I wasn’t giving myself the permission to slow down and have the balance I wanted. I was tipped so far to the busy side, that I forgot all about what I actually needed to serve myself, my clients and my family well.
FYI – I speak to many other female entrepreneurs who feel the same. There’s never any time to step away and have a break, there’s never any time to step outside and look at life and business as a whole.
If there’s nothing left of you, then entrepreneurship is going to feel like an empty, soulless, stressful journey that is actually costing more than you are receiving in income, and Im pretty sure that’s not why you started your business.
Balance Strategies to keep your business sustainable
- Clarity and planning
I used to just coach, put out packages, offers, challenges, with no real plan. #rookiemistake
It wasn’t until I started making quarterly plans, and then working back that I could be more strategic, spread the load over the 90 days AND plan for life as well as business that I received more ease and flow.
I literally had to create space in my brain and space in my life to a) plan and b) recharge so that I could stay focused and use my time more effectively. That’s where the clarity comes in. Without clarity there is just confusion/ procrastination/ perfectionism… adhoc work, over running timelines…
- Scheduling and blocking out time
Essentially I had no routine – and ironically I love routine.
I wasn’t quite sure why I avoided having a business routine for so long, but it’s really an essential element of making progress and growing business.
The consistency it creates and the boundaries it forms mean that I can work so much more effectively and have a better sense of balance.
For example, I block out two sessions a week for writing content. The real joy of this is that I don’t have the pressure of working out when to do it, what to write about etc all week – I just focus on that task when I need to – because it’s in my schedule, and I know it can get done then.
I schedule time for client work, email follow ups, social media, tech updates, family time, me time – and just having this scheduled – like an ideal week – means that I can spread it out, plan more effectively and get more done. It’s not random anymore, and that makes a huge difference.
- Sticking to boundaries
Boundaries are a daily focus for me, because I don’t actually find them easy!
I’m a sucker for Facebook, so the daily time-suck is a real trap, and I have to be so vigilant. However, I know that when I do stick to the boundaries I’ve made around time, then it works.
I have boundaries for screen time, social media, family time, when I’m available for clients and when I need me time!
If I don’t I get grumpy, over-sensitive, and lose focus, so as long as I stick to these boundaries of knowing where my limits are then I know I can work well without the burnout.
I also know that if there are times where I’m flat out and everything happens at once, then I push through, because sometimes you just have to. The difference is that I make sure I have some recovery time afterwards so that i can recharge.
- Realistic Time Management
I know it can be easy to block out 20 minutes for blog writing, 30 minutes of social media etc and map it all out, but I found that there were times when I’d run overtime – especially dealing with tech issues, and that would increase my stress levels, and the sense of rush.
Making a realistic estimation about how long things will take has become an important strategy for me. Yes, there are things that I can nail in a Pomodoro (25 min focus block), but there are others that take longer, no matter how focused I am. Even things like getting out the door and into the car with two children takes longer than I usually think, so the rush and stress can creep in.
- Take a break
When I work solidly for a day or two in a row without getting up and having good breaks, I am totally exhausted.
I’ve definitely learnt this one the hard way, and this is essentially where my “Self care is the best productivity strategy” comes into it’s own. When I map out my day with breaks, exercise, music – time for my brain to relax and have off, then I am so much more focussed and I have energy left at the end of the day.
Working too long without moving is hard on your body and hard on your brain. Giving it some physical movement is quite often where the magic happens, clarity comes, and focus stays.
It’s just not a good idea to just work for hours and hours on end.