Maybe you've been told to be more organized. More disciplined. Get your act together. Stop being so crazy. Relax. Get a routine.
I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm going to suggest you forget all of that.
Instead, if there is ONE thing in your life that you should focus on, it's boundaries.
Instead of changing WHO you are, instead, I want you to insist on keeping the boundaries in your life.
If you've committed to working on your business, don't let the agenda of other people interrupt your work time.
If you've set aside time to get that project done, don't let the next request from your kids, parents, friends or neighbor supersede what you have decided what you will do.
When you're a self-employed, stay-at-home parent, others really don't understand what you do all day. They just know you don't go to work, so you must have a lot of time on your hands. You're the first one they ask to pick up their kids, run that errand, or do a little favor.
And, because you love them, you say yes.
But guess who suffers?
And your business.
And then you end up beating yourself up for not getting your To Do list done. You shame yourself for being undisciplined. You're frustrated that you're always behind.
The ONE thing that would make a huge difference is boundaries.
Boundaries allow you to be the most generous version of yourself. I'm not advocating that you don't help your sister, neighbor, or mom. But I AM saying that you keep the promises you made to yourself. If you set aside Friday to work ON your business, you need to keep that promise, no matter what.
It's so much easier to keep an appointment with someone else. You wouldn't let them down. So why do you let yourself down?
When I decided to stop treating my business as a side hobby, I knew I had to get serious about boundaries. I determined that mornings were for homeschooling and I would work ON my business after lunch for two hours each day. But I couldn't just make this decision in my head. No one would know and I would look like a jerk who suddenly said "no" to things I usually said "yes" to.
So here's what I did. I emailed all of my teachers (I didn't have any desk staff at the time) and told them that all emails would be answered after noon each day. I told them to NOT text me, unless it was an emergency. Next, I emailed my weekly schedule to my mom and mother-in-law. I let them know that all morning was dedicated to homeschooling and that I wouldn't be on my computer or phone until lunchtime. They loved it and appreciated knowing our weekly plans.
The hardest part was enforcing my own plans with myself. I had to keep my laptop closed in the morning and stay focused on my kids until after lunch.
Was it hard? Yes, at first. Then, it was liberating and freeing! My kids felt loved and cared for and their love tanks were full because I focused on them first. I realized that no one suffered by waiting until noon to get a reply to their email. I was so much more productive when I gave my full attention to my work in short bursts in the afternoon.
Most "experts" will tell you to get your work done first thing in the morning.
But you have to run your business on YOUR terms. Maybe work looks different for you. If you have teenagers, maybe you get a lot done before the kids wake up. If your kids are little, maybe naptime is your friend. If you're a night owl, your best work happens late at night. I say: Do what works for you!
The reality is that your schedule (and your boundaries) will change as your kids get older and your life changes. Do what works now and then adjust as needed.
When you decide when your work time will be, keep that promise to yourself. We all need doses of uninterrupted work time. (Tell your kids you are working and let your brain think and focus for short bursts of time.)
Most people are shocked to hear that I run my company on less than 20 hours of work per week. And you can, too. You just need team, boundaries, and systems.
Is all work sitting down and isolated from your family? No way. We live in an amazing time of history when we can stay connected with just a Smartphone (I suggest you always get the best phone that you can. It's a tool and it will bring you sanity!)
Release yourself from guilt. It's a blessing to be able to check your email and Slack in between the library and driving your kids around. Give yourself grace! When you are committed to both your family and the work that God has called you to, you CAN do both, with the help of strong systems and technology.
Do what you need to do. And be thankful for Smartphones that give us freedom of location and the ability to stay connected when you're on the run!
Watch this week's video. And be sure to check out my Facebook and Instagram stories. Let's keep talking about this and figuring it out.
I'm cheering you on!
One of my Inner Circle Members said this:
Do you want to work less, have more time for family, and still fulfill the calling on your life?
The Inner Circle is for you. Learn how to set up strong (easy) systems, use the best technology for your team, and how to manage your time so you can juggle everything in your world. (Notice I didn't say balance. Balance is impossible! You just have to learn how to "juggle"--give energy to one thing at a time.)
Want to talk about YOUR situation? Schedule a call here.
I'd love to hear about your biggest challenge right now. Write me back or leave a comment. Tell me what's going on in YOUR world.
Business Strategist and Coach
About the Author
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!