so many podcasts out there, find some that have nothing to do with your business, that take your mind off of your business. I know your business is important, but self-care is important too, and entertainment is important too. There's 1.75 million podcasts out there, there's definitely one out there for you.

0:16:50.3 DB: That's it, listeners. That's our top five, and that wraps up our three-pod series this week. We'll be back next week with an interview for you, and don't forget that Ruth Werner's "I have a Client Who... " is at its normal time tomorrow, on Friday. Thank you, everyone, for listening.

0:17:05.8 KC: Thanks for joining us. Here's to a great 2021.

0:17:11.2 S?: This has been a production of Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. ABMP is the leading association for massage therapists and bodywork professionals in the United States and beyond. From liability insurance to professional advocacy, award-winning publications to the world's largest continuing education library for massage to this podcast, no organization provides more for its members and the profession than ABMP. ABMP works for you.