My clients are no strangers to being overworked.
They’ve often got families, businesses, and maybe side-hustles too, all competing for their attention. Their social life is hanging by a thread. They haven’t worked out in weeks. They know they’re the bottleneck, and it’s because they have too much work.
Decreasing work is a decrease in income. Not good.
Decreasing time spent in work is a decrease in client happiness. Not good.
Decreasing family time, social life, and exercise/healthy habits? That’s often what happens.
We’re really great at making space for work, but not for ourselves. One of the favorite things I get to do for my clients is take the “burden” of all the frustration off of their shoulders. Suddenly upon hiring me, they get to give me all of their stress, frustration, and upset. I ask them one very important question:
What is your ideal week like?
Often times I’ll hear something about wishing how yoga on Monday and Friday was doable. Or, they’ll tell me they used to have Saturday morning family breakfasts, but haven’t since they started their business, two years ago. My clients always want more time for themselves. They want spa appointments, a drink with friends, lunch with non-business contacts, travel just because, and the space to sleep without an iPhone attached to their hand. (Because electronics in bed do not make for great dreams or peaceful sleep... )
Sometimes I’ll hear about how people want to create their life to be less about business. They want to automate so that it runs itself, and they can keep things going without being chained to their desk. (Or coffeeshop, coworking space, or dinner table.)
We get so far from our ideal that we lose sight of it… until a breaking point. Just last week I got a call from someone in tears, sobbing on the phone with me, because she’d hit her wall and couldn’t go on. I told her, “you’re going to get through this. And we’re going to make some changes so that this breakdown doesn’t happen again.”
Creating your ideal week doesn’t have to be hard. Here’s how I walked her through it:
- Do not look at your calendar yet. Grab a pen and piece of paper -- no electronics. Write down 10 things that you’re wanting more of in your life. They could be spa days, more dates, a family vacation, lunch without your computer or phone, time to read a book… anything you want.
- Put two of those things in your calendar this week. Just two. It could be a 15-minute walk around the park, and a 30-minute block to read a book without your phone around. Just two. I know this is stretching, but it needs to happen -- or you’ll burn out!
- Schedule two of these things over the next three weeks. We’re going to build a habit. When they come up, do NOT change them. Consider them appointments with someone that is a TOP CLIENT, and if you break that appointment, your business fails. (Tip: you are your most important resource. If you break down, your business will.)
- As you get routine with this, continue to build in more of those. If you want to take 3-day weekends every week, the best way to have that happen is to work toward it every week, and build a habit. Doing it too fast will cause you to panic, and we don’t want that. Work up to it. In week 4 and 5, schedule 3-4 items from your list every 10 days. Keep this going.
- In week 6, re-evaluate your calendar. You should have five weeks solidly of your routine established, and be feeling better. Even if the rest of the week is chaotic, you’ll be able to count on these pockets of things you love to help balance it out. Make a list for your assistant. (If you don’t have one yet, this is a great tool to help manifest one!) Title it “My Ideal Schedule” and get creative! Put this down as an inspired goal, to work toward as you continue to give yourself back time each week.
Curious how I do this for myself? I thought you’d never ask.
I go to yoga once a week at least. I also attend gong baths (sound healing -- see a video here) at least every four weeks. Twice a week I block off the evening to binge watch Gilmore Girls, and read. I work out every morning, and get my nails done every two weeks on Saturday. I don’t take calls before 10am, and I never ever work weekends. I travel once a month at least, and see my friends, family, and new cities often. (See my travel schedule on the sidebar?) I know what I love, what refuels me, and how to keep myself balanced with a full client load.
It’s amazing to see my clients have the same shift.
You can have it too.
Start prioritizing yourself again, avoid burnout, and live your ideal week!
(And then tell me all about it on twitter once you’ve started! I want to hear!)