A couple of years ago I had a client who ran a holiday home rental company. She came to me because she was exhausted. She’d spent the weekend in bed with a lung condition that always flared up when she was stressed. ‘Don’t worry’ she said, ‘I’m taking a break next weekend – 4 days in Morocco!’ I mentioned her office manager holding the reins while she was away; she laughed and told me that the woman would probably phone her twice a day! She also admitted that she always had her phone on, even by her bed, in case a client should need her at any time.
She allowed everyone to encroach on her time and energy!
It’s very easy to completely give yourself to your business, but there comes a time when you need to stop and ask yourself why you decided to go it alone in the first place. I’m guessing you wanted something better, for yourself and your family. You wanted more income, more time, and more freedom.
But you soon discover that now everyone demands your time and attention. As you strive to keep everyone happy, just getting through your day to day routine leaves you with little energy, no time, and precious little freedom!
When you’re always busy serving others, you lose the ability to spend time focusing on what your business needs. You never have time to plan your work effectively or focus on your next strategy. Your business stagnates and your life has become a shadow of what you dreamt of.
So how do you reclaim it all?
You need to erect that fence!
Establishing boundaries puts you back in control.
Firstly I suggest that you set aside some time and revisit your dream. What did you imagine your dream business would look like? How many hours would you ideally work? Where would the profit be coming from, and what sort of team would you have around you? Do you still want that?
What did your dream life look like? Do you still yearn to travel more and experience new places? Did you desire time to enjoy the things you also love? Today do you crave for free weekends and an afternoon off?
To resurrect your dream you need to sit down and plan it. Write out the hours you want to spend working (there are no ‘shoulds’ here). What hours you’re going to join the family, meet with friends and take time for you?
The most successful business owner I know, guards his boundaries fiercely. He spends 90 minutes each morning focusing on his business without interruption. He puts a very firm boundary around that time because he knows how much can be achieved. He’s also decided how he wants to spend his time with his family and it’s clear that all school holidays are ring-fenced!
You too can decide when you’re going to work – and when you aren’t. Even when you are employed.
To regain your life, you need to put a fence around the ‘me-time’ too. For instance, let’s say you always mean to go for a run each day, or you want to read your child’s bedtime story each evening. Decide you’re going to do it and put it in your diary. Now treat that appointment as importantly as any client meeting. After all, who’s more important than you, or your family?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your business, it’s because you haven’t put in the boundaries. When you do, you’ll have more energy to act on fresh ideas. You’ll find that you’ve freed up time to work on growing your company. What’s more, you’ll create the time for you, what you enjoy doing, and being with those you care about most.
And wasn’t that the dream?
I help overwhelmed and stressed entrepreneurs ensure they can grow their business while creating the best version of their life. Contact me for details of the new Elegant Entrepreneur online programme.