Ever sit down and look at your to-do list only to wonder how you’ll EVER get it all done? I’ve definitely been there. I used to stay up every night working on my to-do list til 3 a.m. or later and I still felt like I was getting no where. Not to mention, there was that nagging feeling that I wasn’t doing enough as a mom or a wife (that’s the worst, isn’t it?).
Fast forward to today, and the way I approach things is tooootally different. I feel like I work less but get way more done, and I never feel like I’m putting off my priorities.
So, here’s my top 5 tips to help you get some balance, too.
FIGURE OUT YOUR “FIVE TO FOCUS”
First things first, if you want balance, you’re going to have to figure out what that actually looks like. Think about how and what you need to feel like the most productive and happiest version of yourself every day. Some examples of what you can put on your list would be: family time, a clean work space, meditation, fitness, healthy meals prepped, an hour to yourself, etc. The point here isn’t to think about your actual to-do list, but instead to think about you need so that you can get that to-do list done.
SET OFFICE HOURS LIKE YOU’RE WORKING 9-5
… or 11-3, or 4-8, or literally whatever the heck works for you. One of the beauties of being an entrepreneur is that you get to set your own hours. It’s empowering isn’t it? If you’ve always had a “typical job” you may have noticed that owning your own business requires a lot more productivity than your average 40 hr/week job. You have to be highly motivated and have a passion for what you’re doing or nothing will get done. The thing is, no one can be motivated all the time. There’s going to be days where you’re just not feeling up to it. One way to bypass all that, is to set office hours and then hold yourself accountable to those hours.
SET EXPECTATIONS WITH YOUR CLIENTS
Set healthy boundaries and guidelines with your clients early on, that you can outline in a welcome packet or an intro email. Make sure to include the days you work, what your hours look like, when and how they can expect to communicate with you, expected turnaround times, etc. The key here is to give them as much information as possible so they can just refer to your packet rather than emailing you with every little question they have. It might take some practice, but once you set those boundaries, you need to stick to them. Don’t make exceptions or you’ll end up right back where you started.
GET DETAILED WITH YOUR TIME
Okay, first let me start by saying, I have never been the type of person who likes routines. So I get it if scheduling out each day makes you cringe just a little. But as much as it hurts to admit this, it has been one of the most important changes I have made to date.
Start simple by scheduling big blocks of time with just one goal in mind like “do all the laundry” or “finish emails”.
Once you get a hang of the bigger blocks of time, you can get more and more detailed about your day. Organizing your calendar like this will make you feel extra productive and you’ll be checking things off your to-do list in no time.
SEPARATE YOUR WORKSPACE
Just like with time, trying to multitask your space, can tank your productivity. If your idea of an office space is sitting at your kitchen table working on your laptop while everyone eats breakfast, your work will never feel totally like work and your family time will never totally feel like family time. Create a space that’s designated just for work so you can truly focus.
If you’re feeling like working at home just isn’t cutting it, a great alternative is working from a local co-working space or coffee shop.