When you peer into the lives of people who run their own businesses and still have time for a full life, a good sleep schedule, thriving relationships, weekend adventures, and even an afternoon nap, do you wonder how they’re (seemingly) ‘doing it all’?
First of all, let’s bust the myth that anyone on the planet is actually ‘doing it all’. They’re not.
It takes a lot of effort to make life look effortless, so kick that comparison trap to the curb. That will just slow you down and steal even more of your time with worry, doubt, shame, and trying to juggle a million methods that don’t fit you. The first key here is recognizing that your life, your work, your business, and everything else you care about is a part of YOUR story, which means that much of it is a private story made of a million moments that are entirely yours to write. To own.
Owning a business, while beautifully chaotic at times, ought to be a part of your life that supports you, and allows you to rest and do what matters most to you. When summer rolls around, I want all my fellow business owners out there to be able to enjoy what it is they love most about summer.
I’ll be fully transparent here: in the first few years of my business, I wasn’t good at time and energy boundaries. I gave a lot to the work and left very little for myself and my needs at the end of the day. But that’s why I’m here, many years later, celebrating the kind of business I’ve built that allows me to do what I love AND live. And now it’s my mission to help other business owners do the same!
Maybe you’re tired and weary from running your own business and can hear your entire body and soul whispering to you that you need a change asap.
Maybe you’re wanting to scale your business, but you’re afraid that you’re going to lose too much of the life you love in order to do it.
Or maybe you’re feeling ready to start your own business, take those very first steps, and want to visualize a path for yourself that has those good, peace-protecting boundaries built in from day one.
I’d love to share with you a few of the methods I’ve practiced over the years that help me unplug from work mode during my favorite slow summer months (and all year round) and keep my business running as I rest and recharge.
Determine why you need to unplug.
You can’t really make changes until you know why and for what reasons you’re making them! It’s the only way they’ll stick. Start with an assessment of where you’re at right now in all of your ‘zones’. How have you been feeling in your body? How about in your relationships? How do you feel when you get into work mode? What do you feel like you’re missing or craving that you haven’t had time or energy for?
From there, shift your focus to your work. What areas of work tend to suck up the most of your time? What tasks drain you the most? Are there any consistent tasks that don’t really create results for you? Are there parts of the work you do you can offload and outsource? What about any automation?
Keep in mind that you might not want or be able to tackle all your own needs right away. Little by little is the key here. And the good news is that letting yourself answer these questions is already a massive step!
Turn your self-awareness into easy action.
Now, this is where I have to zoom in with yourself and get super specific. It’s easy to get a few ideas and want to chase them all down at once! But trust me, even just one change can have you feeling a world of difference. You don’t want to add 15 new systems that take you weeks or months to integrate — you’ll get burned out before you even get a chance to reap the benefits. So, let’s look for the ‘less is more’ actions that get you freed up and less stressed while still doing what you love!
What’s one super impactful way I put a ton of my business on autopilot? Serving an email list. I used to get so burnt out on trying to plan every single move wit h social media in mind. It took a lot of my time, and to actually get any results, it needed a lot of my creative energy, too. I’d be run down before I got to do the parts of work that I love! Turns out, serving an email list has a huge ROI, can be scheduled and automated, brings in an amazing kind of audience who genuinely want to hear from me, and I never have to worry about an algorithm changing who can see what I send them.
Put in a little bit of work up front to get started, and you’ll save SO much time over the years because you have a list you can launch to and grow with. Show up in inboxes while you’re living your life. But in this little advice corner, I’ll actually do you one better than just telling you about it here — you can join my free challenge and see how it works for yourself. Yep, totally free, and you can start saving time while actually getting results (like real people and, yes, real dollars.) You can go check out my free Zero-250 Email List Building Challenge right here.
Change how you allocate your days with time boundaries.
As much as we say “I wish I had more time!”, the reality quickly sinks in when you realize you’re the one that’s in charge of your calendar. Now, I know there are exceptions and long-term commitments that might take up big chunks of your time each week, but this is your chance to really examine where all your time is going.
Now, I’d recommend blocking out ALL of your time. Leaving big open chunks every week to just ‘get things done’ might seem logical since a full calendar can feel busy, but more often than not, our busy-ness will steal our extra time unless we allot it for what we really want ahead of time.
Think of it like a time budget! If you want more time to pursue a new creative idea, schedule it. If you want to have 8 hours of sleep every night, schedule it. If you want a big chunk of your weekend to plan out a house project, schedule it.
This might sound counterintuitive, but if you’re the type that craves a full day without an agenda at all, block off that entire day. In fact, I know someone who calls them his ‘oyster days’ because, as he says, “The world is my oyster that day.” No agenda, but his time is still protected. And I love that!
Transform the way you spend your energy.
Carve out some time to figure out what tends to drain, recharge, and inspire you the most. As you look at your week, dive a little deeper, because a calendar doesn’t really represent where your energy goes.
What are the feelings that come up when you think about what drains you? Do you feel stressed? Anxious? And what about the things that recharge you? Is it your friends? A neutral activity like puzzling or going for a walk? Where are you drawing fresh inspiration from? How often do you get to do the things that inspire you?
Much like a time budget, you have to budget out your energy, too. Don’t compare what you can give to what you see others give. Focus on where your energy is at, right here and now. Don’t compare your current self to how you felt 10 years ago or how you want to feel in the future. Work with what you’ve got! Support your current state, because it’s YOU now who will be doing the work to move yourself forward.
Account for how your environment affects you.
I personally get so much rest and energetic restoration at our lake house. There’s just something magical and peaceful about that place, and I swear the air smells sweeter there. So, I make sure that we have scheduled weeks or weekends there as a family, and I know while I am there that I am going to sleep well, eat well, and get all the family time. Going to the lake house together has become a regular occurrence after a big launch, a new project, or a busy time at home!
While I am at home, one of the ways I had to finally admit that I was losing energy was being on my phone all day. So, I created some very clear and honest boundaries around having to be on my phone (and automating and outsourcing parts of my business helps with that big time!) I even have a little box I keep my phone in while I work so that notifications don’t steal my time or energy.
Incentivize yourself to guide your forward.
What drives me the most is knowing what kind of life I really want to be living. Let yourself imagine the kind of life you dream of. What does that free time turn into? What does rest really look like? When you’re living in the midst of those good time and energy boundaries, what does ‘unplugged’ really look like for you? What does a recharged and refreshed version of you look and feel like?
One major hurdle that I see holds a lot of people back is that they save up all this time and energy only to fill it again immediately with things that also drain them, steal their time, and don’t actually deliver on those results and goals they were dreaming about.
Don’t let that be you. Build a strong, undeniable ‘WHY’ that you can really see, taste, feel, and visualize. It’s not about saving time because I’m telling you to. Figure out what you want to see your life become and let that build a mindset that guides your steps and helps you trust your boundaries.
Everyone can run a business and still live a full life. I am certain of it. And you don’t need a superhuman willpower to get you there. Check in with yourself, set the boundaries, let your strong why guide you through the boundaries (like sticking to a roadmap!) and you’ll get there!