If you're a mom and an entrepreneur, you're wearing a lot of different hats!
You’ve got kids to care for…
Your biz empire to build…
The carpools, cooking, cleaning...
And a zillion other things clawing at your time. #thejuggleisreal
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by a seemingly never-ending to-do list.
But instead of constantly operating on overdrive in an effort to out-run the overwhelm, I want to show you a better way.
And the best part is - when you actually implement these strategies - you’ll be happier, healthier and have time for both your business and your babies.
In this post, I give you the 5 steps to taking control of your schedule and kicking overwhelm to the curb. So, go ahead and dive right in.
And, if you like it, please share it with a mama or two who need a little overwhelm obliteration right now.
As a mom and an entrepreneur, you’re juggling a hundred balls.
Life can feel a little chaotic sometimes. Between the carpools, kids activities and household responsibilities, how can you work on growing your business and still make time for all of the other things?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, that’s totally understandable. But the trick to growing your business while raising a family is…
Don’t stay stuck in the overwhelm.
You can start to ditch overwhelm in four easy steps so that you can have the time you need for your business and your babies, too. Let’s dive in!
Step 1: Schedule in your non-negotiables first.
I know you’ve heard about this before. It’s Stephen Covey’s scheduling the big rocks so that you have time for those things that matter most to you. Your non-negotiables are simply the things that matter most to you and the things you need to do day in and day out in order to be happy and feel fulfilled.
But are you actually doing it? Are you actually making the time in your schedule to do more of what matters most to you? This takes getting really clear about what’s truly important to you.
What are some of your non-negotiables? Is it spending time with your family, your daily yoga practice, having date nights with your spouse?
Is it self-care so that you can be at the top of your game both in business and for your family? We moms who also have businesses often don’t take care of ourselves the way we should unless we schedule it into our calendars and commit to doing it.
An often overlooked non-negotiable is getting adequate sleep. That’s usually the first thing to go when schedules get busy. We think, “There aren’t enough hours in a day to do everything I need to do. How to squeeze more in? I’m just gonna cut back on my sleep.”
And that’s exactly the wrong thing to do if you want to be more productive (and feel great, too). You’ve got to get more sleep so you can be your best self in your business and also for your family.
So what are your non-negotiables? Make a list and schedule them into your calendar right now.
Step 2: Look at the time that remains.
Write your non-negotiables on your calendar and then look at how many hours are left in the day or week. How much time is left for you to spend on my business, for running in the household and for doing all of the other things that life and running your own business requires?
Here’s a hot tip: if you think you have 12 hours left in a day, subtract 2 hours because unexpected things come up and sometimes things simply take longer than you anticipated. If you’re new to using this strategy, you need some wiggle room so you don’t end up feeling bad that you didn’t follow through on what you said was really truly important to you.
Remember that the goal isn’t to squeeze a huge amount of stuff into the most amount of time so that you feel like you’re in overdrive all the time. That will lead you quickly to burnout.
What happens when you feel burned out? You crash and then that actually takes up more time. You lose more time having to recover from the go-go-go than you would have if you had just managed your energy and your time a little better. Doing more isn’t always better!
Step 3: Establish work hours and boundaries to protect them.
If you’re in business for yourself, what are your work hours? There have to be some boundaries around your work hours because if there aren’t boundaries, you work time will start to bleed into everything or you’ll struggle to find time to work on your business at all.
A perfect example of what often happens when you’re a mom doing double duty as an entrepreneur is that you try to get some work done when you’re with your kids. You may be checking emails on your phone, which seems innocent enough until the mom guilt kicks in because you feel bad about not having spent any quality time with your kids.
Or the opposite happens. You put everyone else’s needs first and try to squeeze some work into the tiny windows of time that are left. Then you end up feeling frustrated that you’re not making progress in your business.
I want to help you kick mom guilt to the curb so that you don’t feel guilty about when you’re working on your business. You have to make sure that you set boundaries around your work time so that you can be productive during that time, but it also doesn’t take over everything in your life. Boundaries also help you to be fully present during the time you’re with your kids so you can feel great about how you’re showing up as a mom, too.
Step 4: Delete or delegate.
At this point you may still be looking at a really long to-do list and wondering how you’re going to get everything done. It’s time to start deleting and delegating some of those items!
The truth is that there are probably many things on your to-do list that you don’t need to do yourself or perhaps at all. Take a critical eye to your to-do list and ask yourself, “What can I just simply not do? What could I let someone else do for me?” It might be household chores, child care or some of your business-building activities, but deleting and delegating are key to being able to grow your business while still having time for all of the things you want to do with your family.
Before I made the transition from being a full-time mom into launching my own brand and having my own business, I had been doing all the “Pinterest perfect” mom things. I’d been making the organic baby food from our organic vegetable garden, the house was really clean and I was taking the kids to all kinds of extracurricular activities trying to be an amazing mom.
But maintaining that kind of standard and starting a business on top of it just wasn’t possible for me. I was in overwhelm all the time trying to meet an impossibly high standard I’d set for myself. The reality is that you can feel great about the mom you are right now and you can do great in your business. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be doing all the same things you did for your family before you had a business. You simply have to focus on doing the things that matter most to you and your family (i.e., your non-negotiables), which frees up time for you to build your business, too.
Start by asking yourself, “Are all of these things in my to-do list a true priority for me? Are all of these things in my to-do list things that I still want to be doing?” Look for the activities that don’t really give you joy anymore or the things you’re doing simply out of a feeling of duty or obligations. Which of those activities can be deleted or delegated?
Here are a couple of examples to get you started:
- Grocery shopping. I personally find it kind of therapeutic to browse through the grocery store and pick my own groceries and that sort of thing. But when I’m looking at where I can best spend my time, that is not where it is. That’s why I now use a grocery delivery service.
- The same goes for dry cleaning and house cleaning – these are things that aren’t worth spending your personal time on if you’re trying to balance motherhood and being in business for yourself.
Next, identify the activities or responsibilities that are low value to your family, to you personally or to your business. Those low value or low dollar activities are great activities to delegate or outsource. So many people are spending time on the wrong business activities or are spending their time doing personal tasks that could easily be outsources, which is one of the reasons their to-do lists are so bloated and they feel overwhelmed.
So what are the high value activities that you should spend most of your time doing?
Step 5: Focus on the marketing, promotion and sales activities in your business.
Marketing, promotion and sales activities are where you need to invest the bulk of your time and energy if you’re growing a business. Within those categories there are certain high-value activities that you can’t delegate to someone else if you are your own brand, such as promotional activities that feature you (think livestreaming or webinars). Those are the things you should be doing of so that you can connect with the people who are looking for you.
The mistake that many entrepreneurs make is that they spend their time on administrative and operations business activities. Working on your website or handling basic customer service, for example, doesn’t promote sales or your visibility as a business and, therefore, are items you should delegate first to someone else.
The fear of delegating tasks to others held me back in my business and kept me stuck in overwhelm for a long time. Like me, you might be afraid that the person you hire to do a task won’t do as good of a job as you will. And, you know what, they might not, but it doesn’t have to be perfect to get it done so you can move your business forward and give you back more time to do those thing that truly matter to you.
Step 6: Take action.
Now you’ve got your list of activities to delete or delegate, your to-do list should be a lot shorter and you should feel a lot less overwhelmed! You’ve already scheduled in your non-negotiables, you’ve pruned your to-do list down to the high-value activities, and you’re delegating the low-value activities. If you don’t have a big budget, start small with outsourcing, even if it’s doing a childcare share with a friend so that you can get a few more hours to yourself to work on your business or take care of yourself.
- What personal non-negotiables are you going to make time in your schedule for?
- What marketing, promotion and sales activities will you focus on doing?
- What is the first thing that you’re going to stop doing or delegate?
I would love to hear what it is!
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