One of the biggest struggles I had as a business owner, the wife of a shift worker, and mom was trying to manage it all! I felt like I was drowning most of the time. I also felt like a huge failure because I could not keep up with all the things. I was missing deadlines, forgetting to pay my staff, and barely talking to my husband - we were just passing at the front door as we threw kids and instructions at each other.
I started my own business so that I could have some freedom - and FREEDOM is not what I felt. I felt overwhelmed, stressed, and on the verge of burnout.
The first thing that I share with my clients is the magic of the morning. Waking up before the rest of my family really allowed me to ground myself, sip some hot coffee, journal, get in a little movement, and plan out my day. Do you know who is calling, texting, and emailing early in the am? NO ONE! It's pretty incredible how much you can accomplish when there are no outside distractions. The trick is also to NOT check your phone - you can easily get sucked into watching reels, playing a game, or replying to emails. The morning routine is typically the same every day, but some times I switch it up! Think about it - if you wake up 30 mins early each day - you get an extra 3.5 hours every single week. What could you accomplish with an extra 3.5 hours each week? I use the extra time to write, read, workout, reflect, mediate, and just have some down time because when the kids wake up there is not a lot of time for that. I also don't feel like that I am trying to catch a break all day - because I did this first thing.
My morning routine started as an extra 30 mins - and has now turned into an extra 90 mins each morning. YUP - you will have to go to bed a little earlier but I promise you the benefits are worth it.
If I say YES to this, then what am I saying NO to?
If I say Yes to taking on clients in the evening, then I say NO to spending time with my family. This is a real life example of something that I had to say no to. I mean I didn't have clients coming in all the time, but I was struggling to make it all work in the evenings. Remember, my husband works shifts so lots of times I am the solo parent. The evening clients were something that I dreaded, and every time I had one booked it I would stress, try to get the kids set up for an hour so that I could get it done, and attempt to arrange pick ups and drops offs for activities. It was a nightmare. I was missing out on fun, activities, and bedtime routines. So one day, I just decided that this was a hard boundary that I had to create. Most of my clients were happy to squeeze me in at lunch or opt for an early morning call - but I did lose a few people.
One of the other things that I have noticed with some of my business clients is that they work all the time. Creating boundaries around that can be extremely hard - I KNOW - but it is essential to ensuring that you are taking care of yourself and other priorities don't slip. Every day can look different, but it is really important to give yourself a hard quitting time for the day. This is especially tough for people that are working from home. I find that if you don't have strict boundaries around work and home it is super easy to let work take over.
Are there some boundaries that you need to set?
One of the greatest time management strategies that I use is CHUNKING. This happens at the beginning of each week. I create the list of things that I have to accomplish this week - and then I start chunking them into categories. They are typically business, non-profit, health, family, fun, and house. I save time and generate productivity but grouping these things together. Errands are a big one for lots of people - they waste time each day driving around. I look at the week and block out chunks of time - and then jot down the tasks that have to be completed. It is quite helpful to see a long list of things categorized into 3-4 chunks. Ours brain handle these bigger chunks better that a long laundry list of things to do. When I see the list - I feel anxious, but as soon as I place it in the category and drop the category into a space in my week - I don't feel so stressed!
Managing my time and helping others do the same is so fulfilling. There are a lot of things that I want to do in this life - and time management allows me to take on opportunities, set boundaries when I need to, and plan ahead to ensure that I live in line with my values and my priorities!
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