In the last 2 years, I’ve also had some personal unexpected things come up with family member’s health and other moments I’ve needed to change my routine for. After 13 years of self-employment, I realized I really was not setting aside enough time for recharging my own batteries. I was giving too much of myself to the work I love, my clients, with little boundaries, leaving me running on fumes and never feeling caught up. Setting a schedule (while still being open-minded to a last-minute lunch, or working an extra evening) has helped me be more productive and live a much more balanced life. Let me tell you more about how I do it!
First of all set expectations for yourself and your clients. It is ok to say you work 9-5, it is ok to say you are off on Mondays. You have to find what works for you and your family, and setting expectations with clients in advance will be the easiest thing you do all year. I also list my upcoming travel in email signature so they can see the dates I will be less available and all parties can plan in advance.
Another tip for balancing time is adding in padding for delivery dates for clients. We all want to make our clients happy and can end up overpromising and under-delivering (which adds stress to all parties). Consider your project timelines, and then add a few days. I promise it will just take a weight off your shoulders and help make for more successful business exchanges. You can’t go wrong padding in time, finishing early and getting a bonus day or afternoon to do whatever you would like.
Let’s talk boyfriend, husband, and kids. I highly recommend setting dates together to look forward to. An ice cream outing, a glass of wine at a favorite wine bar, a trip across the ocean, etc. Having things to look forward to together strengthens a relationship. It’s easy as a small business or solopreneur to put work aside and make family and friends a priority. Then we hop on that hamster wheel and never get off not allowing time with the ones we love. Look at your calendar and put a friend date or real date on the calendar and stick with it!
On the whole, what works best for me is sitting down every 90 days and evaluating my upcoming travel schedule and pending opportunities. I then fill those into my calendar with due dates and out-of-office dates. This allows me to understand how much time my upcoming projects may take and focus on allotting time for development. From there, I schedule in time with friends and family and even put X through some days where I can plan for catchup or personal rest days. On Sunday nights, I look at my upcoming schedule for the week, and I fill in my must-dos, need to-dos and can dos that are pressing. I even list my errands and insure I am only taking phone calls on some days, and errands on only one day each week. Errands, emails, and calls can really distract from my productive work so I know limiting them are important for me. I love utilizing a software called Milanote where I can put a weekly list, divided by days side by side. I probably look at it 10x a day. I can move things, and add notes for reminders for myself later in the week. I even have a weekend list if there are elective things I might want to tackle when people think I am out of office.
Overall giving yourself time each week and each quarter to think about your priorities and writing them down can be a game-changer if you have been in business a hot second or 25 years. I challenge you to look at your time and see where you could get a little more organized for the second quarter of 2020!
Find me on Instagram, and let me know your time-saving tips! @gokaleigh