When we're self-employed or trying to build a side hustle into a full-time business, it can be hard to find that balance so many of us seek. It can begin to feel like you have to work continuously, or you won't have revenue coming in. The stress of self-employment can sometimes overtake the positives. Something I've found that helps me maintain balance in my life is prioritizing the people who matter the most when setting my schedule.
What do I mean by that? Well, in all of our lives, there are people who matter the most or responsibilities you have. Very few of us are only responsible for ourselves. Many of us have partners, spouses, children, step-children, etc. who rely on us for something. Some of us are caring for our aging parents and children simultaneously.
Your priorities may have shifted from where they were five years ago. Heck, your priorities are likely different than they were in February. Ah, the pre-pandemic world, remember February? The good old days. 🤣 In February, your children were likely in daycare or school full-time; you were probably still commuting to the office daily. Maybe you were already working from home, but your daily life probably looked a lot different than it does right now.
Be very honest with yourself. Where are you today? It doesn't matter where you were five years ago or six months ago or even last week. Where are you today? Who is relying on you for help on a pretty consistent basis? These are the people you want to think about when you create your schedule and block out time for your most important priorities. Your business power hours help drive revenue (learn about that here), and the next step is to add in a time block or time blocks for the people who are priorities in your life.
Are your children in school a couple of days a week right now, full-time, or learning from home every day? If they're home with you daily, you may need to allow time to help them with online learning set up each day, or they may require you to check-in with them at the end of the day for accountability if they're a bit older. If they're in person a couple of days a week, then your schedule may look different those days. If they're in person every day, then you probably have morning and afternoon responsibilities. Right now, I can't take a call at 8 am. I'm in the middle of taking my son to school. In the past, 8 am wouldn't have been an issue, but this year it is, and I know that. I've adjusted my work hours so that I'm not available before 9 am this year.
Gather your school in-service information, holiday, kids' activities or classes, everything you are responsible for getting someone to each week, and add that to your business calendar. These are genuine priorities and deadlines that you need to manage, along with your workload. If you have a weekly date night with your partner, mark that out. If you want to ensure you're off work by 4 pm, block out your calendar after 4 pm and commit to stopping for the day by 4.
Remember to include your own needs on the calendar. Take time for yourself too. If you workout, mark that on your calendar. Jot down your appointments, etc.
By planning your week with your people & work priorities together, you can make life feel less stressful. You have less chance of double booking yourself when you've got everything in one place. It's also easier to make sure you're not taking on too much when you can see it all. If you need to do less this week to maintain balance, that's OK too. Choose the lowest priority item and move it to next week.
You can do this.